We, as a country, should understand that lowering our future carbon dioxide emissions in comparison to industrial giant China is not a win for us now
A recent report by the Centre for Policy Research and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis has predicted that India’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy generation will nearly double in 2030 from its 2012 emission figures. Although, this 91 per cent to 98 per cent increase in CO2 emission is still going to be in line with the nationally-determined (in Paris Agreement) CO2 emission level, factoring in 2012 emission figures — two billion tonnes of CO2 — it is safe to say that the rise is considerable.
The bittersweet dilemma
The research report showed that recently introduced policies (2015 and beyond) are well in their way to lead India towards a faster than predicted green energy transition, which will shrink coal’s dominating share in India’s energy equation and reduce per capita emissions than today’s global average. In that case, we can come to an understanding that the policy interventions and government initiatives towards renewable energy (especially solar) growth will have a material impact on reducing India’s future emissions.
The report also shines light on the fact that even if India’s emissions is doubled by 2030, it will be lower than China’s equivalent emissions in 2015. Therefore, it can be considered as a progressive environment building up towards a sustainable green future, right?
Well, it is progressive indeed but we also have to understand that although, this is a move towards success, the picture is not very appealing right now. The efforts need to be considerably increased to reach and frankly surpass the goals. It will help us reduce our carbon emissions even more, which is a necessity.
The current scenario
Presently, India is going through terrible shifts in environment behaviour, due to increased CO2 emissions within the country and the world. There are unprecedented spells of hot weather, change in monsoon bringing droughts and floods, and significant fall in crop yield that can destabilise the social, economic structure of the country, adding to the turmoil.
Research has found that areas in north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh have seen a considerable drop in crop yield, which is suspected to fall further due to changing climate. As India is dependent on agriculture and about 60 per cent of its agriculture is supported by rain, higher or lower than average rains are affecting the country. Also, rising CO2 levels due to global warming is suspected to shrink down the amount of protein in crops such as rice and wheat, which are the primary food source for majority of the population in India. Such conditions are leaving populations at risk of malnutrition, low immunity and raising the risk of diseases affecting the population severely.
India recorded its hottest day in the city of Phalodi, Rajasthan, when the temperature reached 51 degree celsius and according to a research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in US, the temperature in India will further increase in coming years.
Coastal cities such as Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai are also suspected to be affected by sea level rise. Rising sea level and surges of storm would also impact agriculture, degrade groundwater quality, increasing the risk of contamination in water giving rise to diarrhoea and cholera.
With effects of climate change getting dangerous every year, countries like India need to boost efforts at reducing CO2 emissions, by opting for solar (green energy transition). We, as a country, should understand that lowering our future CO2 emissions in comparison to industrial giant China (its 2015 emission statistics) is not a win for us now. And joining the fight against climate change is not a choice anymore, it is a necessity. Although initiatives of the government should be appreciated, we should not sit idly by the predictions of a marginal success. We need to focus at prioritising the solar industry and solving its critical issues through investment and policy intervention to create momentum and see our country solve not just energy issues, but create a better social and economic structure that works towards restoring the environment.
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About Gyanesh Chaudhary
Gyanesh Chaudhary is the Managing Director & CEO of Vikram Solar. He is also a member of the CII and Federation of India Export Organisation (FIEO). Chaudhary is a Business Graduate from University of Wales and holds a Diploma in Marketing and International Trade from University of Boston and in International Business from Harvard Business School, USA.