New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Thursday said that among G-20 nations, India is on track to meet its climate change mitigation commitments.
“As Prime Minister Modi has said, respect for nature is an integral part of our culture and protection of environment comes naturally to us. We, the present generation, have the responsibility to act as a trustee of the rich natural wealth for future generation,’ he said while addressing the World Sustainable Development Summit’s high level roundtable on rebooting green growth.
Dr Jaishankar said that India currently has the fastest-growing solar energy programme in the world. “We have expanded access to clean cooking fuel to cover over 80 million households in need, which has led to energy saving of about 47 billion kWh per year and reduction of 38 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This is among the largest clean energy drives globally,’ he said.
The Minister said the renewable energy installed capacity in India has grown 162% in the last five years. India’s solar installed capacity has increased by about 13 times in last 6 years. He added that the Government has revised the target of grid connected solar power projects to 100,000 MW under the National Solar Mission.
“After a year of the pandemic, we are now seeing optimism around us. Covid-19 may have devastated the world economy, causing immeasurable damage. Millions have lost their jobs and many have been pushed back into poverty. India too has seen immense damage done to the economy and livelihoods of people. But there is good reason for hope. Vaccinations have begun. World economies that were brought to a halt are now slowly picking up. India is projected to grow at over 11% next fiscal. But what is important, for the world as much as India, is that this growth must be as Green as possible,’ he told the round-table. He said that to-day India has supplied over 23 million doses of vaccines to 20 countries in its neighbourhood and beyond.
Stating that India is clearly a leader in Climate Action, the Minister said that addressing this challenge “requires us to evolve a comprehensive approach which covers education to values, and from lifestyle to developmental philosophy.’
Favouring the need for global awareness to bring about behavioural change, he said: “ respect for nature, the judicious use of resources, reducing our needs and living within our means have all been important aspects of both India’s traditions and its present day efforts.’
Apart from domestic actions, India has now taken a lead in bringing together international coalitions and also helping other countries address this challenge.
At the 2019 Climate Summit, India also launched another important international initiative to make infrastructure disaster resilient called the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and 20 countries – including 10 from the G20 – and 4 international organisations have already joined the CDRI. In 2021, CDRI, which is co-chaired by India and UK, will host its third global event, which will be an opportunity to take stock of the progress as well as give added impetus in the run up to COP 26. India has allocated US$ 70 million to support the work of the CDRI, the Minister informed.
“The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is another practical manifestation of climate action and sustainable development in the spirit of South-South cooperation. The Fund established in 2017, aims to contribute to the efforts of developing countries towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals including on Climate Action. The Fund is supporting efforts in countries in Pacific Islands, Africa, Caribbean countries with provision of Climate Early Warning Systems, solar home systems, solar pumps, and projects to repair damage due to climate change induced by events such as hurricanes. The Fund has already supported projects in 48 countries for various SDGs through a US$150 million multi-year pledge by India,’ he said.
The Minister stressed that Climate Ambition needs to go hand-in hand with the framework for financial, technical and capacity building support to countries who need it. It is equally important for countries to fulfil their pre-2020 commitments, he said.