Global-Warming Mitigation Action On India’s Agenda

The Economic Times

Following the Bali climate-change conference, the writing on the wall is clear. India would need to chalk out a credible roadmap for mitigating emission of green-house gases (GHGs). Global-warming mitigation action needs to be very much on the policy agenda. An integrated game plan would mean huge economic benefits, lead to efficiency gains and productivity improvement across the board, and be thoroughly environmentally benign as well. Much is at stake.

The Bali meet did reach a consensus on the “urgency” of addressing global warming and climate change. It is welcome that the international community now explicitly recognises that “deep cuts in global emissions will be required.” The framework that has been agreed upon to hammer out a formal protocol two years hence is that, on the one hand, the high-income economies would be required to engineer “quantified” emission cuts sans binding targets.

On the other hand, lower-income economies would need to seriously consider “measurable, reportable and verifiable” mitigation action. The heat is on, or so it would appear. But clear progress on the mitigation front, complete with the attendant increase in economic efficiency, would be very much in our interest. In fact, with a policy focus on mitigation action in energy supply, we would stand to reap vastly disproportionate, economy-wide returns and ample payoff.

Now, the assessment reports of the United Nations mandated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly show that the single biggest cause, by far, of global GHG emissions is thermal power generation. It is also a fact that the average pan-India thermal efficiency rate in coal-fired power plants — which denotes the percentage energy content of fuel being converted into electrical energy — is much too low, just about 28%.

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