His Excellency Mr. François Richier, French Ambassador to India delivered a Distinguished Lecture on Climate Change : How to achieve a global agreement to foster solutions & opportunities? at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on 2nd July 2015.

Speaking to an audience of faculty, students and staff His Excellency said that it’s high time to recognise climate change as important part of the growth agenda in the world and requires multi-stakeholder participation and contribution to check the ill-effects of the climate change and ensure a sustainable world. Quoting Indian examples he stated that Nagaland is witnessing drying rivers, there is southwards progress of deserts in Gujarat and sea levels are increasing.

Apart from the governments, scientists, business community, civil society and individuals also have crucial role to play in climate change management. Increasing number of new manufacturing units are investing in clean technologies and are making use of solar power for their energy needs; research and development works have to invent further to reduce the cost further. At the same time every citizen must work on balancing his/her consumption pattern in a responsible manner, added Mr. Richier.

French Ambassador

France has planned complete ban on use and production of plastic bags by 2016. Similarly in India, ITC hotels have become green hotels by producing their own energy and water with zero impact on the environment; Gujarat has been able to achieve 16-18% of electricity production through solar energy in last 10 years, quoted the French Ambassador.

The Ambassador further added that in 1970s, France started using nuclear energy in its effort to meet energy requirement but now it’s effectively contributing to the production of clean electricity to the extent of 65% of total energy production in the country. In contrast, India is dependent upon coal for electricity production to similar extent and is not viable to reduce this dependency immediately. However, there must be enough effort to work on developing technologies that can reduce carbon emissions. Further, the nation’s journey to achieve high growth for years should be accompanied with less and less dependence and contribution in terms of carbon emitting technologies; technology has to play a big role in affordable and sufficient availability of the energy, he said.

His Excellency concluding the lecture by saying that France and India have been working on various projects together in this direction that include setting up a 10000 MW nuclear energy power plant in Maharashtra, research activities on alternative energy resources to improve its economic viability, urban water management and distribution, weather monitoring satellite launch etc. The climate change discussion must get attention and effective participation of all stakeholders to ensure a good world.

Prof. J Prabhakara Rao of the Centre for Study of Foreign Languages introduced the distinguished speaker. Prof. R P Sharma, Vice-Chancellor of UoH presided while Prof. R Siva Prasad proposed the Vote of Thanks.

Mr. François Richier graduated from Sciences Po Paris and holds a degree in Law.

He is an alumnus of the French National School of Administration (ENA, 1989-1991). He served as Technical Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Asian and American affairs – 1993-1995), prior to being posted as First Secretary in charge of strategic issues at the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (1995-1999). Thereafter, he was posted at the Embassy of France in Berlin as Second Counsellor (1999-2002), and then appointed Sous-Directeur (Director) of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department for Political and Security Affairs (2002-2005) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. In June 2007, he was appointed Adviser for Strategic and Security Affairs at the Presidency of the French Republic.

Mr. François Richier was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to India on 17 October 2011.

-By Kumar Ashish, Research Scholar in Economics