The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) organized a first-of-its-kind panel discussion at the Climate Live Pavilion during COP28, focusing on the Sixth Assessment Report (AR 6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its relevance for India.
Prof Jim Skea speaking at the Panel Discussion
Prof Jim Skea, IPCC Chair, shared the global assessments of the IPCC and their specific implications for Indias climate realities. Prof Skea outlined projections for India, providing crucial insights that can guide the countrys development trajectories in response to climate change challenges. Emphasizing the urgency of action, the report underscored the severe consequences humanity faces without immediate mitigation efforts targeting key climate change drivers.
Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI, commenced her welcome address, reflecting on the longstanding historic association between TERI and IPCC. She credited the integration of sustainability into the ethos of every ‘TERI-ite’ to this enduring partnership. Dr Dhawans address emphasized the concern over rising temperatures, underscoring its broader implications for humanity and particularly its impact on lower-income segments. Expressing deep apprehension about the alarming state of current climate change, Dr Dhawan remarked, “We are already late in taking action. The impact of climate change is far uglier than what was predicted. Unfortunately, the impacts are not uniform. The countries already struggling are going to be negatively impacted due to the changing climate.”
Guiding the audience through the IPCC assessments, Prof Skea stated, “Current policies are likely to lead to temperature overshooting 1.5-degree target. Net zero globally does not mean net zero for all countries and sectors simultaneously.” In the upcoming cycle, the IPCC is determined to prioritize equity issues. Most vulnerable countries are the least contributors to emissions per capita. “These vulnerabilities are exacerbated by inequity and marginalization,” he added. His presentation was succeeded by the launch of the report ‘Practices and Solutions: Accelerating Indian Industry Decarbonisation.’ The report is a compilation by signatory Indian companies of the Industry Charter for Near-Zero Emissions Ambition by 2050. The report captures the key achievements and voluntary actions by Indian industries.
During the interactive session, the IPCC Chair and the Indian Business Leaders delved into the implications of the AR6 findings. The discussion extended to deliberations on opportunities available for India to adopt an inclusive and green development pathway. This involves leveraging the nations strengths, embracing innovative technologies, and adopting climate-friendly approaches to development. The dialogue aimed to pave the way for a sustainable future while addressing the pressing challenges outlined in the IPCCs latest assessment.
Addressing the imperative of net-zero emissions, Mr Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries Ltd., voiced his concern, suggesting, “We should be talking about the storage mechanism. Perhaps, we should look at nuclear solutions as an option to solve the carbon issue.” Recognizing the complexity of the matter, he acknowledged that every solution comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Mr Pai presented this perspective to industry leaders, proposing it as a crucial topic for discussion and further exploration within the broader discourse on sustainable practices.
Discussing the current landscape of electric vehicles in the country, Ms Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Group Public Affairs (India & International) and Group Sustainability, Mahindra Group, shared insights during her presentation. “It is bold and audacious because current figures for India indicate less than a one-and-a-half percent consumer adoption of electric vehicles. So we are in some ways having to create the market for electric vehicles and theres a slew of policy and enablement as well as the cost structure and redefining that needs to be done to trigger acceleration and consumer adoption of electric vehicles.”
“Profitability and sustainability can go hand in hand,” asserted Mr Mahendra Singhi, MD & CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd., highlighting the advantage they gained through early recognition of this paradigm. He proudly shared that Dalmia Cement stands out as one of the few companies with the least carbon footprint. Expanding on the potential for implementing non-viable solutions, Mr Singhi emphasized, “We need to explore the possibility of capturing CO2 viable. Replace thermal with renewable energy and replace fossil fuel with non-fossil/biofuel to reduce the carbon footprint.” According to him, carbon credits and green finance can further expedite this transformative process.
Mr Koushik Chatterjee, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, Tata Steel Ltd., said, “We cannot achieve climate positivity without nature positivity. The role of public policy is facilitating the pace of the decarbonisation. Carbon market and carbon pricing including voluntary carbon markets will become very critical for a country like India.”
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Mr Arupendra Nath Mullick, Vice President, TERI Council for Business Sustainability.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in India, is an independent, multi-dimensional research organization with capabilities in policy research, technology development, and implementation. An innovator and agent of change in the energy, environment, climate change and sustainability space, TERI has pioneered conversations and action in these areas for nearly five decades. Headquartered in New Delhi, it has centres in six Indian cities, and is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, sociologists, economists, engineers, administrative professional and state-of-the-art infrastructure.