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Mamata Banerjee Likely to Skip PM Modi Chaired Niti Aayog Meeting Tomorrow

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI Photo)

Banerjee had earlier skipped the Niti Aayog’s meetings and termed it as a “fruitless” exercise, alleging that the body has “no financial power” and cannot support the state plans.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: February 19, 2021, 12:43 IST
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to skip the Niti Aayog’s governing council meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, sources said on Friday. The council, the apex body of the government’s think tank, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories (UTs), several Union ministers and senior government officials.

The prime minister will chair Saturday’s meeting, where issues related to agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and human resource development will be discussed, according to an official statement. “Mamata Banerjee may not attend the Niti Aayog’s February 20 meeting,” a senior TMC leader said on condition of anonymity.

Banerjee had earlier skipped the Niti Aayog’s meetings and termed it as a “fruitless” exercise, alleging that the body has “no financial power” and cannot support the state plans. The sixth meeting of the governing council will witness the entry of Ladakh for the first time, in addition to the participation of Jammu and Kashmir as a UT, the statement said.

This time, other UTs headed by administrators have also been invited to join, it added. The governing council meets regularly and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015.

However, the council did not meet last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Airline CEOs, Biden Officials Consider Green-Fuel Breaks

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Chief executives of the nation’s largest passenger and cargo airlines met with key Biden administration officials Friday to talk about reducing emissions from airplanes and push incentives for lower-carbon aviation fuels.

The White House said the meeting with climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also touched on economic policy and curbing the spread of COVID-19 travel has been a vector for the virus. But industry officials said emissions dominated the discussion.

United Airlines said CEO Scott Kirby asked administration officials to support incentives for sustainable aviation fuel and technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. In December, United said it invested an undisclosed amount in a carbon-capture company partly owned by Occidental Petroleum.

A United Nations aviation group has concluded that biofuels will remain a tiny source of aviation fuel for several years. Some environmentalists would prefer the Biden administration to impose tougher emissions standards on aircraft rather than create breaks for biofuels.

Biofuels are false solutions that dont decarbonize air travel, said Clare Lakewood, a climate-law official with the Center for Biological Diversity. Real action on aircraft emissions requires phasing out dirty, aging aircraft, maximizing operational efficiencies and funding the rapid development of electrification.

Airplanes account for a small portion of emissions that cause climate change about 2% to 3% but their share has been growing rapidly and is expected to roughly triple by mid-century with the global growth in travel.

The airline trade group says U.S. carriers have more than doubled the fuel efficiency of their fleets since 1978 and plan further reductions in carbon emissions. But the independent International Council on Clean Transportation says passenger traffic is growing nearly four times faster than fuel efficiency, leading to a 33% increase in emissions between 2013 and 2019.

The U.S. accounts for about 23% of aircraft carbon-dioxide emissions, followed by Europe at 19% and China at 13%, the transportation group’s researchers estimated.

The White House said McCarthy, Buttigieg and economic adviser Brian Deese were grateful and optimistic to hear the airline CEOs talk about current and future efforts to combat climate change.

Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America, said the exchange was positive.

Airlines are ready, willing and able partners, and we want to be part of the solution” to climate change, Calio said in a statement. We stand ready to work in partnership with the Biden administration.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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