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India can lead world fight against climate change: Al Gore


New Delhi : India can lead the world in development of renewable energy and other new technologies in the fight against climate change, former US vice president Al Gore said here Saturday.

A day after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and parliamentarians, Gore said: “India is an advanced developing country that has truly shown it can lead the world in IT, pharmaceuticals and steel, among others.

“It can do the same in development of renewables and other new technologies to solve the climate change problem. India should focus on this new opportunity that will bring in so much of new technology and so many new jobs,” said the world’s best-known crusader against global warming.

Queried about his views on India’s position that developing countries must not be asked to take on mandatory caps on emissions of greenhouse gases that are leading to global warming, Gore said: “Developing countries have the right to set whatever goals they think are appropriate.

“But they should not make a comparison with industrialised countries on the basis of the dirty technology of the past. They should set their goals on the basis of 21st century technology. We have to sort out this difference between the future we want and the future we’ll have.”

The joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace prize for his crusade against climate change pointed out: “India itself is highly vulnerable to climate change. But it can also be part of the solution.

“In this connection, I am painfully aware that my own country (the US) is the largest source of greenhouse gases and we need a change of policy.

“The good news is that this is beginning to happen. All three candidates leading the race to the White House have positions on climate change very different from that of the present administration.

“So you will see a change of policy. And hopefully that will get a different response from the developing countries as well.”

The former vice president, however, would not be drawn any further on whom he supported in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination – Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. All he would say was: “I have been watching the race with a great deal of interest.

“I don’t know how that is going to shape up. Meanwhile, I’m doing everything I can to build support in the fight against climate change so that the new president will face a groundswell of public opinion demanding US leadership in this issue.”

Asked if the current recession in the US would shift focus away from the fight against climate change, Gore said: “I certainly hope not. We must realise that this issue is deeply connected to the economy in every way.

“The solution to climate change can be the solution to the search for sustainable growth. We need a new global Marshall Plan to move towards renewable energy, conservation and a low carbon economy.”

Gore and Rajendra K. Pachauri – head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with him – have been holding a workshop here since Friday to start the India chapter of the Climate Project, an initiative to inform people about the perils of global warming and possible solutions.

The initiative is organised here by The Energy and Research Institute headed by Pachauri and supported by JSW Foundation of industrialist and MP Naveen Jindal.