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India pledges to cut emissions by 33-35% over next 15 years

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: India on Friday made a 38-page submission that pledged India’s commitment to reduce emission levels by 33-35 percent over the next 15 years. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has described India’s submission as ambitious, fair and balanced commitment to protect the environment that is married to the country’s own agenda for sustainable development.

Ahead of the crucial 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change due in Paris from November 30 to December 11, India made a 38-page submission under what is called the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

The submissions, called from the 196 parties (or countries) under the framework, are to serve as the basis for negotiating an agreement laying the path to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. So far, 120 countries, collectively accounting for 85.3 percent of global emissions, have made submissions.

“Through this submission, India intends to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030 from the 2005 level. This commitment is further echoed in India’s actions in climate change adaptation with the setting up of its own ‘National Adaptation Fund’,” said New Delhi’s document.

India’s INDCs are “fair and ambitious”, considering the fact that it is balancing goals of a “low carbon emission pathway” and “all developmental challenges the country faces today”, it said, adding the country’s current policy framework also includes a favorable environment for a rapid increase in renewable energy, move towards low carbon sustainable development and adapting to the impact of climate change.

“Accordingly, India’s development plans will continue to lay a balanced emphasis on economic development and the environment,” it said, recounting the framework’s mandate based on principles of equity, as also common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of member-nations.

India’s paper, the release of which coincides with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, is based on the 1992 Kyoto convention and says that both in terms of cumulative global emissions and per capita emission, it has caused much less damage to the environment but its actions to mitigate climate change were fair and ambitious.

“Much before the climate change debate began, Mahatma Gandhi, regarded as the father of our nation, had said that we should act as ‘trustees’ and use natural resources wisely as it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we bequeath to the future generations a healthy planet,” it said.

The issue of climate change, ahead of the Paris conference, has been high on the Indian government’s agenda and had figured in discussions Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with leaders of several countries, notably the US, Britain, France, Japan, and Germany, during his visit to the US last month.

At a press conference here, Javadekar said: “India’s contributions represent the utmost ambitious action in the current state of development. The world as a whole, including the developed world, needs to act more ambitiously. I am positive we will become a part of the solution. We will produce results.”

He said India’s expectation from Paris was a balanced pact with all components – mitigation, adaptation, technology, finance, and capacity building – consistent with the principles and provisions of the convention. India also wants predictable financing and technology to flow from the developed to the developing world.

India also outlined in its document climate change’s impact on its economy and nation as a whole, noting it will need $206 billion between 2015 and 2030 to implement actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries infrastructure, water resources, and ecosystems, to achieve the targets, not counting additional investments needed to strengthen resilience and disaster management.

Quoting an Asian Development Bank study, it said the approximate adaptation cost in the energy sector alone would roughly be about $7.7 billion in 2030s.

The paper said the efforts thus far on combating climate change has been self-financed.

“However, our efforts to avoid emissions during our development process are also tied to the availability and level of international financing and technology transfer, since India still faces complex developmental challenges,” it said.

The plan evoked wide appreciation, with some terming it “superior” to the ones proposed by the developed nations.

“India’s INDC is fair and is quite ambitious, specifically for the renewable energy and forestry,” said the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain.

The CSE said India’s INDC was as good as China’s and better than in the US given both these countries have higher emissions and were economically more capable of reducing them to mitigate climate change.

Narain said that INDCs submitted by all major countries indicate that the world is not on a path to the 2 degree Celsius target and this “would be disastrous for poor people across the world”.

Solar energy major SunSource Energy co-founder and CEO Adarsh Das said India’s INDCs showed real responsibility and farsightedness, and the “goals, while somewhat aggressive, will provide the right boost to economy-wide efforts towards reducing carbon and resource intensity”.

Paharpur Business Centre chief executive officer Kamal Meattle termed it “a very welcome announcement” and ActionAid India executive director Sandeep Chachra called the plan far “superior” to the ones proposed by the US and the European Union.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)