Sustainable lifestyles to be focus of India’s stand in climate talks
An environment ministry official said they met over 40 experts last week to discuss how the concept can be a major pillar of the climate debate
NEW DELHI: The Union environment ministry has begun consultations with climate and energy experts on developing the concept of sustainable lifestyles based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.
Modi said the world is recognising that lifestyles have a big role in climate change and proposed a “One-Word Movement”. “This One-Word in the context of climate can become the basic foundation of One World. This is a word LIFE…L, I, F, E, ie, Lifestyle For Environment… This can become a mass movement of an environmentally conscious lifestyle. What is needed today is mindful and deliberate utilisation instead of mindless and destructive consumption.”
An environment ministry official, who did not want to be named, said they met over 40 experts last week. “...some of [them] joined us virtually from other parts of the country on how the concept of sustainable lifestyles can be a major pillar of the climate debate. There were two internal meetings of the environment ministry on this. All of their inputs have been taken and a concept note will soon be prepared. More meetings may be necessary to ideate how this can be the cornerstone of our stands at climate negotiations.”
He added they had experts from Vijanana Bharati (previously Swadeshi Science Movement), National Institute of Advanced Studies, Centre for Science and Environment, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, etc. “Once the concept is developed, we will share it with Niti Aayog also for further implementation. It is premature to say how the concept will be used in climate negotiations. We have had preliminary discussions for now.”
Manjeev Singh Puri, distinguished fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute, said lifestyle adaptation has to now be at the heart of sustainable development so that sustainable patterns of both production and consumption, particularity among the most profligate, evolve. “India, with its strong links to nature and a lifestyle that values conserving and not profligacy, can lead in this global movement and give expression to Prime Minister Modi’s call...,” said Puri, who attended the environment ministry consultation chaired by Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav.
Modi reiterated the idea in his address to the World Economic Forum in January. He again referred to it at the World Sustainable Development Summit on February 16.
India has urged developed countries to moderate their consumption patterns. The target of reducing emissions to net-zero by mid-century, proposed by some countries, will not be adequate in view of the fast-depleting global carbon space, India said in its statement at the G20 energy and climate joint ministerial meeting in July. India urged the group of 20 developed nations with per capita greenhouse gas emissions above the world average to reduce the levels by 2030.
According to the World Resources Institute, India emits 7.1% of global emissions and has per capita emissions of about 2.47 Tco2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), compared to the global average of 6.45 tco2/per capita. In comparison to top emitters, India’s per capita emissions are seven times lower than that of the US, 3.4 times lower than China’s, and three times lower compared to the EU.