Kerry talks about India thrice at UN climate meet
Marrakech, Nov 17 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday mentioned India thrice in his speech at a global climate meet — highlighting its growing investments in renewable technologies, draughts and growing pollution.
Speaking at the UN Climate Conference here, Kerry said: “Now, significantly the renewable energy boom isn’t limited to industrialized countries, and that’s important to note.”
“In fact, emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil invested even more in renewable technologies last year than the developed world,” he said in his 45-minute address to the media, where scientists and international delegates were also present.
“China alone invested more than $100 billion. Ultimately, clean energy is expected to be a multitrillion dollar market – the largest market the world has ever known.”
Expressing concern over global climatic conditions, Kerry, who has attended every major United Nations climate change summit since 1992, said: “We have seen record-breaking droughts everywhere — from India to Brazil to the west coast of the US.”
“Storms that used to happen once every 500 years are becoming relatively normal. In recent years, an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced by extreme weather events annually. We never saw that in the 20th century,” said the Secretary of State.
Sounding an alarming note, he said there are nearly 20 million new asthma cases a year in India linked to coal-related air pollution.
“In the US, asthma costs taxpayers more than $55 billion annually. The greatest cause of children being hospitalised in the summer in the US is environmentally induced asthma,” said Kerry, who also talked abo ut his last week’s trip to Antarctica where scientists alarmed at the fast-changing climatic trends.
He also blamed coal-fired power plants in China for pollution.
In 2014, a study found that up to six million people in China have black lung because they lived and worked so close to coal-fired power plants, Kerry added.
(Vishal Gulati is in Marrakech at the invitation of the Global Editors Network to cover COP22. He can be contacted at email@example.com)