COP26 Diary | 31-10-2021


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As COP26 takes off in Glasgow, the world is coming together to look for solutions to the existential threat facing our planet.

India, under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi, has presented before the world an example of how to move towards sustainable development. It is important to note that Shri Modi was the first chief minister after Independence who paid attention to climate change. In fact, he began to focus on the issue at a time when very few leaders in the world were talking about it. When Shri Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, he created a climate change department in the government.

His dedication to combating climate change reflects in his work Convenient Action: Continuity for Change. It is an essential read for those who want to understand how we can take climate change head on. Shri Modi’s humble moorings in a small village ensconced in rural hinterland of western India gave him the experience of an atmosphere that existed in harmony with nature. This prompted him to later inculcate the philosophy of sustainable environment, which is rooted in Indian ethos and mentioned in Vedas as माता भूमि: पुत्रो अहं पृथिव्या (The Earth is our Mother. We are her children), in his governance model first implemented in Gujarat and then taken ahead across India.

Shri Modi maintains that respect for nature is at the core of India’s traditions. He quotes Atharvaveda’s Prithvi Sukta, which says, “यस्यां समुद्र उत सिन्धुरापो यस्यामन्नं कृष्टयः संबभूवुः । यस्यामिदं जिन्वति प्राणदेजत्सा नो भूमिः पूर्वपेये दधातु ॥३॥ ” (Salutations to Mother Earth. In Her is woven together Ocean and River Waters; in Her is contained Food which She manifests when ploughed; In Her indeed is alive all Lives; May She bestow us with that Life.)

Shri Modi in his book reminds us to lead lives that are harmonious and sustainable because that is part of our ethos as he believes that once we realise how we are the flagbearers of a tradition rooted in harmony with nature, it will impact our actions positively.

In this book, Shri Modi stresses on the need for convergence of economy, energy and ecology, and to broaden the outlook and vision from Climate Change to Climate Justice - to take care of the concerns of the poor and future generations in the journey towards sustainable development. He calls for a 'paradigm shift' on climate change, which means a more active promotion of clean technologies dissemination and development of renewable energy, drawing from the correlation between ancient Indian knowledge and the need to conserve nature.

The book highlights PM Shri Modi's vision and strategy for a practical policy development towards positive climate action and integration of climate change adaptation into all aspects of policy formulation.

India’s policy stance at COP26 is rooted in Shri Modi’s commitment to Climate Justice and India’s reverence for nature.

To build upon one’s understanding of how India, under Shri Modi, is poised to meet the Paris agreement commitments ahead of 2030, The Climate Climb: India’s Strategy, Actions and Achievements is an imperative read.     

The book is a ready guide to all that India has done and is doing to ensure we act as responsible trustees of the planet that we inherited as we move to pass it on to our future generations.