‘India is a climate action leader’

Bhupender Yadav is the Union Minister for Labor and Employment, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India. He is the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2012 he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Yadav was the war room strategist who secured convincing victories for his party in the Rajasthan (2013), Gujarat (2017), Jharkhand (2014) and Uttar Pradesh (2017) elections. Yadav was inducted into the Modi cabinet as environment minister. Anjali Bhatia caught up with him to hear about the initiatives his ministry is taking for a cleaner environment.

Q. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted at the crucial COP26 international climate summit that India is the only country that fulfills the commitments of the Paris Agreement in ‘letter and spirit’. What are the major challenges facing India in this context?

A. Climate change is a global problem, but the problem is exacerbated because it also affects those who had little input into its creation. India has contributed only about 4 percent of global cumulative emissions since the pre-industrial era, and is at the tail end of its range. Challenges facing India include the unwillingness of developed countries, which are largely responsible for the problem, to take the lead in fighting climate change, and the lack of climate finance support promised to developing countries.

The Prime Minister at the COP26 held in Glasgow has announced that India has stepped up its efforts to tackle the challenge of climate change by presenting the five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of its climate action to the world. Contributions set out under Panchamrit will be implemented with the active participation of various Ministries, Departments and Government Institutions as per their respective mandates. The 2030 targets of the Panchamrit announcements have been translated into India’s enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, which was recently submitted to the UNFCCC. So you see we have challenges, but we want to be a leader in finding and implementing solutions.

Q. India has also refused to agree to the developed world’s expanding net zero emissions goal ahead of the Glasgow climate change conference to implement the Paris climate accord. . How would you approach the diplomatic challenge?

A. In order to maintain the temperature targets of the Paris Agreement, global cumulative emissions must remain within the limits of the relevant carbon budget. The global carbon budget is a global commons that must be shared equitably by the nations of the world, using only their fair share of the global carbon budget. Their cumulative historical, current and future emissions should not exceed their fair share. Against this backdrop, India, as a leader in climate action that walks the talk and speaks from strength and responsibility, further challenged developed countries by including a commitment to make India ‘net zero by 2070’. Advertisement from Glasgow Panchamrit.

Developed countries owe India about $15 trillion for overusing the global carbon footprint. India has made it clear that developed countries must take the lead in “phasing out” all fossil fuels and not just coal. India has also taken the lead in rapidly ramping up efforts to promote renewable energy nationally and internationally, while turning to cleaner coal technologies at home. India’s massive efforts must be complemented with climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building support as mandated by the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

Q. In addressing the issue of global climate change, do you think India is successfully representing developing nations and has put up a strong front?

A. India is a recognized champion of equity and climate justice, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities in climate change negotiations. It has consistently intervened on behalf of developing nations, both individually and through the strong partnership built in the Least Developing Countries (LMDC) and G77+China groups, along with ongoing engagement with Brazil, China and the South. Africa, under the BASIC umbrella. India’s influence in the G77 and the LMDC is significant for policy making and India has accumulated considerable diplomatic capital on these issues. We must maintain and strengthen our engagement with these groups, as they are part of the defense of our strategic interests in the UNFCCC. In addition to strong climate action, India has launched international coalitions such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). At COP26 in Glasgow, the new Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) and Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) initiatives were also launched under CDRI and ISA, respectively. Along with Sweden, India leads the Industrial Transition Leadership Group for voluntary low-carbon transition in hard-to-decease sectors.

Q. To save the environment, India has tried to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy and has set a target of 55% installation of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022. energy sector What future awaits India in green and clean energy?

A. India’s per capita electricity consumption is roughly a third of the world average and less than a sixth of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country average. Increasing the availability of reliable supply at an affordable price is an essential development. India’s National Contributions (NDCs) submitted under the UNFCCC are among the most ambitious of the G-20 countries. India has surpassed its commitment under the Paris Agreement, meeting 40 percent of its installed electricity capacity from fossil fuel-based sources almost nine years ahead of schedule.

The share of solar and wind in India’s energy mix has grown tremendously. Reducing the intensity of GDP emissions has met its voluntary target for 2020. With GDP emissions intensity in 2016 at 24% below 2005 levels, India is also on track to meet the enhanced NDC target of 45% below 2005 levels. 2030. Our renewable energy program will grow further, with production-related incentives to expand domestic production of solar panels. Our energy efficiency programs are increasingly cost-effective. New initiatives such as blending ethanol with petrol, the Green Hydrogen Mission and the drive to promote electric vehicles are some of the other serious commitments India is making towards a clean and green energy future. Programs for large-scale LED public lighting and promotion of LEDs for household lighting, as well as clean fuel programs for domestic use, are testaments to India’s commitment.

Q. Our water and air quality is getting worse. This decade has been dedicated to the restoration of ecosystems by the UN. What is India doing to restore the ecosystem?

A. The government headed by PM Modi believes that India’s nature has been culturally and historically sacred. It is not wrong to say that we are a nation of nature worshipers and hence saving the ecosystem is high on the Modi government’s agenda. To minimize air pollution, we have taken several steps including targeting vehicular pollution by moving from BS-IV to BS-VI norms for fuel and vehicles from April 2020. We are augmenting the metro rail network for public transport, developing Expressways and Expressways, commissioning Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Western Peripheral Expressway to divert non-Delhi traffic, introducing ethanol blend, rolling out Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME)-2 schemes.

The government has banned 10-year-old diesel vehicles and 15-year-old petrol vehicles in Delhi NCR. Licensing requirements for electric vehicles have been waived in a push for green alternatives. Steps taken to control industrial emissions include strict emission norms for coal-fired thermal power plants (TPPs), ban on pet coke and furnace oil with restricted use of pet coke in NCR, conversion of brick kilns to zig-zag technology. Conversion of industrial units to PNG and continuous online emission monitoring devices in highly polluting industries. We are also tackling air pollution from dust and waste burning through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic and e-waste management.

Q. Environmental degradation is a major cause of concern for agriculture in India, with increasing use of insecticides and pesticides polluting soil and groundwater. What steps is the Ministry taking to face the challenges of the Agricultural Sector?

A. To address the challenges facing the sector, the government is promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), which is soil testing based on balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilizers, bio-fertilizers and local organic fertilizers to maintain soil health and productivity. The government has engaged private entrepreneurs in testing soil samples to issue soil health cards to all farmers in the country under the Soil Health Card Scheme of the National Soil Health and Fertility Management Project. Under Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the government has conducted various training programs such as Farmers Field School (FFS), Kisan Gosthis, two-day Human Resource Development (HRD) programs, IPM Exhibitions and seed treatment campaigns for farmers at its 36th IPM Center Central (CIPMCs) across 28 states and 2 Union territories. During training, the judicious use of chemical pesticides is emphasized as a last resort, alternative tools for pest management, namely; Cultural, physical and mechanical methods of pest control, including the use of biopesticides and biocontrol agents, pesticide use safety, effects of pesticides on natural enemies of pests, pesticide dos and don’ts, including proper application equipment. and technique

Q. Air pollution is a major concern. Due to PM 2.5 particles, the pollution has increased 2.5 times in the last decade and a large number of deaths causes huge economic losses. What measures are you taking to reduce air pollution in the country?

A. The MoEF took an initiative on 10 January 2019 to reduce air pollution at the urban and regional scale in India by implementing a nationwide strategy called the National Clean Air Program (NCAP). The program aims to achieve a 20 to 30 percent reduction in particulate matter concentrations in 131 cities across the country, and aims to prepare and implement action plans at the national, state, and city levels. The coordinated implementation of these plans would help improve air quality in the 131 targeted cities as well as the entire country.

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