Workshop theme: Media for Climate Action
Organisation: Auroville Consulting
No of participants: 12
Age Group: 25-55
Duration: 1 day
Period: May 2023
The Indian government ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, and pledged to act on reducing its national GHG emissions. Further in November 2021 at CoP 26, India pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070. However, a comprehensive approach to climate mitigation and adaptation is yet to be developed, despite some states setting their own renewable energy and reforestation targets.
To address this, a fellowship program was conducted by Auroville Consulting to enable media professionals to report on climate issues, particularly the decarbonization of the energy sector. The media plays a significant role in sustaining the above practices by raising awareness, promoting dialogue, and influencing public opinion. The media acts as a primary source of information, disseminating knowledge about sustainable practices, success stories, and evidence-based research. It educates the public on environmental issues, highlighting the importance of sustainability and the need for action. The program aimed to translate global climate commitments into local actions and included stories from industry experts and practitioners who are already taking active steps to reduce their impact.
Session in Progress – journalists and speakers in the audience
Speakers from various organisations spoke about their insights into the issue. Here’s a glimpse of what they covered.
Dr. Amir Bazaz | Senior Lead–Practice, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Title: What Does Science Say about Climate Change and Climate Action?
Amir is the Associate Dean of School of Environment and Sustainability; School of Systems and Infrastructure And Senior Lead – Practice, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS).
According to Amir, climate action must be in line with development. The efforts to address climate change and mitigate its impacts should be integrated into broader development initiatives and strategies. By aligning climate goals with development objectives, we can ensure that sustainable development and climate resilience go hand in hand.
He added that evidence-based research and action yield best results. Effective climate action requires a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and research. It is crucial to understand the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as the most effective strategies to address it. By basing climate action on reliable evidence, policymakers and stakeholders can make informed decisions and implement measures that are more likely to yield positive outcomes.
Dr Bazaz talks about the role of science in the fight against climate change.
Raghav Nandakumar | Team Lead, GHG Accounting and Decarbonisation – Auroville Consulting
Title: The Climate Story.
Raghav works on Carbon Mitigation and Adaptation through targeted planning and reporting at Auroville Consulting.
Raghav started his session by recalling that the Climate agreement reached in Paris was a significant and crucial milestone in the global effort to address climate change. It brought together nations from all around the world to acknowledge the urgency of the issue and commit to taking action. However, he said, while the agreement itself was an important step, the real challenge lies in translating the words and commitments into concrete and immediate actions.
According to Raghav, to effectively tackle climate change and implement the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, there are four key aspects that need to be addressed: understanding the audience, reporting on the numbers, decarbonization, and offsetting.
- Understanding the audience: Effective communication plays a vital role in driving climate action. It is essential to understand the diverse audiences that need to be engaged, ranging from policymakers and industry leaders to the general public. Different groups may have varying levels of awareness, understanding, and priorities regarding climate change. Tailoring the message to resonate with each audience and addressing their specific concerns and interests can enhance their willingness to act.
- Reporting on the numbers: Accurate and transparent reporting of data is crucial to monitor and evaluate climate action effectively. This includes measuring greenhouse gas emissions, tracking progress towards emission reduction targets, and assessing the effectiveness of implemented strategies. Clear and standardised reporting frameworks help in comparing efforts across different regions and sectors, facilitating accountability and encouraging further action.
- Decarbonization: Decarbonizing involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions across various sectors such as energy, transportation, industry, and land use. Transitioning to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency,, and promoting low-carbon technologies are key strategies for decarbonization. Collaboration between governments, businesses, and individuals is vital to accelerate the shift towards a sustainable and carbon-neutral future.
- Offsetting: While efforts to reduce emissions are crucial, it is also necessary to address the remaining emissions through offsetting. Offsetting involves activities that compensate for the release of greenhouse gases by supporting projects or initiatives that reduce emissions or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can include investing in reforestation, afforestation, renewable energy projects, or carbon capture and storage technologies. Offsetting provides an opportunity to balance unavoidable emissions and achieve a net-zero or even negative emissions trajectory.
Addressing these four important aspects is essential to effectively translate the commitments made in the Paris Agreement into tangible and urgent action. It requires collaborative efforts, strong political will, technological innovation, and the active involvement of all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals. Raghav stated that by working together on these fronts, steps can be taken towards a sustainable and resilient future, mitigating the impacts of climate change and preserving the planet for future generations.
The below report assess the sequestration capabilities of Auroville land under tree cover for a five-year period from Feb 2017 to Feb 2022:
Raghav addressing the audience on carbon mitigation.
Umesh Ramamoorthi – Auroville Consulting
Title: Pathways to Decarbonisation.
Umesh is part of the energy team at Auroville Consulting and specializes in the field of energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, and techno-commercial software for simulation.
Umesh mentioned that in order to limit the increase in global temperature an overall reduction of global emissions of CO2 will be needed. He followed by saying that 7% of global CO2 emissions are from India and 45% of India’s CO2 emissions are from the power sector so the Decarbonisation of the power sector is of major importance.
Facts related to the Power Sector in Tamil Nadu:
• Electricity generation in Tamil Nadu, like elsewhere in India, is still highly dependent on coal.
• The electricity generated from fossil fuel-based power plants contributed to 76% of total electricity generation in 2020.
• 2050 is set as the year to achieve a zero-carbon grid.
• With 50% of its total installed power capacity from renewables, Tamil Nadu is an established renewable energy leader.
• Policy announcements, such as the planned capacity addition of 20 GW solar by the year 2030 highlight the state’s long-term renewable energy ambitions.
Umesh went on to state that Science Based Target’s (SBT) 1.5°C and Energy Technology Perspective Below Two Degree Celsius Senario (ETP B2DS) are two decarbonization pathways that are in line with the goals of the Paris agreement. The ‘SBT 1.5°C’ gives a pathway to limit global warming by 1.5°C which requires a 72% decrease in total emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2050. The ‘ETP B2DS’ gives a pathway to limit global warming well below 2°C which requires a 37% decrease in total emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
The recent policy announcements and renewable energy targets, have the potential to direct the state closer toward the ETP B2DS decarbonisation pathway.
Here’s a report on Pathways to Decarbonisation by Auroville Consulting:
Umesh talks about the power sector emissions scenario in Tamil Nadu .
Jonathan Sumner | Chief Strategy Officer – JetSetGo
Title: The Market Benefits of Decarbonisation in Aviation.
Jonathan works as Chief Strategy Officer at JetSetGo and is responsible for all aspects of the growth strategy for the company, including the development and implementation of the company’s roadmap to sustainable aviation services.
Jonathan introduced the session by talking about the Aviation sector’s Goal to halve its share of Emissions by 2050. This is going to be extremely difficult, but it can be achieved through active intervention from the industry. It is possible to decarbonize the sector by transforming the aviation sector’s energy base from fossil to renewable but there’s a long way to go.
Although Aviation contributes to only 4% of the global CO2 it is one of the sectors where a low carbon solution in the near future is extremely unlikely. An action is nonetheless required as more people are going to fly in the coming decades.
Jonathan adds: “There is an opportunity for market leadership for those who embrace sustainability and achieve net-zero the soonest. Time is against us. We must put Purpose alongside Profit in our business model. Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise. The whole air transport ecosystem is built around fossil fuels and the tremendous success story of aviation’s growth has been built on the widespread availability of relatively cheap kerosene.” He said that customers increasingly want companies to become more sustainable and ultimately Carbon Net-Zero.
JetSetGo has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero by 2025 and drive innovative methods for decarbonisation of the Aviation sector in India.
Below is an excerpt from the interview published in dtnext:
Jonathan explaining the 5 ‘P’ model to sustainable business development
Venkat Raman G | Chief Operating Officer of the India Foundation Humanistic Development (IFHD)
Title: Communities & Climate Change.
Venkat’s expertise lies in operations, marketing & financial Management of Programs. In his current role, he is responsible for providing technical assistance to FPOs (farmer producer organisations). During his tenure in IFHD, he has supported 38 FPCs (farmer producer cooperatives) across 17 states in adopting sustainable agricultural practices.
Venkat introduced his session by mentioning IFHD’s aim to rejuvenate productive landscapes equitably and sustainably. The objective is to restore and revitalise environments where various forms of productivity can thrive while ensuring fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits. IFHD seeks to create a balance between human activities and the natural world, ensuring that economic, social, and ecological aspects are taken into account. This includes promoting sustainable agricultural practices, reforestation efforts, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems.
Additionally, he said IFHD focuses on helping communities understand and mitigate the effects of climate change. This involves working with farmers to implement large scale programs to sequester carbon on a long term basis and generate livelihoods through carbon financing. The aim is to build knowledge and capacity within communities so that they can make informed choices and adopt practices that enhance their resilience to climate-related challenges and contribute to global efforts in combating climate change.
Venkat Raman talking about sustainable agricultural practices and climate change.
Tara Murphy | Operations Coordinator – Teddy Exports
Title: Decarbonisation of the Supply Chain.
Tara’s focus of work has been to redevelop social entrepreneurship as she firmly believes in ‘Trade, not aid. Business, not charity’.
Tara spoke about Teddy exports emphasising the importance of decarbonization in the global supply chain, which can be achieved through parent organisations taking responsibility and leading the way. She emphasised that there is a need for regulations and policies that work with organisations to achieve these goals rather than hinder them. Tara spoke about the roadmap of Teddy Exports to transition towards a net-zero goal in line with the goals of their customers and decarbonise their production through adoption of efficient processes and technology.
Auroville Consulting, which put together a greenhouse gas inventory report for Teddy Exports, helped them gather details on the major emissions centres to make informed business decisions that integrate decarbonisation into their long term activities. Some of the practices that Teddy Exports would require to undertake on a regular basis to continue being on a path towards achieving net-zero emissions are:
• Preparing annual emissions inventories.
• Setting a science-based net-zero emissions target.
• Implementing data collection systems where required for improving accuracy.
• Identifying and implementing mitigation measures.
• Compensating emissions through offsetting programs.
• Reporting progress to key stakeholders.
• Re-evaluating their carbon strategy.
Tara emphasises on the importance of decarbonization in the global supply chain.
Dr. R. Venkatesh | Chief Medical Officer – Aravind Eye Hospital
The Aravind Model of Low Carbon Emission – Race to Zero
Dr. Venkatesh is the Chief Medical Officer at Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry and leads the Aravind Center for Eye Care Innovation (ACEi). Dr. Venkatesh also plays a key role in Aravind’s environmental sustainability initiatives. He is a well accomplished cataract and glaucoma surgeon.
Dr. Venkatesh spoke about how Aravind Eye Hospital in Pondicherry is known for its sustainable practices and commitment to environmental conservation. He mentioned that Aravind Eye Hospital follows a strict waste management system where medical waste is segregated at the source itself. This ensures that hazardous and non-hazardous waste are separated, reducing the risk of contamination and facilitating proper disposal. The hospital has made significant strides in utilising renewable energy sources and approximately 60% of its energy needs are met through rooftop solar panels. This reduces dependence on non-renewable energy sources and lowers GHG emissions.
Aravind Eye Hospital also emphasises proper waste management and recycling practices. They have implemented recycling programs for various materials like paper, plastic, glass and metals, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and minimising their environmental impact.
To conserve water, the hospital has implemented rainwater harvesting techniques. They collect rainwater from rooftops and store it for various non-potable uses within the hospital premises. This practice helps to reduce the strain on freshwater resources.
Aravind Eye Hospital follows proper waste management protocols. By segregating waste at the source and ensuring appropriate disposal methods, they mitigate the risks associated with medical waste contamination. All of this is possible with strong leadership and a will to make a difference.
Dr. Venkatesh addressing role in Aravind’s environmental sustainability initiatives.
Decarbonization has emerged as a critical objective in combating climate change and transitioning towards a sustainable future. Industry plays a pivotal role in this global effort by adopting decarbonisation strategies and low impact practices. With mounting pressure from stakeholders, including consumers, investors, and regulatory bodies, businesses are increasingly recognizing the need to decarbonise their processes. This entails implementing renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, adopting cleaner technologies, and reevaluating supply chains. Through innovation and collaboration, companies can drive the development of low-carbon solutions, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy infrastructure, and sustainable manufacturing processes. By actively participating in decarbonization initiatives, companies not only contribute to mitigating climate change but also gain a competitive edge, enhance their brand image, and create a more resilient and sustainable future for generations to come.
Media personnels with the Speakers & Auroville Consulting Team!