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LiFE for Climate Action

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October 20, 2022

What is the issue?

For the first time, the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report (2022) has warned that global human development measures have declined across most countries in the past two years.

Why was this warning given?

  • This warning comes against the backdrop of the greatest existential threat of all - the triple planetary crisis of Climate change, Pollution and Biodiversity loss.
  • Climate change is a disruption multiplier in a disrupted world, rolling back progress across the global Sustainable Development Goals.

What is being done now?

  • The Commitments we have now to reduce the climate change will not keep warming below the 1.5°C target, giving us the best chance of averting catastrophe.
  • With the narrative so focused on geopolitics, the scope for each of us to make a difference as individuals seems increasingly lost.

What is LiFE?

  • Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) announced by Indian Prime Minister at COP26 in 2021, brings a fresh and much-needed perspective.
  • LiFE recognises that small individual actions can tip the balance in the planet’s favour.
  • Many of the goals of LIFE can be achieved by deploying ‘nudges’ - gentle persuasion techniques to encourage positive behaviour.
  • To learn more about the LiFE Mission, click here.

Does LiFE’s nudging technique works?

  • The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) employs proven nudging techniques such as
    1. Discouraging food waste by offering smaller plates in cafeterias;
    2. Encouraging recycling by making bin lids eye-catching; and
    3. Encouraging cycling by creating cycle paths.
  • According to the UNEP, more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to household consumption and lifestyles.
  • The urgent cuts to global emissions we need can only be achieved through the widespread adoption of greener consumption habits.
  • While LiFE is a global vision, India is an excellent place to start. This would be increasingly followed by the world.

What does the Mission LiFE say?

  • Under the Mission LiFE, the Prime Minister of India and the UN Secretary-General are calling on all consumers worldwide to become “Pro Planet People” by 2027.
  • The “Pro Planet People” approach aims to adopt simple lifestyle changes that can collectively lead to transformational change.

What is the onus on vulnerable societies?

  • Emissions across the poorest half of the world’s population combined still fall short of even 1% of the wealthiest.
  • Those who consume the least, often the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, will not be asked to consume less, but rather supported to participate in the green economy.
  • Each ‘Pro Planet’ stakeholder is nudged according to differentiated approaches.

What is the onus on the developed world?

  • The same applies across countries.
  • LIFE resonates with the global climate justice India has rightfully called for - highlighting enhanced obligations those in developed countries bear, to support climate adaptation and mitigation for those most affected, yet least responsible.
  • The average carbon footprint of a person in a high-income country is more than 80 times higher than that of a person in a least-developed country.
  • It is common sense and only fair to call on the developed world to shoulder a proportionate share of this transition.
  • In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”


  1. The Hindu | A new lease of LIFE for climate action
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