At the COP26 climate summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made five important commitments. First, India will increase its non-fossil power generation capacity to 500 GW by 2030. Second, India will meet half of her energy needs by 2030. Third, India will reduce its total carbon emissions by one million tonnes by 2030. Fourth, India will reduce its carbon intensity by 45% by 2030. Fifth, India will reach the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Notably, this positioned India as one of the key signatories and spelt out the nation’s commitment towards tackling emissions from the burning of fossil fuel. This gives us a clear direction for our country, but the interdependence of states, industries, and people will be crucial in reaching this goal.
There are many initiatives underway to increase renewable energy capacity. These include the International Solar Alliance, concessional financing, training and knowledge exchange.
States were asked to identify areas where solar parks could be built and given targets for meeting their energy needs through renewable sources. Private corporations were invited to participate in reducing dependence on solar cells imports. International MoUs were signed to ensure that proper waste management is carried out.
From the macro lens, two major stakeholders – the government and industries – are working to fight climate change, and there is no doubt that their contribution will be key to ensuring that temperature rise is kept below 1.5 degrees celsius. This effort is not possible without collaboration and coordination.
Children and youth will be most affected by climate change. They must be educated on the dangers of society not acting in concert. It is vital to encourage social and behavioral change as it will help everyone adopt a sustainable, environment-friendly lifestyle.
Schools are now aware of the importance of making children aware of the consequences of climate change. They have created modules to encourage behaviour change. From plantation drives to energy-saving practices, today’s children, especially those from privileged backgrounds, are taught the best practices needed to reduce their carbon footprints.
Income inequality is a major factor in exposing the poor to the effects of climate change. People from marginalized communities need to be supported by innovative and effective climate solutions.
Parties at the recent COP26 acknowledged the need to fully integrate science into their decision-making processes. To combat climate change at the grassroots and globally, we must develop robust climate change mitigation strategies using technological innovation.
Numerous corporations now have robust sustainability practices. They are embracing systemic changes by adopting technology to combat climate change. Meanwhile, civil society organisations are stepping up to address climate action at grassroots level.
The COVID-19 epidemic has forced us all to redouble our efforts to reduce climate change. It has shown the importance of infectious diseases to the global socio-economic landscape.
Climate change is threatening to spread a variety of viral diseases, with severe repercussions. There has never been a greater need to combat climate change.
India has faced many climate emergencies over the past decade, including droughts, flash floods, and heatwaves. India’s action towards mitigating climate changeis dependent on multiple factors.
Our country requires all stakeholders – the government, corporates and civil society organisations to work closer than ever and devise solutions for the greater good. Each stakeholder brings unique strengths to this table, and their roles complement each other.
The government has scale, but corporations have the resources to finance research and innovation. Organisations of civil society have the reach and experience to deliver solutions at the final mile.
All of these stakeholders must come together to help humanity overcome the climate crisis.
The author is co-founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation titled “As economy recovers from Covid shock, reskilling youth is the top job”. The author’s opinions are their own.