With the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war worsening the climate emergency, there are concerns that the efforts towards global energy transition might hit more roadblocks than anticipated.
At the turn of the millennium, climate change was considered to be a subject of scientific study and was confined to science and academic communities. Today, it has become a global crisis that has taken centre stage in every sphere including policymaking, governance, business, and our day-to-day lives. World leaders have been collaborating through the COPs to ensure that the planet decarbonises and that every country moves to a carbon-neutral or zero-emissions economy in the times to come.
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As an emerging economy with humongous consumption needs, India must also strategically decouple its economic growth from GHG emissions. Looking at India’s growth trajectory in recent years, there is no doubt that the country is making a well-planned, systematic, and accelerated energy transition. If we persist on this path, there would be ample scope to outweigh the downsides.
Signing the ‘Green Deal’
India is anticipated to become the most populous country in the world by 2027, surpassing China. As the world is fighting climate change, India’s contribution hereby becomes crucial. It has the potential to significantly aid efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, it is urgently needed that India moves towards systematic and swift decarbonisation within this decade. While the Prime Minister has announced the long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2070, the action towards energy transition has to be taken today.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war worsening the climate emergency, there are concerns that the efforts towards global energy transition might hit more roadblocks than anticipated. However, we need to stay true to our commitment and move towards sustainable economic growth by restructuring energy systems.
India picks up the gauntlet to lead by example India can play a strategic role in containing global warming. With the right initiatives, India can create 287 gigatons of carbon space for the world. This is almost half of the entire planetary carbon budget if we have to have a realistic shot at containing temperature rise to within 1.5 degree Celsius.
In line with this, the country has been focusing on fulfilling the rising energy demand by accelerating and deploying renewable energy sources and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to improve energy efficiency in distribution and consumption. Additionally, within a year of committing to the change at Glasgow, India has submitted its Long-Term Low Emissions Growth Strategy that indicates how key economic sectors will undergo the low carbon transition.
Further, Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) launched under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change offers training programmes focussed on ‘green skills’ that can contribute to preserving environmental quality for a sustainable future, reducing energy consumption, and minimising waste and pollution. These initiatives can help accelerate the growth of renewables, improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
A golden opportunity
The International Energy Association predicts that India would soon be one of the largest markets for clean energy technologies in the world. There will be an incredible demand for solutions in areas like renewable energy, battery technology, green hydrogen and carbon capture, and many more. By devising an Atmanirbhar strategy and building green infrastructure, the country can capitalise on the demand. Therefore, the need of the hour is to expedite the deployment of green technologies.
We can’t afford to look at 2070 and think long-term only. We need to focus on how much change can be brought about by 2030, and new financing mechanisms that can speed up the commercialisation of green technologies. Business enterprises, today, need to work collaboratively with partners to manage supply chain emissions. The public-private collaboration will be the key to industrial net-zero transition. Governments, businesses, industry stakeholders, and the general public are all needed to shoulder the responsibility as we go on to build a ‘greener’ future.
It is time for India to take thoughtful steps and make a smooth, growth-oriented, and orderly transition. The key is to look beyond short-term gains. This is the only option to realise the vision of a decarbonised India and world!
— The author, C P Gurnani, is Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra. The views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : C H Unnikrishnan)
First Published: Jan 20, 2023 10:31 AM IST