Carbon Emissions and Carbon Net Neutrality

Until recently, the main source of almost all fuels is fossil fuels. When a fossil fuel like coal, natural gas, or oil is burnt, it releases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. When these gases, also known as Greenhouse gases, stay too long in the atmosphere, they affect the earth in many ways. These gases trap the sun’s heat and their presence make the earth’s temperature rise causing extreme and erratic weather events like tropical storms, wildfires, severe droughts, heatwaves, loss of polar ice, and rise in sea levels.  All this can cause severe damage to the earth and can cause the land fertility to go down which can be detrimental to crop yields. The warmest 20 years on record have been in the last 22 years according to World Meteorological Organization. Also, climate change can alter the environment and make some natural habitats go extinct. In humans, these carbon emissions may cause various problems ranging from respiratory diseases to various types of cancers. The biggest contributor to carbon emission is transportation. Transportation accounted for major greenhouse gas emissions and constitutes everything from burning fossil fuels for cars, trains, ships, and airplanes. Next in line are electricity and industrial use. The total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place, or product is called a carbon footprint and is expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e. So, it is imperative for everyone to reduce their carbon footprint lest the planet is heading toward a climate catastrophe.

COP26(United Nations Climate Change Conference,2021)

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP26 was the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference held at SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK from October 31, 2021, to November 13, 2021.  COP stands for Conference of the Parties where Parties refer to 197 countries that agreed to a new environmental pact at a meeting held in 1992. The objective of this COP26 is to commit to more ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, to discuss measures to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change, and to increase funding for climate action.

India’s Stance

Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi made five commitments at the recent COP26. They are –

  1. India will achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2070.
  2. India will bring its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
  3. India will reduce 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions from the total projected emissions by 2030.
  4. India will bring its economy’s carbon intensity down by 45% by 2030.
  5. India will fulfill fifty percent of its energy requirements through renewable energy by 2030.

Let’s take a closer look – 

What does Net-zero emission mean? It is the balance between the amounts of greenhouse gases put in the atmosphere by various means and the amounts taken away from the atmosphere, again by various means. As mentioned earlier, we know how greenhouse gases have been increased by various means. In general, the trees take care of taking out these greenhouse gases to a large extent and maintaining a certain balance.  But unfortunately, urbanization has led to the cutting down of forests making it one more contributing factor to the increase in greenhouse gases. There’s a need to look out for more ways to take out this greenhouse garbage as we are putting more of this than taking it out. If you don’t take out your garbage daily, there comes a time when your whole house will become a big garbage pile. 

To achieve net-zero, India will have to look at alternate energy sources such as solar power, wind, and nuclear sources which don’t contribute to increases in greenhouse gases. But first, we need to move from conventional, polluting energy sources like coal and petroleum which is a difficult task. It has to be in phases because we are still dependent on them and more coal-based industries are still in pipeline.

Reducing the lifespan of these newly established coal industries to 25 years and slowly moving to renewable energy sources will reduce our dependency on coal and will achieve net-zero emission. India is also aiming to cover one-third of its geographical area with trees and forest cover. This will take out considerable carbon emissions of more than 20% according to a study. This, along with alternate cleaner sources will help achieve India to be a net-zero emission country. The target seems far, but we are on the right path!

To achieve a non-fossil fuel capacity of 500 GW by 2030, a projection shows that India has to have installed a solar energy capacity of 280GW and a wind energy capacity of 140GW. The remaining 80 GW should come from other sources, presumably nuclear!

Carbon intensity is the measure of carbon emission by a unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). By adopting cleaner technologies in various sectors of the economy, the carbon intensity can be reduced. Between 2005 and 2016, India has achieved a 25% of carbon intensity reduction in its GDP. This is achieved by taking various stringent measures to reduce emissions from the transport sector, energy-intensive sectors like iron, steel, cement. In the coming future, this carbon intensity can be further reduced by encouraging new industries to adopt hydrogen and other cleaner sources of fuel.

The current GHG (Greenhouse gases) emissions for India are at 3 billion tonnes. It is projected by 2030, it will be 4.5 billion tonnes. Out of this projected 4.5 billion tonnes, India will try to keep it below or at 3.5 billion tonnes. At present, India’s per capita emissions are less than compared of the US, EU, and China. Even after the projections for 2030, India would fare far better than other countries mentioned.

At present, India’s renewable is at 150+ GW and is number 4 in the world. In the last few years, non-fossil fuel energy has increased by more than 25% and India will strive to achieve 50% of its energy requirements through renewable sources by 2030.

To achieve all that was mentioned by the Indian Prime Minister our economy has to move from a linear to a circular one. To understand what is a linear economy and what is a circular one, let’s take a look at nature. A plant grows from the soil, an animal eats the plant after its life is over the animal dies, goes back into the soil and this soil again gives birth to a plant. Circularity is evident throughout nature. For a long time, our mother earth has functioned fully in a circular manner with infinite cycles where there is no place for waste.

Only with the rise of human civilization, this balance has been interrupted. A linear economy is the one where the manufacturer “takes” the raw materials from the earth, uses them to “make” goods, and once it reaches the end of its lifecycle it cannot go back to earth and cannot be “disposed of” the same way as created.

If we want to reduce global warming and reduce carbon emissions, moving to a circular economy is not only the best option but the need of the hour!

“Sic Pervis Magna”

The phrase in Latin means, Greatness from small things/beginnings. To combat global warming, carbon emissions, and all other things which are driving us humans towards obvious catastrophe and oblivion, while the Governments of the world are doing their best, we, as individuals can contribute in a big way by doing small things. 

We do not need to do much to be part of the change towards a sustainable world. All we need to do is actively start taking steps towards utilizing green energy on a daily basis. High demand for the development of massively scaled sustainable energy and low-carbon solutions has risen over the last decade. With an objective to battle climate change, and reduce the carbon burden on Earth, remarkable business opportunities have taken shape with powerful solutions backed up by incredible amounts of research, innovation, and green growth.

To take steps towards something, you need to know the path. Get to know about Green Energy from the best in that industry.

The International Conference on Green Energy – March 2022

An International Conference on Green Energy for the first time is hosted in our city, Hyderabad. The aim of the conference is to demonstrate and examine different approaches to innovative green energy solutions. A forum for technical information, dissemination of high-quality research results, and key takeaways on schemes and initiatives that will show direction to shape the future with green energy and sustainable solutions. 

An ensemble of keynote speakers from a variety of Industries will speak and enlighten us on energy systems and technologies that can reduce the environmental burden on Nature and has a huge economic and social impact on the population. So, save the date to hear and get your questions answered by the experts!!

Making a stride towards this event can help in taking a leap in the Nation’s goals. Remember, small drops make a mighty ocean!