Lessons taught by ancestors on conserving the environment have been forgotten and global warming “is a message from God” for course correction, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said today. Vardhan said various international agreements on environment and climate change will not show results unless work in carried out at the ground level. He, however, lauded the international community for coming together to address the problem of global warming that threatens the world. “Our ancestors handed over to us clean rivers, rich fertile land, pure air, forest. But in the process of improving our lives, we did things that led to degradation of environment. This is why God has sent us a message under the name of global warming and climate change,” he said. Vardhan was speaking at an event organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. The minister also urged all stakeholders, including the industry and the consumers, to move towards more environment friendly cooling agents used in refrigerators and air- conditioners. Citing the Montreal Protocol, Vardhan said such treaties under the aegis of the United Nations have helped achieve many important milestones to conserve the environment.
The Minister also spoke of the strong policy leadership given by India during the negotiations for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Under the amendment, three different schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. China, which is the largest producer of HFCs in the world, will reduce HFC use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline. India will reduce the use of HFCs by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline.