Pollution, climate change affecting everyone: Rajnath Singh

New delhi: Pollution and climate change are adversely affecting people of all age groups and these are also going to have a serious impact in the future, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Addressing the valedictory session at the NGT World Environment Conference, he said climate change has now a days been recognised as a major global challenge.

“We in India believe that climate change is the result of emission of greenhouse gases and the resultant global warming that came from the industrial advancement in developed nations, powered by fossil fuel,” he said.

The Home Minister said although a developing country like India has little to do with this phenomenon, it has to face the consequences.

“Pollution and Climate change are adversely influencing our present and they are also going to have a serious impact on our future.

“Climate change poses a big threat to millions of our farmers with the changes in weather patterns and increasing intensity of natural disasters,” he said.

Singh said it has been observed that if the current consumption and production patterns remain the same and population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, then, three planets would be required to sustain the current ways of living and consumption.

The Home Minister said India is deeply concerned about the rising level of the oceans as the planet was melting at both the ends.

The Arctic and Antarctica have hit a record low ice extents this year and melting poles are a threat to the coastlines.

“We in India are also worried about the retreat of glaciers in Himalayas that feed our rivers and nurture our civilisation,” he said.

Singh said while the climate-change challenge is formidable it also presents the opportunity to accelerate sustainable development and ensure a better future for everyone on the planet.

Under the Paris agreement, the governments of the world have committed to reducing their carbon emissions drastically, in order to keep global warming below 2°C. The vast majority of signatory countries have already presented national action plans for achieving this goal.

“I hope these plans will become more determined over time,” he said. The Home Minister said these nationally-determined contributions would include renewable-energy targets and proposals for sustainable transportation and energy efficiency.

In addition, all countries should consider adopting policies to manage natural capital in a judicious manner. The Paris agreement itself recognises the important role that natural ecosystems play in limiting the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

“We should adopt ways and means to conserve the existing ecosystems and expand degraded ecosystems – in people-friendly ways,” he said.

Singh said this is particularly true of wetlands, which include all land areas – such as lakes, floodplains, peatlands, mangroves, and coral reefs – that are covered with water, either seasonally or permanently. “We want the world to act with a sense of urgency. A comprehensive, equitable and durable action plan is required for every country to counter the menace of global warming and climate change,” he said.

The Home Minister said India is playing a significant role in fighting against these global threats. The Government of India has recently set a target for renewable energy generation of 175 Gigawatt by 2022. By 2030, 40 per cent of India’s installed capacity will be based on non-fossil fuel. “We are looking for technologies to convert waste to energy. India is investing in supercritical technology in thermal plants.

“The Government of India is raising fuel standards for automobiles. India is one of the few countries in the world to impose a tax on coal,” he said. Singh said India has also reduced subsidies on petroleum products and has even introduced tax free bonds for renewable energy.

“We also have a plan to expand our forest cover and protect our biodiversity. Development and environment need to be seen in complimentary and not in antagonistic terms. After all, if there is no earth left, where will development take place?” he said.