NCCC needed to tackle climate change: Aditya Thackeray

India needs a National Council on Climate Change that can be chaired by the Prime Minister and elected representatives from the states as its members, Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said as one of the measures to tackle climate change.

“Given the gravity of our situation, my message to all fellow environment ministers across India is that we need to unite and take collective climate action. Collaboration across fields to build climate resilience is a necessity today,” Thackeray told DH in an interview to coincide with World Environment Day.

Thackeray, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who leads one of India’s largest climate action plans in Maharashtra, said: “As Minister of the Environment, but more importantly, as elected representatives, we must act decisively on climate change. Disaster losses and damage related to climate change have an impact on our environment, economy and society.”

Thackeray, who also holds the Tourism and Protocol portfolio, pointed out that the Maharashtra government has paid more than Rs 14,000 crores in compensation for extreme weather events in just the last two years.

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“This gives an idea of ​​the scale of the loss of lives and livelihoods we are facing today due to climate change and its impacts. We are already witnessing an increase in the frequency of floods and hurricanes. Just a few weeks ago, the entire Indian subcontinent was sweating under a scorching heatwave,” he said.

According to him, subnational action is the way forward. “In addition, local governments need to join hands with non-state actors such as businesses, investors and civil society in fighting climate change. India emphasized Panchamrit’s vision at COP26 to meet its climate goals. It is now up to the state government to take the lead. Countries can devise local solutions to their climate woes.”

Elaborating further, he said: “In keeping with the climate issues they are dealing with specifically, our state should meaningfully engage with the above-mentioned stakeholders to advance India’s climate ambitions and agenda. In fact, the Maharashtra government is working with organizations such as the Under2 Coalition and the C40 Cities of the Climate Group, through which we collaborate and work with subnational governments in India and abroad.”

When asked about the Mumbai Climate Action Plan having set some ambitious targets while 43 cities have signed up for Race to Zero in the state, he said: “At COP26, India set an ambitious 2070 net-zero target. As a local government, Maharashtra will lead from the front and accelerate the achievement of our national goals as early as possible. Maharashtra is already a partner in the United Nations Race for Resilience. Given that our state contributes the highest percentage of India’s GDP, it has the resources to become NetZero by early 2050”.

With this in mind, the government conceptualized Majhi Vasundhara Abhiyan as a statewide program to build grassroots-level climate resilience. If Maharashtra achieves its Net Zero targets so quickly by adopting a sustainable development trajectory, then it creates a competitive atmosphere for other states to achieve their Net Zero goals. This will only accelerate the achievement of India’s Net Zero goal. Only by working together can we ensure that India sets a precedent internationally by achieving the goal of Net Zero earlier than 2070.

According to him, the Maharashtra government has formed the Maharashtra Council on Climate Change which will be chaired by the Chief Minister and co-chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister and the Minister of Revenue.

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