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Modi faces scrutiny over climate stance

Modi faces scrutiny over climate stance

Modi scrutiny

As temperatures soar across India during the ongoing general election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance on climate change has come under scrutiny. Modi has sent conflicting messages on the issue, leaving voters uncertain about his commitment to addressing the climate crisis. On the campaign trail, Modi has touted his government’s efforts to expand renewable energy and reduce India’s reliance on fossil fuels. He has highlighted the country’s ambitious target of installing 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030. Modi has also emphasized India’s leadership in the International Solar Alliance, a coalition of countries working to promote solar energy. However, critics point out that Modi’s actions have not always aligned with his rhetoric on climate change. His government has continued to support the expansion of coal mining and power generation, which remains a major source of India’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, the Modi government opened up 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, a move that environmentalists warned would exacerbate the climate crisis. Modi has also faced criticism for his handling of air pollution, a major environmental and health issue in India.

Modi’s climate policy contradictions

Despite launching the National Clean Air Programme in 2019, air quality in many Indian cities remains poor, with levels of particulate matter far exceeding World Health Organization guidelines. As voters brave the heat to cast their ballots, many are looking for clear commitments from political leaders on addressing climate change. A recent survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that 55% of Indian adults believe that global warming should be a high priority for the government. “We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from more frequent heatwaves to unpredictable monsoons,” said Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based think tank. “We need leaders who will take bold action to reduce emissions and build resilience in our communities.”

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Some experts argue that India’s lack of a strong green political movement has hindered progress on climate action. While environmental issues have gained more attention in recent years, they have not been a central focus of political campaigns or policy debates. “India needs a green political party that can put environmental issues at the forefront of the national agenda,” said Chandra Bhushan, president and CEO of the International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology. “Until we have leaders who prioritize the environment, we will continue to see piecemeal efforts that fall short of what is needed.”

As the election enters its final phase, voters will be watching closely to see if Modi and other political leaders offer a clear vision for addressing the climate crisis. With rising temperatures and increasingly severe weather events, the stakes have never been higher for India and the world.

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