PM Modi vows to more than double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 450 GW by 2022

“We must accept that if we have to overcome a serious challenge like climate change, then what we are doing at the moment is just not enough”

September 23, 2019 08:49 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 08:06 am IST - New York

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the climate summit at UN headquarters in New York on September 23, 2019. Twitter/@UNFCCC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the climate summit at UN headquarters in New York on September 23, 2019. Twitter/@UNFCCC

India’s renewable energy target will be increased to 450 GW, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit here on Monday.

“India today has come not just to talk about the seriousness of this issue, but to present a practical approach and a road map. We believe an ounce of practice is worth more than a tonne of preaching,” he said. 

Comprehensive plan

Speaking in Hindi, Mr. Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the creation of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022 under the Paris Climate Agreement. “What is needed today is a comprehensive approach which covers education, values and everything from lifestyle to developmental philosophy... What we need is a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.”

Also read | ‘You have stolen my dreams’, climate activist Thunberg angrily tells world leaders

India would spend approximately $50 billion “in the next few years” on the Jal Jeevan Mission to conserve water, harvest rainwater and develop water resources, he added.

Mr. Modi also said India planned to “considerably increase the proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel.”

He said India had plans to make the transport sector green through the use of electrical vehicles.


The Prime Minister highlighted his call from banning single-use plastics, the International Solar Alliance, an Indian-led initiative, and that India had provided 160 million families with cooking gas connections.

New initiatives

He also announced two international initiatives. First, a platform with Sweden and other countries, for governments and the private sector to work together to develop low carbon pathways for industry. 

Second, a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. This initiative was approved by the Union Cabinet last month and ₹480 crore has been allocated for technical assistance and projects. 

The U.K., Australia and island nations such as Fiji and the Maldives will be part of this coalition.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had asked leaders to come with “concrete plans” rather than “beautiful speeches”, a message he emphasised at the start of the summit.

Mr. Modi’s early slot, after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacina Ardern and Hilda Heine, the President of the Marshall Islands, was a recognition of India’s leadership in climate action, according to India’s UN envoy Syed Akbaruddin, who briefed the media a few days ago on the summit.

U.S. pulls out

The U.S., Brazil, and South Africa are among countries that will not be speaking at the summit. 

U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence briefly attended the summit and listened to several speeches including Mr. Modi’s.

Highlights from PM Modi's speech:

>> World not doing enough to overcome serious challenge of climate change.

>> Need a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.

>> India will spend $50 billion on water conservation in next few years.

>> India will increase share of non-fossil fuel, will increase renewable energy capacity to beyond 175 GW by 2022 and take it to 400 GW.

>> India will inaugurate on Tuesday solar panels on the roof of the U.N. building, built at a cost of $1 million.

>> 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance initiated by India.

>> Called for a people’s movement to end the use of single use plastic and hoped that it will create an awareness at a global level about the harmful effects of single use plastic.

>> Need is a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.

>> India will spend $50 billion on his government’s ambitious ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ for water conservation, rainwater harvesting and for the development of water resources.

>>  India and China, which faced the highest burden of death from air pollution, will reap the biggest health benefits of a robust climate policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

>> Calls for comprehensive approach which covers everything from education to values, and from lifestyle to developmental philosophy.

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