Ahead of a major climate conference in Paris later this month, ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha has travelled across India to investigate the environmental challenges facing the country.

During his trip, he exclusively spoke to Prakash Javadekar, India's minister for environment, forest and climate change, who will be leading negotiations at the summit.

The minister began by describing some of the "important" ways in which climate change is affecting his country.

"Monsoons, untimely rains, floods, droughts, these are important plus some glacier melting...and irregular events, the frequency of which has grown."

He added that due to these and the increased threat of hurricanes, India is resiliently preparing action plans for individual states, including its ten coastal ones, and investing 2.5 trillion over the next few years to help lessen the impact.

A man transports his daughters from their school on a bicycle through a flooded road after heavy monsoon rains Credit: Reuters

"Not part of the problem"

India is the fastest growing of all emerging economies, with GDP growth of of 7.5% from January to March this year.

It is also the world's third biggest greenhouse gas emitter, currently producing around 7%, which is expected to rise due to energy demands resulting from population growth.

Mr Javadekar said: "My people have equal right to grow, they have aspirations and they've not got anything".

He insisted that India is "not part of the problem" but it wants to be "part of the solution because we are suffering because of the climate change".


The approximate amount of global emissions currently produced by India

The minister added that he hopes a "just and equitable agreement" will come out of the "Paris 2015" UN climate change conference.

"The world has exploited and profited from their emissions and now they cannot put restrictions on me, so there has to be a justice...So we want just an equitable agreement", he said.

In respect to India's efforts to reduce its carbon emissions, Mr Javadekar said the country has already "started working responsibly".

"We have already started working responsibly and we have the huge, renewable program, our indices are very clear....till 2030 we will be saving 3.6 billion tonnes of carbon emissions per year, so it's a very fantastic and huge action on the part of a developing country."

Looking ahead to the conference, Mr Javadekar said the "simple message is keep Paris simple."

"We want Paris to succeed. We want the world to walk the climate path with confidence and with very much positivity that 'yes we can mitigate the challenge of climate change with our joint action'. And that's what we are looking at."

Prakash Javadekar, India's Environment Minister