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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Indian businesses urge more action on climate change

Severe flooding has killed over 30 in Mumbai and left businesses reeling

People walk past a waterlogged railway station during heavy rainfall in Mumbai. India's business leaders are urging more action on climate change. Rajanish Kakade / AP
People walk past a waterlogged railway station during heavy rainfall in Mumbai. India's business leaders are urging more action on climate change. Rajanish Kakade / AP

A major industry lobby group in India is urging businesses to urgently adopt measures to fight against climate change, amid floods due to heavy monsoon rains causing destruction and deaths across many parts of South Asia.

“Left unchecked, climate change will contribute to further geopolitical instability, disrupt supply chains, threaten power supplies, jeopardise global food and water resources, and ultimately increase the cost of doing business by adding overall uncertainty in the economy,” says Naina Lal Kidwai, the chairwoman and past president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

The industry body on Thursday and Friday held a business and climate summit in Delhi in collaboration with the India’s ministry of environment, forest and climate change and the ministry of new and renewable energy.

Although US president Donald Trump in June announced a withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement, India has insisted that it will push ahead with its commitment to the accord.

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Six killed, thousands stranded as floods swamp Mumbai

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India’s prime minster Narendra Modi has described a failure to act on climate change as “morally criminal”.

As deadly floods ravage South Asia, many experts have linked the disasters to the effects of climate change.

“We encourage companies to commit to low-carbon and circular economy initiatives, and good practices at global and local levels, such as, science-based approaches, committing to renewable energy procurement, maximising energy efficiency, pursuing options that promote economic efficiency, for example tools such as internal carbon pricing, water budgeting, and forest conservation,” said Ficci, stating that companies could take on such initiatives by themselves or collaborate with governments and other organisations.

But these measures will require substantial efforts and funds, she adds.

“A low carbon transition requires significant investment by business in innovative technology development and deployment,” Ficci noted. “Governments have a specific role in reducing the risks associated with such investment through policies stimulating markets and attracting private funding. Both governments and businesses need to work together towards facilitating these transitions by developing roadmaps that factor in the transition needed in different sectors.”

But if successful, the results would be invaluable.

“Leading businesses recognise that transition to a low-carbon and resilient economy is the only way to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all,” according to the lobby group.