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Energy requirements of Indians expected to double in 20 yrs: PM

Energy requirements of the people of India are expected to double in the next 20 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday as he urged developed countries to fulfil their commitments on finance and technology transfer.

Delivering the inaugural address at the 21st World Sustainable Development Summit 2022 (WSDS-22) on the theme ‘Towards a Resilient Planet: Ensuring a Sustainable and Equitable Future’, Modi said environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice.

“Energy requirements of the people of India are expected to double in the next 20 years. Denying this energy would be denying life itself to millions. Successful climate action also needs adequate financing. For this, developed countries need to fulfil their commitments on finance and technology transfer,” the prime minister said.
He said India believes in fulfilling commitments under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and added that the country has raised its ambitions during CoP-26 at Glasgow.
He said sustainability requires coordinated action for the global commons.

“Our efforts have recognized this interdependence. Through the International Solar Alliance, our aim is One Sun, One World, One Grid. 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,” the prime minister said.

Noting that India was a mega-diverse country, he said, “With 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India accounts for nearly 8 per cent of the world’s species. It is our duty to protect this ecology. We are strengthening our protected area network.”

The WSDS 2022 is a three-day summit organized by TERI with participation from over 100 nations. It will conclude on February 18.
Modi said environment and sustainable development have been the key focus areas for him through his 20 years in office, first in Gujarat and now as PM.

Referring to the 1972 UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, he said a lot has been said since then but very little has been done.

“We have heard people call our planet fragile but it is not the planet that is fragile. It is us. We are fragile. Our commitments to the planet, to nature, have also been fragile. A lot has been said over the last 50 years, since the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Very little has been done. But in India, we have walked the talk,” he said.

Listing the initiatives taken by India, Modi said, “Equitable energy access to the poor has been a cornerstone of our environmental policy. Through Ujjwala Yojana, more than 90 million households have been provided access to clean cooking fuel. Under the PM-KUSUM scheme, we have taken renewable energy to farmers. We are encouraging farmers to set up solar panels, use them and sell surplus power to the grid.”
He said stand-alone solar pumps as well as efforts for solarizing existing pumps are being scaled up, adding the focus on ‘chemical-free natural farming’ will also help promote sustainability and equity.
He said the LED bulbs distribution scheme has been running for over seven years and has helped save over 220 billion units of electricity and 180 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Modi also spoke about the National Hydrogen Mission which aims to tap into green hydrogen, an exciting technology to power the future. “I encourage academic and research institutes like TERI to come up with scalable solutions to realise the potential of green hydrogen,” he said.
On strengthening protected area network, Modi said the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has recognized India’s efforts.
“The Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Haryana has been declared an OECM site for its effective conservation of biodiversity. I’m also glad that two more wetlands from India have got recognition as Ramsar sites recently.”
“India now has 49 Ramsar sites spread over more than 1 million hectares. Restoring degraded land has been one of our main focus areas. Since 2015, we have restored more than 11.5 million hectares. We are on track to achieve the national commitment of Land Degradation Neutrality under the Bonn Challenge,” he said.
Issued by the IUCN, an OECM tag (other effective area-based conservation measures) is conferred upon areas of rich biodiversity, outside of protected areas like national parks and sanctuaries, for effective in-situ conservation.
He spoke about the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) which aims to build strong infrastructure in areas prone to frequent natural disasters, adding that an initiative called Infrastructure for Resilient Island States was also launched on the sidelines of COP-26.
On his environmental movement LIFE (Lifestyle for Environment), which he announced at COP-26, Modi said, “LIFE is about making lifestyle choices to improve our planet. It’ll be a coalition of like-minded people across the world who will promote sustainable lifestyles. I call them 3Ps – Pro Planet People. “
“This global movement of Pro Planet People is the coalition for LIFE. These three global coalitions will form the trinity of our environmental efforts for improving the global commons,” he said.
The session was attended by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav; TERI governing council chairman Nitin Desai, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammed; Guyanase President Irfaan Ali; Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader and TERI director general Vibha Dhawan.

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