"He cautioned the government on the development of infrastructure - highways, ports, airports - and inland transport, saying these initiatives must be designed and implemented in a manner that ensures the protection of the environment and judicious use and regeneration of scarce natural resources."
New Delhi, July 11 - The union budget 2014-2015 was high on growth and infrastructure but more could have been done to ensure higher energy security, noted environmentalist R.K. Pachauri said here Friday.

Pachauri, director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), said India's dependence on oil imports is 80 percent of its total consumption and current policies of the government will only accentuate this problem.

Should any geo-political developments in the region from where we import the bulk of our oil lead to, say, 50 percent increase in global oil prices, the impact on the Indian economy could be disastrous, Pachauri said.

Hence, the finance minister could have highlighted the objectives of attaining higher energy security, lowering environmental pollution and tackling global climate change through measures to attain higher energy efficiency.

Greater use of non-fossil energy sources and reducing the rate of growth in demand through promoting public transport and energy efficient buildings, he said during an interactive session on the budget organised by TERI.

Pachauri welcomed the setting up of national adaptation fund for climate change with an initial allocation of Rs.100 crore but said the government should also review the national action plan set up by the erstwhile government in 2008.

The government should follow this up by reviewing the national action plan on climate change announced in 2008 and the eight Missions set up under the action plan that have not made much progress, Pachauri said.

He cautioned the government on the development of infrastructure - highways, ports, airports - and inland transport, saying these initiatives must be designed and implemented in a manner that ensures the protection of the environment and judicious use and regeneration of scarce natural resources.

Infrastructure including the road network would have significant impact on natural eco-systems and the government should encourage research on understanding and minimising the impacts of infrastructure on eco-systems, Pachauri said.


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