Sun will show the way for India, literally, of course, but also metaphorically too. The federal government is believed to have decided to tap into solar energy in a big way in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The national climate change action plan to be unveiled next week would suggest using not only existing solar technology but also working on new materials like solar concentrators to increase the use of solar energy.
Just as the wind industry used to get a fillip in the past, now greater attention will be shown to solar energy now. The idea would be to embark on commercial use of solar energy in the next 10-15 years.
As many as eight missions are likely to work towards decarbonising India's growth trajectory.
Another mission will increase the energy efficiency levels in the way India constructs and runs its cities, offices, houses and other built environment. This mission will focus on management of solid waste treatment as well as give a push to public transport systems. Already, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency has come up with standards and is working on financing mechanisms to not only overhaul existing buildings but to improve entire municipalities and townships as well.
The Green India project, that the government has already announced with the backing of an existing Rs 7,500 crore corpus, will form the backbone of an afforestation mission covering 6 million hectares over a period of 10 years, Nitin Sethi reports in the Times of India.
Another mission to green Indian agriculture will work to increase the resistance of crop systems to climate change by using biotechnology and geo-spatial data as well as information technology. In tandem, the government wants to start a water mission that will work towards improving efficiency in the hydro sector. The government plans to set an ambitious target which will be achieved by developing and deploying technologies like desalination as well as waste-recycling.
Responding to studies pointing to grave threat to the fragile Himalayan ecosystem, the government has decided to start a sustaining Himalayas commission. The mission will work to protect the glacial systems that some studies suggest could be melting fast under the influence of global warming. The mission will work to protect the communities in the region as well as increase the depth of scientific research on the mountain range.
Only last month Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Special Envoy on climate change Shyam Saran had called for equity in global negotiations on climate change and outlined the country's strategy for sustainable and clean development.
Speaking at a seminar in Mumbai, he had sought to hold the more developed countries guilty on the issue of carbon emissions - the US was leading with 30 percent, the EU 25 contributes 27.2 percent followed by China 7.3 percent.
"India accounts for only 2 percent. Thus in the multilateral negotiations on climate change, India strongly advocates equity," stressed Saran.
"India emits about 1.1 tonnes of carbon per capita while the corresponding figure for the US is more than 20 tonnes," said Saran.