Climate Change

‘Look at India, the air is filthy,’ says Donald Trump at final presidential debate

New Delhi: Days before United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper visit New Delhi for talks on building the growing US-India partnership, US President Donald Trump referred to what he called the “filthy air” in India, China and Russia as he defended his decision to pull out of the Paris accord and denounced Democrat rival Joe Biden’s plans to tackle climate change in a presidential debate.

“Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India. The air is filthy. I walked out of the Paris Accord as we had to take out trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly,” Trump said, according to a report by NDTV.

“I will not sacrifice millions of jobs… thousands of companies because of the Paris Accord. It is very unfair,” he said at the televised debate in which the two candidates avoided shaking hands due to safety risks.

In response to Trump’s claim, a candidate for US President Joe Biden said that climate change is “an existential threat to humanity and we have a moral obligation to deal with it”.

“We’re going to pass the point of no return within the next eight to 10 years”, he said.

This is the second time that Trump has made a critical reference to India during a debate. At the first presidential debate, Trump questioned India’s coronavirus data.

“When you talk about numbers you don’t know how many people died in China, you don’t know how many people died in Russia, you don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t exactly give you a straight count,” he had said.

The US Presidents remarks drew sharp reactions in India, with some urging Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to give a strong retort to Trump’s statements.

Opposition leaders like Congress’s Kapil Sibal took a swipe at Modi’s camaraderie with President Trump.

Political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla urged Modi to give a strong response to the US President.

“Remember how our IRON LADY Martyr Indira Gandhi Ji took on the US and showed Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon their place,” he tweeted.

In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a global agreement in which President Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had played a key role. The Paris climate accord aims to cap global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius.

The US President has repeatedly blamed countries like India and China for not doing enough on climate change.

India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, accounting for 7 per cent of global emissions in 2017, according to the projection by the Global Carbon Project published in December 2018.


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