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Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs high-level meeting on infrastructure

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting on infrastructure. During the meeting, he reviewed the status of stalled projects in the infrastructure sector.

Besides a broad overview of the infrastructure scenario in the country, the meeting focused on the specific sectors of rural infrastructure, power, coal, renewable energy and petroleum and natural gas.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need for government departments to work towards initializing spending of the budget, in a focused manner right from the start of the financial year.

The Prime Minister asked for specific data to be collected and presented on priority areas such as toilets, affordable housing and smart cities. He said that in the urban areas, one of the priorities should be in creation of waste to wealth, and efficient systems for waste water disposal and solid waste management in 500 cities.
Reviewing rural infrastructure, the Prime Minister directed that the highest priority be accorded to the work envisaged under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. He said irrigation potential of all reservoir projects should be realized to the extent possible.

In the power sector, the Prime Minister reiterated his emphasis on electrification of the unconnected villages at the earliest. Modi also inquired about the progress on renewable energy goals, and directed maximum focus on this area. He said public spaces such as railway stations should be priority areas for adopting energy efficient technologies, and renewable energy.

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Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent.

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Australia, Coal
The Liddell coal-fired power station is seen in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia. VOA

Australia is rejecting the latest U.N. report on climate change, insisting coal remains critical to energy security and lowering household power bills.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its report released Monday that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach zero by the middle of the century to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The authors warned that if warming was allowed to reach two degrees, the world would be on course toward uncontrollable temperatures.

Climate change, Australia
The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Georgia. VOA

They made special mention of coal, insisting that its use for power generation would have to fall to between zero and two percent of current usage.

The report has received a lukewarm response by Australia’s center-right government. It has said it has no intention of scaling back fossil fuel production because without coal, household power bills would soar.

Canberra also insists it is on target to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement, which attempts to unite every nation under a single accord to tackle climate change for the first time ever.

Australia earns billions of dollars exporting coal to China and other parts of Asia, while it generates more than 60 percent of domestic electricity.

Queensland, Australia
FILE – A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Australia’s Environment Minister Melissa Price believes the IPCC report exaggerates the threat posed by fossil fuel.

“Coal does form a very important part of the Australian energy mixer and we make no apology for the fact that our focus at the moment is on getting electricity prices down,” Price said. “Every year, there is new technology with respect to coal and what its contribution is to emissions. So, you know, to say that it has got to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow.”

Australia has some of the world’s highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas pollution. A recent government report showed a failure to reduce levels of greenhouse gas pollution. The survey said that between January and March this year, Australia had its most elevated levels of carbon pollution since 2011.

Coal, Australia
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

Conservationists argue Australia is doing too little to protect itself from the predicted ravages of a shifting climate.

Also Read: Use Every Resources To Help in Climate Change: Scientists

Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent. Scientists warn that droughts, floods, heat waves, brush fires and storms will become more intense as temperatures rise, with potentially disastrous consequences for human health and the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef. (VOA)