Sunday, July 22, 2007

How should India respond to climate change?

With recent reports of climate change from the IPCC and the Stern review, it is important to know as to how India is likely to be impacted and what should it do about it.

It is a very interesting debate that appeared in ET. Take a look at it here.

Some salient points worth our noting from this debate:

India must factor in climate change into medium-term development projections and target at sustainable development using non-conventional energy sources and new technologies.

First of all, we can examine emerging world markets in carbon credits and create appropriate structures to enable our industry to take advantage of similar market opportunities. Perhaps we can think of a country’s CDM fund on the lines of EU emissions trading scheme with state and sector and specific emission allowances over and above which credits need to be purchased. This would develop a domestic market for carbon credits.

Secondly, opportunities for better use of by-products and some productivity increasing win-win situations like the one shown by Shell in Netherlands, wherein it is pumping CO2 from a refinery to green houses producing fruit and vegetables could perhaps be tried vigorously.

Third, alternative sources of energy can be encouraged by planning for integrated supply of power from non-conventional sources along with traditional sources. Regulations for fixed quotas from renewable sources can be put in place. In fact, the Electricity Act, 2003 enables this. This should be vigorously pursued.

Fourth, planning for coastal cities needs to take into account impending possibilities of a rise in sea levels.

Lastly, the dire predictions made by IPCC with regard to declining crop productivity in South and Central Asia need to be taken seriously and further investigated.