New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday cited 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg to highlight the importance of fighting climate change and the ecological crisis world over.
Addressing leaders from various countries at the C40 Climate Change Summit via video conference this afternoon, the Aam Aadmi Party chief reiterated some lines of Thunberg’s speech at the UN, where she had accused world leaders of having “stolen our dreams and my childhood with your empty words”.
“People are suffering, people are dying…ecosystems are collapsing,” she had said.
Lauding her courage, Kejriwal said Thunberg was bringing about a revolution, adding that while some might differ on her ways, she was still uniting the world in joining her to fight climate change and pollution.
Calling her a social media star, he also acknowledged her ability to encourage dialogue over the subject like never before. “This shows people now expect us to take concrete measures to tackle the effects of climate change, and now we are ready,” the Delhi chief minister said.
Kejriwal was denied permission by the Modi government to attend the Mayors’ conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, due to the “nature of the event”. The organisers had arranged a video chat for the chief minister.
Also read: Greta Thunberg going radical won’t help Planet Earth
Pollution reduced 25 per cent in Delhi under AAP govt
Kejriwal also used the opportunity to state that pollution had reduced by 25 per cent ever since the AAP government assumed power in the national capital in 2015. He played up the Odd-Even scheme, explaining to his peers that it involved rationing of vehicles wherein those with registration plates that ended in odd numbers were allowed onto the roads on one day, while vehicles with even numbers were allowed the next.
The chief minister claimed that when it was first executed in January 2015, the people of Delhi were happy with the outcome given the feedback he had received. “I was initially warned against it, given that it would have political consequences and would upset the public. But in order to reduce pollution, we decided to go ahead with it,” he said.
He took credit for explaining its benefits to people over electronic media and radio. He also spoke of how the Delhi government put restrictions on construction sites and carried out massive afforestation drives among other measures to check pollution.
Keeping up with his recent tone of cooperative politics, Kejriwal also said that the intention behind stating this was to reiterate the significance of support of his people before bringing any major change in any city.
“The people of the world are ready at this time I feel and if we explain, people will cooperate. I can say this from my personal experience,” he said adding that was also evident from the support that Greta Thunberg was getting.
“Good environmental policies also make good politics,” Kerjiwal concluded on this note.
Also read: Air pollution in cities like Delhi linked to children’s cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, death
Delhi signatory of C40 declaration
Earlier in the day, while addressing the joint press conference of mayors from six big cities, also through video, Kejriwal said that Delhi is now a signatory to the C40 clean air cities declaration.
He added that over the last three years, his government has taken “systematic efforts” in the fields of mobility and infrastructure to check pollution. He said the Delhi government plans to introduce 1,000 electric buses in the next few months and also shift other vehicles into the electric mode.
On industrial areas in Delhi, he said that the AAP government initiated a subsidy scheme through which industries are being incentivised for switching to cleaner fuels.
“Earlier, Delhi used to have a lot of power cuts. Over the past two years, we have ensured that the city gets uninterrupted power supply because of which as many as 0.5 million diesel generator sets, which were used as a power-backup, have become redundant,” he said.
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