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.

Modi made the remark while speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar city. “Our effort, in this decade, will be to increase the share of natural gas in our energy requirements by four times,” he said.

A carbon footprint refers to the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, an activity or an organisation.

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.

Modi said that India was also working to double its oil refining capacity over the next five years. He told students that there were immense growth and employment opportunities in India’s energy sector.

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.

“There is a lot to do for the country, but your commitment, your aim should not be fragmented,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. “You see that only they become successful in life, who do something with a sense of responsibility.”

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.

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