Minister Prakash Javadekar: India will follow sustainable growth path

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
30 September 2015

Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Government of India

NEW DELHI: Speaking to The Climate Group just before India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Paris climate agreement, Prakash JavadekarIndia’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said the country’s economic development strategy was firmly wedded to plans to be a low carbon economic leader.

What is important today is sustainability. We have to develop. We need to grow.
Prakash Javadekar, India’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

In an exclusive interview for Climate TV, he said: "We need to give climate justice to the poor, and they must be allowed to grow. But the growth path now will be on sustainability, and sustainability includes affordability for the poor."

“This is the real challenge: how we can offer a sustainable growth pattern which is affordable and which is reaching all individuals. We must have clean air, clean water, clean energy, clean environment and more green. These are the main points of the agenda that will take us to that sustainable path, and this is what is needed.”

OFF-GRID SOLAR 

The Minister pointed to The Climate Group’s Bijli - Clean Energy for All program, which has brought affordable clean energy to more than 60,000 people in rural parts of India. He said that in such a vast country, off-grid renewable energy was the key to spur sustainable development.

“We have launched several big initiatives,” he says. “One is rooftop energy, which is off-grid and will use a battery so that in every home you will store it and will use it. The second is agricultural pumps: the agricultural irrigation will be done with solar energy, which is stored, which is used whenever it is required.

“There are hundreds of applications, which are off-grid solutions – such as our solar lanterns. And there are so many other devices which are off-grid solutions and will be popular. We now have solar panels on the top of the railway system; we have now railway stations, which will be use off-grid energy for local consumption.

“So, it is not that you have to take renewable to the grid and then bring it back to use. On the contrary, we can use it very well and it is locally feasible.”

For all these reasons, the Bijli program is “definitely the way forward,” says Prakash Javadekar. “I believe in dialogue. I believe in innovation. I believe in sharing best practices on the world. And it can be from Africa, it can be from the North part of the globe, or it can come from Australia, or anywhere – but we must learn from each of these experiences and we must share the success stories.”

CLEAN INNOVATION

In the interview for our Climate TV channel, the Minister said he believed the low carbon economy was a great opportunity for India to sustain its growth making good use of the most recent clean technologies. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has developed several ambitious targets such as the National Solar Mission, aiming to develop a solar photovoltaic capacity for the country of 100 gigawatts by 2022.

“We have an advantage: we are a developing country, not fully developed. And therefore, on many technologies we can leapfrog,” says Prakash Javadekar. One of the best examples of how investments in clean technology are a win-win for business and citizens alike is the metro system in Delhi, says the minister.

Also research and development, adequately supported by public funding, can play a crucial role to achieve such ambitious objectives: “People were talking for last decade of the CCS technology, carbon capture and storage,” warns the minister. “It has not been realized, it has remained in labs only. But then, one of our young scientists has come out with the CCU: we capture carbon and use it, using that carbon that becomes raw material.”

Technology is an important aspect to tackle climate change, but so is political will. And with the climate negotiations in Paris fast approaching, India’s INDC can be seen as another momentum builder for a strong agreement able to avoid the worst effects of climate change. “I am very hopeful that 70 days from now, the world will enter in a new regime on climate. A regime where every country will take actions, and every action will be welcomed. It should be welcomed.

“We have decided to go on a green path. Let us welcome all who are going [on it], let us celebrate. And then, there will be no backsliding, there will be a progress. I am very sure that Paris will be a success.”

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