The Indian industry can adopt clean energy options to reduce costs and increase competitiveness as the country moves toward economic development and mitigation of climate change, Dr Kirit Parikh, chairman of the Planning Commission’s expert group on low carbon economy, said today.
The transition to a low carbon economy can drive sustainable growth while managing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the risks of climate change, he said while speaking at a conference organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions include the power sector, energy-intensive manufacturing sectors, transportation and buildings. Carbon abatement levers can be adopted in each of these sectors to enable a transition to a low carbon economy.
Dr Parikh said 200 million to 300 million people will be added in urban areas over the next 20 years. India is short on all energy sources and thus needs to find alternatives, he said adding unsustainable consumption patterns of rich countries are largely responsible for global warming.
With rapid economic growth, India’s greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase from 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2007 to 5.7 billion tonnes by 2030. The government aims at achieving 20 to 25 per cent reduction in carbon intensity below 2005 levels by 2020.
Mr Deepak Gupta, secretary at the ministry of new and renewable energy, said nearly 40 per cent of the population still does not have access to power. The consumption of diesel, kerosene and furnace oil must come down. Renewable energy is the only option, he said.
Dr Pramod Deo, chairperson at the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, said more than half of power generation is based on coal-based technologies. Authorities have to determine the cost burden on consumers while adopting renewable sources of energy, he said.
ASSOCHAM’s secretary general D.S. Rawat said the socio-economic and technological benefits of adopting a low-carbon growth trajectory are undeniable. With climate summits at Copenhagen and Cancun capturing the attention of entire world, climate change is now a part of strategic discussions at top-most management levels across major corporations.
Other present on the occasion were Mr K.C. Mehra, senior managing committee member at ASSOCHAM, Mr Harish Mehta, co-chairman of ASSOCHAM’s new and renewable energy council, Mr Indra Guha, associate director at Ernst & Young in India, and Dr Prodipto Ghosh, distinguished fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
They said some critical factors to achieve low carbon growth include mapping and forecasting of India’s baseline greenhouse gas emissions, identification of plausible carbon abatement levers in key focus sectors, gap analysis of existing and upcoming policies, and a policy framework for overcoming barriers to low carbon growth.