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Has India’s Prime Minister Become A Climate Sceptic?

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Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian

India’s PM used to call climate action a moral duty, now he tells students ‘climate has not changed, we have changed’

Narendra Modi

Students and teachers at a Bangalore school watch India’s prime minister Narendra Modi’s live broadcast from New Delhi on Teachers’ Day, 5 September. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, reportedly will be a no-show at the United Nations climate summit this month. Could it be because he does not accept the science behind climate change?

Modi used to be a supporter for climate action. But in public remarks on two occasions in the last week, the leader of one of the fastest growing – and biggest emitting – economies appeared to express doubt about whether climate change was even occurring.

“Climate has not changed. We have changed. Our habits have changed. Our habits have got spoiled. Due to that, we have destroyed our entire environment,” the rightwing leader told students in a video Q&A,according to India Today on Friday.

Modi was also vague on global warming and its causes in an interview with The Hindu a few days earlier.

“Climate change? Is this terminology correct? The reality is this that in our family, some people are old … They say this time the weather is colder. And, people’s ability to bear cold becomes less,” he said.

“We should also ask is this climate change or have we changed. We have battled against nature. That is why we should live with nature rather than battle it,” he said.

Both sets of comments are at variance with Modi’s earlier views on climate change, set out in an e-book, published in 2011 when he was chief minister of Gujarat….

So what’s changed? Since his election, Modi has dismantled a number of environmental protections, clearing the way for new coal mines and other industrial projects. He also blocked funds to Greenpeace and other environmental groups and is known to be vehemently anti-NGOs.

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