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5 Steps that can make India Carbon Neutral

India’s challenge today, as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies is to balance growth with sustainability. India’s population of over 1.3 billion has tremendous energy demands that are expected to amplify in the coming decades. Climate change too is a constant reality with drought, famine, un-seasonal rains and erratic monsoons, heating India’s cities and wreaking havoc on rural crop cycles. India, therefore, has no choice but to take proactive steps towards achieving carbon neutrality to play its part in combating global climate change and ensuring that all development henceforth is sustainable. Here are the five steps that India can take to become carbon neutral:

Accelerate the Adoption of Renewable Energy

India has set a target of achieving 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030, including 280 GW of solar power. To achieve this, India needs to accelerate the design and implementation of policies and incentives that encourage investment in renewable energy projects. Decentralised renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar, which can help reduce transmission losses and provide energy access to remote regions are still too expensive and difficult to implement. India’s vast coastline can be used to harness offshore wind energy for reduced carbon power generation. Biofuels hydrogen can help decarbonise the auto and agriculture sectors.

Improve Energy Efficiency

India can reduce its carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency in various sectors such as industry, buildings, and transportation. The government can introduce building codes and standards that promote energy-efficient design and construction practices. Enhancing incentives for the private and commercial adoption of electric vehicles can significantly reduce carbon emissions. India can also promote the use of energy-efficient appliances and equipment in households and industries. Energy efficiency measures not only reduce carbon emissions but also help optimise energy bills.

Implement Carbon Monitoring, Capture and Storage

The first step would be stricter policies to mandate measuring the carbon footprint measurement and disclosure for all industries. Carbon capture and storage technologies can capture carbon dioxide emissions from industries and power plants and store them underground. India has abundant geological storage potential that can be utilised for CCS. The government can incentivise the deployment of CCS technologies and create a regulatory framework that ensures safe storage and monitoring of CO2. The deployment of CCS can help reduce India’s carbon emissions while enabling the continued use of fossil fuels during the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Promote a Circular Economy

India generates a significant amount of waste, including e-waste, plastic waste, and food waste. Promoting a circular economy can help reduce waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The government can promote the recycling and upcycling of waste materials, incentivise the use of recycled materials in manufacturing, and encourage sustainable waste management practices. Additionally, promoting the use of organic farming practices can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector.

Enhance Forest and Land Use

India has a vast forest cover that can be leveraged to offset carbon emissions and sequester CO2. The government can implement afforestation and reforestation programs and incentivise sustainable forest management practices. Additionally, India can promote sustainable agriculture practices such as agroforestry that can help sequester carbon while improving soil health and biodiversity. Reducing deforestation and land-use change can also significantly reduce India’s carbon emissions.
Achieving true carbon neutrality is a complex and challenging task that requires the concerted efforts of various stakeholders – policymakers, industry consortia, non-governmental organisations, academia and at a grassroots level, citizen engagement. India must adopt a multi-faceted, inclusive approach that leverages renewable energy, promotes energy efficiency, implements carbon monitoring, capture and storage, promotes a circular economy, and enhances forest and land use. Carbon reduction is expensive and capex-heavy. The government needs to be a strong facilitator with clear policy incentives that makes carbon reduction palatable across all sectors and all-levels of industry. India should not repeat the mistakes of developed economies that blazed a ruinous environmental trail on their paths to development. India needs to be pragmatic, but wiser in its choices and harness emerging technologies to chart its own unique, sustainable path to development.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Vivek MehraVivek Mehra is the Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at Onlygood, a one-of-its-kind novelty that empowers enterprises with growth-centric integration of sustainability. Driven by transformational technology and accelerated by system innovation, it is a unified sustainability monitoring & management platform for real-time product traceability across supply chain touchpoints for manufacturers & enterprise owners across the country. Vivek Mehra have had a strong interest in building a sustainable environment, giving back to the community, and leaving a cleaner planet behind for future generations.