- Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray received the award
- Mr Thackeray dedicated the award to the citizens of Maharashtra
- Maharashtra is one of the five Indian states to join the Under2 coalition
New Delhi: On Sunday (November 7), Maharashtra bagged the ‘Inspiring Regional Leadership’ Award from Under2 Coalition Climate Leadership Awards 2021 and became the only Indian state to win one of the three awards by Under2 at COP26 in Scotland. Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s Environment Minister, received the award on behalf of the state. Sharing the news on social media, Mr Thackeray dedicated the award to the citizens of Maharashtra and the climate action ambitions of India. He wrote, “The climate group works with sub national governments around the world and we are proud to be partnering for a better climate future with them all. Last night’s award recognised the efforts of Maharashtra on a global scale.”
The climate group works with sub national governments around the world and we are proud to be partnering for a better climate future with them all. Last night’s award recognised the efforts of Maharashtra on a global scale.
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) November 7, 2021
What Is Under2 Coalition?
The Under2 Coalition is a global community of state and regional governments committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on December 12, 2015 and entered into force on November 4, 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
The Under2 Coalition brings together 260 governments representing 1.75 billion people and 50 per cent of the global economy. From India, five states and UTs have joined the Under2 coalition – Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal.
Our members commit to keeping global temperature rises to well below 2°C with efforts to reach 1.5°C. 35 states and regions in the Coalition have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. The Climate Group is the Secretariat to the Under2 Coalition and works with governments to accelerate climate action through three work streams – pathways; policy action; transparency, states the official website.
Maharashtra As A Member State of Under2 Coalition
On July 1, 2021, Maharashtra became the fifth Indian state to join the Under2 Coalition. Maharashtra has witnessed a seven-fold increase in drought events and a six-fold rise in the frequency of flood events in the last 50 years, according to a first-of-its-kind independent study conducted by not-for-profit policy research institute Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The study assessed patterns through district-level profiling of India’s extreme climate events between 1970 and 2019.
Maharashtra – Inspiring Regional Leadership At COP26
Under2 award for inspiring regional leadership looks for governments that are proactive and vocal about fighting climate change and which inspire others to follow them. As per the information available on Under2’s official website,
State’s (Maharashtra) climate action policy entails detailed plans on climate change mitigation and considers the threats associated with sea-level rise for coastal areas. From saving the Aarey forest to protecting 9,800 hectares of mangrove lands across the state, Maharashtra has been at the forefront of adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Speaking in Glasgow at COP26, Aaditya Thackeray who is also the Minister for Tourism & Protocol said,
This state wants to lead the way in India to tackle climate change. Thankfully, the Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) is a passionate wildlife enthusiast and conservationist, and he has given us the ability to dream of a better future for a greener future. We have started with a movement called Majhi Vasundhara, which means My Planet. We are focussing on the traditional five elements of nature.
The minister also spoke about how the state government was looking at clean energy and moving away from conventional energy like thermal or coal energy.
Just recently we have solarised a highway and we will be generating 250 MW of energy. We have put out the tender document and we will be generating 250MW solar energy from the new highway between Mumbai and Nagpur.
Mr Thackeray, the youngest Cabinet Minister in the state government, also called for united efforts to tackle climate change and said,
We strongly believe that it is high time we put in collective efforts and meaningful actions to work on this global issue that sees no borders of geography, race, nationality or gender. We are truly delighted to have been recognized by the Under2 Coalition for our heartfelt ongoing contribution towards climate action.
Earlier in October, Mr Thackeray had announced that all 43 major cities and urban clusters in Maharashtra have joined United Nation’s “Race to Zero” campaign and have pledged to go net-zero by 2050. Net Zero refers to a state in which the emissions released in the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via 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 – the LGBTQ 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 current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) 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, fight malnutrition, 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, that 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 like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.