New Delhi: Environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his inaugural address at The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) World Sustainable Development Summit on Wednesday.
Mr. Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Ms Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav were among those present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister recalled that Environment and sustainable development have been key focus areas for him all through his 20 years in office, first in Gujarat and now at the national level. He said that it is not the planet that is fragile but the commitments to the planet, to nature, have been fragile. He pointed out that very little has been done despite lot of talk over the last 50 years, since the 1972 Stockholm Conference. But in India, the Prime Minister said, we have walked the talk. “Equitable energy access to the poor has been a cornerstone of our environmental policy”, he said. Steps like 90 million households getting access to clean cooking fuel under Ujjwala Yojana and renewable energy to farmer Under the PM-KUSUM scheme where farmers are being encouraged to set up solar panels, use it and sell surplus power to the grid will promote sustainability and equity.
The Prime Minister informed about LED bulbs distribution scheme that has been running for over seven years, has helped save more than 220 billion units of electricity and 180 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Also, the National Hydrogen Mission aims to tap into Green Hydrogen he said. he encouraged academic and research institutes like TERI to come up with scalable solutions to realize the potential of green hydrogen.
With 2.4% of the world’s land area, India accounts for nearly 8% of the world’s species. The Prime Minister said, India is a mega-diverse country and It is our duty to protect this ecology.
Commenting on the efforts regarding strengthening of Protected Area network, the Prime Minister talked of international recognition to India’s efforts such as The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognition. The Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Haryana being declared as an O.E.C.M. site for its effective conservation of biodiversity. With recognition of two more Indian wetlands as Ramsar sites India now has 49 Ramsar sites spread over more than 1 million hectares.
Restoring degraded land has been one of the main focus areas and since 2015 and more than 11.5 Million Hectares have been restored. “We are on track to achieve the national commitment of Land Degradation Neutrality under the Bonn Challenge. We firmly believe in fulfilling all our commitments made under the U.N.F and Triple C. We have also raised our ambitions during CoP-26 at Glasgow”, Shri Modi said.
The Prime Minister stressed that environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice. He said that energy requirements of the people of India are expected to nearly double in the next twenty years. “Denying this energy would be denying life itself to millions. Successful climate actions also need adequate financing. For this, developed countries need to fulfill their commitments on finance and technology transfer”, he emphasized.
The Prime Minister emphasize that sustainability requires co-ordinated action for the global commons. “Our efforts have recognised this inter-dependence. Through the International Solar Alliance, our aim is ”One Sun, One World, One Grid”. We must work towards ensuring availability of clean energy from a world-wide grid everywhere at all times. This is the ”whole of the world” approach that India’s values stand for”, he further elaborated.
The concerns of the disaster-prone areas have been addressed by the initiatives like The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (C.D.R.I.) and ”Infrastructure for Resilient Island States”. The Island Developing States are the most vulnerable and hence need urgent protection, he said.
The Prime Minister reiterated the two initiatives of LIFE – Lifestyle For Environment and Pro Planet People (3-Ps). These global coalitions will form foundation of our environment efforts for improving the global commons, he said.