MAR 2020  
TERI Analysis
Towards 2030: Making the Decade Count

WSDS 2020: Hallmark of Sustainability

Climate proactiveness, energy decarbonization, regional 'green deals', fossil fuel production per capita, and protection of fragile ecosystems formed the thematic circuitry of the 3-day WSDS 2020 that premised on the motto- #Act4Earth.

With much aplomb, Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the world's leading economists and Director, Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, delivered a powerful speech in the guise of sustainability wake-up call and said, “We are all over the world and in every way still coming closer to dire environmental crisis. Now we have a new emerging disease that is terrifying the world-mega forest fires in many parts of the world that are devastating, air pollution beyond belief in this country even with the struggles to control it but absolutely dramatic.”During the Summit, Professor Sachs was felicitated with the Sustainable Development Leadership Award (SDLA) for his work and contribution towards sustainable development.

The inaugural address was delivered by Mr Prakash Javadekar, the honourable Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. On the one hand, he expressed his pride in India's role in sustainable consumption but on the other side of the spectrum, shared his worry on the proposed commitments made by countries, 'Developing countries should have received $1 trillion in assistance from developed countries as per commitments made in Copenhagen nearly a decade ago. Much of that has not yet been received,'he asserted.

One of the noteworthy moments of the Summit was when the Minister inaugurated the first edition of IFAT Delhi- North India's trade fair for water, sewage, solid waste and recycling.

Day 1: Towards Zero Carbon Economy

Engaging discussions were held on all the days. Speaking about the Summit, Mr Nitin Desai, Chairman, TERI said, 'WSDS bridges development and environment. It is a practical expression of integration to achieve sustainable development'. On Day 1, there were 20 tracks that covered a variety of topics through in-depth discussions with experts from various fields. The morning discussions ranged from topics such as 'new opportunities towards enhancing climate resilience in states' to 'how to best manage intermittency of electricity demand and supply at the distribution level'. The afternoon discussions covered everything from 'battery energy storage and downstream distribution' to 'sustainable cooling'. This was followed by thought-provoking plenary sessions, a key one being with Dr Ajay Mathur (Director General, TERI), Lord Adair Turner (Chair, Energy Transitions Commission) and Mr Jairam Ramesh (honourable Member of Parliament) discussing the 2030 Goals and making the 'Last Decade Count'. Lord Turner said that while America leaving the Paris Agreement was a tragedy, it meant China and India would need to play a bigger role. Mr Ramesh discussed how a ground up framework was the need of the hour for a zero carbon economy, which would include domestic, economic, and political policies.

Day 2: India and Global Green Deals

The second day of the Summit started with a stimulating talk by SDL Awardee Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs. He highlighted how the world was currently embroiled in the politics of power (giving an example of his own country-USA) and how it needed to move towards the politics of problem solving, instead. 'Rules for India and Global Green Deal are-stop new coal plants, oil and gas exploration, fracking, and new deforestation. Shift to battery electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030, invest in synthetic fuels, divest from greenhouse gas (GHG) projects, restrain oil companies and pro-carbon governments, and interconnect renewables,'he asserted.

Another important session during the Summit saw Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, honourable Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, in conversation with Dr Ajay Mathur about sustainable energy initiatives in India and how the government remains committed to achieving economic development through the SDGs. The Corporate Conclave talks that followed focused on mobility, specifically clean mobility and encouragement of e-mobility with Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the importance of industry in making India the manufacturing hub of EVs. The penultimate session of the day witnessed an interesting panel deliberating on how to achieve success at COP26 with UN and European officials. Italian Ambassador to India HE Vincenzo de Luca spoke about how we should be ambitious, pragmatic, and inclusive for achieving success at COP26. Mr Yvo de Boer, Advisor and Consultant on International Environmental Policy and former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC spoke about how there is a recognition of the urgency (in the climate change context) but there is no understanding on how to deliver. The day’s final session saw a discussion on air pollution with a keynote address from Mr C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change who spoke about the National Clean Air Programme’s (NCAP) approach to air pollution, “It takes into consideration unique city-specific pollution factors,”he said. Mr Gaurav Gogoi, Member of Parliament, highlighted the need to link India’s Air Act with health and make it a priority.

Day 3: Blue Economy and Climate Action

The final day of the Summit kicked off with the launch of a report by McKinsey & Company on 'Climate Risk and Response'. The session on universal access to safe drinking water was presided by
Mr Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. In his keynote address, he took the audience through the role of the Ministry in joining resource management along with the policy on last mile delivery. The session on energy and industry transition had a panel including Mr Gurdeep Singh, Chairman, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Mr Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell that deliberated on CO2 capture and the importance of a leadership coalition in India. The session on green climate finance focused on the need to back legality on all instruments guaranteeing investment (such as crowdfunding) to meet the US$1.6-3.8 trillion target. This was followed by an in-depth discussion on the vital role of blue economy with its major socio-economic contribution and the expected doubling of gross value added (GVA) between 2010 and 2030. The final plenary of the day brought together former and current UN minds with Mr Nitin Desai, Chairman, TERI, Mr Atul Bagai, Head of Country Office (India) UNEP, and Ms Shoko Noda, India Resident Representative, UNDP, who highlighted the importance of inter-department communication and the need for a national policy in each department for the SDGs to fast-track the 2030 agenda. A keynote address was delivered by Dr Rajiv Kumar (Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog) on policies such as 'Aspirational Districts Programme' that are being undertaken by the government to make SDGs monitorable while focusing on the achievement of them as localized efforts.

The valedictory session was graced by Mr Jayant Sinha (honourable Member of Parliament) who in his address introduced the 'farm to green frontier' development model. He compared this to the traditional perspective of 'farm to factory' model, which strives on the combination of urbanization and industrialization.

Professor Nicholas Stern (IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Co-Director of the India Observatory & Chair—Grantham Research Institute, LSE) in his remarks stressed that change is only possible with rapid technological changes, international agreements, and pressure from young people- an important constituent of the Summit proceedings.

The Summit engaged with the youth through a 'Youth Climate Conclave', a 3-day programme, with awareness building sessions and deliberations helping them articulate their views about issues related to climate change. The reading of this articulation as the Youth Declaration on Climate Action marked the conclusion of the Summit. In his concluding remarks, Dr Ajay Mathur said, 'It is important that we manage the unavoidable. It is also important that we avoid the unmanageable.'

Ishani Mukherjee is Research Associate at TERI, New Delhi.

© TERI 2020

Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013

The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in Indias CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers.

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on February 4 and the finalists are announced on February 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until February 4 at or by e-mail to [email protected]

Matt Carr
+44 (0) 20 7375 7248
[email protected]