STRESSING THAT “time for talking is over” and that the “world needs to act now”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said India has come to not just talk about the seriousness of the issue of climate change but also present a practical approach and a roadmap.
“We believe that an ounce of practice is worth more than a ton of preaching,” Modi said at the global climate action summit organised by the UN Secretary General. US President Donald Trump, who was widely expected to skip the summit, came in for a brief while when Modi was speaking, and left soon after.
In his speech, Modi outlined his government’s plans, and said: “We are going to increase the share of non-fossil fuel and by 2022, we plan to increase our renewable energy capacity to much beyond 175 GW, and later till 450 GW.”
He said: “In India, we have made plans to make our transport sector green through e-mobility… India is also working to considerably increase the proportion of biofuel blend in petrol and diesel. We have provided clean cooking gas to 150 million families.”
Referring to one of his government’s flagship initiatives, Modi said: “We have launched the Jal Jeevan mission for water conservation, rainwater harvesting and for the development of water resources. India is going to spend approximately $50 billion on this in the next few years.”
On the solar initiative led by India and France, he said: “Almost 80 countries have joined our International Solar Alliance campaign. India and Sweden together with other partners are launching the leadership group within the industry transition track. This initiative will provide a platform for governments and the private sector with opportunities for cooperation in the area of technology innovation. This will help to develop low carbon pathways for industry.”
He said that on Tuesday India will inaugurate solar panels on the roof of the UN building funded by it at a cost of $1 million.
The Prime Minister also announced a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which is being seen as India’s strategic push toward infrastructure building across the world as China builds the Belt and Road Initiative. “In order to make our infrastructure disaster resilient, India is launching a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. I invite Member states to join this coalition,” Modi said.
Referring to his Independence Day call for a ban on single-use plastic, Modi expressed the hope that it would “create an awareness at a global level”.
Modi, who received the Champion of the Earth award last year, said, “We must accept that if we have to overcome a serious challenge like climate change, then what we are doing at the moment is just not enough. What is needed today, is a comprehensive approach which covers everything from education to values, and from lifestyle to developmental philosophy. What we need is a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.”
He said that respect for nature, judicious use of resources, reducing needs and living within means have all been important aspects of India’s traditions and current efforts. “Need, not greed, has been our guiding principle,” he said.