United States (US) President Donald Trump has described the air in India as “filthy” as he denounced Democratic rival Joe Biden’s plans to tackle climate change.
At their second and final presidential debate, Trump renewed his criticism that action on climate change was unfair to the US.
“Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India — it’s filthy. The air is filthy,” Trump said at the debate in Nashville, adding, “I walked out of the Paris Accord as we had to take out trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly.”
Trump has repeatedly blamed countries like India and China for not doing enough on climate change, labelling them as regions with air that is impossible to breathe. He has continuously argued that countries like China and India are benefiting the most from the Paris agreement.
It is pertinent to mention here that the air in several cities in northern India is especially bad in winter months — November to February — when several factors, such as farmers burning crop stubble to clear their fields, vehicular and industrial pollution, festive fireworks and low wind speed, contribute to what doctors call a “deadly cocktail of poisonous gases”.
Despite the spikes in air pollution year after year, few concrete steps have been taken to control it.
During the debate, Trump also charged that Biden’s climate plan was an “economic disaster” for oil states such as Texas and Oklahoma.
Biden had said that climate change is “an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it.”
“We’re going to pass the point of no return within the next eight to 10 years,” he said.
The planet has already warmed by around one degree Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels, enough to boost the intensity of deadly heatwaves, droughts and tropical storms.
Trump’s remarks come days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper visit New Delhi for talks on building the growing US-India partnership.
At the first presidential debate, Trump also spoke critically of India, questioning its coronavirus data amid criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
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Soon after Trump’s remarks, “filthy” and “Howdy! Modi” started trending on Twitter though many used the hashtag o highlight their concerns. The “Howdy, Modi!” event, held in Houston in September 2019 was attended by nearly 50,000 people. It was billed as one of the largest ever receptions for a foreign leader in the US and Mr Trump had called it a “profoundly historic event”.
Meanwhile, #FilthyIndia is also trending on Twitter Pakistan.