Addressing the World Bank Event: How Behavioral Change Can Tackle Climate Change
New Delhi ,
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, today addressed the World Bank event titled ‘Making it Personal: How Behavioral Change Can Tackle Climate Change’. In his video message, he expressed his personal connection to the theme and highlighted his pleasure that it is now becoming a global movement.
Importance of Small Deeds
In his address, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of small deeds by quoting Chanakya. He stated that each good deed for the planet, by itself, may seem insignificant, but when billions of people across the world do it together, the impact is huge. He emphasized that individuals making the right decisions for our planet are key in the battle for our planet. This belief is the core of Mission LiFE.
Genesis of Mission LiFE
The Prime Minister recalled that in 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly, he spoke about the need for behavioral change. In October 2022, he and the UN Secretary-General launched Mission LiFE. He mentioned that the preamble to the outcome document of CoP-27 also speaks about sustainable lifestyle and consumption. The Prime Minister pointed out that if people understand that it is not just the government but they too can contribute, “their anxiety will turn into action”. He elaborated that climate change cannot be fought from conference tables alone. It has to be fought from the dinner tables in every home. When an idea moves from discussion tables to dinner tables, it becomes a mass movement. Making every family and every individual aware that their choices can help the planet can provide scale and speed. Mission LiFE is about democratising the battle against climate change. When people become conscious that simple acts in their daily lives are powerful, there will be a very positive impact on the environment.
Efforts under Mission LiFE
Under Mission LiFE, the government’s efforts are spread across many domains such as making local bodies environment-friendly, saving water, saving energy, reducing waste and e-waste, adopting healthy lifestyles, adoption of natural farming, and promotion of millets. These efforts will save over twenty-two billion units of energy, save nine trillion litres of water, reduce waste by three hundred and seventy-five million tons, recycle almost one million tons of e-waste and generate around one hundred and seventy million dollars of additional cost savings by 2030. The Prime Minister elaborated that this will also help reduce the wastage of fifteen billion tons of food. He highlighted the enormity of this effort by comparing it to the global primary crop production in 2020, which was about nine billion tons, according to FAO.
Examples from India
Shri Modi illustrated his thinking with examples from India and said “in this matter of mass movements and behavior transformation, the people of India have done a lot in the last few years.” He gave examples of improved sex ratio, massive cleanliness drive, adoption of LED bulbs which helps in avoiding nearly 39 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions every year, and saving water by coverage of nearly seven hundred thousand hectares of farmland by micro-irrigation.
Global Institutions and Their Role
Prime Minister Modi emphasized that global institutions have an important role to play in encouraging countries across the world. Referring to the World Bank Group’s proposed increase in climate finance from 26% to 35%, as a share of total financing, he said that the focus of this climate finance is usually on conventional aspects. He concluded that adequate financing methods need to be worked out for behavioral initiatives too. A show of support by the World Bank towards behavioral initiatives such as Mission LiFE will have a multiplier effect.