Spars with UN executive director
Neha Sethi | June 4, 2011
Even after utilising sources of renewable energy like biogas, India cannot do without coal, hydel and nuclear energy to meet its energy demands, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said while addressing a curtain raiser for World Environment Day (WED) to be celebrated on June 5 in New Delhi.
“Don’t be under the romantic illusion that India, with 1.2 billion people can meet its energy requirements through biogas, ox energy etc,” the minister said. He added that there was no alternative to increasing the use of conventional energy.
Achim Steiner, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director, said at the same event said that nuclear energy becomes more expensive as you use it more. “But in the case of renewable, the more you use and produce, the cheaper it will become,” he said, “There is a major shift towards renewables all over the world. The world is moving towards a green energy matrix.” He added that a lot of countries in Europe and even Africa are moving towards renewable energy. Ramesh, however, said that every country had to decide on its energy matrix depending on its energy endowments.
India is hosting the WED celebrations for the first time. “We are proud that the world environment day is being hosted by India for the first time,” Steiner said.
On India being the host this year, Ramesh said that India needs to play an active role in the international environmental discourse.
Talking about the Green Haat set up inside the Dilli Haat for the WED celebrations in New Delhi, Ramesh said that here we have seen an unusual display of non-timber forest produce. He said that the Green Haat set up especially for the environment day celebrations would be made an annual feature.
Speaking on the role of women in climate change mitigation, the minister said that the leadership on local environmental issues is being provided by women in the country. “Women are the leaders in propagating this issue as it is a livelihood issue for them,” he added.
Ramesh said there is no other civilisation other than India where nature is so much a part of the country’s culture. But, he added, “There is no country that disrespects it (nature) as much as us.” He said that we throw our flowers, garlands and incense sticks in our rivers and say some “mumbo jumbo” and think we are praying.
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