This article is written by Rajnish Ahuja.
The pace of development of a country is reflected by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP, the measure of the increase in total production in the economy). Growth in GDP at the cost of environmental degradation is not sustainable. We should adjust the GDP indicator to take the environment into account and calculate this adjusted GDP. For this same reason, the Planning Commission of India has commissioned an expert group to draft a template for estimating “green national accounts”, which would measure national production while taking into account the negative effects on national resources. To promote sustainable development, economic instruments play an important part by laying down patterns that lead to sustainable production and consumption. Some of the carbon related figures:
- India’s carbon intensity in 2010-11 was of 377 tons of CO2/millions $.
- India’s per capita emission is of 1.8 tons per person.
India has been striving to fight this problem and reduce emissions and one of its states, Gujarat, has emerged as a role model for the remaining states in India. Managing climate change is a major challenge for humanity. India has developed a National Action Plan on climate change which outlines a number of steps to simultaneously advance on India’s development and climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives to fight the problem. To tackle it, Gujarat has established a separate Department for Climate Change. This Initiative by the Gujarat Government is a trendsetter not only for India but for the whole of Asia as it is the First local government in Asia with a Department for Climate Change. Moreover, Gujarat is the 4th local province in the world to have a department for climate change. The Department is headed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in charge of handling issues related to climate change. The initiative was carried out to give a human face to environmental issues. Energy and petrochemicals (including thirty-nine clean energy initiatives), urban transportation, forest and environment, rural development, the industrial sector and mines fall under this new department.
- It will carry out a study on the impact of global warming along the state’s 1600 km. coastline.
- Gujarat currently holds 29 percent share of the entire country’s carbon credit. The state government intends to gofurther and launch the ‘Green Credit Movement’ in line with carbon credits. Under the Green credit movement, if someone cuts trees to set up an Industry he would have to replace with the same number of full grown trees.
Gujarat has a new investor-friendly solar policy with a target to set up 500 MW of solar energy plants. Gujarat is also the leader in the Clean Development Mechanism market in the country. . 70 plants out of 96 compost plants in the urban local bodies of India are in Gujarat and are operational. Other initiatives found in the region are for example 25000 hectares of mangrove forest have been added in the coastal areas of Gujarat which will be working as a powerful carbon sink absorbing 50 tons of Carbon per hectare. Historically Gujarat has been the region of skilled traders and businessmen since ancient times and is now setting the trend for innovative mechanisms for mitigating climate change.
About the author : Rajnish Ahuja holds a MBA from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and a Mechanical Engineering degree. He has 5 years of experience in research and analysis in Sustainable Energy and Transport with leading organizations. He has worked into the renewable energy policy domain, carbon foot printing with the European Investment Bank, air quality, electric vehicles, fuel cells and is currently creating a directory of Renewable Energy organizations in the Asia Pacific region, for the United Nations’ Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology. His interest areas are green economics, sustainable energy generation, sustainable transport and research projects related to the clean tech sector in general.