PM Modi lists India’s progress on climate change targets on G20 sidelines

The world community can’t afford to shift its focus from the challenge of climate change even as it works to protect people and economies from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

Addressing a virtual event on safeguarding the planet that was held on the margins of the G20 Summit, Modi called for collective efforts by countries to address the effects of climate change and to ensure that green technologies and finances reached developing countries.

“Today, we are focused on saving our citizens and economies from the effects of the global pandemic. Equally important is to keep our focus on fighting climate change. Climate change must be fought not in silos but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way,” he said.

Calling for enhanced research and innovation in new and sustainable technologies, he added: “We should do so with a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The entire world can progress faster if there is greater support of technology and finance to the developing world.”

In keeping with its traditional ethos of living in harmony with the environment, India has adopted low carbon and climate resilient development practices, he said.

India is also exceeding targets set under the Paris Agreement and will reach its goal of generating 175 GW of renewable energy before the target date of 2022, he added.

The popularisation of LED lights is helping cut 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, while smoke-free kitchens have been provided to 80 million households. Efforts are also on to eliminate single-use plastics, and 26 million hectares of degraded land will be restored by 2030.

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The International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiated by India is among the fastest growing international organisations with 88 signatories, while 18 countries, including nine from G20 and four international organisations have joined the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

The event was also addressed and chaired by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who said the pandemic has demonstrated that global cooperation is the optimal way to overcome crises and the G20 focus on the most vulnerable segments.

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Other leaders who addressed the event included Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

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