43 Maharashtra cities to join global Race to Zero campaign
Ahead of the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, Maharashtra minister for environment and climate change Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday announced that 43 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) cities and urban clusters from Maharashtra will join the global Race to Zero campaign. Cities joining this campaign have pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions in the 2040s or sooner.
Some prominent cities in the list are Mumbai, Vasai-Virar, Panvel, Kohlapur, Shirdi, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Solapur, Osmanabad and Latur among others. Of these, six cities from western Maharashtra — Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune and Nagpur — already joined the campaign earlier this year.
The announcement comes during the ongoing Climate Week NYC 2021 proceedings where Thackeray spoke during India’s ‘Road to COP26’ event, part of The Hub Live series of conferences. “Joining the Race to Zero campaign is our contribution in the global fight against climate change. We cannot keep emitting carbon. We don’t have the luxury of time. Maharashtra will set an example of how subnational governments can act despite being a heavily industrialised state,” said Thackeray in his address.
The state environment department will undertake a greenhouse gas emission inventory exercise for all the cities and clusters, which account for a floating population of 50 million. Within 12 months of joining, the cities will have to explain what actions will be taken toward achieving both interim and long-term pledges and commit to report publicly on their progress.
Commenting on the development, Chandni Singh, senior research consultant at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in Bangalore, said, “The Race to Zero campaign has a holistic approach and makes a case that you cannot just do mitigation or adaptation but everything together. Even a signal of this kind of commitment is commendable. However, a study we did showed that about 50-60% of the cities with population of over a million have some kind of climate resilience plans in place, but the situation is different when checked for implementation. So, it will be good to see how these plans pan out.”