Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday called for promoting new and innovative low-carbon technologies that ensure housing, service delivery and better mobility for all, and place people at the forefront of sustainable urban development. 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, he said.
Speaking on the economic and environmental imperatives for Indian cities, Puri said India’s per capita emission of greenhouse gases is quite low as compared to other developed countries.
He said India’s cumulative CO2 emissions from 1870-2017 is only three per cent as against 25 per cent of the USA, 22 per cent of the EU and the UK, and 13 per cent of China.
“India aims to reach the kind of economic growth that the advanced economies have reached in the past through their heavy industrialisation patterns but India may not necessarily follow that path of development as we are aware of the environmental cost.
“India recognises the importance of its cities in the country’s transformation as India’s urban areas are expected to contribute as much as 70 per cent of the national GDP by 2030,” a statement quoted Puri as saying.
The minister said that India has to achieve economic aspirations and realise its environmental responsibilities, adding that there can be no doubt that planning for low-carbon cities will be necessary to achieve the sustainable development goals in the country, particularly Goal 11 and Goal 13.
“If SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) succeeds, it will be because India will succeed,” he said, adding that global targets are not likely to be met without India’s contributions.
Puri said the urban missions like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Smart Cities Mission, Urban Transport, and AMRUT launched by the Modi government have contributed immensely to reducing GHG emissions.
Not only were these missions part of the most comprehensive urbanisation programmes, they are also important components of our response to climate change, Puri said.
On the use of sustainable and energy-efficient methods in building houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), he said certified green buildings can deliver energy savings between 20-30 per cent and water savings of up to 30-50 per cent.
More than 16 lakh houses being built under the mission today are utilising green technologies, and this will help in mitigating around 12 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022 under the PMAY Mission, the minister said.
PMAY prioritised the promotion of low-carbon building technologies through the Global Housing Technology Challenge, wherein six Light House Projects (LHP) consisting of about 1,000 houses each are being constructed, he added.
On his part, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra said that urban centres are critical to delivering or creating a climate safe world.
“Cities are more dependent on energy than rural areas and have considerable ecological footprints,” Mishra said, adding that accelerated urbanisation catapults demands for mass transportation, commercial and industrial activities and exerts undue pressure on vacant urban land.