Climate: Call to Action from School Girls & Meeting PM Modi

While the Trump Administration attempts to censor the truth, the ground realities are that climate change is pushing weather extremes “off the scale”. It is clear we need to act.
Prime Minister Modi meets with TERI’s Dr. Ajay Mathur, NRDC’s Frances Beinecke and other leaders in New Delhi
Credit: TERI

While the Trump Administration attempts to censor the truth, the ground realities are that climate change is pushing weather extremes “off the scale”. It is clear we need to act. Fortunately, as highlighted during the recent World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) in New Delhi, developing economies, such as India and China, are taking strong action on climate change. The call to action is not just from world leaders, but from everyday people, including school girls urging everyone to act on climate change and to “be the change”.

Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), WSDS is a major global sustainability summit. While several climate-related summits are held every year, WSDS is unique. It is one of the few that focuses on developing countries.

The spotlight on developing countries is critical. With their emerging economies, the energy pathways for most developing countries have yet to be determined, yielding major opportunities for clean energy growth. At the same time, they are the most vulnerable to climate change and face severe environmental challenges with potentially dire global economic impacts, including climate refugees. Developing countries are also working to simultaneously solve climate change, spur economic growth and bring millions of people out of poverty—no easy task.

Women, including girls, in developing countries are among some of the most vulnerable to climate change. A confounding set of factors, including poverty, economic inequality, and less access to education among others make women more vulnerable to climate change. Yet women and girls are also drivers of change and “agents of hope for adaptation to and mitigation of abrupt climate change”. That’s why it was so inspiring to hear local school girls during the WSDS, urging the WSDS leaders to “be the change”. The NRDC team along with Frances Beinecke, NRDC Action Fund Trustee and NRDC Immediate Past President, had the chance to meet the young leaders.

Video link with NRDC’s Frances Beinecke with girls from Sister Nivedita School, urging for climate action and “to be the change”.  

NRDC’s team had the opportunity to attend Prime Minister Modi’s WSDS address, and NRDC’s Frances Beinecke met Prime Minister Modi at the summit. During his speech, the Prime Minister emphasized that “reducing emissions is everyone’s responsibility” and that India along with leading developing countries is taking action. It is ironic that just a few years ago, developing countries, especially India, were often doubted on their commitment and often painted as “deal breakers” and “blockers” on climate action. Today, the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, through the Trump Administration is shrinking from commitment while developing economies are moving forward. For example, India just achieved a total of 20 gigawatts of total installed solar energy this year, just eight years since announcing its initial solar target.

During the summit, NRDC experts engaged in discussions on challenges and solutions to critical climate and environmental challenges—including air pollution, climate finance, cooling, and extreme heat. The highlighted sessions included:

  • Breathing Clean Air: Institutional Frameworks” plenary session featuring the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary C.K. Mishra, with Frances Beinecke, NRDC Action Fund Trustee and releasing a new factsheet by NRDC and the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, “Clearing the Air: Highlighting Actions on Fighting Air Pollution in India
  • “Innovative Financial Mechanisms: Raising the Trillions for Low Carbon Investments and Climate Resilience” thematic track session chaired by Dipak Dasgupta with Douglass Sims, NRDC clean energy finance expert
  • “Affordable and Efficient Cooling: Maximizing Climate Benefits with Refrigerant Change” thematic track session chaired by Dr. Ajay Mathur with highlights from NRDC cooling experts
  • “Cities and Heat Stress” with Anjali Jaiswal, NRDC India program director

Partnerships to create and implement programs to build a resilient planet are vital to transforming to clean energy economies. Despite the Trump Administration’s climate denial, the global transformation continues this week with French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to New Delhi to co-chair the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. NRDC looks forward to working with partners in India around the world to “be the change.”

WSDS session videos:

PM Modi at WSDS inaugural: Part 1, part 2, part 3
Minister Harsh Vardhan at WSDS inaugural
Ajay Mathur, TERI at WSDS inaugural
Keynote address by Jeffrey Sachs
Air pollution plenary
Innovative financial mechanisms thematic track

WSDS Summit Bulletins:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3



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