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Remarks by EAM, Dr. S. Jaishankar at the second G20 DMM Session: Green Development- a LiFE approach

Posted on: June 12, 2023 | Back | Print

Excellencies and colleagues,

In the morning session, we deliberated on the urgency of delivering on the development agenda.

Actions on the climate agenda must be taken together with pursuing our development goals.

These processes are intrinsically related to each other.

The climate crisis is coming towards us faster than we thought. As the triple planetary crisis deepens, we are witnessing its growing impact on developing countries and small island developing states. Indeed, these are times when tropical storms have shown the ability to destroy the economy of a small state in a single night. In the face of such concerns, developing capacities and building resilience is key.

Excellencies and colleagues,

The climate crisis today is the outcome of accumulated decades of ignoring the consequences of our policies and actions on nature and life. Development models of the past were based on trade-offs with the environment. Most of them had fuelling consumption at their core. And this fundamental flaw in the definition of progress has today come back to haunt us.

To address this challenge, India has put forward the vision of anchoring our actions on the individual level on a Lifestyle for Environment, i.e. the LiFE approach. And today, the G20 is making the idea its own.

Excellencies and colleagues,

As the experts have been telling us repeatedly, we cannot achieve our climate ambitions without addressing demand side measures.

Our lifestyles have a profound impact on our planet.

Our choices matter.

Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to private households.

The electricity we use, the food we eat, the way we travel, and the things we buy all contribute to a person’s carbon footprint.

The International Energy Agency has likewise concluded that behaviour change is an integral part of emissions reduction strategies that accomplish net-zero emissions by 2050.

A report released this year by the IEA states that LiFE actions including behavioural changes and sustainable consumer choices, if adopted worldwide, would reduce annual global CO2 emissions by more than 2 billion tonnes in 2030.

This is about one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to put the world on a pathway towards net zero emissions.

Further, according to the WHO, an estimated 2.4 billion people worldwide currently rely on highly polluting and unhealthy traditional solid fuels for household cooking and heating. Shifting these energy sources to electricity and clean fuels could heavily influence residential emissions reductions and influence several development outcomes.

For instance, in India, in an example of successful implementation of the LiFE approach, the move to support 100 million households to migrate from solid fuel to LPG through the Ujjwala Yojana initiative has not only resulted in better health, and education outcomes for women and girls but has also contributed to the prevention of deforestation.

We will hear more very soon from Fatih Birol on the work that is ongoing on these key issues.

Excellencies and colleagues,

The LiFE approach truly epitomizes the essence of our theme ‘One Earth One Family One Future.’ It encourages us all to live a life that is in tune with the welfare of our planet. This can have a range of expressions and facets. It will motivate us to create sustainable ecosystems and force a review of all aspects of the value chain. There will be a greater focus on areas such as waste management, public transport, and regenerative urbanization that will create the cities of tomorrow. Such an approach will bring the alternative to the current mainstream thinking. It will be pro-growth while also being green and sustainable.

Excellencies, colleagues,

Dealing decisively with climate change is key to ensuring sustainable development, poverty eradication and safeguarding economic growth.

Science indicates that delayed action will be costlier than urgent action taken now.

To build a future where decarbonization is inevitable, we must prepare development models based on synergies rather than trade-offs.

A move towards a low-emissions society clearly requires a reorientation of global economic growth patterns. It must be supported by innovative changes in all sectors of the economy.

The constraints that developing countries face are unprecedented. In moving towards sustainability, developing countries are sailing into uncharted waters. They have to address immediate issues of growth and progress, even while embarking on a transition towards sustainability. Their short term needs and structural vulnerabilities will require solutions that are complimentary to longer term development strategies.

Transitions are going to be the compulsion for decades to come. At the same time, our path to robust and globally effective climate action must go through approaches which serve climate justice. For low-carbon development strategies to be viable, a stronger international architecture and enabling environment are needed for coherence across climate and development actions.

We are at a time when we know what does not work, but are less clear about what does. What is evident that there are players beyond just Government and Industry whose actions need to be analyzed. And equally, climate action has as powerful a case for demand-based solutions, rather than just supply side remedies. Pulled together, this means a global movement that would shape the consumption pattern and habits of all of us. And do so keeping in mind the welfare of our planet.

While taking cognizance of our ‘One Earth’ and its inter-connectedness, we can act as ‘One Family’ to create our ‘One Future.’ And it can start with an individual, the one individual everywhere. The LiFE approach implemented internationally can enable human-centric climate action and deliver a robust agenda on Green Development. With LiFE as its foundation, we could be adopting an ambitious ‘Green Development Pact’ at the Leaders’ level in September later this year.

Excellencies and colleagues,

This is an unprecedented opportunity, to create shifts towards sustainability. As we move forward, let us act as One Family and make our choices and lifestyle the foundations of create our ‘One future’ on this ‘One Earth’.

Thank you.