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In sync with ISC theme , PM speaks of environmental equity

Source: Toxics Link, Date: , 2007

Picture of Manmohan SinghStating that the three major challenges the planet faces are the availability of water, food, and energy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called upon those present at the recent 94th Indian Science Congress (ISC) to deliberate on these issues, adding that though we we do not own the earth, but borrow it from our children.

He was delivering his keynote address at Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, where the Science Congress took up issues concerning global warming, monsoon forecast, energy security, natural disasters and environmental pollution during its five-day deliberations and activities. Planet Earth was the theme for the Congress, in line with this year being celebrated as the International Year of the Planet Earth by the United Nations.

Among a host of issues, Dr. Singh focused on the issue of energy conservation and said: "India must find alternative sources of energy supply. We will need bio-fuel, solar energy, photo voltaic, nuclear and almost all other sources, which do not burden the conventional sources of energy supply. Our energy security depends strongly upon the abilities of the scientific community to provide affordable sources of renewable energy supply."

"The assurance of energy security is both a managerial challenge and a technological challenge. We have invested billions of rupees in developing a range of energy sources. However, the return on this investment is still far from being adequate. Be it hydel power, thermal, or nuclear power, we have to improve the productivity of investments already made. We must also find ways and means to conserve energy. Our scientists and engineers can contribute greatly to the development of energy conservation technologies. We have to find resource-efficient means of ensuring our energy security," he added.

Talking about global in-equity, he stated that the developing countries, cannot afford to ape the West in terms of its environmentally wasteful lifestyles. Equally, developed industrial countries must realize that they too must alter their consumption patterns so that so few do not draw upon so much of the Earth’s resources.

"The developing world cannot accept a freeze in global inequity. We are today living in an increasingly globalised, increasingly interdependent world. The challenge before all of us is to make this growing interdependence of Nations a win-win game rather than a game which leaves two-third of humanity at the bottom rung of social and economic ladder."

"The measures that the global community takes to protect our environment and deal with climate change therefore must be equitable in their impact on the development prospects of the developing world. The new environment-friendly technologies being developed must be shared and made available to us as international public good so that our planet is saved. We can and must use the inventiveness and ingenuity of our knowledge to find new pathways to growth. But in the world increasingly interdependent as it is today, this must be a shared effort," he added.

Specifically highlighting the issue of environmental equity, he asserted: "It must be an effort that enables the poor to improve their quality of life, their well-being, their consumption levels without being forced to pay the price for the profligacy and excessive consumption of the rich and the super rich."