Thursday, July 03, 2008

Indian Prime Minister unveils National Plan on Climate Change



In a brief summary at New Delhi today (June 30), the Prime Minister (PM) of India released the National Action Plan on Climate Change. Prepared under the guidance and direction of Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, the Plan was released amidst members of the Council, representatives of civil society and senior officials of the Government.

At a time when India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth in a climate constrained world, the Action Plan pushes for not just promoting sustainable production processes, but also, sustainable lifestyles across the globe. The Action Plan focuses attention on eight priorities National Missions, the first among which is “Solar Energy”, whose success, according to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, has the potential to change the face of India.

The Action Plan was much awaited by environmentalists, concerned citizens and the industry at large. In a speech that followed, the Dr. Singh informed that the release of the National Action Plan reflected the importance the Government attaches to mobilizing our national energies to meet the challenge of climate change. The global dimension of the challenge of climate change was also emphasized in the PM’s speech, which, according to him, demands a global and cooperative effort on the basis of the principle of equity. With the Action Plan now in place, Dr. Singh declared that India is ready to play its role as a responsible member of the international community and to make its own contribution.

The eight priority National Missions listed in the National Action Plan include:
1. Solar Energy2. Enhanced Energy Efficiency3. Sustainable Habitat4. Conserving Water5. Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem6. A “Green India”7. Sustainable Agriculture8. Strategic Knowledge Platform for Climate Change

The PM further reinstated India’s stand on this global issue, in confirmation with the world view by informing that India believes that every citizen of this planet should have an equal share of the planetary atmospheric space and therefore, long-term convergence of per capita GHG emissions was the only equitable basis for a global agreement to tackle climate change. In this context, Dr. Singh reaffirmed India’s pledge that as it pursued sustainable development, its per capita GHG emissions would not exceed the per capita GHG emissions of developed countries, despite India’s developmental imperatives.

The PM also clarified that the National Action Plan would evolve and change in the light of changing circumstances and therefore invited broader interaction with civil society as a means to further improve the various elements of the Plan. He concluded by recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: “The earth has enough resources to meet the needs of people, but will never have enough to serve their greed”.

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