COP 15 and the Indian Business Sector

The Copenhagen conference in December 2009 was taken as a failure by most. But from the economic point of view in a country like India it will open up a slew of business opportunities. These hopes were given a boost with the announcement of a voluntary reduction of carbon emission by 20-25% , from India’s emissions in 2005. This will bring in significant changes in policies till now, as the focus will shift from reducing energy consumption to reducing carbon emission of per capita. This will allow new areas into importance, rather than just energy efficiency and energy conservation. These will include conservation of forests, absorbing carbon using bio-sinks, reducing deforestation and better management of waste land management which will create a lot of business opportunities.

One of the main areas will be increasing the share of renewable energy in the gross energy production, which will be vital for reducing carbon emission as lesser fossils will be used in generating energy. There is a great potential for companies entering areas such as power generation and management from solar, micro hydro and bio-energy. In the transport sector as well the investments in hybrid vehicles will increase as they reduce the emissions per unit distance travelled.

India’s solar mission that will install 20GW by the end of 2020 has made the solar energy sector moving. The expected outcomes are increasing employment opportunities, new businesses coming up in the solar sector, and definitely heavy investments to complete this mission. Over a million job years of work will be necessary to seel, engineer, design, manufacture and install this power across India.

The entrepreneurs can make the solar mission happen, they seized the moment before when the hi-tech sector offered the opportunity.

It is feared that the reduction in emission will impact the Indian industries specially the manufacturing sector. A 20-25% reduction in emissions intensity by 2020 can be achieved by improving energy efficiency and also by increasing the share of renewable energy. The technology needed for these is quite cost-effective.

Carbon credits for reducing emission is can bring in finance but we still need to figure out the exact mechanism for trading, financing, and technology sharing and adoption. The clarity over this will emerge over 6-9 months.

Very soon we will see policy implementation for achieving the targets of 2020, which will show incentives for people to invest and work in this sector of reducing carbon emission. 2010 will be a very crucial year for gearing up the economy with a greener growth.

Saurabh Mehta

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