Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressing at the inauguration of the Indian Pavilion at COP 24, at Katowice, Poland on 3 December, 2018. The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meet every year in a pre-defined host country to urge each other for combating climate change.
Below is the full text of the speech delivered by the Environment Minister at COP 24.
“Dear Friends! I welcome you all to COP 24 in the wonderful city of Katowice, Poland. I believe that we are at a critical juncture in our ongoing battle to save our planet from the threats of global warming and let me assure you that India is truly committed to winning this battle. I feel proud in affirming that India has made great strides in its journey towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.
This pavilion reflects our ambitious and bold actions on climate change. We will be organizing more than 20 sessions, covering issues important for climate change adaptation and mitigation. This year the theme of India Pavilion is One World One Sun One Grid as highlighted by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during first assembly of the International Solar Alliance on October 2018. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has set an ambitious target that 40 per cent of its installed power capacity will be from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister, we have launched many policies and set up institutional mechanisms to advance our climate actions. These initiatives are a reflection of our commitment towards addressing climate change concern including energy security, food and water security, capacity enhancement at national and state level.
I have launched a nationwide campaign in preserving and protecting the environment called the Green Good Deeds Movement. We realized that people’s participation is crucial to accomplish our goal and so this campaign was prepared to inspire, encourage and involve each and every individual of our society. The attempt is to ensure that each and every citizen must adopt measures to protect the environment by doing small but significant green good deed such as save energy, save water, car-pool to work, use dustbins for disposal of waste, segregate waste, plant trees, and so on and so forth. I expect that this movement – Green Good Deeds – will soon involve people not only, in India but across the globe. I am receiving positive feedback from all stakeholders for further strengthening this movement.
India is working hard for achieving 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. The effect of increased use of renewable energy is now visible in India. Resultantly, India stands 4th in wind power 5th in renewable power and 5th in solar power installed. Besides solar and wind power, we are also working on biomass, biofuel and bio-energy. Our aim will always be to leap ahead into the future of energy solutions that make this world a cleaner and greener place.
In the last few years India has taken a number of other initiatives. Till date more than 310 million LEDs have been installed countrywide. Around 58 million households are already covered under Ujjwala scheme. Ujjwala scheme will not only contribute to improved health of women and children, but also help on reducing forest degradation. Just in last 2 years India achieved 1% increase in its forest cover whereas in many countries across the globe, it is depleting. More than 0.26 million Electric Vehicles have been sold, with more than 91 million CO2 Reduction (in kg). Apart from this, we have also pledged to get rid of single-use plastic by 2022 across the country.
India’s leadership in global climate action has been recognised and Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been bestowed with “Champion of Earth Award” this year by the United Nations for his stewardship in promoting International Solar Alliance and resolve to make India plastic free by 2022.
I believe it is crucial that we find ways to combat climate change not just through modern technologies but with the wisdom of our collective cultural tradition. We are all aware that our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been providing international leadership for the Climate Change and Global Warming issues. He has reminded the whole world of the need for environmental protection and adopting the climate resilient lifestyles. We also believe that contribution of citizens, sustainable lifestyles and climate justice provides an alternative means to address climate change which must be rigorously pursued.
I would like to conclude by saying that India stands committed to fighting climate change. Guided by our Indian culture and ethos, we are dedicated to climate action that will ensure Climate justice for all.