UN chief, Indian PM launch climate action program

BENGALURU, India (HPD) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday launched the Indian government’s flagship program to encourage individual and collective action against climate change.

The Misión Vida initiative — Mission Life in English, where “life” is an acronym for “lifestyle for the environment” — is designed to encourage individual behaviors such as turning off vehicle engines at traffic lights, turning off taps when not are being used and opt for more durable alternatives to single-use plastic bags. The government estimates that these actions, if adopted on a national scale, could significantly limit emissions, water consumption and waste.

The program hopes to “mobilize 1 billion Indians, as well as people in other countries, to become people who practice sustainable lifestyles,” said Param Iyer, director general of Niti Aayog, a government-backed think tank. government that runs the program together with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

For his part, Guterres, who is on a three-day visit to India and was at the launch of the program in the northwestern state of Gujarat, hoped that the focus on a more sustainable way of life “can spread throughout the world.”

While they see the potential benefit of such an initiative for emissions reductions, climate experts say its end result was unclear.

“On an individual level, Mission Life is a welcome move, both ethically and environmentally,” said Nagraj Adve of the environmental advocacy group Teachers Against the Climate Crisis.

But he added that “the program must be complemented with support policies such as the increase in income and wealth taxes, the increase in the cost of flights, the promotion of renewable energies and the increase in public transport” to encourage changes in the style of life.

“It remains to be seen if the government will work towards all of this,” he added.

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