India needs to make a decisive shift away from fossil fuels to nuclear and renewable sources of energy irrespective of what the International Negotiations on Climate Change will yield in Copenhagen later this month said the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Mr Shyam Saran at the CII-NETRA organised roundtable on Power technologies for Carbon Mitigation on 30th November 2009 in New Delhi. This is necessary to sustain an 8% GDP growth rate in the future. We are a few days away from the much awaited Copenhagen conference on Climate Change. The purpose of the conference is to produce a set of binding agreements between nations to limit the global rise in temperature. However, the Copenhagen conference may not produce desired results; he added.
The International Negotiations on Climate Change have become less and less about preventing global warming and more and more about the defense of national economic interest. India and other major developing economies should not therefore expect much in terms of either technology transfer or financial resources from developed nations to reduce carbon emissions. Instead they are likely to be asked to mobilize resources from international carbon market. However, Mr Saran cautioned with very weak international commitments to reduce CO2 emissions even the value of carbon credits may not be particularly high. They may not therefore provide sufficient resources to finance the energy shift in its entirety.
In the Indian context, it is essential to develop a marine algae program, a technology which offers a huge carbon reduction potential. It is also essential for India to create more greenfield projects to create greater carbon sinks. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) the much talked about technology for the International Negotiations may not be viable for India due to the high investment costs and the increase in the cost of power; said Mr. R S Sharma, Chairman & MD NTPC Ltd. and Chairman, CII National Committee on Power. The Indian Industry at large will not lag behind in setting emission targets for itself added Mr. Sharma.
Mr. Prem Shankar Jha, Member of the Energy Panel of the World Commission for Environment and Development suggested tackling the climate change problem in an integrated fashion across sectors and highlighted the benefits of using methanol obtained from flue gas CO2 and biomass to replace gasoline and diesel in the transport segment.
Mr. V S Verma, Member CERC, in his address at the roundtable emphasized India’s pro-activeness in adopting all the economically viable technology feasible for India in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Mr. Sudhir Kapur, Member CII National Committee on Power, in his concluding remarks suggested the greater need to integrate solar energy into grids and also the need to bring in new technologies promptly.