Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India had set a target of cutting down its carbon footprint by 30% to 35% and increasing the use of natural gas. He did not elaborate on a timeline for this though. He made the statement while addressing the convocation ceremony of Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) here through video conference. ‘Today, our country is moving ahead with the target of reducing the carbon footprint by 30 to 35 per cent. When I told this to the world, it expressed surprise and wondered if India can achieve it,’ he said. ‘Efforts are on to increase the use of natural gas capacity four times during this decade, and work is also on to nearly double the oil refining capacity in the next five years,’ he said.

The prime minister also spoke about how India was making progress in the field of solar power. “India is moving swiftly on the solar energy scale,” Modi said. “Today, the per unit cost has dropped from Rs 12-13 to under Rs 2. Solar power has become an integral part of the nation.” Modi added that India aimed to generate 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

The prime minister also said that students must become soldiers the “aatmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India. He told the students that the country was going through a huge phase of transition and that they had the responsibility of building the future. Modi also said that work is constantly going on to strengthen the start-ups in the energy sector, and a special fund has been allocated for the purpose. ‘If you have any idea, product or a concept that you want to incubate, then this fund will be a good opportunity for you, and a gift from the government,’ he said. ‘In the oil and gas sector alone, crores of rupees are going to be invested during this decade, so you have a lot of opportunities in this field,’ he added.

The Ministry of Environment had said in August that India’s carbon emissions for 2020 were predicted to reduce by around 8% because of the coronavirus lockdown. In July 2019, the United Nations had asked India to update and enhance its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It had said India could announce its strategy to reduce emissions at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23. In 2015, at the Paris Agreement, the world had decided to limit global warming to two degree Celsius below pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degree Celsius.