Brookings India, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, hosted a roundtable discussion on “Green Growth Roadmap: 2017 and Beyond”. The discussion was moderated by Brookings India Fellow Dr. Rahul Tongia. The discussions, under the Chatham House Rule (non-attribution), included perspectives from participants across think tanks, academia, NGOs, industry, journalists, diplomatic circles, and several students.
The discussions were focused on enabling Green Growth in India and included questions such as:
– Has anything changed since COP 21 Paris?
– What would priorities be for developing regions such as India?
– How can we operationalise efforts debated in Marrakesh (and elsewhere)? What partnerships and collaborations can be kick-started?
1) Paris has broad consensus
– While there are a number of countries that have undergone changes in leadership, the momentum is strong and efforts will continue.
2) U.S. actions are premature for speculation
– The United States may not actual walk away from Paris, but will simply not be wholeheartedly supportive either. Such a “go-slow” approach may be what many countries should plan for.
3) There is a gap between proposals (or wish lists) from Marrakesh and the ground realities
– This mirrors a gap in developing country capacity to figure out and engage in the rules/frameworks/details being espoused in Marrakesh.
– Given the ambitious targets for 2022, we need to address action plans and details by 2018.
– Many challenges remain at the sub-national level, especially with top-down targets (such as India’s 175 GW renewable energy (RE) targets).
4) Developing countries will need to figure out what “Green Growth” and “Green Finance” mean for them
– The discourse is not about trade-offs between growth and sustainability – the two can and must go hand-in-hand
– The power sector and key industrial sectors are responsible for a disproportional share of CO2 emissions
– Missing focus includes clarity and consistency
a) What actions are stakeholders supposed to focus on?
b) How do we ensure consistency when leadership (especially bureaucratic and operational) have very limited tenures (if not attention spans)? We must improve handover processes for staff, as well as institutionalise projects and programs.
5) Technology transfer and partnerships will be required – but are not figured out yet
– Not all technologies would be “futuristic” – even cleaner coal will be required
– The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is not fully clarified – is the focus finance or will there be action towards areas like R&D as well?
– We eventually will need deployments – we today do not even have testing or substantive piloting (in scale) in developing regions, especially for technologies such as Smart Grids and grid-scale storage.
6) Operationalising activities should draw in adaptation and not just mitigation efforts
– If one wants detailed data, and even to find partnerships, one should consider stakeholders of agriculture, healthcare and other sectors, who have far better data sub-nationally than the energy/power Ministries.
7) There is a lack of a sense of urgency relating to climate change
– Need to maintain pressure on governments, including from state and local entities plus civil society
– Many electricity utility staff (at a state level) deploy passive-aggressive techniques that end up stymieing renewable energy efforts.
8) The ideal combination of global support is a combination of technology and finance
– Korean utilities can help as they not only have one of the lowest losses in the world (4% system losses) but also are non-profit entities, with lower interest rates.
9) There is a lot of ability and interest in green growth (including technology-supported growth) – this needs nurturing of focused efforts
– Identification of low-hanging fruits, actionable steps, and policy tweaks can build momentum, instead of waiting for “ultimate solutions”.
– The gap is not in technology per se, but in the availability of viable business models relevant to India. There is a need to design pilots and scale them for a focus on a systems approach, not only for proving technologies.
Like other products of the Brookings Institution India Center, this report is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues. The views are of the author(s). Brookings India does not have any institutional views.
Brookings India, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, is hosting a roundtable discussion on “Green Growth Roadmap: 2017 and Beyond”. This discussion brings together diverse experts examining the balance of climate change concerns with development needs in India as well as other developing regions.
To encourage free-flowing discussions, the deliberations will be under the Chatham House Rule (no attribution).
A few of the questions for spurring discussion include:
1) Has anything changed since the Paris COP21 conference?
2) What are the priorities of developing countries in terms of technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation?
3) Much of Marrakesh was on focused activities and efforts (such as the International Solar Alliance, vulnerable nations, innovation, etc.) How are these efforts to be operationalised?
4) What is the progress on building partnerships for technology transfer and capacity building?
5) What specific activities can technologically-advanced nations undertake to help India and other developing regions to spur greener growth pathways? Specific areas identified at Marrakesh include Smart Grids, battery technology, etc.
6) How can global support be translated into sub-national activities?
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