New Delhi, December 18, 2019 : Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Mr Prakash Javadekar, on Wednesday called for lifestyle changes of people, in India and elsewhere, as doing their bit to fight climate change that has begun to bite the world.
Already, climate change has begun to result in rising temperatures, droughts and unseasonal rains, flooding causing damage to properties and lives in different countries.
Addressing the Plenary Session of a day-long Summit on Sustainability organized by Organiser, Voice of the Nation and Panchajanya, the union minister who just returned from UNFCCC, COP 25, at Madrid where he urged the comity of nations to ratify the Paris Agreement to fight the climate change and requested all the nations to ratify it.
The developed nations could help the world fight the climate change more effectively by increasing their efforts to cut carbon emissions, Mr Javadekar said. More important, he said, the developed world had pledged donations of US $ 100 billion fund 10 years ago, but so far not many have made the contributions. They should not come forward with $ one trillion that will help the developing world to develop technologies to cut carbon emissions.
The problem, he said, is not of recent making but dates back to the industrial revolution when coal was the primary source of energy and carbon emissions that are now causing the problematic climate change that is manifesting in many adverse ways. Extreme weather events like droughts and floods are being reported from across the world.
“Paris agreement still has not been implemented,” the minister said and added, however, all countries are doing what they can to reduce their carbon emissions. But unless the developed countries fulfill their obligations and make genuine efforts, fighting climate change would become more difficult he said.
Because, technologies to reduce carbon emissions come at a cost and the developing nations needed to be compensated for this, Mr Javadekar said.
“India is moving aggressively on carbon emission reduction and I am sure we will reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030,” the Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister said.
India is also developing technologies on this front he said and added “We also experimented successfully with a flight that used ethanol as fuel.”
Our efforts are to have economic growth while ensuring environmental sustainability, the Minister said and added that this was the development mantra set by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Development and environmental sustainability are not diametrically opposed to each other, Mr Javadekar said citing a development versus environment debate that got was prevalent during the reign of former Environment minister Mr Jairam Ramesh of the UPA.
The challenge is to have development by maintaining the sustainability of environment, he said citing the example of Delhi metro, to build which several trees were cut. But for each tree cut, the government planted 12 and ensured they survived. Today, there are 274 metro stations and four lakh commuters in Delhi/NCR use the services.
Just imagine the number of vehicles that they would otherwise have been using and this has added to the reduction in use of fuel as also in reduction in emissions. This he said was a classic example of development along with environment conservation. This is the mantra that guides development activity of the government, the minister said. Our forest cover in the country has increased by 15,000 square km in the last five years, the minister said.
On the energy front, India has taken a leap in generation of energy from renewable sources – wind and solar and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an ambitious target of 4,50,000 MW of energy through renewable sources. “We are walking the talk,” on the sustainable development goals, he said.
We will do development and protect and preserve environment also. This is the Indian tradition and culture from which the entire world can learn, Javadekar said.
Earlier, the minister called for lifestyle changes to help in bringing down carbon emissions and cited the example of low temperature in the hall where the meeting was held. Why keep the ACs at such low temperatures, especially when it was biting cold outside, the minister said and added more electricity is spent to run ACs at lower temperatures than at a tad higher, tolerable temperature.
In Germany many places maintain a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and we can peg it between 24 degrees Celsius and 26 degrees Celsius, the minister said and added soon he would call a meeting of the AC refrigerators meeting to see if this could be made workable. Imagine the electricity we would so save and carbon emission reduced through this small change in our lifestyle requirement, the minister said.