Renewables, energy efficiency and afforestation keys to climate change mitigation and adaptation

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“Renewables, energy efficiency and afforestation keys to climate change mitigation and adaptation”
Sep 10, 2015

“India’s economic and social goals will not be compromised,” assured Mr Sushil Kumar, Additonal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India. He was speaking at the 4th Annual CII Climate Change Conclave on Thursday at New Delhi. Providing an insight into the position India is likely to take at the upcoming Cop21 in Paris, he said, “We are not likely to take sectoral commitments but will give an economy wide achievement and have made provisions and scope for each sector in the INDCs.”

Discussing the position adopted by developed nations, Mr Kumar said that they were of the view that the future path that each nation takes should be a path of deep decarbonisation. He said, “While the nations debate ‘deep decarbonisation’ at CoP21, there is no argument that clean energy must be adopted, energy consumption must be more efficient, and lifetime costs of industry and infrastructure should take into account some rise in temperature and the need to limit this temperature rise to 2o by the end of this century,”

The debate on climate change is heating up as we draw closer to the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21. Providing an insight into the stance taken by developing nations in Paris, Mr Sushil Kumar said, “All countries will be bound by an agreement which will be universal. The essential argument being advanced by developing nations is that this agreement should not impact their economic and social development.”

Elaborating on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Mr Sushil Kumar said, “About 58 countries have already submitted their INDCs for climate change mitigation and adaptation from 2020 – 2030. These INDCs will be reviewed and revised exponentially in ten-year cycles and will be guided by progression. India is set to announce its INDCs this month, which will include the country’s vision to ensure increased adoption of green energy and processes to improve energy efficiency without compromising the scope and pace of socioeconomic development.”

Urging the industry to to look at what path the different sectors would like to adopt, Mr Sushil Kumar said, “All sectors have to come out with a strategy which will guide their actions over the course of the next decade. Plans need to be made keeping in mind time frames of about 50 years. These sectoral strategies can then be consolidated and shared with the Government to set the context for the Government and enable them to strategize for the next 10 years.”

Mr Kumar also shared that for the first time ever, the Government will host the India Pavilion at CoP21, featuring exhibits by Ministries, states and industry to showcase the country’s climate change success stories, with special focus on renewable energy.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, emphasised the role of renewables, reforestation and energy efficiency in mitigating climate change. The major barriers to this process in India are the upfront cost of investments in renewables and energy efficiency, especially due to high interest rates, and land acquisition for projects. Rapid improvements are, however, underway in these areas, based on improved business models and upgrades in technology and innovations. He cited the example of the adoption of LED bulbs across the country as a success story of technology adoption.

Dr Mathur also emphasised that adaptation is essential to increase resilience and lower vulnerability to climate change. Here too, barriers include capital and land availability, but the crux is to manage resources and processes better, and communicate the benefits of energy efficiencies to stakeholders across the consumption chain. A crucial resource to manage is the flow and storage of water by developing underground water reservoirs to capture flows of rivers or harvest rainfall.

Mr Ajay Goel, spoke of the rising air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the urgent need to build systems to ensure a cleaner, greener and energy-secure future. Commending the Government’s initiative to take the lead globally with its ambitious 175 GW renewable energy capacity target by 2022, he reiterated the industry’s commitment to realising this vision.

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