“Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a chance to set the world on a cleaner, greener, more sustainable path,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the account of 51st Earth Day.
On 22nd April every year the world celebrates Mother Earth Day, an international event observed across the globe to pledge support for environmental protection.
This year’s theme for Earth Day is ‘Restore Our Earth’. International Mother Earth Day was adopted by the UN on 22nd April 2009. For the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Day highlights the need to shift to a more sustainable economy that benefits both people and the planet.
India and mission sustainability
India is already on the path of sustainable development and is a pioneer in following the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by more than 190 countries. Be it in solar power or green hydrogen or slow fashion, India is already connecting the economy with sustainability. India has holistically addressed the carbon emission challenge faced by the world today. India’s rich culture and history is proof that ancient India was also cautious just like the present one.
Today, India is running several campaigns and schemes like tree plantation drive, Namami Ganga, Khadi and promotion of tribal fashion, metro rail network across cities, Smart city models and driving solar and wind energy installations, Green vehicles and recent hydrogen mission and many more to reduce the impact of climate change.
India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, and it is encouraging a circular economy. India is on a mission to end the use of single-use plastic and it is planning to promote research and develop renewable energy. The ISA will contribute to reducing carbon footprints.
Let’s find out about some significant steps taken by India to combat climate change:
From Zero to 5th largest country in terms of solar power
India played a leadership role by launching the International Solar Alliance with the French President during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The primary goal of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It is the fastest-growing international organizations with 88 signatories.
India emerged from zero to the fifth largest country in the world after China, the US, Japan and Germany in terms of total installed solar power capacity over the last five years. When it comes to the addition of new capacity, India ranks 2nd globally, after China.
India towards a solar energy-focused economy
-India is the only country in the world that has an all-solar airport in Kerala’s Kochi.
- India is producing the world’s cheapest solar power. Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80%, the most precipitous decline of any country – World Economic Forum
Clean Energy for India
-India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world as of 2020 and it is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries.
-Under the National UJALA mission, over 36 crore LEDs have been distributed, reducing about 38.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.
-The government’s constant practices to lower the cost of LED bulb prices have proven to be effective in conserving the environment as LED is more energy-efficient compared to incandescent bulbs.
- India has made LED light popular that saves 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Smoke-free kitchens have been provided to 80 million households through the Ujwala scheme, which is among the largest clean energy drives globally.
-India plans to achieve 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022 as part of its commitments under the global climate change accord, of which 100 GW is to come from solar energy.
-Indian Railway’s sustainable efforts to reduce its carbon print by 33% by 2030.
- 100% electrification of India’s railways by 2022.
- – Introduction of the bullet train project will shift travelling from aviation to trains, which emits up to 90% fewer greenhouses gases compared to aeroplanes.
- – The brand new National Hydrogen Energy Mission will reduce dependence on fossil fuels for mobility. Green and Blue hydrogen schemes, Cheaper and sustainable fuels and hydrogen for aviation etc are also in pipeline.
- Development and sustainability can co-exist
- Development and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, only when one understands the need to reduce wastage. Today’s fast-moving world crippled with climate change and global warming demands, individuals, to take up the responsibility of protecting the mother earth. It can only happen if the earth gets time to heal and rejuvenate from the past damages. Therefore, at the individual level, reduce the wastage and switch to a minimalistic, ecofriendly and sustainable lifestyle.