India, the nation that is hosting the eighth in a series of U.N. meetings on climate change, is using the occasion to chastise industrialized nations for pressuring poor countries to cut greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the meeting in Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee argued that emissions-reduction programs would undermine efforts by India and other developing nations to strengthen their economies and lift their populations out of poverty. “Climate change mitigation will bring additional strain to the already fragile economies of the developing countries,” he said, adding that India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are a sliver of the world average. A sign held by a protestor at the event noted: “1996 emissions of one U.S. citizen equal 19 Indians, 49 Sri Lankans, 107 Bangladeshis, 134 Bhutanese, 269 Nepalese.” In the Delhi Declaration, which will summarize the 10-day meeting, the Indian government wants to stress that developing countries will be hit hardest by drought, flooding, and other consequences of climate change.
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