Nature and Biodiversity

How can India reduce emissions without harming growth?

Ravi Uppal
Managing Director and Group CEO, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, India
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India is responsible for less than 3% of the world’s historical cumulative carbon emissions, and today, one in five people in the country still don’t have access to electricity. But that doesn’t make the country any less committed to solving the issue of climate change.

One of the best ways to start doing this is for the private sector to work together with government. Steel, power and infrastructure are the building blocks of India’s economy, which is why at JSPL, we have a big role to play in partnering with the government to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

Technology will help us do so. For example, to save on operational costs as well as to comply with India’s green building standards, companies here are creating and implementing technologies that help build energy-efficient office spaces and factories. Technologies such as coal gasification for directed reduced iron production, which is a far more environment friendly way for manufacturing steel, were pioneered by JSPL in India. Better grid technologies are being developed elsewhere in India to tap the potential for rooftop solar projects. Investing in such technologies can help us reduce emissions without having a negative impact on economic growth. I believe that with a supportive policy environment, the private sector in India has the capacity to make breakthroughs in creating and deploying new solutions for clean, affordable energy.

Achieving the right energy mix is crucial to ensure we use less carbon to fuel India’s growth. Oil’s share as an energy source globally is predicted to decline to around 25% by 2035. Coal will gain briefly and then start declining to around a 24-25% share. The share of gas will rise steadily, reaching around 22-24% by 2035 . In non-fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear energy currently show little or no change from their percentage share in 2013, whereas renewable energy’s share has increased threefold from 2013 to 2035 and now forms around 7% of the global energy mix. In a similar time projection, India’s current population of 1.2 billion – about 363 million of whom live in poverty – is projected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2030. The Indian government has committed to source 40% of its electricity from renewable and other low-carbon sources by 2030 towards powering the houses of such a growing population. We stand united with the government on this commitment.

To achieve all this, a trusting multistakeholder approach is the only way forward in India. We all have to work together on a level playing field towards striking the right balance of protecting nature and ensuring economic growth. This has to be done as an important partnership in India between entrepreneurs, multinationals, research institutions, civil society and government. Preserving the earth unites us beyond differing ideologies in a vibrant democracy.

Author: Ravi Uppal, Managing Director and Group CEO, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd

Image: A general view shows the Bandra-Worli sea link bridge, also called the Rajiv Gandhi Sethu, in Mumbai October 18, 2011. REUTERS/John Goh

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Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityFourth Industrial RevolutionGeographies in DepthEconomic GrowthEnergy Transition
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