India aims to be advanced but not at environment’s cost: Hardeep Puri

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India aims to achieve economic growth like advanced countries, but it will not copy their path of development as it is aware of the environmental cost, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.

“India recognises the importance of its cities in the country’s transformation as India’s urban areas are expected to contribute to as much as 70 per cent of the national GDP by 2030. We have to achieve both our economic aspirations and realise our environmental responsibilities,” he said, as he called for promoting new and innovative low-carbon technologies under “Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World” on the United Nations World Habitat Day 2021.

According to a statement by the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, the ministry is aiming to develop technologies that ensure housing, service delivery, and better mobility for all, and place people at the forefront of sustainable urban development, without producing much carbon footprint.

“‘Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World’ is not only appropriate but also very relevant from India’s context. The increasing global urban footprint makes more energy demands in cities which are already responsible for 78 per cent of global energy consumption and 70 per cent of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions,” Puri said, adding that the climate change makes human settlements vulnerable, especially for the marginalised and urban poor, who are exposed to extreme weather events.

India was the seventh most-affected country by climate change in 2019, with most of the impact being felt by its cities.

India’s cumulative CO2 emissions from 1870-2017 is very less – at only 3 per cent, as compared to the 25 per cent by the US, 22 per cent by the EU and UK, and 13 per cent of China, the minister added.

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