How to combat climate change: PM Modi told

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Climate change cannot be fought only from conference tables: PM Modi

Text of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video message at the World Bank Event on tackling climate change

President of the World Bank, Her Excellency, the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, My Cabinet Colleague Nirmala Sitharaman ji, Lord Nicholas Stern, Professor Sunstein, and other distinguished guests


I am delighted that the World Bank is organizing this event on impact of behavioural change on climate change. This is an issue close to my heart, and it is great to see it becoming a global movement.


Chanakya, a great Indian philosopher wrote this over two thousand years ago: जल बिन्दु निपातेन क्रमशः पूर्यते घटः| स हेतुः सर्व विद्यानां धर्मस्य च धनस्य च || Small drops of water, when they come together, fill up a pot. Similarly, knowledge, good deeds or wealth, add up gradually. This has a message for us. By itself, each drop of water may not seem much. But when it comes together with many other such drops, it makes an impact. By itself, each good deed for the planet may seem insignificant. But when billions across the world do it together, the impact is huge. We believe that individuals making the right decisions for our planet are key in the battle for our planet. This is the core of Mission LiFE.


The seeds of this movement were sown long ago. In 2015, at the United Nations General Assembly, I spoke about the need for behavioural change. Since then, we have come a long way. In October 2022, the UN Secretary General and I had launched Mission LiFE. The preamble to the outcome document of CoP-27 also speaks about sustainable lifestyle and consumption. And it is wonderful to see that experts in the climate change arena have also adopted this mantra.


People across the world hear a lot about climate change. Many of them feel a lot of anxiety because they do not know what they can do about it. They are constantly made to feel that only governments or global institutions have a role. If they learn that they can also contribute, their anxiety will turn into action.


Climate change cannot be fought from conference tables alone. It has to be fought from the dinner tables in every home. When an idea moves from discussion tables to dinner tables, it becomes a mass movement. Making every family and every individual aware that their choices can help the planet can provide scale and speed. Mission LiFE is about democratising the battle against climate change. When people become conscious that simple acts in their daily lives are powerful, there will be a very positive impact on the environment.


In this matter of mass movements and behaviour transformation, the people of India have done a lot in the last few years. People-driven efforts improved the sex ratio in many parts of India. It was the people who led a massive cleanliness drive. Be it rivers, beaches or roads, they are ensuring public places are free of litter. And, it was the people who made the switch to LED bulbs a success. Nearly 370 million LED bulbs have been sold in India. This helps in avoiding nearly 39 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions every year. The farmers of India ensured the coverage of nearly seven hundred thousand hectares of farmland by micro-irrigation. Fulfilling the mantra of Per Drop More Crop, this has saved a huge amount of water. There are many more such examples.


Under Mission LIFE, our efforts are spread across many domains such as: ·Making local bodies environment-friendly, · saving water, · saving energy, · reducing waste and e-waste, · adopting healthy lifestyles, · adoption of natural farming, · promotion of millets.

These efforts will:

· save over twenty two billion units of energy,

· save nine trillion litres of water,

· reduce waste by three hundred and seventy five million tons,

· recycle almost one million tons of e-waste, and generate around one hundred and seventy million dollars of additional cost savings by 2030.

Further, it will help us reduce the wastage of fifteen billion tons of food. Let me give you a comparison to know how big this is. The global primary crop production in 2020 according to FAO was about nine billion tons!


Global institutions have an important role to play in encouraging countries across the world. I am told that the World Bank Group is looking to increase climate finance from 26% to 35%, as a share of total financing. The focus of this climate finance is usually on conventional aspects. Adequate financing methods need to be worked out for behavioural initiatives too. A show of support by the World Bank towards behavioural initiatives such as Mission LiFE will have a multiplier effect.


I congratulate the World Bank team hosting this event. And, I hope that these meetings will come up with solutions to nudge individuals towards behaviour transformation. Thank you. Thank you very much.

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