Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today asserted that Government’s commitment to sustainable development is full and final. Delivering the Key Note Address at the 11th National Convention on Sustainable Development Goals organized by the Global Compact Network in Mumbai today, Mr. Javadekar said climate change was a reality with 1 degree rise in temperature caused by 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world. He said while 30% of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, Europe, Canada and other developed world accounted for 50% and China 10%, whereas India was responsible for only 3% carbon emission. “The developed world went ahead with business as usual scenario without bothering about environmental impact. Now it has happened, and we are suffering “ he added.
Elaborating on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on climate change, Mr. Javadekar said “though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution”. He said India being well aware of its responsibilities was committed to UN Goals on sustainable development. “Our commitment is reflected in every programme being pursued by the Government” he said.
The Minister listed out Government’s ambitious 175 Giga Watt renewable energy programme, covering solar, wind, hydro-power and nuclear energy as a major step in promoting environment friendly development. He said India had taken pro-active measures to discourage use of fossil fuels in a bid to reduce carbon foot print. “The Union Budget 2016-17 has levied a green cess of $6 (Rs 400) per tonne of coal. This is perhaps the highest levy in the world, as even the United States taxes coal at around $ 1. If the developed world followed India’s example and levied higher taxes on coal, billions of dollars would accrue to pursue clean energy programmes” Mr. Javadekar said.
The Minister also hailed the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which 50 million (5 crore) rural poor households will be given free LPG connections. He said “as the programme rolls out, every day 5,000 new homes will not be cutting down trees for firewood. This will be besides the health benefits for the women who cook.” He also listed out plans to control vehicular pollution by moving to Bharat VI emission norms, policies on waste management and massive tree plantation drive through the Compensatory Afforestaton Fund Bill 2015 as other measures aimed at sustainable development.