Environment has no Place in Elections

Bangalore Elections State

No political party has spoken about climate change and other policies in their election manifestos

By Priyanka D

Bangalore, April 10, 2019.

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections are upon us, but political parties haven’t given any thought to either water conservation or the environment in their election manifestos. While many campaigns promise employment, poverty reduction, healthcare, and education, nobody has mentioned climate change policies, water scarcity, and conservation solutions.

According to the action plan of 2018-19, the total budget of Rs. 150 crores has been allocated to the climate change division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

There were steps taken by the government for the environment but no political party mentioned anything about it. Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change released the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) on March 8 this year, in order to reduce refrigerant demand for environmental and socio-economic benefits.

Devang Pethkar, an environmental studies student from Bangalore University said, “There’s already scarcity of water in Bangalore and on top of that, political parties, which, by the way are our elected representatives, do not show any concerns for it – then what’s the point of me going out to vote in this scorching heat?”

Akshay Heblikar, an environmentalist from Bangalore said that this is a bad move especially during the Lok Sabha elections. “If political parties which are going to get elected by us in a couple of days do not care about water scarcity and the environment, then it makes zero sense for us to vote for them. These items should definitely have been included in their election programs.”

A Press Information Bureau report says that “in the pre-2020 period, India announced its voluntary goal to reduce the emission intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 20-25% from 2005 levels by 2020. According to Biennial Update Report submitted by Government of India to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016, India has achieved 12% reduction in emission intensity between 2005 and 2010, and is on course to achieve the voluntary goal by 2020.

Under the Paris Agreement, India has submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC, outlining eight targets for 2021-2030, including:

1/  To reduce Emission Intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level.

2/ To achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).

3/ To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

The other targets pertain to sustainable lifestyles; climate-friendly growth path; climate change adaptation; climate change finance; and capacity building and technology.”