UN chief and Indian PM launch climate action scheme

Un Chief And Indian Pm Launch Climate Action Scheme
Antonio Guterres, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Sibi Arasu, AP

The Indian government’s flagship programme to encourage individual and collective action on climate has been launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Mission Life, where “life” is an acronym for “lifestyle for environment”, is designed to encourage individual behaviours like switching off vehicle engines at traffic lights, turning off taps when not in use and switching to longer-lasting alternatives to single-use plastic bags.


The Indian government estimates those actions, if taken on a national scale, could significantly limit emissions, water use and waste.

The programme hopes to “mobilise one billion Indians as well as people in other countries to become individuals who practice sustainable lifestyles”, said Param Iyer, CEO of Niti Aayog, a government-supported think tank spearheading the Mission Life programme alongside India’s federal environment and climate change ministry.

Mr Guterres, who is on a three-day visit to India and was at the program’s unveiling in the north-western Gujarat state, hoped the focus on more sustainable living “can spread throughout the world”.


While they see the potential benefit of such an initiative to reduce emissions, climate experts are still unclear about how the project will play out.

Nagraj Adve of the climate advocacy group, Teachers Against the Climate Crisis, said: “At an individual level, Mission Life is a welcome measure, both ethically and environmentally.”

But he added that “the programme needs to be complemented by enabling policies such as higher income and wealth taxes, making flights more expensive, promoting renewable energy and more public transport” to encourage lifestyle changes.


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

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