New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India was on track to meet its targets on cutting down greenhouse gas emission intensity by 20-25 % from its 2005 levels in next two years —a key point in the Paris agreement.

Energy-starved India is using the latest technologies in renewable energy, such as solar power, to meet its energy demands, he said at an event in New Delhi, where he was conferred the United Nations’ “Champion of the Earth award for 2018" by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.

Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were jointly awarded by the global organization for their work in launching the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and promoting new areas of cooperation in environment protection.

Once seen as one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, after the US, China and the European Union (EU), India was reluctant to commit to a specific emission reduction target, given that it was a developing country heavily dependent on fossil fuels for spurring economic growth. New Delhi was also of the view that developed countries like the US should shoulder a bigger share of the burden of mitigating climate change effects given its higher greenhouse gas emissions over the decades.

India’s credentials as a country committed to arresting global warning was bolstered with its signing of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in November 2015 in Paris and because of its role in the launch of the ISA, even as the US, led by President Donald Trump, walked out of the Paris climate accord last year.

“We have accelerated efforts to reduce emission intensity by 20-25 % in the next two years, compared to the 2005 levels and by 30-35 % by 2030. That is the goal," Modi said.

Modi has already announced that India plans to generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022, of which 100GW will be solar power.

“We are building green corridors and making our highways eco-friendly. The plan is to make our metros and city transport system run on solar power and reduce the dependency of railways on fossil fuels," he said. India would also be made free of single-use plastic by 2022, he added.

Modi, however, pointed out that the poor are the worst hit by nature’s fury and said environmental challenges cannot be met if climate justice is not ensured.

The inaugural ISA summit held in March in New Delhi and co-hosted by France positioned the two countries as leaders in the climate change debate. The summit also pledged to mobilize $1 trillion low-cost financing for the massive deployment of solar energy by 2030 in 121 countries.

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