Yoga twist to climate talks

Climate change talks do often require the negotiators to adopt convoluted if not tortuous positions. It appears apt, therefore, that India’s latest contribution to the exercise is — yoga.

The India pavilion at the CoP23 climate summit in Bonn is hosting a programme, ” yoga every evening from 5 to 6 “, to promote New Delhi’s views about a ” sustainable lifestyle” being key to the battle against global warming.

Ironically, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Monday that India was quickly becoming one of the hottest countries in the world, and was home to most of the planet’s hottest towns.

A senior official announced the yoga programme in the presence of the Union minister for environment, forests and climate change, Harsh Vardhan, during a meeting at India pavilion.

” Yahan nahin to kahan karunga ( If not here, where should we do it)?” the minister said to a question from The Telegraph as the summit, being organised by Fiji with Germany’s support in Bonn, got under way.

Harsh Vardhan added that the yoga sessions would be open to all, including the negotiators.

” It’s another example of soft saffronisation,” alleged an Indian climate expert in Bonn.

But government officials argued that apart from showcasing an Indian lifestyle before the world, these sessions would also help build concentration.

” Fine, but they have scheduled the yoga sessions for evenings, which will be the peak time for negotiations,” a non- government climate expert tut- tutted.

During the Paris summit of 2015, India had pushed ideas like ” lifestyle change” and ” sustainable livelihoods” in countering climate change but these found merely cursory mention in the introductory part of the Paris Agreement.

Prakash Javadekar, then environment minister, accepted that India had expected more emphasis on these issues, highlighted repeatedly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Harsh Vardhan gave what officials described as a very ” successful” presentation of India’s climate change efforts on Monday.

” Although India’s per capita emissions are only onethird of the global average, and its contribution to the global stock of carbon dioxide is less than 3 per cent, it has still moved ahead with implementation of path- breaking initiatives,” the minister said in a written statement.