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Expert groups set up by the government will recommend the best way to meet national commitments made under the Paris climate pact, even as India is ready to boost latest carbon-minimising technologies

India's Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan speaking at the Business and Climate Summit held in New Delhi. (Photo by FICCI)

India’s Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan speaking at the Business and Climate Summit held in New Delhi. (Photo by FICCI)

To meet commitments made under the Paris Agreement, India has set up an implementation committee and six expert groups to develop a road map to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan told business leaders in New Delhi.

“We are working on developing a roadmap for implementation of our NDCs and have constituted an implementation committee and six thematic sub-committees involving key ministries and departments,” the minister said at the third Business and Climate Summit organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

India has started implementing its National Action Plan on Climate Change that encompasses eight national missions covering key sectors such as agriculture, water, habitat, forestry, health and disaster management, among others, Vardhan said at the summit last week.

“As representatives of the people, we have a major role and responsibilities towards the citizens of our country and the world, and a duty to think long-term,” he said. “We should listen to the voice of science and act accordingly to safeguard our people against the risks posed by climate change.”

While emphasising India’s proactive stance on global warming, the environment minister reminded the developed world that it had a moral obligation to assist developing countries and demonstrate sincerity in tackling climate change.

Concerns on commitment

Energy Minister Piyush Goyal echoed these concerns. “There have been many commitments on climate change but no action,” he said at a separate plenary session. As much as 29% of greenhouse gases come from only one country, while 45% come from the rest of the developed world, Goyal said, pointing squarely at the US, which under President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Paris pact, dealing a severe blow to international efforts to limit climate change. “India barely emits about two and a half per cent of greenhouse gases.”

Goyal was promoted to Cabinet Minister rank in charge of the Railways Ministry over the weekend and has been replaced by R.K. Singh. The ministerial reshuffle does not indicate any change in policy stance and approach.

India is prepared to finance carbon-capture technology but the developed world’s approach in this area leaves much to be desired, Goyal said last week. “The government is ready to fully finance carbon-capture technology and is in favour of opening up the technology to all. However, this idea did not find takers as companies wanted to sell technology for a profit,” the minister said. “Climate change is being made into a business, which is not in the right spirit.”

India is willingly and voluntarily working towards reducing carbon footprints in the country, he pointed out. “People’s participation, a holistic approach to sustainable lifestyles, better allocation of resources and engagement amongst nations are imperative for climate change reduction,” the minister said.

Pragmatic action was necessary but morality was equally important, said Brune Poirson, France’s Minister of State for Ecology. There was a need for implementation of policies by finding new ways of collaborating, she said. India’s commitment of moving away from fossil fuel cars was a significant step and France too was planning to stop the use of fossil fuel run cars by 2040, said Poirson.

The Business and Climate Summit (BCS) is an annual forum for businesses, investors and policymakers on climate action. BCS is held every year in different countries for building partnerships needed to hasten the low carbon transition. It was launched in France in 2015 and the second edition was held in London in 2016. The New Delhi summit brought together business conglomerates, investors, national and international policymakers from different countries to amplify the key policy messages prior to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Summit to be held in Bonn in November.

Now was the great opportunity for businesses, government and all other stakeholders to achieve truly sustainable goals, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, said at the New Delhi Summit. She urged businesses to announce the final steps taken by them in climate change reduction and indicate that business and investment were in step with climate change reduction requirements at the Conference of Parties (COP 23), which will take place November 6-17.


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