23/11/2015 8:44 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Prakash Javadekar Finally Explains Modi's Bizarre Remarks On Climate Change

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) receives a sapling from Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar during the inauguration of the Enviornment and Forest Minsters conference in New Delhi on April 6, 2015. India's government launched a new air quality index on April 6, 2015, under intense pressure to act after the World Health Organisation declared New Delhi the world's most polluted capital. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government would publish air quality data for 10 cities, amid growing public concern over the impact of air pollution on the health of India's 1.2 billion people. AFP PHOTO/ PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- On his foreign visits over the past year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged terrorism and climate change as the gravest problems in the world. And in the run up to the climate change summit in Paris, he has set himself up as an influential voice on the global crisis.

But rankling in the background are remarks which the prime minister made on the climate crisis after coming into power in May 2014. Some people even wondered if he was a closeted climate skeptic.

Speaking to students all over the country on Teacher's Day, last year, Modi said, "Climate has not changed. We have changed. Our habits have changed. Our habits have got spoiled."

"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. 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." - PM Narendra Modi

READ: Prakash Javadekar Interview: Developed World Should Vacate The Carbon Space

No one really knows why Modi made such remarks on climate change, and why he stopped. So in a recent conversation with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar about the climate change meeting in Paris, HuffPost India also asked him what his boss meant by those early remarks.

The prime minister just has a "dramatic" way of warning people against an unsustainable lifestyle, Javadekar explained, furiously shaking his head at any talk of climate skepticism.

"He puts it in a very dramatic way. To emphasise the point of lifestyle, to emphasise the point of climate justice, he said it that way," the minister said.

"See, we cannot go on and on having unsustainable consumption. The Earth Overshoot Day report is before us. It has clearly mentioned that Western lifestyle is unsustainable and if we continue with that unsustainable lifestyle by using more energy, more water, and exploitation of more natural resources, we will require four planets. So, Earth can take care of one even 10 billion people but not the greed of seven billion people.

That is what he (Modi) is saying.

We should not view climate change as a catastrophe that has happened to us from outside. No. Human action is essential and we have to change." - Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

Contact HuffPost India

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