First meeting of climate panel led by PM on Jan 19

The first meeting of a reconstituted high-level climate panel, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be held on January 19 to discuss the challenges of climate change, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Friday.

Gurgaon: The first meeting of a reconstituted high-level climate panel, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be held on January 19 to discuss the challenges of climate change, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Friday.

The 'Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change', which was set by the UPA government way back in 2007, was re-constituted by the Modi government by dropping well-known environmentalist Sunita Narain and top industry leader Ratan Tata from the council.

"The first meeting of PM's Council on Climate Change will be held on January 19. We will discuss policy actions to address the crisis of climate change and promote sustainable green practices," Javadekar said after inaugurating the 'Prakriti School' set up by policy research body TERI.

The panel is tasked with evolving a coordinated national action for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change at the national level.

Besides Javadekar, the 18-member panel comprises External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh and Coal Minister Piyush Goel.

The panel also has climate experts like former bureaucrat J M Mouskar apart from the Cabinet Secretary and secretaries of the External Affairs and Environment ministries. Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, is the member convenor of the panel.

Ajay Mathur, chairperson of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, TERI chairperson R K Pachauri, economist Nitin Desai and retired diplomat Chandrasekhar Dasgupta have been retained as a member of the panel.

Javadekar said that the government is working on two initiatives to encourage sustainable green practices.

One is to promote green buildings by identifying such structures by 'signages' and the other is to initiate a study with other countries on climate change, he said.

"To promote green buildings, we will soon finalise an initiative to identify green buildings with very good 'signages.' This is the way to go ahead. We are crowdsourcing ideas and designs for this purpose," Javadekar said.

He also said that a study would be initiated to know 'if the world makes some adjustments in lifestyles, what it can contribute to the whole crisis of climate change'.

"The world talks about climate change but works little about it. We are taking some sustainable measures like promoting use of LED lights. The world must also make some adjustments in lifestyles," he said.

Stating that climate change can be addressed by adopting sustainable practices, the Minister called upon people to stop using plastic bags.

He said that the country generates 2 million tonnes of plastic waste in a year that cannot be recycled.

"Everyday, the country generates 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste, out of which only 9,000 tonnes gets recycled. Rag pickers pick up the plastic that is recycled," he added.

Javadekar lauded TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) for setting up a school with a focus on sustainable learning and living practices.

"The building of any institute is not important but how you build it is important. Our nature is our best teacher and teaches us very beautifully. Our civilization and lifestyle is very pro-environment. Sustainable practices are the need of the 21st century," he said.

Addressing the event, TERI Director General R K Pachauri said, "At Prakriti School, children will be motivated to excel in all the subjects taught as part of the CBSE and other curricula, but with a strong foundation that inculcates reverence for nature and a focus on sustainable development."

The school, spread in 100 acres of lush green, will sensitise students on issues, such as climate change, reducing carbon footprint, proper and effective utilisation of natural resources from a very young age, he said.

The school plans to start its first academic session from April 2015. It would initially enrol students for kindergarten to third class. Later, it will offer upto 12th class.