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Better education and living conditions can lower emissions in India

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Kolkata: Improving education and creating favorable living and working conditions are essential for India’s transition to a society with minimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

A buzzword in climate negotiations, the concept of low carbon society or development, has its roots in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted in Rio de Janerio in 1992 and is now generally expressed using the term ‘low-emission development strategies’.
For India, the way ahead is through exploiting the low carbon (or low emission) renewable energy sector which would be in the best interest of the people and the economy, according to Heinz Schandl, senior principal scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

“The biggest resource India has is obviously its people; investing in education and supporting decent living and working conditions would unlock this resource, which in turn would support a knowledge-based low carbon development path for which India is better suited, perhaps, than other countries,” he said.

Schandl is the chief author of the recently released United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report “Indicators for a Resource Efficient and Green Asia and the Pacific”. He believes that for “inclusive human development in the country without accelerating emissions”, renewables are key.

India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has set ambitious renewable energy (RE) targets of 100,000 MW of solar power, 60,000 MW of wind power, 10,000 MW of energy from biomass and 5,000 MW from small hydroelectric projects (175 GW of total renewables) by 2022.

Currently, India’s clean energy capacity is 33,000 MW.

Schandl said India’s thrust on RE is of “utmost importance.”

“Allowing India to service its growing energy needs with renewables will help mitigate climate change and hence reduce costs and interruptions of the Indian economy through climate impacts that can only become more severe and costly if climate mitigation fails.

“Investing in low carbon renewable energy is in the best interest of the Indian economy and its people,” said the scientist.

This will take India on par with the world’s average per-capita energy use, which stands at 75 Giga Joules (per capita energy use for final consumption). India lags far behind at a mere 20 GJ.

“This gap cannot be filled with traditional energy generation relying on high-carbon energy sources of the past but needs investment into modern, renewable energy that, once installed, comes at a very low additional cost,” Schandl pointed out.

This investment is crucial because energy use and GHG emissions are set to shoot up as people move to higher-paid jobs and demand better and more reliable energy sources. Schandl also drew attention to the non-availability of electricity in many parts of India.

Also, from examining the trends in industrial transformation of countries, it can be said that India may go through a similar transition process as China, resulting in much higher per-capita resource use and emissions in the future, Schandl suggested.

But India is in an advantageous position in terms of pumping in money to develop higher efficiency infrastructure (buildings, transport systems and manufacturing capacity), courtesy the know-how present in the country, he said.

“Such green investments in good quality public infrastructure will also support a more inclusive development path as they favour lower income households disproportionately,” he explained. (IANS)

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#MeToo Movement Shows The Decaying Soul of India: Mahesh Bhatt

These are larger issues. The soul of the country is decaying. We are far away from what we claim to be. And cases like this only put spotlight on that," added the director

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Nana Patekat, Metoo, Women
#MeToo movement shows India's soul is decaying: Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

On the one hand, Indians bow down to a goddess to pray and on another some people violate women. This dichotomy in India is creating a mess of things, says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who feels Indians are far from what we claim to be.

“The #MeToo movement cannot be resolved through the court of public opinion. There are people standing up for something. I would say more power to women who scream from the rooftop about something wrong done to them — whether it is after 10 years or 20 or 50… It doesn’t make a difference,” Bhatt told IANS in an interview when he was in the city to promote “Jalebi”.

“You cannot deny the right to individuals to say what they say. But the question is whether the quotes are in sync with the legal system, which is based on a certain understanding. Are they in sync with this so-called enlightened new view that we have? If punitive action is not taken, the cynicism that nothing happens would be reinforced,” he added.

women
The dichotomy is what has made a mess of things.

 

The #MeToo movement in India started in September after Tanushree Dutta recounted an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the sets of “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss” in 2008.

After that, a slew of controversies surrounding Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath and Sajid Khan have emerged.

“There is only one thing you can’t use this #MeToo movement for (and that is) settling old relationship issues. You cannot categorise that.

“There is domestic violence which is there between married people or lovers. There can be sexual misconduct which can be tackled legally. But we are talking about sexual harassment which is another case. Women need to handle that very responsibly,” Bhatt said.

The director feels it is time to ask a “deeper question”.

#MeToo, women
Bollywood actress Tanushree Datta presents a creation by designer Sanjeet Anand at the Bangalore Fashion Week in Bangalore, India. VOA

“During Durga Puja, you bow down to the deity which was created by this great story of male gods putting their best to create her so that she can kill the demon to save the world and heaven from the wrath of that demon. It is time to understand that you support the woman and let her retain her dignity or she will perish.

“The question is, ‘Do you really view women in the form of the goddess you worship in the temple’. Because in private life you violate them.”

He said “there is a kind of dichotomy”.

“The dichotomy is what has made a mess of things. We have an idea about ourselves and the reality is quite different from the idea. Look at what you are doing to women. There are issues which cannot be resolved themselves within a time frame of a week, a month or a year.

Nana Patekat, Metoo, Women
#MeToo movement is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017. Flickr

“These are larger issues. The soul of the country is decaying. We are far away from what we claim to be. And cases like this only put spotlight on that,” added the director, who has helmed projects like “Arth”, “Saaransh”, “Naam”, “Sadak”, “Junoon” and “Papa Kahte Hain”.

As a film producer, how does he ensure a safe workplace for women?

Also Read: India’s #MeToo Movement Makes The Most Glamorous Industry Its Subject Of Scrutiny

“Human beings are vulnerable to all this and more. But I can only say that you lead by example. You set the tone about what the morality of the house is going to be. I have enough women force. I have my own daughter (Pooja), who is a tough chick. I have my sister who is hands-on. I have my niece.”

“If there is any outrage anywhere, I think there are enough pockets to bring out what is happening,” added Bhatt , who will be back as a director with “Sadak 2”. (IANS)