Asserting that the world does not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a ‘Green Credit Initiative’ focused on creating carbon sinks through people's participation and also proposed to host the UN climate conference in 2028, or COP33, in India.
Addressing the high-level segment for heads of state and governments during the UN climate conference (COP28) here, Modi called for a pro-planet proactive and positive initiative and said the Green Credits Initiative goes beyond the commercial mindset associated with carbon credits.
"It focuses on creating carbon sinks through people's participation and I invite all of you to join this initiative," he said, stressing that the world does not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century.
This initiative is similar to the Green Credit Programme, notified domestically in October. It is an innovative market-based mechanism designed to reward voluntary environmental actions in different sectors by individuals, communities and the private sector.
Asserting that India has presented a great example to the world of striking balance between development and environment conservation, the Prime Minister said, India is among the only few countries in the world on track to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions or the national action plans to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the guardrail to avoid worsening of the impact of the changing climate.
Modi was the only leader to join COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber on the stage along with the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Steill at the opening plenary.
"Over the past century, a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature. However, the entire humanity is paying the price for this, especially people living in the Global South," he said.
"Thinking only about our own interests will only lead the world into darkness," the prime minister added.
Modi’s statement came in the context that the poor and developing nations bear the brunt of extreme climate events such as floods, droughts, heat/cold waves as a result of changing climate due to historic carbon emissions by the richer countries that have led to increased global warming.
The Prime Minister called for maintaining a balance between mitigation and adaptation and said that energy transition across the world must be “just and inclusive.” He also called rich countries to transfer technologies to help developing nations combat climate change.
Modi has been championing the Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE movement), which he had announced at the Glasgow COP in 2021), urging countries to adopt planet-friendly living practices and move away from deeply consumerist behaviour.
Citing a study by the International Energy Agency, Modi said, “This approach (LiFE) can reduce carbon emissions by 2 billion tonnes.” He called on the countries to work together and be decisive against the climate crisis.
"We shall cooperate with each other and shall support each other. We need to give all developing countries our fair share in the global carbon budget," Modi said.
If India's proposal to host COP33 is accepted, it would be the next big global conference in the country after the G20 Summit earlier this year.
India hosted COP8 in New Delhi in 2002 where countries adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration which called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimise the impact of climate change on developing countries.
Climate science defines carbon budget as the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted for a given level of global warming (1.5 degrees Celsius in this case).
Developed countries have already consumed more than 80 per cent of the global carbon budget, leaving developing and poor countries with very little carbon space for the future. Modi highlighted that India is home to 17 per cent of the world's population, but its share of global carbon emissions is less than 4 per cent.
"India is one of the very few economies in the world that is on track to achieve its NDC targets," he said.
India achieved its emissions intensity-related targets 11 years ahead of the committed time frame and non-fossil fuel targets nine years ahead of schedule.
"And India did not just stop there, we remain ambitious," he said.
The country aims to reduce emissions intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
It has also committed to become a net zero economy by 2070.
As part of its G20 Presidency this year, India drew consensus from the world’s major economies for a Green Development Pact seeking to balance development and the environment.
The Pact shifted the conversations from the billions to the trillions needed for the energy transition. It noted that developing countries will need USD 5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period, particularly to implement their NDCs.
(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)