October 21, 2021

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Urban Missions are important components of our response to climate change: Hardeep Puri

Urban Missions such as Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Urban Transport and AMRUT are important components of the country’s response to climate change as they have contributed immensely to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on October 11.

On the use of sustainable and energy-efficient methods in building houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), he said that certified green buildings can deliver energy savings between 20-30 percent and water savings of up to 30-50 percent.

He was addressing an event to mark the UN World Habitat Day 2021 on the theme ‘Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World.’

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 CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022 under the PMAY Mission. 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 said.

Puri said that 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,” he said.

He said that it is imperative to promote new and innovative low-carbon technologies that ensure housing, service delivery and better mobility for all and that the country has to achieve both its economic aspirations and realise its environmental responsibilities.

“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 percent of the national GDP by 2030. We have to achieve both our economic aspirations and realise our environmental responsibilities. There can be no doubt that planning for low-carbon cities will be necessary to achieve the SDG goals in India, particularly Goal 11 and Goal 13. If SDG succeed it will be because India will succeed, he added. Global targets are not likely to be met without India’s contributions,” Puri said.

He said that the increasing global urban footprint makes more energy demands in cities which are already responsible for 78 percent of global energy consumption and 70 percent of GHG emissions.

The minister said that the climate change makes human settlements vulnerable, especially 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.

Speaking on the economic and environmental imperatives for Indian cities, Puri said that India’s per capita emission of greenhouses gases is quite low as compared to other developed countries. India’s cumulative CO2 emissions from 1870–2017 is very less- it is only 3%, as compared to the 25% of USA, 22% of the EU and UK, and 13% of China, the minister said.

Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary, MoHUA, Surendra Kumar Bagde, Additional Secretary, MoHUA, senior officials from UN Agencies, states and the ministry also attended the event.

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.

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