Indian prime minister shows foresight and vision to lay down an action plan towards safeguarding the planet for future generations and invites global leaders to renew their commitment towards this end.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's rekindled call to the members of the G20, to join forces and launch the fight against climate change with renewed vigour, during the virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia last week, once again exhibited his commitment to being a leader for the global good and show casing India's statement of intent towards battling one of the most defining issues of our time.
Addressing the G-20 summit side event -- ′Safeguarding the Planet: The Circular Carbon Economy Approach′, Modi said India is not only meeting its Paris Agreement targets, but also surpassing them. "Inspired by our traditional ethos of living in harmony with the environment, and the commitment of my government, India has adopted low-carbon and climate-resilient development practices," he said. The call according to Modi was to approach and tackle in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way.
Modi's farsightedness was on point even as he stressed upon saving people and economies from the encumbering effects of the pandemic but he never once took his eyes off the long term prediction that climate change could alter the lives of future generations if not contained and addressed effectively by the global community.
To this end India was not only meeting its commitment to the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but also exceeding them.
The Paris Accord saw India making a pledge to reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and taking significant action in multiple areas. The use of LED lights; applying the concept of smoke-free kitchens and trying to do away with single-use plastics saw India making great gains.
A signatory of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), headquartered in India, which is among the world's fastest growing organisations, with 122 nations, Modi has shown that his actions of preaching the tenets of a 'One Sun, One World, One Grid' world speaks louder and he is willing to stand up and be seen as an example.
The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), an international coalition of nations, UN agencies, multilateral development banks, private sector entitities and academic institutions was launched by Modi in September 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit and will be seen as one of his lasting legacies. The objective of this body is to put into place disaster-resilient infrastructure, promoting research and knowledge sharing in the field of infrastructure risk management, standards, financing and recovery mechanisms.
Back home India's renewable energy (RE) capacity is expected to cross 100 GW (1GW = 1,000 MW) this year and the country looks on course to meeting its target of achieving 175 GW generation capacity from RE by 2022.
That's isn't the only ambitious target set by the prime minister. Under the Paris Agreement, New Delhi has promised to generating 40 per cent electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. At the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September last year, Modi stated that India was setting an RE generation capacity target of 450 GW by 2030.
These are momentous actions taken by a country that was once highly reliant on a grouping of coal and other fossil fuels to generate power and fire up its economy. What is significant is that in a span of five years since Modi has been at the helm of affairs India has shouldered the remit of being one a world leader in championing renewable energy.
Modi has not stopped at fighting climate change. He has shown the prudence to appreciate that India's drive towards embracing renewable energy technology will be propelled by foreign companies, or Indian entities funded by foreign investors. Directing this change attests that India remains inextricably linked to the global economy and supply chains. This will spread business interests for most of the major nations including India. Funds will drive R&D which in turn will ensure that the quality of life for billions stands to improve from what has been identified as a very serious threat for the future.
What India will earn from all this is business and goodwill and in today's context, where the global order is faced with constant disruptions, that is a very robust currency to have. For this, there is Modi to thank.