Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Calls For Open Debate On Environment To Ensure Sustainability

by Arun Kumar Das - Mar 2, 2022 10:39 AM +05:30 IST
Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Calls For Open Debate On Environment To Ensure SustainabilityUnion Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Snapshot
  • Minister calls for an open debate on environment and how self-restraint can help people live in harmony with nature.

Highlighting three extremely critical issues that confront the nation — climate change, desertification, and the sustainability-affordability linkage — Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said, “We can change people’s lives by linking affordability with sustainability”.

Releasing the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) State of India’s Environment Report, 2022, Yadav said, “reducing consumption and forming a self-restrained society is the only way that we can live with nature harmoniously”.

Underlining the fact that his ministry is keen to have an “open debate on environment”, he said, "our goals are the same: how to ensure a good life for everybody. We should learn from each other”.

The environment report was released at an event being held at CSE’s state-of-the-art residential environmental training facility, the Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI), at Nimli in Rajasthan.

He said, "We have to link traditional knowledge with scientific temperament; we sometimes are so proud of traditional knowledge that we forget logic. But we have to think of logic and affordability along with tradition to make it work.”

Anil Agarwal Dialogue, as the four-day conclave is called, is back in its physical form after a pandemic- and lockdown-induced hiatus of almost two years.

“We can change people’s lives by linking affordability with sustainability. We have to link traditional knowledge with scientific temperament; we sometimes are so proud of traditional knowledge that we forget logic. But we have to think of logic and affordability along with tradition to make it work,” he said.

Referring to India’s efforts to achieve net zero by 2070, Yadav pointed out that since emissions from the energy sector were the highest, the government was laying more emphasis on it.

“By 2030, we plan to have 500 GW from renewable energy. The railways will be electrified by 2030 — that will reduce 80 billion tonnes of emissions. We also plan to employ LED bulbs on a large scale, which can reduce 40 billion tonnes of emissions. We are also focussing on hydrogen. If we can make hydrogen sustainable and affordable, we can bring big changes in the world," he said.

Talking of global climate negotiations and India’s position, the minister said that environmental negotiations “is not about give and take — it is about saving humanity. The developed nations must take historic responsibility and consider what their ancestors have done in the past”.

Speaking at the conclave, CSE Director General Sunita Narain said, “in the last two years, the world has seen disruption at a scale not seen before. Both Covid-19 and climate change are the result of our ‘dystopian’ relationship with nature — call this the revenge of nature. Covid-19 is because we are breaking the barrier between the wild habitats/humans and the way we produce our food. And climate change is the result of emissions needed for economic growth — fossil fuels are unsustainable; our lifestyle is the problem."

"Both are also linked, and are being exacerbated because of our mismanagement of health systems and the environment,” she added.

Referring to the challenge of climate change, Narain said, "India needs to act in its own self-interest. Our climate change strategy has to be based on the principle of co-benefits — we will do something for climate change because it is good for the world, but also because it is good for us. We need a low-carbon strategy for every sector; we must also ask the developed world to pay for and give us the high-cost options so that we can leapfrog.”

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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