Organizers of the National Conference on Climate Change on the last day declared to promote solar energy throughout the country.
The decision of promoting solar energy is complementing India’s promise to source 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
Hosted by Caritas India and Seva Kendra in Kolkata, the two days conference from March 14-15, 2016 was attended by more than 100 participants across the country.
With the theme “Strengthening climate action through alternate energy options” the conference bring together perspectives, knowledge and experience in the sectors of prevention, mitigation and adaptation for helping communities and governments to design and implement mechanisms to improve resilience.
Scott Furssedonn-Wood, British Deputy High Commissioner for East & NE India, emphasized on focusing on the theme and mentioned that it is organized at the right time when the Government of India is focusing and putting its energy in this sector. He also mentioned the new initiatives and cooperation between India and British High Commission in the energy sector.
International Solar Alliance pushed by Government of India during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) is seen as a key policy instrument to mitigate the effects of climate change while maintaining the development growth. While Government of India is committed to implement the National Action Plan on Climate Change, private and civil society organizations have worked on identifying and promoting alternate energy options suitable for the region. This has large potential to further the efforts of Government and cut down the emission, which could foster development.
Caritas India and her partners expressed their commitment to take foreword the positive initiative and partnership in the endeavor of the Government to improve production of clean energy and promote energy efficiency. We are considering it as an option for the poor in the country to use these resources to develop- said Fr. Frederick D Souza, Executive Director of Caritas India in the objective sharing session of the conference in the very beginning.
Bishop Lumen Monteiro, Chairman of Caritas India said “Coping with climate change is rapidly becoming a major challenge for the world, particularly for developing countries like India. In most cases, it is found that the adverse effects caused by climate change hit the poorest hard. 1.3 billion people across the developing world do not have access to energy today. Access to energy is crucial to meet the development aspirations of these people who are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Alternative energy options like solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy are essential for the developing countries to ensure that the current pace of development is maintained while cutting down emissions”.
Dr. Sunita Narain, Director Centre for Science and Environment on the last day said that “Delhi’s air is poor but Calcutta is not far behind. She said Kolkata’s public transport system needs improvement. Where is the tram gone! It can be used more efficiently with buses”. Narain spoke about farmers and the poor getting hit by Climate Change. The session with students from 40 schools of Calcutta was very much encouraging with Dr. Narain.
Lars Bernd, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction Department of UNICEF said that “the poor remained the most vulnerable due to climate change”.
Panelists on the last day stressed the need to promote the use of solar energy across the country. We have set a goal of 100GW of solar energy production in the country by 2022. Bengal once pioneer in the field has now become a back bencher... one of the panelists commented.
Prof. SP Gonchaudhuri popularly known as the solar man of India said innovative projects on use of solar energy have been coming up but a strong legal support is needed to ensure expansion of these projects. He said poor families’ needs to be informed more about solar energy.