Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, the energy requirements of the people of India are expected to nearly double in the next 20 years and denying this energy would be denying life itself to millions. Developed countries need to fulfil their commitments on finance and technology transfer. Sustainability requires coordinated action for the global commons. “We must work towards ensuring availability of clean energy from a worldwide grid everywhere at all times. This is the ”whole of the world” approach that India’s values stand for,” he said.
The Prime Minister said this in his video message aired at the inaugural address at The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) World Sustainable Development Summit on February 16, 2022. Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav were among those present on the occasion.
“Equitable energy access to the poor has been a cornerstone of our environmental policy,” the Prime Minister said in his address.
Steps like 90 million households getting access to clean cooking fuel under Ujjwala Yojana and renewable energy to farmers under the PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) 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 the LED bulbs distribution scheme that has been running for over seven years, which 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. Narendra Modi encouraged academic and research institutes like TERI to come up with scalable solutions to realise the potential of green hydrogen.
India’s Biodiversity Wealth
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 the strengthening of protected area networks, 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 is being declared as an ‘Other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECM) site for its effective conservation of biodiversity. With the 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 focus areas and since 2015 and more than 11.5 million Hectares have been restored, said the Prime Minister. “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,” he added.
Climate justice is important
The Prime Minister stressed that environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice. He emphasised that sustainability requires coordinated action for the global commons. “Our efforts have recognised this interdependence. Through the International Solar Alliance, our aim is One Sun, One World, One Grid. We must work towards ensuring the availability of clean energy from a worldwide 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 (CDRI) and Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States. The island developing states are the most vulnerable and hence need urgent protection, he said.