Farm sector emissions get attention of PM’s Council on Climate Change for first time

The council, which till now discussed only domestic policy, discussed Lima climate summit outcomes, too

By Vijeta Rattani
Published: Monday 17 August 2015

Till now India has been opposing emissions reduction from farm section being brought within ambit of climate action, saying it will burden the poor (photo by Ruhani Kaur/CSE) In a major deviation from the India’s set climate stance, the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, for the first time, discussed ways to reduce emissions from agricultural sector, according to media reports. Till now India has been opposing bringing farm sector within the ambit of climate action, saying it will unnecessarily burden poor farmers. The proposal from the agricultural ministry to explore emissions reduction from the farm sector, though, was not approved in the council meeting held on January 19, the reports say.

Chairing the 18-member advisory council on climate change, Modi called for a paradigm shift in global attitudes towards climate change, from "carbon credit", towards “green credit”. He added that instead of focusing on emissions and cuts alone, focus should shift to what we have done for clean energy generation, energy conservation and energy efficiency, and what more can be done in these areas. The prime minister emphasised on India's "sanskar" (traditions) and "soch" (thinking), where "prakriti prem" (love of nature) is imbibed from childhood. He also expressed concern about the vulnerability of poor people to the impacts of climate change.

In the meeting, three new initiatives as well as new missions besides the existing eight missions on climate change were discussed. These included a national water efficiency mission to reduce the water use intensity in commercial, domestic and industry sector and a health mission to study the impacts of climate change on health and the environment. There was also a proposal for “carbon budget” under separate ministries, which did not result in any specific outcome. The prime minister also enquired about the energy efficiency in sectors, such as railways and industry, especially since these sectors are projected to undergo massive growth in the coming years. Pointing to solar energy, he called for a need for setting up a consortium of countries on solar energy.

Another new development was the discussion on the outcomes of Lima climate summit  that was held in December 2014. Some of the council members objected to ex-ante review, which is an assessment of “targets” that are scheduled to be forwarded by countries for the Paris meeting. “Actions” or the “targets” on climate change, referred to as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions”, which are under preparation, were also discussed.

This was the first meeting of the climate council since it was re-constituted under the National Democratic Alliance regime.

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