Developed countries should reconsider their pattern of consumption and focus on sustainable lifestyles, said Piyush Goyal

Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday called for decoupling the trade policy and the green goals, stating trade policy should look for more inclusive growth all over the world.

Speaking at the UN Trade Forum 2021, he said a clean environment and inclusive development which is sustainable, is a priority agenda for India. The Minister said that India’s long-standing position has been that measures related to environment and sustainability should not be linked to trade.

The Minister said India’s per-capita CO2 emission is the lowest amongst big economies, and despite that, in India, “we are still doing our part, and our ambitious renewable energy target of 450 Gigawatts by 2030 shows our commitment towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

He said that Climate justice should be protected and developed countries should reconsider their pattern of consumption and focus on sustainable lifestyles.

The Minister said that India has taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and biodiversity, and that is why India is among the few countries whose NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) are 2-degree-Celsius compatible.

“We have also encouraged global initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” the Minister said.

Goyal said the UN and the UNFCCC should focus on getting the world together to fulfil their commitments around climate change.

Issues relating to climate change need to be discussed under the UNFCCC Framework and the Paris Agreement, and not as part of trade negotiations. Trade Agreements are not the first best option to achieve these goals.

Narrating the steps taken for a cleaner environment, Goyal said that over the last 7 years, “we have focused in India on ensuring100% electricity connections, 100% access to toilets, 100% financial inclusion and 100% of our population gets clean cooking gas.”

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apprised the G7 countries yesterday that by 2030 Indian Railways will run on clean energy and be a ‘net zero’ Railways.

He said that India is taking mobility very seriously, and we are working with other countries in developing hydrogen as a means of mobility in the future.

Goyal said that a large investment on healthcare is India's focus and it is also focusing on renewable energy production & infrastructure. He said India can and will play a very important role in ensuring equitable availability of vaccines and medicines.

He said that India is often called the Pharmacy of the World, and “we have the capability and the intention to be an important element in this effort to vaccinate the world.”

“We have the world’s largest free healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, under which 500 million people in India have access to medical facilities free of charges. We are going to expand it to 100% coverage for every citizen”, he added.

The Minister expressed hope that credit rating agencies like IMF, which dictate the financial architecture of the world, do not land up being unfairly harsh on the developing and less developed countries. He said that this is the time to be more compassionate, liberal and supportive.

He emphasized that the options to make available environmentally friendly technology to developing countries at affordable prices should be explored.

The developed countries should take the lead by ensuring transfer of affordable green technology to the developing countries and also provide the lead market for clean and green products manufactured in the developing countries, he added.