Maharashtra, the second-most populous Indian state and the most significant contributor to the nation's GDP, has witnessed a severe loss of life and serious economic disruptions due to the increasing impact of climate change in recent decades. Today's announcement, a long-term pledge by the western state, is part of the government's region-wide efforts to adopt sustainable development pathways.
Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Environment, Government of Maharashtra, said: "Maharashtra is committed to making the region climate-resilient with ambitious and accelerated actions. The state is taking concrete green steps in coordination with other ministries, from energy to tourism, to tackle climate change. As we enhance our efforts, we are delighted to join the Under2 Coalition and collaborate with other states and regions addressing environmental challenges worldwide. Maharashtra is keen to work with its global counterparts and share the critical insights we all have observed through our interventions."
The state of Maharashtra faces high climate risk with a seven-fold increase in the frequency of drought events and a six-fold increase in extreme floods in the last five decades (source: study by CEEW). State's climate action policy entails detailed plans on climate change mitigation and considers the threats associated with sea-level rise for coastal areas. From saving the Aarey forest to protecting 9,800 hectares of mangrove lands across the state, Maharashtra has been at the forefront of adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Tim Ash Vie, Director of the Under2 Coalition Secretariat at the Climate Group, said: "We welcome Maharashtra to the Under2 Coalition as it joins a global network of over 200 states and regions taking action for the climate in this crucial decade. As one of India's largest states, this is a welcome boost for environmental leadership and provides another crucial voice for the planet in South Asia. We look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."
Formed in 2015, the Under2 Coalition is a global community of nearly 230 governments committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. Members of the Under2 Coalition represent over 1.3 billion people and 43% of the global economy. Chhattisgarh, J&K (Union territory), Telangana and West Bengal are the other four Indian regions that are part of the Under2 Coalition.
Divya Sharma, Executive Director India, Climate Group, said: "By joining the world's most prominent coalition of states and regions on climate action, Maharashtra has demonstrated the subnational climate leadership the country needs. I hope it serves as a call to action for other Indian states that are especially vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters."
Focused on climate pathways, policy action and transparency, the Under2 Coalition supports states and regions worldwide through capacity-building, setting net zero targets and facilitating funding in the global south to strengthen climate activities.