Climate solutions can be broken down into two broad elements: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (so we can escape the much-feared "4°C warmer world") while adaptation helps vulnerable populations adapt to the changing climate (so we are better equipped to survive in the inevitably warmer world). In this issue, we will get a better understanding of what the Indian government and our brilliant citizens have been doing to mitigate the effects of climate change at international, national, state, and regional levels.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the Kyoto Protocol's flexibility mechanisms. It allows industrialized countries to acquire carbon credits for supporting climate mitigation projects in developing countries. India is among the world's largest hosts of CDM projects. However, India's approach to governing the CDM is best characterised as a ‘laissez faire’ system whereby the Indian government neither actively promotes nor discourages CDM project implementation in different states.
December was an important month for climate change. The 2014 UN Climate Summit in Lima brought together diplomats from around the world to prepare a blueprint for future emission reductions. In the months leading up to COP20, India was particularly vocal about how it would not commit to any internationally-binding emission reduction targets. While it is easy to be frustrated by India’s stance on climate change, which puts development above everything else, it would be irresponsible to not acknowledge the government's efforts to combat domestic climate change.
Climate change is perhaps one of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century, with far-reaching impacts on every aspect of human life. Today, the word ‘growth’ is synonymous with the word ‘carbon’. In this rapidly warming world, forests—which are the only real medium for carbon dioxide removal—should be protected and conserved, and yet the world’s forests are in a dismal state.
Indian policymakers have long used India’s poverty as an excuse to not take concrete action on climate change. Limiting carbon emissions is a costly proposition, they argue, and these costs will impede development and push the common man further into poverty. So as we ring in the New Year 2015, in the lofty spirit of resolution-making, goal-setting and ideating, here are the top three revenue-neutral policy suggestions that India can implement to measure and mitigate emissions, and minimize the effects of climate change.
Landfills are the third largest emitter of human-generated methane in the world, contributing to 3% of the world’s overall green house gas emissions. Presently, an insignificant fraction of methane emitted from solid waste dump-sites is captured in India, while the rest remains in the atmosphere, unused. Green Brick Eco Solutions has recently launched its product Bio-boxX to promote decentralized waste management to eliminate landfills, mitigate methane emissions and establish a localized source of renewable energy for a better tomorrow.
Only three hours from frenetic Mumbai, The Machan is a commercial "eco-resort" with thirteen treehouses nestled in its verdant forest. Unlike other hill stations, it is 100% off-grid and generates all its electricity from renewables. So naturally, I had to have a conversation with the owner of The Machan about the origins of his environmentally-sustainable business.