Parliament: Opposition corners govt over commitments at Glasgow climate meet
The climate crisis took centre stage in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday as opposition parties raised questions on how India plans to meet its commitments made at the recent climate conference in Glasgow and why states weren’t consulted before announcing that the country will achieve net-zero emissions before 2070.
On November 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the Glasgow climate change conference (COP26) that India’s non-fossil energy capacity will reach 500 GW by 2030, meeting 50% of the country’s energy requirements by 2030.
He said India will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes between now and 2030; reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% by 2030, over 2005 levels, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2070. PM Modi had also flagged that the ambitious action will be impossible without adequate climate finance from developed nations.
In the Lok Sabha, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi said the youth were facing uncertainty and anxiety due to the climate crisis and cited analysis that says India needs 5630 GW of total installed solar energy to transition to net zero emissions.
“India has only 46.25 GW of grid connected solar power. I want to know how can we achieve so much? What we have done is nothing compared to what we have promised to the world,” she said.
Kanimozhi said the PM’s Council on Climate Change last met in 2015 and asked how the PM announced national climate goals without consulting the council. “He also did not consult the states and chief ministers,” she added, asking for details on what has the Centre done under the national action plan on climate change.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress and Rahul Ramesh Shewale of the Shiv Sena raised issues like vulnerability of coastal areas, polluted air from north India moving towards the east during stubble fire episodes, and poor national performance on environmental parameters in the environmental performance index 2020.
India ranked 168th out of 180 countries in the index released by Yale University last year.
A senior official of the Union environment ministry said the climate crisis debate broke new ground. “I do not remember any Lok Sabha debate on climate crisis being held before. This is perhaps the first big one. It’s particular important because this shows that climate is an important issue for people. Environment minister Bhupender Yadav will respond to all these concerns and queries at the end of the debate under rule 193 of Lok Sabha.”
Sunita Narain, director general at Centre for Science and Environment, said, "Extreme weather events are showing us how urgent the crisis is, and this is what is also reflected in the debate."