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Maharashtra bags the inaugural award for inspiring regional leadership at the cop26 in Glasgow

The only Indian state to bag one of the three awards by U2 Coalition in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday. In the ongoing Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations environment meet, Maharashtra was awarded the inaugural Inspiring Regional Leadership award. The state had joined the U2C of regional governments for greenhouse emissions in July.

Maharashtra’s environment Minister Aditya Thackeray received the award on behalf of the state and in his acceptance speech in Glasgow, said “This state wants to lead the way in India to tackle climate change. The Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) is a passionate wildlife enthusiast and conservationist, and he has given us the opportunity to dream of a better future, a greener future. We have started with a movement called Majhi Vasundhara, which means ‘My Planet’. We are focussing on the traditional five elements of nature.” He went on to emphasize the need for collective efforts and meaningful actions to work on this global issue that sees no borders of geography, race, nationality, or gender. The spotlight was also put on the state’s shift to green energy from conventional coal in one of India’s most industrially advanced states. “Just recently we’ve solarised a highway and we will be generating 250 MW of energy. We have put out the tender document and we will be generating 250MW solar energy from the new highway between Mumbai and Nagpur,” says Thackeray, who is also the youngest to hold a portfolio in the cabinet. Another notable project for the state was the comprehensive Electric Vehicle Policy for 2021 which was unveiled in July 2021 and aimed at making Maharashtra a leading manufacture and investment hub for electric vehicles in the world while accelerating the adaptions of EVs in the state. The goal is to achieve 3,00,000 EVs a year by 2025, roughly 10 percent of all new vehicle registrations.

The state also received “high commendations” in two other categories – Climate Partnerships and Creative Climate Solutions. British Columbia and Québec in Canada won awards in these two categories of which about 260 regional governments are part of the coalition. After receiving the awards, the state government in a press release said, “ As India’s most industrialized state with a 720km-long vulnerable coastline, Maharashtra in its nominations highlighted how within a short span of time, the State had found it essential to include climate resilience into policymaking and had embarked upon novel projects, policies, and campaigns that reflect a monumental shift in prioritizing sustainable development”, as reported by the Hindustan Times.

Other states like Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, and Telangana are also part of the coalition, which has funded other green projects in these states, like allocating funds to Bengal from its Future Fund for a feasibility study on e-ferries in the state capital of Kolkata. In Chhattisgarh, capacity-building workshops for officials on tracking greenhouse gas emissions and building inventories in line with international standards were organized and funded.

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