A planet in peril…. Our energy hungry approach to development is causing the planet to warm and risking the health of our future Historically, countries have developed by converting natural resources into energy and products Some of these natural resources, known as fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), stored away millions of years of buried carbon in the ground. When burned for energy (such as coal power plants or petrol), the carbon stored in these fuels combines with oxygen and is released into the air as carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a greenhouse gas which means it traps the sun’s heat in the atmosphere hence any increase leads to higher surface temperatures on Earth. Since the industrial revolution, we have released CO2 on a massive scale causing a steep and measurable increase of CO2 in the air. Initially we did not think about the consequences of changing the CO2 balance but we now see it has led to a warming planet- a process which is accelerating Aside from hotter temperatures, we face rising sea levels, greater floods and droughts, loss of agriculture, loss of animal species, greater diseases and increased storm activity. Scientists expect average temperatures to rise anywhere between 3-8 degrees by the end of this century if we do not significantly reduce our carbon emissions. We have about 10 years at best to make the changes and avoid dangerous temperature rise.
An Indian Perspective India is going through a period of unprecedented economic growth This has the capacity to deliver much needed improvements in health, education and lifestyles that 100s of millions of people in India lack However, like the developed world, this economic growth is fueled by energy which presently is largely supplied by fossil fuels. Hence, India’s current pathway of development would lead it to becoming a major contributor to the already dangerous levels of carbon dioxide emissions Currently, India is a very low emitter of CO2, but this is as much to do with poverty as it is to do with sustainable practices. Knowing what we know now about the harmful effects of Greenhouse gases, we need to find alternative means of energy and development But these alternatives, such as renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal etc) are often expensive or still require further development Only through international co-operation and a strong domestic resolve, can India deliver on development today and a secure future for the planet and our children
The average Indian produces very little carbon dioxide compared with International levels Total Greenhouse Emissions (per person)
But given our size, we are an important player in the fight against Global warming Relative contribution of fossil fuels to global warming (2007) Source: Hansen et al. (2007). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 7: 2287-2312 India already represents 5% of Greenhouse Gas emissions from Fossil Fuels
The Indian contribution to Global Warming has many facets
But a growing rich class of Indians are increasing emissions dramatically
Top 1% of Indians (those earning over $700 US per month) estimated to emit around to 5 tonnes CO2 per annum, close to global average
Greenpeace: ‘hiding behind the poor’, 2007
And our burning of biofuels such as wood for cooking adds new problems
India and China are the primary contributors of ‘black carbon’ (soot), which has a significant and yet to be quantified impact on Climate Change
James Hansen et al
Some Indian practices helping keep our emissions low: But can we maintain them?
Vegetarian diets use much less energy
But increased incomes leading to shift in higher meat diets
High rates of recycling
But has this just been a function of a low labour cost economy?
Where Indian emissions come from? Source: Indian UN submission, 2004 Green House Gas Indian Emissions Measured in CO2 Equivalent Industrial processes (18 %) Energy Industry (28 %) Waste Disposal & Treatment (3.8%) Land-use change & Bio-mass burning (7.2%) Residential & Commercial (7.9%) Fossil fuel Processing & Retrieval (2.1%) Agriculture (26.5%) Transportation (6.5%)
Coal is our dominant source of energy, and the most harmful in terms of producing CO2 Source: CEA and MNRE (2008) Indian Source of Power Generation
India will need to add a lot of additional power capacity to meet needs Source: CEA (2008) GigaWatts of Installed Power Capacity Majority of increase is planned to come from coal
Agriculture: core to employment & security Agriculture is the largest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of India. “Around 46 % of the India’s geographical area is used for Agricultural Activities.” Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2007 and employed 60% of the country's population.
Climatic changes will reduce agriculture yields significantly
India may lose up to 17% of its farming income from increases in temperature
Mendolsohn, Yale University Study, 2008
"Wheat yields would fall by 5-10% with every increase of 1 degree celsius,"
Climate Change Is Going To Make The Water Problems a Lot Worse! Red = decrease in precipitation Source: UN World Water Development Report 2, CERE Changes in precipitation will increase extreme weather events such as droughts and floods . Blue = increase in precipitation Green = No change Grey = No Data Expected changes in precipitation
Warmer temperatures mean more water evaporates from the soil increasing the amount of droughts. Farmer suicides can be directly linked to the impact that Climate Change is already having Droughts
Flooding With more water evaporating, we get higher rates of flooding as well. In India thousands of people are killed & millions affected by floods due to heavy rains in the monsoon season every year. 1/2 million 2003 20 million 2005 30 million 2004 6 million 2006 ? 2008 14 million 2007
Warmer temperatures mean more storms Arabian Sea GONU, June 2007 – Category 5 Bay of Bengal SIDR, November 2007 – Category 5 Bay of Bengal NARGIS, April 2008 – Category 4
Warmer temperatures cause stronger storms… CATEGORY 5 November 15, 2007 Super Cyclone Sidr US $ 4.4 billion in damages 4.1 Lakh destruction of farm land 12 lakh tonnes of rice paddy devastated- this accounts for 40% of the country’s output Led to reduced yields in other paddy farms. 8.9 Million environmental refugees left homeless
The Himalayan glaciers are very important to us because… They are the source of 7 major rivers They provide water to 40% of the world’s population Photo: Nikhil Devasar/Sanctuary Photolibrary
Our glaciers are melting away 1936 2006 Pindari Glacier
And the Himalayan snow leopards Photo: International Snow Leopard Trust
Begin to lose their homes… Photo: Sanctuary Are losing their habitat
Animals and fauna across India predicted to disappear rapidly Effect of fragmentation, forest degradation and climate change on mean species abundance of India. 2030 2008 Source: GIST RED means 0% species present
Harness Renewables: 4 th in Wind Capacity Today
India’s solar energy potential Source: NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center (2008) Harness Renewables: Significant Solar Resource Kilowatt-hours per square meter per day
Urbanization in India: a chance to incorporate latest thinking Source: Unicef % of Indian population living in urban areas India is one of the least urbanized countries in the world
Private vehicles in India account for 67.6% of motorized vehicles in India. They carry 37% of the commuters and take up 67.1% of the road width. Buses are 24.4% of the vehicles, 61% of the commuters and 38% of the road width. CO2 emissions from cars has increased by 73% and from two wheelers by 61% in Delhi alone Chance to build proper public transport in our new cities from the start Source: Down To Earth Magazine, 2008 (CSE Publication)
Opportunity To Develop More Efficiently? India USA Greece Italy Japan Norway Iceland South Africa UK Electricity consumption (annual kw hrs/person, 2004) Human Development Index (2007) Get here by 2030?
Government of India has approved 213 new coal plants in the next 8 years . Planning Commission But these haven’t been built yet. Can we find alternatives? An Opportunity To Change
Examples of no regrets – only gains – not so complex solutions Increase Women’s Education Protect and Plant More Trees Improve Public Transport Reduce/Improve Bio Fuel Cooking Tax Power and Water Consumption Progressively Subsidize Cleaner Technologies Not Polluting Ones Electrify non-powered villages with renewables
The Power To Change "Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction." “ There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed”