He was releasing Mr. Modi's book on climate change, titled 'Convenient Action: Gujarat's to Challenges of Climate Change', published by Macmillan Publishers India Ltd, at a largely attended function at Tagore hall here.
Modi is the second political leader in the world after former Vice President of USA Al Gore to have written a complete book on climate change. This is his first book in English.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said how his Vedic readings inspired him to believe in the complementary relationship between human beings and nature.
Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Trusteeship, he said the present generation had the responsibility to act as a trustee of wealth and nature for the future generations. And, the reckless destruction of ecological harmony has heightened the ethical responsibility of our generation. He focused on the need to bring in ethics and equity at the core of the debate on climate change.
He said the future generation and the poor and downtrodden are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to the issue of climate change. Climate change definitely affects the future generation which, as of now, has no voice on the actions of present generation. And of course poor and downtrodden are and will be worst affected by climate shocks, extreme weather conditions, etc. Thus he called for attention to shift the whole discourse on ‘climate change’ to one of ‘climate justice’.
He urged everyone not to let this ecological debt be transferred to the future generations and keep climate justice in mind in all our actions.
Speaking on the occasion, former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said that climate change is a global cancer and we must promote clean nation. he said the initiatives enumerated in the book are a beacon of inspiration as the book shows the way to 'practicable solution' and 'preventing damage to the environment'.
Stressing the need for water conservation, Kalam said that Gujarat is leading by example in agriculture growth which has exceeded 9 per cent. It did because of farm level water conservation and micro water conservation that saw 3,50,000 check dams and village ponds being built and which benefited 13 million people of the state.
Dr R K Pachauri, Director-General, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) and Chairman, Noble Laureate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who also graced the occasion, said that 12 countries in the world are on the verge of becoming failed states due to climate change. If we have a failed state amongst us then no state can remain immune.
He said that climate change is a real threat today and there is no time to cast doubt. Environmental degradation is a reality. Green house gases are the root cause of the problem. Gujarat is better placed to respond to climate change under the able leadership of Mr. Modi to bring about a change in societal order,"
Elaborating on the devastation that climate change can cause, Mr. Pachauri recounted the 2009 floods which affected a number of states in India and the drought in other parts that affected 86 million people of 14 states. "If we have to avoid repeat of such catastrophes we need as a bare necessity judicious water management and inter-linking of rivers.
Only two leaders in the world have written about climate change. One is former vice-president of the United States Al Gore and another is Narendra Modi, "Narendrabhai has chosen a subject that is pertinent. He is not preaching as he has documented facts what he has done in this regard in Gujarat. In a way, Mr. Modi's 'Convenient Action' is an answer to Mr. Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth'."
When a new idea crops up in a new area there is resistance from certain quarters. True leadership is making the impossible possible and in the chief minister's book 'Convenient Action' I see a vision of commitment, he said.
Referring to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on the foreboding climate change, Pachauri reitered to those who feel that it is still not time to worry about it: "Environmental degradation has become a reality. There is no need for 100 per cent proof."
Pointing to the impact of environmental degradation, Pachauri pointed out the case of Maldives. The ocean around Maldives was once rich in Tuna fish but today it is vanishing from the island due to acid formation in the ocean due to green house gases.
Mr. Rajiv Beri, Managing Director of Macmillan Publishers, India, shared that the book is their biggest launch in 2010 and it will be available in more than 200 retail outlets across the country and in over 20 online bookstores.
The book is also being made available in the USA and already some big orders from the USA market have been placed to them. He also informed that Macmillan Publishers has already exhausted the entire stock of first print through advance orders and soon shall be going in for reprint.
The function was graced by some of the prominent national and international personalities. Mr. Avinash Tyagi, from World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Geneva, Switzerland, who specifically flew in to take part in this book launch ceremony. Mr. Arvind Mishra, Head, Climate Change Division, TERI, New Delhi,
Ms. Aditi Dass from the Climate Group, officers from Government of Gujarat, Vice Chancellors of Gujarat University, Saurastra University, Nirma University etc. More than 2000 people attended the launch.
The book is a compendium of actions undertaken by him in Gujarat during the last decade which have directly or indirectly contributed to climate change. He has elaborated on how the state has kept a constant emphasis on mitigation initiatives, exploiting the clean and green energy potential, through promotion of wind and solar energy and a state-wide gas grid.
Gujarat is one state which has fully converted the challenges into an opportunity and ranks first in the country with maximum carbon credits. The more important human angle of adaptation has been accounted in the state policies on water and agriculture, as the author provides evidence of the visible impacts of the initiatives undertaken.