New Delhi: Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal, while addressing an august gathering at the ‘World Conference on Environment 2017’ here , said that such conferences are very appropriate in the current scenario as these discussions help us to come up with new ideas and bring back the focus on sensitive subjects like climate change. Shri Goyal said that we are living on this planet and using its resources as if we have an another planet to go to later.
The Minister stated that it is time that human beings understand that climate change is a challenge caused by humans only and ultimately it is humans who can address it. He noted that the largest loss experienced due to climate change is to the poorest and the underprivileged section of the society. In 1911, Mahatma Gandhi had used the phrase ‘Economy of Nature’ that brought out his deep understanding regarding the need to maintain a balance between what the nature has to supply and the demand of the human existence. ‘The Earth provides enough for every man’s need but not for every man’s greed’, the Minister quoted the Mahatma.
Talking about the steps that the Government has been taking to combat climate change, Shri Goyal said that this Government has been following a 360° holistic approach towards the matters of energy, environment and balancing the needs of energy of a growing economy, with the commitment that this Nation has to protect and save the environment and leave behind a better world to live in for the future generations.
The LED project, where the Government is replacing the lighting load of the country with LEDs, will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by the tune of 80 million tonnes per annum and the economically prudent project will help the consumer save around Rs. 40000 crores in electricity bills annually. Similarly, when it comes to energy generation, India is trying to move from a highly thermal power generation dependent economy towards renewable energy, the Minister said. The solar power programme has been scaled up from a 20 GW target to 100 GW by 2022 and put together all the renewable energy sources, including the large hydro projects, India will have 225 GW of renewable and clean energy sources by 2022. “The government is relentlessly working towards and pursuing religiously this target and I assure you that all the commitments and contributions that we promised at Paris would not only be met but would certainly be exceeded by the efforts of the Government, people of the country and everyone present in this august gathering”, the Minister said.
Talking about the Government’s plans to make the mining sector more efficient, Shri Goyal said that the sector is becoming more energy efficient and environmentally conscious each day. The Government is looking to process every litre of water that comes out of the mines in the country so that clean drinking water may be provided to all the people living in the area as well as be used to rejuvenate rivers and underground water table.
The Minister said that for thermal power plants, the Government has made it mandatory for any waste water processing unit in the 50 km radius of the plant to compulsorily use the waste water discharged from the plant and the recycled water would have to be compulsorily used by the thermal power plant so that the clean water is available to serve the people living around the plant. Shri Goyal further said that the Government has mandated that every bit of waste is processed in the country rather than going to landfills and electricity is generated from it, which in turn, would be compulsory purchased by the State DISCOM, thus helping in the mission of ’24×7 Power for All’.
Talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for converting all vehicles in India to electric vehicles, Shri Goyal informed that the Prime Minister has directed a group of senior Ministers to lead the initiative and make sure that by 2030 most, if not all, vehicles in India are powered by electricity. The Minister added that this conversion of India’s vehicles to electrical vehicles has a potential to save fossil fuels worth about $100 bn annually, which in turn would save the country precious foreign exchange, prevent the dependence on imported petroleum products and reduce the pollution in cities by 80-90%. According to a study conducted by the Government, India can power its entire vehicular traffic in 2030 on solar power by using only 1% of the land area of Rajasthan. The Government is committed to expand the project rapidly across the country, the Minister added.
Shri Goyal concluded his address by saying that India doesn’t follow what the World does but the World follows the lead provided by India. He also quoted Steve Jobs by saying, “let’s go and invent tomorrow instead of worrying about yesterday.”
Other dignitaries present during the event were Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Justice Swatanter Kumar, Chairman National Green Tribunal, Shri Ranjit Kumar, Solicitor General of India, Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, along with other foreign dignitaries, diplomats, environmentalists and students.