Tackling the Climate Issue

Climate Change is one of the biggest threats to mankind today. September 2011 saw many movements across the globe on the climate issue – Al Gore’s Climate Reality project very simple stated, ‘They may have the millions but we have the most important fact – Reality’. Bill Mckibben’s 350.org organised a successful global campaign called ‘Moving Planet’ – Away from fossil fuels and dirty energy which saw the participation of more than 2000 people across the globe. Climate Change is going to hit us all sooner than you think – The message in this movements was that by doing our bit for the environment we achieve staggering results if everyone pitches in.

Today the carbon dioxide ppm levels (parts per million) is 390 plus which is more than the permissible level of 350. As population shoots up year by year, consumption, energy, food, water, raw materials also increases. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has estimated that by 2050 there will be approximately 9 billion people on the planet. Our natural resources are already stressed and pushed to the limit, ever wonder what is going to happen by then when more energy is required? The difference in Indian cities can be felt in recent years, an example would be last year’s 2010 which was recorded as the hottest year in the past 100 years.

‘Extreme weather events are happening every month all over the world, the signs are everywhere’ Al Gore quoted.

We must learn from the past to understand the present so that we don’t repeat our faults. The cooperation of countries worldwide to form legally binding agreements on cutting down emissions has been discussed and debated but if countries like America (who’s per capita emissions are the highest) refuse to cooperate, then we may already have lost half the battle.

The positives – China is the number 1 country in the world which stands well in implementing correct, clean and sensible green mechanisms. The Economist proposed that China will be the strongest economy by 2050 taking over the West, but what is interesting about that this country is that it has been smart in its energy use and efficiency by installing a large number of renewable energy projects and most of all aopting the right policies passing the right policies which allow the nation to draw on renewable energy.

Smart businesses have started realising that looking at long term benefits, having a strong vision for the future, thinking beyond metrics, not forgetting using future scenarios allows them to avoid the convenient ‘quick fix’ and be patient. No doubt success is hard; it is just a question of planning immensely and using climate change as a platform to develop their future strategies. Sustainability is the key of success, and this will be China’s biggest success stories in the coming years.

India is not too far behind; we are the only country in the world to have a ministry for renewable energy. Taking a quick look at India’s response to the climate issue, we find that the country stands in the top 5 in the world in terms of renewable energy capacity: the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission launched in 2009 aims to install 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. With the country’s abundant supply of sunlight this makes India a ‘sun favoured nation’ and heralds the potential of India as one of emerging renewable energy countries. Wind energy in north west India like Rajasthan and Gujarat is already being harnessed while Biomass and Hydro energy are increasing in importance.

More to come as my research in this field continues- Views or comments are welcome.

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