Amid the green versus industry debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said protection of environment and promoting development need not amount to a "zero sum game" and called for transparent regulatory regimes to pursue environmental and economic objectives in tandem.
Singh also said that India is committed to meeting its domestic mitigation goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. He, however, criticised the developed world for not willing to enhance their "ambition levels."
"I would also like to mention that protection of the environment and promoting development need not amount to a zero sum game. What is required is regulatory regimes that are transparent, accountable and subject to oversight and monitoring," he said.
Addressing the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit organised by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) here on the theme "Global Challenge of Resource Efficient Growth and Development," Singh said, "Indeed, regulatory regimes are often the basic necessary condition to ensure that environmental and economic objectives are pursued in tandem."
His statement came at a time when a number of mining and infrastructure projects like South Korean steel giant Posco's Rs 52,000-crore plant in Odisha remained stalled due to delay in land and environment regulatory clearances.
Singh said climate change has become the face of many challenges in the pursuit of sustainable development and it can only be tackled through coordinated global action.
The Prime Minister hailed the industrialised world for adopting a second commitment period till 2020 under the Kyoto Protocol for emissions reductions, but said "real progress cannot be achieved if developed countries are not willing to enhance their ambition levels."
"For its part, our country is committed to meeting its domestic mitigation goal of reducing the emissions intensity of our GDP by 20-25 per cent by year 2020 compared with 2005 levels," he added.
Singh said growing population, changing consumption
patterns and the consequent pressure on precious natural resources are real challenges that India face in its pursuit of economic growth and the amelioration of poverty.
"The present global inequities built into the global economic order are patently unsustainable," he said, advocating re-engineering of economies in ways that are both "frugal and innovative" in their use of scarce resources.
The Prime Minister said that one resource of particular concern to India and in many other developing countries is that of fresh water.
"The depletion of groundwater has already become a major problem in many districts in our country," he said, adding meeting the rising urban demand for fresh water implies rising costs as supplies have to come from great and greater distances.
"Projections of water demand and availability give an alarming picture of rising scarcities. We need, therefore, to focus attention on water conservation and water efficiency with the sort of zeal that today drives energy conservation and efficiency in the use of energy," he added.
Singh said that success in sustainable development efforts is also dependent on the degree of use of innovative mechanisms and asked the policymakers and scientists to provide adequate attention to the importance and economic value of ecosystem services in development strategies and policies, particularly while addressing the needs of the vulnerable and poor and marginalised communities.
"Concepts like Green National Accounting are useful tools that could help us ensure that goods and services are produced with minimal ecological and social impact," the Prime Minister said.
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