Consult all stakeholders to prepare climate change mitigation plan, opposition tells govt
Opposition members in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday picked holes in the government's efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and suggested it should prepare an action plan in consultation with all stakeholders, including states, experts and people working at the grassroot levels, to achieve the targets.
Initiating a discussion on climate change, DMK's Kanimozhi asked how would the target of zero carbon emission by 2070, as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Glasgow, be achieved when only 46.25 GW of grid-connected solar power has been installed so far according to the government's reply to a question in the Lower House recently.
Addressing the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, Modi had announced a bold pledge that India will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070 and asserted that it is the only country that was delivering in ''letter and spirit'' the commitments on tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement.
Kanimozhi alleged the government has ''not made adequate budgetary allocations'' to fulfil the net zero carbon emission promise. ''The Union government has actually reduced the budgetary allocations to the environment ministry by Rs 230 crore this year.'' The DMK MP said the issue of climate change is real but some people still do not accept it.
''Greta Thunberg (Swedish environmental activist) says 'the house is on fire and act like it is'. We cannot call activists alarmists, cannot push it away saying say it's a conspiracy theory.
''Our oceans are heating up, rains are acidic, forests are burning, sea level is rising and people are displaced, that is the truth,'' Kanimozhi said.
To meet the challenges, there was a need to formulate a better policy for climate change mitigation and adaptation and invest in research and development, she said, adding, ''We should believe in holding consultations with states, experts, and people working at the grassroot levels.'' BJP member Sanjay Jaiswal hit back at Kanimozhi, asking what has she done in her constituency to address the issue of climate change.
''Today, questions are being asked from the Centre. I was a member of the estimates committee. We had recommended that one per cent of the planned budget should be given to solar and renewable energy. ''Met Manmohan Singh (then prime minister). He said the issue was close to his heart. But it (allocation of one per cent of the planned budget to solar and renewable energy) was done only after Narendra Modi became prime minister,'' he said.
Jaiswal said the Modi government has been taking various measures to address the issue of climate change along with the development of the country. ''Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai (It is possible when Modi is there),'' he said. Congress' Leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said 'climate change' has become a household term around the globe.
Climate change refers to the change in the composition of the atmosphere which happens due to direct and indirect intervention of people. India is feeling the heat of climate change, he said.
Stressing the need to ponder over the measures to be taken to mitigate the ''fury and frenzy'' of climate change, he said, ''It's time to sit together... to think together.'' Chowdhury also suggested that there was a need to think globally and act locally.
Noting that India is the fourth-largest carbon emitter, he said, ''We have to think judiciously... otherwise we will go astray.'' TMC's Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar underlined that people are suffering due to climate change, saying air pollution is caused due to various reasons, including the high number of vehicles plying on roads and the burning of fossil fuel.
She urged the government to provide ''substantial financial help'' to save the submerging Sunderbans, home to mangrove forests, as the lives of a significant number of people are in danger.
The TMC MP also stressed the need to reduce carbon footprint, saying, ''We have to phase out or stop fossil fuel'' totally.
''For us, it is a matter of happiness that India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is playing a leading role at several international platforms for the solution of the problem,'' he said.
Climate change is a wider subject that requires the participation of the country's all democratic institutions, people and people's representatives to find answers to the problems, Birla said He urged all the members to share during the discussion their experience and work done to address the problem to inspire all democratic institutions of the country and representatives of people.
The discussion on climate change is likely to continue on Thursday.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)