India vulnerable to climate change due to heavy population: Former UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim

The former United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director attributed the vulnerability of climate change in India to the heavy population, loss of nature and destruction of forest

June 11, 2023 12:56 pm | Updated June 12, 2023 12:41 am IST - Coimbatore

Erik Solheim gestures while addressing the audience at a symposium on World Environment Day in New Delhi.

Erik Solheim gestures while addressing the audience at a symposium on World Environment Day in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: Reuters

United Nations’ former Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Erik Solheim has said that India is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its heavy population.

"You see the effects of climate change everywhere in the world. But of course, India is particularly vulnerable to climate change because it has a heavy population and the kind of nature of India makes it more vulnerable than most other places," Mr. Solheim said during the Youth 20 (Y20) talk on climate action.

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Y20 is an official consultation forum for youth from all G20 member countries to be able to dialogue with each other. The former UNEP Executive Director said that India is facing the same environmental issues as the planet at large.

"There is massive pollution, in particular in northern Indian cities like Delhi that are very polluted. India is facing climate change and is vulnerable to climate change. America and India have been facing the loss of nature, destruction of forest, wiping out of a number of animals," he added.

Mr. Solheim said the world has "been much warmer than normal for this time of the year, and that's affecting everyone. But if you take a more global perspective, also, you had the huge flooding last year in Pakistan and huge wildfires in America and Europe. Southern Europe was on fire last summer. China had massive flooding the year before last, and last year they had a drought."

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He said that China has gone for 100% electrification, and the need for the globe is to go for electric systems to save the environment.

"China is the world leader in electric cars. It's the world leader in solar and wind energy, and there is no doubt that one out of every four cars sold in China last year was electric. And nearly all buses in the Chinese cities are now gone electric, which is a major achievement, but others will follow," he said.

He added that many Indian cities are now introducing electric buses. "There are 27 cities in India now introducing metro systems. So you see massive positive developments in India also and in ten years' time, I think, every new car sold in India will be electric. And you will have charging stations, charging stations everywhere," he added.

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