Mumbai and four other cities in Maharashtra will soon be joining the much talked about global ‘Race to Zero’ campaign. This move comes as a run up to the 2021 United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November this year in the United Kingdom (UK).
Environment and Tourism Minister of Maharashtra Aaditya Thackeray recently shared this development while talking about the efforts being made to achieve state-wide climate resilience with Climate Voices, which is a collaborative initiative, working at engaging citizens on climate change as well as amplifying solutions.
The four other cities include Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nashik that will be joining this campaign. ‘Race to Zero’ was launched in December, 2020, and is led by several international bodies rallying against climate change, including C40 cities. As per United Nations Climate Change (UNCC), cities joining ‘Race to Zero’ will seek to prevent future climate threats, create jobs, and unlock sustainable growth.
According to the experts working on climate action, cities under this campaign acknowledge and recognise the global climate emergency, keep climate resilience in line with urban decision-making and pledge to reach ‘net zero’ by 2040s or before. The cities are expected to identify priority actions that will be taken over the next decade.
Climate change has been a huge concern for Maharashtra. A recent study stated that, in the last 50 years, the state had recorded a seven-fold increase in drought events and a six-fold increase in the frequency of extreme flood events, impacting livelihoods across the state. The state also has a high climate risk due to heatwaves and droughts, affecting every sector from agriculture to industries.
In his interaction, Thackeray said that he strongly believes that climate mitigation and adaptation will not remain an option anymore. “It is unavoidable and urgent. We need to take it to the common man and make it a part of mainstream politics. It also needs to be part of every level of governance, legislation, judiciary, and corporate structure,” said Thackeray.
Maharashtra is also planning to float its Non-Conventional Energy Policy soon and will be making an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore by 2025 and intends to generate non-conventional energy with a key focus on solar.
“Our commitment is to have a minimum of 25% of our overall energy needs to be met through solar energy by 2025. Innovative methods like solarising highways, barren farmlands and floating solar panels on our dams are a part of that effort,” said Thackeray.