‘With MCAP, Mumbai has set the standard for climate action in India’ | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

‘With MCAP, Mumbai has set the standard for climate action in India’

ByAaditya Thackeray
Mar 14, 2022 12:30 AM IST

As a minister representing a subnational government with a population of over 125 million people, I don’t have the luxury of debating the importance of progressive climate action, and must act now

Climate scientists all across the globe have warned us about extreme weather occurrences in recent decades. We paid them little or no heed, but the warnings persisted. Today, when the rest of the world sees what they’ve known all along, it’s difficult to deny the bleak picture painted for the future. As a minister representing a subnational government with a population of over 125 million people, I don’t have the luxury of debating the importance of progressive climate action, and must act now.

‘Our goal is to urge people to take action on climate change at the local level’ (HT Photo)
‘Our goal is to urge people to take action on climate change at the local level’ (HT Photo)

A day’s delay in implementing urgent, inclusive climate action is equivalent to a month’s worth of uncertainty and vulnerability for future generations. Cyclone Tauktae, urban floods, and untimely rains over the past year demonstrated the importance of implementing localised mitigation and resilience strategies. Climate catastrophe is no longer a distant occurrence; it is a reality that we are witnessing in our daily lives.

Get ready to catch the final stages of the World Cup only on Crickit. Anytime, Anywhere. Explore now!

At this critical juncture, the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP), unveiled on Sunday by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government, is a watershed moment not only for the financial capital but also for the entire nation, kicking off a comprehensive sub-national climate action with cities at the forefront. It is Mumbai’s first-ever climate action plan, aimed at making the city safer, healthier, and more inclusive for Mumbai residents.

Through this plan, the BMC aims to achieve net-zero status in Mumbai by 2050, much ahead of the Government of India’s target of 2070. This is significant in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements at the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, which established a 2070 net-zero objective for the country. This is further in line with Maharashtra’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, with 43 of our major centres and cities currently working towards that goal. These cities, which collectively have a population of 60 million people, recently vowed to join the United Nations’ Race to Zero initiative.

Our goal is to urge people to take action on climate change at the local level. In a city like Mumbai, achieving climate resilience requires striking the ideal balance between growth and environmental preservation. This route was laid out in December 2020, when Mumbai was chosen as a member of the C40 cities, a global network of cities dedicated to combating climate change. Fifteen months on, BMC developed this robust plan with support from the World Resources Institute, India and C40 Cities to make Mumbai the most active C40 city in the South and West Asia region.

As we phase down coal in our energy demands, the state is quickly developing its renewable energy capacity to meet India’s 500 GW ambition. The MCAP envisions raising the amount of renewable energy in Mumbai’s electricity sector to 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050. Going a step further, it aims to improve current infrastructure by requiring new buildings to use 100% energy and water-efficient technologies, as well as transitioning to clean fuel and energy.

The push for renewables will also ensure that our efforts to encourage electric vehicles are powered by clean energy. We have vowed to acquire or rent solely electric vehicles from April 2022, bolstering public transportation fleets by adding EVs and giving lucrative incentives to drive up demand with one of the country’s most comprehensive electric vehicle policies, with Mumbai at the centre of it.

In light of this, MCAP aims to transition to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2050, with increased access to finance, policy enablers, and incentives such as 100% electrification of two-wheelers, taxis, and auto rickshaws by 2050, and 96% electrification of private four-wheelers by 2050, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Furthermore, building a sustainable freight strategy for Mumbai with the goal of electrifying 100% of freight vehicles by 2050 and migrating to low-carbon modes will be the goal by transitioning to zero-emission freight.

Despite developmental pressures, the citizens of Mumbai successfully protected their city’s natural green lungs – the Aarey forest. The Maharashtra forest department took it a step further with the declaration of mangrove areas in Mumbai city and suburbs as reserved forests. The MCAP envisions increasing the green cover and permeable surface areas of the city to 30-40% of the city surface by 2030 to tackle heat and flood risks. We will ensure equitable access to green open spaces by increasing per capita open space to 6 square meters by 2040.

The Sixth Assessment Report published by United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that Mumbai can witness sea-level rise of around 0.58 metres by 2100, the highest in India while the latest report estimates damages from sea-level rise in Mumbai alone might cost up to $162 billion per year by 2050. Taking this into account, the MCAP focuses ensuring safety for the vulnerable population by building flood resilient systems and infrastructure to minimize the risk of flooding and associated impacts.

Most recently, we scrapped the Gargai dam project, saving over 4.5 lakh trees in the Tansa wildlife corridor, towards MCAP’s goal of meeting 50% of the city’s water demand through localized water conservation and efficient use initiatives by 2030. MCAP will also work towards improving air quality, decentralising waste management and improving disaster response for extreme weather events and cyclones.

Our city’s irrepressible spirit has triumphed over adversity after adversity. It is now necessary to take collective action in order to protect our future. Mumbai has set the standard for climate action in India with the publication of the Mumbai Climate Action Plan. As we pledge to lead the city on a sustainable, climate-resilient road to growth, we recognise that we cannot do it alone and every citizen must contribute.

(Aaditya Thackeray is a cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government. He holds the Environment, Tourism and Protocol portfolios. He is also the Guardian Minister of Mumbai Suburbs)

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

Stay updated with all the Breaking News and Latest News from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top Cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and more across India along with Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On