At the Global Climate Action Summit, mayors and government functionaries of Indian cities have announced to scale up their actions to combat climate change and to protect people from hazardous climate impacts.
Speaking at the high-level forum on India Climate Actions, convened by NRDC and partners, officials, mayors and organization leaders detailed their plans ranging from heat action to cool roofs and building codes.
In a significant step that will save thousands of lives, Maharashtra Principal Secretary for Financial Reforms Sujata Saunik said six more states would adopt heat action plans.
Soon all 17 states prone to extreme heat will have plans in place to protect communities from deadly temperatures, said the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) quoting the Indian official.
Currently, 30 cities and 11 states in India have such plans, which enable vulnerable groups to take life-saving precautions.
On cool roofs, Telangana Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar said Hyderabad intends to convert 1,000 buildings to cool roofs as part of the city’s Heat Action Plan.
Cool roofs will be used on all low income government housing, as well as on schools and hospitals, to lower indoor temperatures without using electricity.
Ahmedabad Mayor Bijalben Patel said her city will develop a citywide cool roofs policy by 2019.
To increase the energy efficiency of India’s construction boom, Kumar said five more cities in Telangana would adopt energy conservation building codes and online compliance systems by 2020.
Buildings currently account for 30 per cent of India’s electricity consumption.
He also launched a new case study here entitled ‘Getting Climate Ready’ which is aimed at helping other cities and states formulate their own efficient building codes.
For tackling air pollution, Mayor Patel of Ahmedabad discussed the city’s innovative Air Information Response (AIR) Plan, and previewed the findings of a forthcoming study on the plan’s effectiveness.
Combustion of fossil fuels is a major contributor to air pollution in India.
Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak said the city will have 500 electric buses serving residents by 2020, and that all diesel buses will be eliminated by 2021.
Similarly, Telangana will increase its number of electric buses from 40 now to 2,000 by 2019.
As part of the state’s soon-to-be-released Electric Vehicle Policy, all new three-wheel rickshaws must be electric, as no new diesel three-wheelers will be allowed.
Telangana Principal Secretary Kumar said the government aimed to increase solar power capacity by 500 MW by promoting solar parks and rooftops.
The NRDC and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) announced plans to provide 15,000 more solar powered pumps to saltpan farmers in Gujarat.
The NRDC and SEWA also launched a new residential energy project to facilitate access to solar-powered lights, cleaner cookstoves and more efficient appliances. Starting in two pilot villages, the program plans to scale quickly to 10 locations.
During the climate action summit, Pune Mayor Tilak accepted a Policy Innovation Award in honor of a city program employing 3,000 women to collect waste door-to-door from 600,000 houses.
Women in the cooperative ensure that waste is sorted properly for recycling, she said.
Ahmedabad Mayor Patel has also prioritized waste management and pledged that her city will be zero waste by 2031.
(Vishal Gulati is in San Francisco at the invitation of the Climate Trends to cover the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). He can be contacted at email@example.com)