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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s COP 26 pledge sets the clock for a new industrial model at home

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On November 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will achieve the target of net-zero emissions by 2070.

While it is two decades later than the deadline that the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States have set, and a decade later than China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, this is the first time India has set the target for achieving net-zero goals.

This is a big step forward in two ways. One, India, the world’s fourth-largest polluter after the US, China, and the European Union, has set a clock for itself and the world to make the planet’s atmosphere less toxic. Two, the Prime Minister announcing the goal on the world stage brings in an element of domestic political commitment.

In many ways, Modi’s net-zero declaration by 2070 is as much a demonstration of the government’s political intent to walk the talk on Climate Change as it is about setting a goal to conform to a global initiative.

For its part, over the last few years, India has sought to set an example in the transitioning to clean energy through a clutch of initiatives, including setting up of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), raising the domestic renewable energy target to 500 GW by 2030, creating one of the world’s largest markets for renewable energy, putting in place an ambitious National Hydrogen Mission, and continuing efforts to decouple its emissions from economic growth.

There has also been considerable progress in seeking to give access to electricity to all households.

India faces a peculiar paradox in balancing its economic growth ambitions while still being on the correct side of the Climate Change fence.

Seven years ago, on August 15, 2014, delivering his first Independence Day address as Prime Minister for the Red Fort’s ramparts, Modi gave a call to Indian entrepreneurs to adopt a ‘zero defect, zero effect’ mantra in their products — a direct reference to the need to make things without causing environmental harm.

"Our manufacturing should have zero defects so that our products should not be rejected in the global market. Besides, we should also keep in mind that manufacturing should not have any negative impact on our environment,”

 Modi had said in 2014. In Glasgow, Modi coined a new acronym — LIFE, shorthand for Lifestyle for Environment — to combat Climate Change. "Today it is necessary that all of us come together as a collective partnership and take LIFE forward as a movement. It can be given an institutional framework and become a mass movement for an environmentally conscious lifestyle," he said.

While there is no gainsaying the government’s commitment towards climate-friendliness in terms of enabling policies and laws, the responsibility of execution lies squarely with the industry through collaborations with the government, civil society, and the citizenry to help India achieve its commitments.

Businesses will have to draw up a growth strategy that is timescale consistent with the response to Climate Change, water scarcity, and other global challenges.

Sustainability, the buzzword across the world today, will have to take on a new avatar, and become the soul of every organisation — business or otherwise. It is increasingly clear that sustainability can no longer be a choice but an integral part of business strategy.

Rapid innovation in new frontiers of nanotechnology, and biotechnology can potentially help produce goods that are stronger yet lighter, and more efficient than their earlier generations.

With the Prime Minister setting the goal loud and clear, it is now for stakeholders from across the spectrum to deliberate on innovative partnerships that can accelerate the energy transition, on gaps that need to be plugged to ensure energy security and industrial acceleration to achieve India’s Climate Change targets vis-à-vis COP26.

Everyone — governments, companies, politicians, and consumers — needs to act now. Avoiding the build-up of industrial and household waste is a good starting point. India’s time for a `circular economy’ has come. This has to be brought about through strict enforcement, strong people’s participation, and proactive corporate involvement.

How do we prolong the life cycle of products, recondition them, and cut down on waste generation? There are examples that India can, and needs to, draw upon.

A truly circular economy, however, would need more than a policy framework. It will also require nimble, ‘smart’ thinking.

For instance, factories that use large amounts of water should be made to take a variety of steps to save energy and improve efficiency. Using a turbine to generate power from the water used at a factory for things such as cooling, air conditioning, or for generating power at a food processing factory from biogas produced from organic waste, should be made mandatory.

Likewise, consumer durable manufacturers would have to make things keeping in mind their recyclability value. Consumers should get used to paying for the service of a product, rather than owning a product, and then dumping it later.

This is the time for industry and consumers to hold the mirror, and take a long, hard look at themselves. A fundamentally new model of industrial organisation is needed to de-link rising prosperity from resource consumption growth — one that goes beyond incremental efficiency gains to deliver transformative change, but evolves into a new B2C2C approach: Business to Consumer to Climate

Article Source:- Moneycontrol