The global ‘green race’ requires support of all stakeholders
Climate change is at the forefront, now more than ever before. Both developing and developed nations are in the ‘green race’ that requires support of all stakeholders. Ever since India signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 it has become an aggressive proponent of sustainable development. “India’s ongoing success with solar speaks volumes about its commitment to energy transition. Besides setting global institutions such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the country has also ensured that solar power becomes a major component of our electricity supply and is accessible in the most flexible form to the remotest parts,” said Mr Manjeev Puri, former Indian diplomat, while chairing the ‘Fireside Chat: Transitioning to Zero Emissions: A Conversation on Industry, Finance and Policy’, at the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021 organised by TERI.
While a lot has been achieved so far, the world is still a long way from transitioning to zero emissions. Collaborations between stakeholders is the key to accelerating the ambitious goals set for decarbonizing as early as 2030.
‘Green up’ or be out of business
From aircraft to matchsticks, businesses are an integral part of society all over the world. So, involving them in this endeavor against climate change is crucial. “The World Business Council recognises India’s role in addressing the climate change agenda. Businesses have been reporting their contributions to energy transition, but we need much better systems for collaboration,” said Prof.Dr Björn Stigson, Chairman, Stigson & Partners. “The global business communityis at the centerstage of the fight against climate change. The way forward for them is to ‘green up or be out of business’,” he added.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for the global emissions to reach net zero around mid-century to give a reasonable chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, and no sector can escape the need to dramatically reduce emissions in pathways towards net zero emissions in energy systems. For businesses, this would mean action on almost every aspect, right from the point of manufacture to the end consumer, encompassing sourcing, operations, supply chains, and end-of-life management of products. Supporting this transition would require, in addition to cleaner and better technologies, aid from policy makers and financiers, to allow for sustainability to make business sense. The same rules apply to the countries who are in this global green race.
Predictable Policy and Political will
From the largest wind energy project in the world (in South Korea) to General Motors’ recent unveiling of its EV fleet at the Super Bowl in the US, there are several examples of what countries across the globe are doing to curtail carbon emissions. But when the Capex is high, what enables a supportive or strong environment is a stable and predictable policy climate and political will. It also helps to overcome the polarized view on climate change, which leaves enormous room for positive change. Speaking during the session, Mr Erik Solheim, Former Minister of International Development and Minister of the Environment, Norway, said, “Integrating ecology and economy can fuel employment and save the environment.”
Strong Finance instruments
Clean Tech financing is a relatively new concept. The major challenge is enabling the seamless flow of funds from developed nations to developing countries that need it the most. Though cost of funding RE projects has considerably lowered it needs suitable policy support. The flow of solutions to reach many people is important. “We are dedicated to creating an ecosystem to channelize money in India for developing the Rooftop Solar Sector (RTS). As climate change is a global problem it needs global contribution,” said Manish Chaurasia, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Cleantech Capital. He further added that several private sector or commercial institutions shy away from investing is sustainable energy projects, especially if the funding requirement is large. This is where the national banks play an important role.
With all stakeholders working together, a successful energy transition alsomust be inclusive in nature, so that no one gets left behind on the path to sustainable progress.