Washington | Acknowledging that the Paris agreement on climate change is not perfect and not legally binding, US President Barack Obama said today that the mechanisms built into it will nevertheless hold every country accountable for meeting its commitments. Describing himself as passionate about confronting climate change, Obama said few countries will see the effects more than India with melting Himalayan glaciers, more unpredictable monsoons and strong cyclones. He had worked hard, including with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for a strong global agreement in Paris last month that will put the world on the path of a low-carbon future but also allowing developing nations like India to pursue development, growth and reduce poverty, Obama told in an interview here. He was answering a question on the criticism the Indian government faced for making concessions at the Paris conference because developed countries had no legal binding targets on finance or emission cuts.
Obama responded by saying that no agreement, including the Paris one, was perfect. But we set out to craft an agreement that would attract the most ambitious action from the widest possible set of countries. And we succeeded. We have established the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis nearly 200 nations committing to their own specific targets, even as we take into account differences between countries. India, for example, has committed to the world’s most ambitious target in renewables. And while it’s true that the Paris agreement is not legally binding, it does include a strong system of transparency, including periodic reviews and independent assessments, to help hold every country accountable for meeting its commitments, the President said. Prime Minister Modi and I agree on the urgency that every nation needs to act. We also recognise that different countries are at different stages of development and therefore have different roles to play, he said.
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