In the last decade, there has been a tremendous rise in the global energy needs. This surge can be attributed to the growth in population and a robust improvement in the quality of life. India alone accounts for more than a quarter of the net global primary energy requirements. By 2040, the population of India is expected to increase by more than 267 million causing an 11 per cent jump in primary energy demands. This will have a cascading effect with the net CO2 emission roughly doubling by 2040 causing irreversible damage to the ecosystem. The dependence on energy is only going to increase and the decisions of today will impact tomorrow’s energy systems. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create awareness and take immediate action in implementing sustainability practices that will support the energy needs of the growing population.
The year 2020 has been eye-opening in many ways. The world is suddenly breathing fresh air due to the Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions that limited economic activities such as manufacturing and transportation. There has been a slight drop in the global emission this year which proves that with a focussed plan of action we may see a decisive decline in the future. With the global rise in temperature already at 1.2 degrees, the urgent transition to clean and sustainable energy systems in order to slowdown the temperature rise cannot be emphasised enough. As world economies recover from the impact of the pandemic, protecting the environment and reducing CO2 emission must continue to be a matter of top priority.
In its effort to minimize its contribution to the global climate crisis, the government of India has pledged to reduce the gross domestic product emission, create a carbon sink through afforestation and promote non-fossil fuel based electricity in the Paris Agreement. Since climate change poses risk not only to earth’s natural resources but also the livelihood of millions, it is the responsibility of the people to support the government in their initiatives to safeguard the collective future.
The key driver of change in the modern society is technology. Integrating clean technology and green practices can lead to a sustainable environment. Adoption of clean technologies like renewable energy can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, limit the production of greenhouse gases and effectively tackle the growing energy demands. With India’s ambitious target to achieve net-zero carbon economy in a few decades, it is essential that immediate and actionable steps are taken to achieve this. However, one of the major challenges in the way is reducing emission from the already existing energy infrastructure like steel mills, coal plants and other factories. It is, therefore, imperative that companies choose clean tech and invest heavily to switch to sustainable technologies.
While the government and corporates do their bit, we too must be conscious of our role in the conservation of energy. For us to build a sustainable future, it is necessary to follow energy-efficient options and advancements that consume low energy as well as have net zero effect on the environment. We can start by taking some simple yet important steps to help conserve energy by turning off electrical and electronic machines, lights and fans, when not in use. Since LEDs consume 70-80 % less power than CFLs, replacing old CFLs to LEDs has the potential of lowering the carbon footprint by half and significantly reducing electrical waste.
As the world is getting warmer, our future is becoming bleaker. The Covid-19 pandemic led lockdown gave us an opportunity to see nature return to its element, proving that it is not too late. Since the global energy demands are only going to increase, it is time to adopt sustainable, clean and greener alternatives. The leaders, industries and people of the world must come together to make and execute preventive actions that will help in climate change mitigation.