US President Donald Trump has sniped at India over climate change, claiming that garbage from India lands on the shores of the US and questioning why it should be paid to help fight climate change.
Defending his decision to leave the Paris Agreement here on Tuesday, he made four points about India, three of them with questionable factual basis.
He said: “India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation. I said, ‘We’re a developing nation, too. Why aren’t we?'”
He added that India, China and Russia “absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they’re dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way. Isn’t (it) amazing it ends up in Los Angeles? Oh, what a — what a mess that is”.
He listed India among countries that “absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all”.
Trump compared the size of India along with those of China and Rusia to that of the US, saying: “When people ask the question — your part of the question about climate — I always say: ‘You know, I have a little problem. We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States’.”
In fact, the US with 9.8 million sq.km is three times size of India that is only 3.23 million sq.km.
But an American produces 15.5 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, nearly 10 times as much as an Indian whose output of the gases is only 1.58 tonnes.
Trump said that the Paris Agreement was unfair to the US and it would have suffered “trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction” under its terms.
The reference in his rambling speech to paying India was likely about the Green Climate Fund for which his predecessor, Barack Obama, had pledged $3 billion and sent in $1 billion before leaving office.
Trump stopped payments to the Fund that predates the Paris Agreement, having been set up in 2009 at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen to help developing countries meet the challenges of climate change.
Recently India received $43 million for climate resilience projects in three coastal states and earlier $50 million for rooftop solar projects.
India does not figure among six significant contributors to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which sends garbage floating around the Pacific Ocean area reaching Los Angeles. However, Sri Lanka is one of the countries whose trash was found in the Patch, which is also called the Pacific vortex, according to Science magazine.
India is also cutting its reliance on coal-powered electricity generation, having cancelled plans to add 14 gigawatts of electricity generated with coal.
India has also set a deadline of 2022 to control emissions from its thermal plants with scrubbing technologies to cut pollution in their emissions.
Trump’s speech to the Economic Club of New York was mostly about the US economic achievements during his nearly three years in office.
He boasted about 7 million jobs created under his watch leading to a 3.6 unemployment rate which is the lowest in 50 years, and the record levels reached by the stock markets.
He added the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to his list of economic achievements with digs at India, China and Russia.