New Delhi: India has not adversely affected the environment of the world but is playing a leading role in contributing in a positive manner to give a better world to the future generations, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he highlighted his government’s efforts to counter climate change. PM Modi was answering to a media query, during a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden following bilateral talks at the White House.
Highlighting the importance the environment holds for India, PM Modi said,
As far as India is concerned, the environment and climate are extremely important in our cultural traditions. For us, the environment is an article of faith. This is not just something that we need to do for convenience. We believe this. We do not believe in the exploitation of nature. In order for all of creation to work, we can make nature — we cannot have exploitation of nature and we have always believed this.
Talking about the global initiatives India is undertaking for building a better world, PM Modi said,
India is the only G20 country that has fulfilled all the promises it made in Paris.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on December 12, 2015. It entered into force on November 4, 2016.
Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
Sharing India’s targets, PM Modi said,
In the area of solar energy in Glasgow, we have set ourselves a target to achieve 500GW of renewable energy by 2030.
India has also set itself the target to make Indian Railways net zero.
You must understand the scale of Indian Railways. When we talk about Indian Railways, it means that every day the entire population of Australia travels in wagons on our trains. And we have set ourselves the target to achieve net zero for our railways, he said.
The Prime Minister asserted,
We have also set ourselves targets for solar energy for ethanol, a 10 per cent mix of ethanol. We have completed this target before the set date.
India is also working in the area of green hydrogen, PM Modi informed the journalists. He added,
We want India to be a green hydrogen hub and we are working towards this. International Solar Alliance has been launched by India and many countries have joined it and are working with India.
PM Modi shared that India is helped island countries in the area of solar energy as a result of which, they have now got new confidence that India is with them in their efforts to fight climate change.
PM Modi further talked about the destruction of infrastructure along with deaths due to natural calamities. He added,
We will not only fulfill our responsibilities, but we will also help you in the area of climate change. There is a lot of destruction of infrastructure as well and therefore because of climate change, the kind of crisis we are feeling, we need to develop infrastructure that is resilient and therefore, we have created a global organisation called Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
Continuing with his response, PM Modi talked about Mission LiFE, which he had announced at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that happened in Glasgow in 2021. He added,
When I say LiFE, I mean Lifestyle for the Environment. Therefore, every individual must live his life in a pro-environment and pro-development way and we are working towards this.
While ending his address, PM Modi said,
There has always been talk about technology transfer, financial support and there are some countries that need to have technology transfer, and financial support. We hope that as soon as we can move forward in this area, we will be able to solve this challenge of climate change.
President Biden also answered the question and called climate change “the most serious problem we face as human beings”. He chipped in with his government’s climate change initiatives and said the largest climate find was passed by the US last year. He said,
We have made enormous progress here in the United States in dealing with this issue by doing three things. Number one, by insisting that we move every one of our industries into a position where they can take advantage of cheaper and more extensive and more available renewable energy.
Mr Biden said that the US is working on solar, wind and hydrogen and green hydrogen. He added,
In addition to that, we find ourselves in a position where what we’ve done is that we have significantly reduced for example, I made a commitment that we are going to make sure that by 2030, 30 per cent of all our land and sea and oceans, were in conservation, could not be developed.
The US is well on its way to doing that and that’s also absorbing carbon from the air as a consequence of that because of conservation, President Biden said.
“We are in a position…we have provided for a significant increase in funding for a whole range of issues, not just for the United States but for the rest of the world,” said the president.
“We’re trying to work with other countries to maintain their carbon sinks so they don’t have to develop them like we did and causing pollution. And we’re trying to figure out how to work out to pay them not to develop certain areas like the Amazon and Brazil. But there’s a lot of technology that’s available that we’re sharing and we share with one another,” he said.
Talking about using technology to mitigate the impact of climate change and achieve the goals set under Paris Agreement, President Biden said,
We have learned how to do solar energy, which is considerably cheaper than fossil fuels. The same way dealing with not just solar but dealing with wind. So there’s a lot of technology that we’ve developed and we’re well on our way to meeting the commitment we made in Paris.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.