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Union Environment Minister calls for innovative scientific steps to secure planet

Only collective global action can combat climate change and its challenges


Only collective global action can combat climate change and its challenges, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has said while calling for innovative and scientific steps to secure the planet.

In his keynote address at the recently concluded 'Sustainability Conclave: Target Net Zero', a two-day event organised by Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai, Yadav said India has not contributed to climate change.

"We need innovative, scientific and urgent steps to secure our planet for future generations. India's announcement at COP26 to reach Net Zero by 2070 is a great step considering that our country is not the cause for climate change and has not been a historic contributor to greenhouse emissions," he said.

"Having said that, India as a responsible global power realizes that only collective global action can combat climate change and its challenges," Yadav said.

Pointing out that India has been pursuing a gradual transition to 'Net Zero' while striking a balance between ecology, economic development and sustainability, he said the private sector plays an important role in the journey towards Net Zero.

"I appeal to Bombay Chamber that your actions, resources, capacity to innovate and greater reach are vital to swiftly decarbonize sectors, infrastructure, value chains and the products and services they provide,” the minister said.

"Private sector players are already playing a key role in this climate fight, with 64 Indian companies having pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions last year," he said in his virtual address.

Talking about investments, he said higher capital is expected to be diverted to companies at the forefront of the climate transition with huge financing for companies lagging behind.

"The Indian cement industry has already achieved one of the biggest low carbon milestones across the world. We must ensure that sustainable lifestyle and climate justice are at the core of this journey,” Yadav said.

He reiterated that “we have not inherited this planet from our ancestors, but instead we have borrowed it from our children and hence must leave it green and clean".

In his address on the first day of the conclave, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said India's ambitious targets in COP26 should be studied in the context of consistent demand and domestic push towards clean technology.

"India is today investing billions of dollars in electric vehicle subsidy, ethanol blending and gasoline, solar PV and battery manufacturing,” Kant said.

"Despite our track record in emissions, India has already undertaken multiple initiatives for reducing economy-wide emissions, especially those from the energy sector," he said.

Energy transition in India is happening in four forms, increasing electrification, higher penetration of cleaner fuel in the energy mix, accelerated adoption of energy efficient technologies and driving digitalisation,” he said.

Kant added, "The prime minister has announced that by 2047 when India completes 100 years of Independence, we will become independent of fossil fuel imports."

In her welcome address, Anjali Bansal, president, Bombay Chamber and Founder Avaana Capital said as India seeks to achieve its target of Net Zero emissions by 2070, it cannot afford to trade-off people and profits against the planet.

"Technology and innovation can help address this difficult trade-off and solve developmental challenges by unlocking exponential scale and accelerating inclusion. The intersection of technology and innovation with sustainability can already be seen in paradigm-shifting solutions such as electric vehicles, solar power, carbon capture and storage technology, etc,” she said.

Covering two days of dialogue and discussions on Target Net Zero, the Sustainability Conclave saw the stakeholders come together to talk about how to create a sustainable tomorrow.

The panel discussion on Sustainability Makes Business Sense saw some of the country's leading CEOs sharing their insights on the topic.

The panelists included R Mukundan, MD & CEO, Tata Chemicals; Neeraj Akhoury, CEO, Holcim India and MD & CEO, Ambuja Cements Ltd; Anita Marangoly George, executive vice-president, deputy head - CDPQ Global CDPQ India and Anjali Bansal.