Pachauri hails Indian climate plan as ‘right step’

India's newly unveiled action plan on climate change can help the country reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, a leading environmentalist was quoted as saying. RK Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the plan's emphasis on solar energy was a step on the "right path".

The strategy, announced last week by prime minister Manmohan Singh, makes no commitment to cut carbon emissions, but maps out a gradual shift to greater reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar power.

"Solar energy is like dollar bills lying on the sidewalk, we just have to pick them up," the BBC quoted Pachauri as saying.

He said that for India to cut carbon emissions now would mean poverty for millions of people. "India is a growing economy with 76 million rural households still without access to electricity," said Pachauri. "How can we levy a cap [on emissions] when millions are living in a state of total deprivation?"

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