New Delhi: In a testament to collaborative global efforts on climate action, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti expressed pride in joining hands with India, saying that he is very "proud" of not telling India what to do but listening to New Delhi's leadership in this regard.
Garcetti was delivering an address at the 2024 World Sustainable Development Summit.
Commending India's leadership, he emphasised the significance of local commitments, citing the impactful LiFE initiative. Garcetti highlighted the global commitment made by the hundred largest cities, responsible for one-fifth of the world's economy.
"Similarly, the LiFE initiative of this country. Initially, I think there were some skeptics in the international community saying, we need big commitments on things like power grids. We need to see national commitments. And I argued, within the United States government, the LiFE initiative was exactly what the world needed. The hundred largest cities in the world," he said.
Notably, Indian cities pledged to achieve net-zero emissions, underscoring the role of local communities in combating climate change. "To give you an idea, we're responsible for about one fifth of the entire global economy. These cities, including Indian cities, made a commitment to net zero," the US envoy added.
The ambassador stressed the importance of working at the grassroots level, praising India's rapid implementation of renewable energy. He acknowledged the need for national leaders to set ambitious goals but emphasised that real change occurs at the local level.
"To look at the ways that we're managing forests together and biodiversity, where you're pushing us and challenging us to do more at the same time, we're bringing resources to help you reach the goals that you have here," the US Ambassador said, adding, "And I learn from India as much as I bring some of our experiences when asked to Indians."
Garcetti outlined collaborative initiatives between the US and India, focusing on shared goals such as zero-carbon railway transportation. He underscored the importance of supporting India's efforts through funds, technical assistance, and resources for sustainable practices.
"The United States and India have never been closer with our hearts. I think we've never been closer in our thinking. But now the question is, can we put our feet together and walk together towards where we need to be?" Garcetti said.
Expressing mutual learning, Garcetti acknowledged the close ties between the US and India, emphasizing the need to walk together towards a sustainable future. He referenced the recent G20 leadership as a model for overcoming conflicts and addressing the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.
"The G20 leadership, which was magnificent here, showed that countries, even in moments of conflict, can see past the conflict of today to solve the problems of tomorrow. And if we do that and look at the impact, how women and children are 14 times more likely to be killed by climate change and to be affected by that, the vulnerable communities that live because of their poverty, right on the cutting edge, those are the folks that we must centre, not just in our actions, but in the leadership that they have as well," Garcetti added.
As the ambassador concluded, he left with inspiration and energy, highlighting the shared responsibility of nations to centre vulnerable communities in climate action and leadership.
"So I leave here inspired today. I leave here energised," said the UN envoy.
The collaborative spirit between the US and India in addressing global challenges was evident throughout Garcetti's remarks.