KOLKATA (India) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is not only on-par but exceeding the Paris Climate Agreement goals that pledge tone down the scheduled rise of temperature.
Virtually addressing the world-leaders at the G20 Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Modi said India is focused on saving the economy, as well as the people from the yoke of the pandemic.
But in doing so, the Prime Minister said, India was not compromising on the fight on climate change. “Climate change must be fought not in silos but in an integrated, comprehensive, and holistic way,” he said.
Modi shared India has adopted climate-resilient practices and said the International Solar Alliance which is an initiative by India involving 121 nations, is the fastest-growing international organization in the world.
The ISA, signed between 121 sunshine nations, sought to leverage the power of solar energy to trim down the need for the dependence on fossil fuels — one of the principal factors for climate change.
Modi called for greater co-operation and collaboration of technology solutions that could help overturn the climate-damaging impacts of fossil fuel uses.
The PM said how India made LED lights super-popular that saves 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. “Our forest cover is expanding. The Lion and Tiger population is increasing. We aim to restore, 26 million hector of degraded land by 2030,” Modi said in a 5 min virtual address to Riyadh.
As per the Paris Climate Agreement, member-nations will unite to mitigate the global rise of temperature in this century “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
According to Climate Action Tracker, an agency that tracks climate goals, policies by nations, says India is ‘compatible’ to attain the 2C goal of the Paris Agreement, but not fully compatible with Paris Agreement’s long-term goal.
The rating is on the 3rd last level before a nation is certified as a ‘Role Model’ on a six-level scale. “Critically insufficient” is the farthest away from the Agreement goals, while “Role Model” is what it is.
The pandemic has cast far-reaching consequences across every domain of humanity, and one of the shoots has been a short-term effect on the climate.
Environment pollution levels have taken a dip all around the world, albeit temporary, and the coronavirus-related lockdown has reduced emission levels in virtually all regions. But this won’t’ affect the Agreement aims at large.
On May 13th, India announced an economic relief package worth 20 lakh crores, nearly 10% of the nation’s GDP. The government said it is focusing on reforming land, labor, liquidity, and legal framework while supporting cottage industries, middle class, farmers, laborers, and MSMEs.
But even with the major stimulus package and the temporary improvement in climate, India has the opportunity to aggressively transit to renewable energies from coal, like investing in electric mobility.
However, “there are no clear signs that India is seizing this opportunity, the Climate Action Tracker says.
“While no new coal power stations have been built in 2020, the government is encouraging more coal mining and increased coal production which is not consistent with a green recovery.”
Earlier this year, India passed controversial legislation, privatizing all the nation’s coalfields, a move that was slammed by environmental activists.
The privatization, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi insisted would help India turn the COVID-crisis into a COVID-opportunity. The state had owned India’s coalfields, and for the first time, the Narendra Modi-led government opened the sector for private players.
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