Road to fighting climate change is through climate justice: PM Modi

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the road to fighting climate change is through climate justice and called for giving developing countries enough space to grow.

Addressing the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), Modi said two things will define how the progress journey of humanity will unfold in the times to come -- 'health of our people and health of our planet, both of which are interlinked'.

'The road to fighting climate change is through climate justice. At the root of climate justice is the principle of being large-hearted. Climate justice is also about thinking about the bigger and long-term picture,' he said.

The remarks at the Summit, which brings together a wide range of experts to discuss ways to mitigate climate change, come amid a continuing tug of war between developed and developing countries on who needs to do more to save the environment by reducing emissions.

Noting that the sad reality is that environmental changes and natural disasters impact the poor the most, Modi said climate justice is inspired by a vision of trusteeship where growth comes with greater compassion for the poorest.

'Climate justice also means giving the developing countries enough space to grow. When each and every one of us understand our individual and collective duties, climate justice will be achieved,' he said.

Asserting that India's intent is supported by concrete action, Modi said the country, powered by spirited public efforts, is on track to exceed its commitments and targets set at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015.

'We committed to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35 per cent from 2005 levels. You'll be happy to know that a drop of 24 per cent of emission intensity has already been achieved,' he said.

Modi also said that India is making steady progress on its commitment to land degradation neutrality.

'We're well on track to setting up 450 GW of renewable energy generating capacity by 2030,' the prime minister said.

Highlighting the impact of his government's schemes in combating climate change, Modi said the Jal Jeevan Mission has connected over 34 million households with tap connections in just about 18 months. 'The destination we seek is a greener planet. Our culture's deep respect for forest and green cover is translating into outstanding results,' he said.

'I'd like to draw attention to two aspects - togetherness and innovation. Sustainable development will only be achieved by collective efforts,' he asserted.

The prime Minister said that sustainable development is incomplete without equitable access.

'In this direction too, India has made good progress. In March 2019, India achieved nearly hundred per cent electrification. This was done through sustainable technologies and innovative models. He highlighted that through the Ujala programme, 367 million LED bulbs became a part of people's lives,' Modi said.

This reduced over 38 million tonnes carbon dioxide per year, he said, adding that through the PM Ujjwala Yojna more than 80 million households below poverty line have access to clean cooking fuel.

'We are working to increase the share of natural gas in India's energy basket from six per cent to 15 per cent,” he said.

The prime minister pointed out that often discussions on sustainability become too focused on green energy but green energy is only the means.

'Our mission to achieve sustainable development also includes special attention towards animal protection,' Modi said.

He shared that in the last five to seven years, the population of lions, tigers, leopards and Gangetic river dolphin has gone up.

Regarding innovation, Modi said that there are many start-ups working on renewable energy, environment friendly technology and more.

'As policy makers, we should support as many of these efforts. The energy of our youth will certainly lead to outstanding results,' he said.

The prime minister specifically mentioned about disaster management capabilities.

He said that this requires focus on human resource development and technology. As part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, “we are working in this direction”, Modi said.

He assured that India is ready to do whatever possible to further sustainable development.

'Our human centric approach could be a force multiplier for global good,' the prime minister said.

The WSDS is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Instituted in 2001, the summit series has marked 20 years in its journey of making 'sustainable development' a globally shared goal. The theme of the three-day-long summit this year is ‘Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’.

The virtual inaugural session was attended by Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the People's Majlis, Republic of Maldives and Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, among others. PTI AG/ASK ANB ANB