New Delhi: India is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and global action is needed to address that challenge, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
Future growth in both Indian cities as well as in the agricultural sector is at risk from climate change, said Felipe Calderon, former Mexican president and currently Chair of the Global Commission at the 8th India Climate Policy and Business Conclave here, industry chamber FICCI said in a statement Thursday.
"India can create better growth, and at the same time ensure a safe climate for its citizens. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has set out a bold vision for India that will make it a leader in solar energy. We believe it is in India's economic self-interest to go even further," Calderon said at the conference co-organised by the environment ministries of India and Germany and the World Bank.
"The Global Commission highlights huge opportunities for India. It recommends practical steps to make renewable energy cheaper and available to more people, building smarter, better connected cities and harnessing the enormous potential of India's villages by investing in agricultural innovation," he added.
The commission said that India's economic prospects hinge on its ability to meet fast rising demand for energy and securing access to the approximately 300 million people who currently lack it.
"The research conducted for the Commission finds that while the cost of foreign coal is projected to increase, the cost of renewable energy is likely to substantially decrease," it added.
According to the commission, urban sprawl, congestion and severe air pollution are reducing India's productivity.
Half the world's most polluted cities are in India, including the top four in the world - Delhi, Patna, Gwalior and Raipur, it said.
"The Commission recommends loosening building restrictions in order to contain urban sprawl and building better infrastructure including improving public transport," the release added.