Former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan on Thursday called upon global communities to work together to counter the adverse impact of climate change.
Speaking at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Annan said that with Asia emerging as a “major driver of global growth”, it was imperative for India and China to work together to curb growing pollution from vehicular emission.
“We need a robust, universal and legally binding agreement to limit temperature rises to less than 2 degrees Celsius, above which climate change may be irreversible. For agreement to be reached in Paris next year, every country, whatever their stage of development, must raise their sights and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said at the summit, whose theme this year is `Attaining Food, Water and Energy Security for All’. Annan urged a pro-active role by governments to tackle climate change. “Governments need to push for greater responsibilities among the corporate and civil society organisations to meet emission targets,” he said.
Noting that small and island nations were the worst affected by climate change, Annan said that the negative fallout of unplanned growth must be checked globally. “About 50 per cent of the world now live in cities. This has created huge problems for adequate infrastructure and sanitation,” he said. TERI Director-General Dr R K Pachauri said it was important for governments to create the right environment to achieve tangible overall development results, while giving the example of California, which he said has cut back on emissions hugely without any slide in economic growth.
“We need the right kind of incentives and support to counter the effects of climate change. Richer countries need to commit to reduce global gas emissions,” he said, while adding that developing countries should not shy away from their responsibilities too.
Speaking at the summit, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the global food, water and energy crises had become acute and required urgent measures by all stakeholders. “We need a new global awakening, where the needs of the poor are addressed adequately,” he said. Dr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, also stressed the need for cooperation at the global level. “To achieve sustainable development for all, it is important that we think and act together. We have been thinking separately and individually for a long time. It’s time we put our narrow differences aside and work together because only if we work together, we can survive together,” he said.