The Maharashtra government will form a state council to tackle the issues of climate change and formulate a time-bound action plan within a month.
The state’s Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said climate crisis and environmental issues are part of the weekly cabinet meetings, reported Hindustan Times. He referred to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which highlighted the danger of rising sea levels due to climate change.
He said the state government is taking the threat to Mumbai as seriously. "The threat is not just because of rising sea levels, but also due to increased frequency of unseasonal rains and landslides," said Thackeray.
Although the report mentions that this is the last decade for taking action, Thackeray warned that the state might not have the luxury of time to deal with this issue. He added that the IPCC report calls it a "climate emergency" and all departments related to climate change will be involved in this council and help formulate the action plan within a month.
A statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that the council will be headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and co-chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
"The state will work on the 5 Rs -- Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Recover as declared by the United Nations," the statement read.
Time-Bound Action Plan
The first job of the council will be to prepare an action plan after coordinating with other departments of the state like energy, transport, and agriculture. Thackeray reiterated that the action plan will lay out the goals of the state government to tackle climate change and that they have already started taking action towards this through the Electric Vehicles Policy, Aarey forest among other initiatives.
Interdepartmental Conferences and Coordination
A senior official of the Maharashtra government identified five different sectors which need to be addressed -- urban development, transport, energy, agriculture, and industries. He added that the council can provide a unique forum for all the departments to co-ordinate and hold interdepartmental conferences since the environment department cannot directly ask these individual departments to come up with their own plans for mitigating climate change. The climate council will have its own funding, added the senior official.
The Maharashtra government is expected to move towards "decarbonizing the power sector" and introduce an "electric, non-motorized transport system". Regarding industries and urban development, it said that it will work towards "33 percent mandatory green cover" and "sustainable eco-friendly buildings". There were no specific details provided but the state government also intends to bring about "reforms" in the agriculture sector.
First Published: IST