Delhi joins UN-backed campaign to build climate resilience, commits to 25 pc green cover – EQ
Delhi has joined the “Race to Resilience”, a UN-backed campaign to catalyse a step-change in the global ambition for climate resilience, with pledges including achieving a 25 per cent green cover within the next five years.
Delhi’s participation in the “Race to Resilience”, announced during an event at the Climate Week NYC on Wednesday, comes with a set of commitments aimed at enhancing climate resilience while fostering sustainable development.
These include investments in circular economy to re-purpose and reduce waste and in decentralised renewable energy sources to enhance access to clean and sustainable energy.
As part of the campaign, the Delhi government has also committed to increasing the green space and tree planting, aiming to achieve a 25 per cent green cover in the next five years. According to the India State of Forest Report, Delhi’s green cover currently stands at 23.06 per cent. The government said initiatives, such as the Delhi City of Lakes project, will rejuvenate water bodies, improve water quality and reduce flooding. Delhi is one of the hottest cities in India and ranks among the most susceptible to heat waves due to its large population and a significant concentration of lower-income groups. Extreme heat is hurting local productivity, putting vulnerable populations at risk and contributing to the rapidly rising energy demand.
Heat waves are becoming more intense and frequent due to climate change. Delhi’s draft action plan on climate change says the city is projected to suffer losses of Rs 2.75 lakh crore by 2050 due to the impacts of climate change, with changes in precipitation and temperature patterns posing significant threats to the most vulnerable populations. “Our government is committed to implementing sustainable cooling and heat resilience strategies. I firmly believe that the Delhi Heat Action Plan (HAP) will prioritise the marginalised communities, particularly those living in substandard homes that serve as heat traps,” a UN statement quoted Reena Gupta, advisor to the city government, as saying.
Delhi has also set its eyes on becoming a national and global leader in rooftop solar generation through the new Delhi Solar Policy. The overarching objective is to increase the installed capacity of rooftop solar plants to meet 10 per cent of Delhi’s annual energy demand, a transformation that is anticipated to create 40,000 new green jobs in this sector. Delhi had also launched an electric vehicle (EV) policy in August 2020 to improve the air quality by rapidly increasing EV adoption, targeting a 25 per cent share of EVs in new vehicle registrations by 2024. “The government’s existing policies and programmes demonstrate a commitment to improving the resilience of urban infrastructure, environment, energy, water supply and transportation systems. The government is dedicated to building climate resilience at the local level, enhancing environmental sustainability, and preparing the city to face the challenges posed by climate change,” Gupta said.
Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, said: “Communities must build resilience to climate change and Delhi’s ambitions are exemplary. We can learn from the pragmatic, realistic and just solutions-oriented approach that the city of Delhi is providing. For example, boosting clean energy using rooftop solar plants in residential areas or advancing the technology used for monitoring local air pollution.” Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27, congratulated Delhi for joining the campaign and aligning to the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda launched at the UN climate conference in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh last year. “Delhi is showing that climate action can be approached holistically, offering solutions that are inclusive and affordable for both investors and the community,” he said.