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Home    >   Interviews/Articles by Ambassador   >  Address by Ambassador during the Webinar - Climate Change, Flooding and Infrastructure Resilience on 12 December 2022

Address by Ambassador during the Webinar - Climate Change, Flooding and Infrastructure Resilience on 12 December 2022

Good morning in Austria and Good Afternoon in India,

I am delighted that we have been able to get together this distinguished panel of speakers for the Webinar today on a subject that, unfortunately, will increasingly have to be the focus of attention of policy makers and practitioners in the field of climate change and infrastructure development for years to come.

Climate change and consequent extreme weather events that result in flooding and destroy expensive infrastructure is a phenomenon that is increasingly affecting developed and developing countries alike. In the recent past we have seen such phenomenon in Austria as well as in India. The scale and magnitude of the challenge, and its potential for loss of life may be far greater in the developing world, but solutions to adapt and mitigate the challenge can be developed through such interactions as we are having today.

I have been asked to speak on “Combating Climate Change – India’s Response”.

The fact that developing countries such as India, whose role in climate change is miniscule – both historically in aggregate terms – as well as per-capita today – this is of little solace to these countries, for they do bear the brunt of its impact. And to a very large extent, they have to bear it alone. Neither money nor ready access to technology is forthcoming. Whatever commitments have so far been extracted through painstaking negotiations from the Global North, are not forthcoming.

But we cannot wait and we have not waited. India today has one of the most ambitious climate agendas of any major country.

The world is in a climate emergency – “a code red for humanity” according to the UN Secretary-General. Borrowing from the ancient Upanishads the motto for the G-20 under India’s leadership is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’  - the World is One  – one world, one family, one future. Climate change will  impact the whole world. What action we take, or do not take, will also impact the whole world.

In India this is driving action both at Government and NGO levels.

As a country, India has been identifying measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change  since 2008 when the National Action Plan on Climate Change or NAPCC was formally launched.  NAPCC has eight core national missions that focus on promoting understanding of climate change, adaptation and mitigation, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation.

The eight missions are:
National Solar Mission
National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
National Water Mission
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
National Mission for a Green India
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

All these eight Missions are of relevance to our subject of today’s Webinar. These missions tackle core issues leading to climate change and addressing its impact.  

India’s new climate targets announced at the 26th Conference of Parties by the Honorable Prime Minister – a five-fold strategy called panchamrita include:
1. Increasing non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030
2.  Meeting 50 per cent of energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030
3. Reducing the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030.
4. Reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030 over 2005 levels.
5.  By the year 2070, India will achieve the target of Net Zero.

With this announcement, we have accepted the need for a massive transformation of our energy systems, which will be designed for the future and compliant with the new climate change goals with this announcement.

Another dimension to fighting climate change is the adaptation to the current situation parallelly while fighting it in other ways.

To control climate change and the rise in temperature, the Indian government has taken many initiatives and steps for the environment conservation. The National Clean Air Programme was launched in the year 2019 to reduce the quantity of Particulate matters in the range of PM2.5 and PM 10 particle concentrations in the atmosphere. The Green Skill Development Programme was also launched to develop green skills among people and also to provide employment to the youth in the environment and forest sector.

In terms of the initiatives taken by the Indian Government at the global level, here are a few examples:

1. The International Solar Alliance (ISA)
A solar power development platform in collaboration with France was launched in 2015. Initially an alliance of the “sunshine countries” with the objective of efficient utilization of solar energy, it is now a universal organisation bringing together technology, finance, skills, demand and supply.

2. The One sun, one world, one grid project

In collaboration with the United Kingdom,OSOWOG is based on the vision of building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe.

3.The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

CDRI is a partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions, that aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development. Today 31 Member States – from South Sudan to the United States of America. The European Union, the ADB and the World Bank Group.

4. LiFE : The Prime Minister of Indiahas launched a global movement ‘Lifestyle for the Environment’ with a view to ensure development that is sustainable for our  environment. 

India has demonstrated its intention to convert the climate challenges, which are mostly a product of its natural circumstances, to opportunities. India has embarked on the path of climate action based upon its domestic imperatives and civilisational ethos and in accordance with its treaty obligations.

We are the only major country to be on track to achieve Its targets set out in the landmark Paris climate agreement External website that opens in a new window, according to the UN Environment Program's Emission Gap Report.  Achieving the goal of  40% share of non-fossil fuel-based electricity generating capacity this year, seven years ahead of schedule, gives confidence to achieve more ambitious targets in the future.

I thank you for your attention.

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