An economy estimated to grow by 9.2% in 2006-07 and a clutch of overseas acquisitions by Indian firms, gives the country an edge in dealing with the challenge of climate change, said several experts at a conference in Mumbai on Saturday.
Indian firms were adding capacities by expanding existing manufacturing units and building new ones, the experts said, and could choose to use technologies that are far more environment-friendly and cleaner sources of energy. Overseas acquisitions, they added, could help companies source such technologies and increase their ability to influence larger decisions that affect companies across countries. “We can influence technology choices,” said V. Raghuraman, principal advisor, and chief coordinator of energy, environment, and natural resources, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Experts from CII, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), British High Commission and the UK government met at the conference to discuss the findings of a 2006 study commissioned by the UK government on the economics of climate change in the Indian context. India would be among the first countries to feel the effects of global warming given that developing nations would be less able to tackle consequent issues such as falling crop yields and scarcity of water, said Dmitri Zenghelis, an advisor to the UK government.
The report, titled Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, found that at least 5% of the world’s gross domestic product could be lost because of climate change. It also found that the cost of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (polluting emissions that cause global warming) would be around 1% of the global GDP a year.
Rajiv Jalota, chief executive officer of state-owned industrial developer MIDC, said India had a unique opportunity to go about development theright way.
“In the 1960s and 1970s, when industrial parks started coming up, environmental concerns took a back seat,” he said, adding that by the time the government realized its mistake, “we had already imposed a high cost on society”.
Raghuraman said efforts were already being made to conserve energy, including rating companies on the basis of their adherence to energy-efficient design guidelines, creating integrated energy plans for industrial parks and special economic zones, and building zero-energy buildings.