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India promises to tackle climate change issues

Paris agreement will help Indians learn to care for nature and start using natural resources like water more efficiently

India promises to tackle climate change issues
Drought-ridden agricultural land in eastern India, largely due to climate change, experts say. (Photo supplied)

India's ratification of the Paris climate agreement may help reduce the impact of climate change and is a positive move for the nation's sustainable growth, according to environmentalists.

By ratifying the agreement, which was formulated in Paris last December, India has agreed to reduce carbon emissions believed to cause climate change. The nation also plans to produce at least 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil resources by 2030.

India's permanent representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin submitted the instrument of ratification at the organization's headquarters in New York on Oct. 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, father of the Indian nation.

The agreement has so far been ratified by 62 countries, including India, and will come into force when 55 countries that produce at least 55 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions ratify it.

Progress on the agreement goals will be evaluated every five years. The first evaluation will be in 2023.

"It is a very positive step forward. We are the third largest country after U.S. and China to ratify it. It is a challenge for us to be careful and make our progress sustainable," said Jesuit Father Robert Athickal, founder of Tarumitra (friends of trees), a nationwide organization of some 200,000 students promoting ecological sensitivity.

The priest said that no country has a choice of not doing something positive when it comes to the environment.

"If we do not ratify, we will suffer. We know that we are exploiting the Earth," he said.

Father V.J. Thomas, director of Jhansi Diocese's social service wing, said the agreement would help increase awareness about climate change.

"The farmers will also learn to care for nature and will start using natural resources like water more efficiently," the priest said.

His diocese covers the drought-hit region in Uttar Pradesh. Father Thomas introduced a program there to help farmers return to more sustainable agriculture.

Caritas India said the move would improve governmental and non-governmental efforts to address climate issues.

"Caritas India had already realized the importance of addressing issues related to climate change and these include preventive measures and also mitigating the impacts of natural disasters that are now occurring more frequently due to climate change," Rajesh Upadhyay, Caritas India's head of partner support services, told

He said that the organization has already implemented projects in various Indian states to promote natural and organic farming to reduce dependence on energy-intensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

"We have supported rain water harvesting structures in drought-prone areas and promoted eco-friendly programs in areas prone to floods, drought and landslides," he said.

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