Free riding and climate fairness are the two main issues behind the difficulties in reaching meaningful international agreements on reducing carbon emissions.
By Sachin Sengar,
Climate change is a global problem that needs a global solution. Every country has contributed differently to the accumulation of CO2 emissions and those countries are most likely to be affected by climate change. Free riding and climate fairness are the two main issues behind the difficulties in reaching meaningful international agreements on reducing carbon emissions.
The European Green deal sets the goal of a 55% reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, and to become a climate neutral continent by 2050. The European Parliament has given the green signal to the European Commission’s plan to decarbonize its economy by 2050, by approving the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). It helps to reduce the risk of carbon leakage and to level the field for EU industries working to decarbonize their production processes. This will be done by imposing a carbon tariff on carbon intensive products such as cement and electricity, imported by the EU. The CBAM is likely to take effect in 2026 with reporting stated in 2023. But it is impossible to stop global warming or climate change overnight, or even over the next several decades, we can slow the rate and limit the amount of global warming by reducing human emissions of heat-trapping gases and soot.
In today’s time, every kind of cooling machine and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat, making it possible to chill food and keep buildings and vehicles cool. Many harmful gases, especially chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), were once key culprits in depleting the stratospheric ozone layer, which is essential for absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It has the capacity to warm the atmosphere 1,000 to 9,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, depending on their exact chemical composition. The process of phasing out HFCs will take many years, and they will persist in kitchens and condensing units in the meantime. Approximately 90 percent of emissions happen at disposal. When we remove it carefully and store it, refrigerants can be purified for reuse or transformed into other chemicals that do not cause warming.
To slow or even reduce global warming many measures can be taken such as climate engineering or geoengineering. Some geoengineering plans call for injecting reflecting particles into the highest layer of the atmosphere to scatter and reflect sunlight back to space, which would chill the Earth’s surface. The measure of seeding the oceans with iron to stimulate large-scale phytoplankton blooms, thereby drawing down carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Many reports released oppose the undertaking of geoengineering until we have a much better understanding of the possible side effects. There are many unresolved legal and ethical issues that are surrounding geoengineering. Many research suggests that fossil fuels can side-lined zero-emission wind energy during the mid-twentieth century. Wind energy has its challenges. The weather is not the same everywhere. Wind has a variable nature, there are times when turbines are not turning. According to many resorts turbines are noisy, aesthetically unpleasant, and at times deadly to bats and migrating birds. Today, approximately more than 3, 14,000 wind turbines supply 3.7 percent of global electricity. It will soon be much more. According to recent research in 2015, a record 63 gigawatts of wind power were installed around the world, despite a dramatic drop in fossil-fuel prices. Wind Energy is less expensive than coal-generated electricity.
Many modern technologies make it easier to overcome fluctuations in supply and demand. These interconnected grids can shuttle power to where it is needed. With the help of newer turbine designs, one can address concerns over bird and bat deaths with slower-turning blades and siting practices to avoid migration paths. Rapid and constant cost reductions will make wind energy the least expensive source of installed electricity capacity, perhaps within a decade.
Now, we can say that the era of fossil fuels is over, and the only question is when the new era of clean energy will be upon us. Two percent of solar photovoltaics of the global electricity are present there.
Over the past decade, we have seen an exponential growth in solar photovoltaics (PV). Distributed systems of less than 100 kilowatts power accounted for roughly 30 percent of solar PV capacity installed worldwide in the year 2015. The production of PV panels involves emissions, they generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or air pollution. PV produces energy at the site of consumption when we place them on a grid-connected roof, avoiding the inevitable losses of grid transmission. It utilities to meet the demand by feeding unused electricity into the grid, especially in summer.
The “net metering” policy can make the solar panels financially feasible for homeowners, offsetting the electricity consumers buy at night, when the sun is not shining. Rooftop PV is very affordable, they provide clean electricity and now becoming a powerful tool for eliminating poverty. It helps to create jobs and energizes local economies. Today all around the world, roof modules are spreading because of their affordability. It can benefit from a virtuous cycle of falling costs, driven by incentives to accelerate its development and implementation, economies of scale in manufacturing, advances in panel technology, and innovative approaches for end-user financing.
By calculating carbon footprints and erasing them. Many startups and companies have come who deal with measuring the carbon footprints of individuals and organisations and help them to erase that and make the environment a better place to live. They are developing many digital tools to help people take action on climate change. The goal of calculating the human footprint and eradicating the carbon footprint in order to effectively counteract climate change to achieve a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. We all should envisage a society in which everyone, including individuals and businesses, operates carbon neutrally, i.e., all entities reduce their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices and pay for their unavoidable carbon imprint by reducing their carbon footprint.
The reforms in the pricing of electricity and dismantling a system that relies on industry to subsidize residential use of electricity, a market design are critical to decarbonisation of the economy that does not penalize renewable energy, and promoting grid connected distributed energy such as grid-connected roof-top solar. Major reforms in the power and energy sector are going to be critical for India’s deep decarbonisation agenda and these three elements most relevant from that decarbonisation. Hoping that India will play a leadership role in COP26. It is important to remember that most developed countries are just not doing enough on their commitment and the low historic responsibility that India bears for the climate breakdown.
(The author is Founder & CEO of Lowsoot. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)