Pricing Pollution: an Approach to Support Green Energy Growth

Curbing pollution and limiting global temperature rise is a necessity now. The Paris Agreement presented a platform from where initiatives for climate protection can be mutually taken by countries of the world.

However, consider these facts –

  • Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014.
  • Global energy related CO2 emissions are estimated to increase at an average of 1.0% from 2012 to 2040.
  • From coal combustion alone, Asia’s CO2 emission is estimated to rise more than 2.2 billion metric tons in the future.
  • Renewable energy (mainly solar) has reduced fossil fuel share by 22 per cent.
  • 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually.

We can come to a conclusion that green energy revolution is a necessity to stop climate degradation. And although it offers a reprieve from climate issues, countries working towards green energy transition is not enough to stop the spread of pollution from distorting the future of the world (dust and particulate matter (PM) may be reducing energy yield by 17-25 per cent annually in Northern parts of India and solar panels in Baghdad were seen to be producing less and less energy due to dust particles blocking the sunrays). We must take positive action towards reducing the pollution as well.

Carbon pricing or Pollution pricing can act as an efficient tool to reduce pollution, aiding green energy transition and climate restoration.

Carbon Pricing Or Pollution Pricing

Pricing pollution is quickly becoming one of the most important and promising methods of curbing pollution from the world. Business groups, investors- like The World Bank have made strides to encourage Governments and corporations to put a price on carbon to drive down emission, while speeding up green energy transition.

Why Supporting Pollution Pricing Is Necessary?

Price on carbon can shift the burden of the damage to environment and life through occurrences such as- health care costs from heat waves, damage to crops, damage to property and life due to droughts of flooding and sea level rise. By imposing tax on pollution production, these environmental issues can be reduced. The revenue generated from the taxation can be used to boost green energy transition, thus phasing out fossil fuels, which are the major contributors to pollution. This can serve as the most cost effective way of promoting climate protection and green energy generation. The carbon pricing can also support green energy market innovation through low-carbon drivers of economic growth.

Types Of Carbon Pricing

There are primarily two types of carbon pricing methods. Emissions trading systems (ETS) and Carbon Taxes.

Emissions trading systems (ETS)– are sometimes referred as cap-and-trade system, it imposes caps on the total amount of green house gas emissions and lowers the cap over time. Through this system, companies are extended emission permits. The purpose of ETS is to establish a market price for green house emission; and caps ensure that emitters keep to their emission levels, considering their pre-allocated carbon budget.

Carbon Tax– This system sets a price for carbon directly by establishing a tax rate on carbon content of fossil fuels or greenhouse gas emissions.

Depending on the economic and environmental standings, a country can select one of these components to restrict its carbon emissions. As it will promote green energy adoption, and climate betterment, carbon pricing will need additional policies for support.

  • Some of examples of complementary policies include- setting fuel/energy efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings, heating and cooling systems.
  • Offering tax breaks for energy efficiency improvements, auto feebates.
  • Setting renewable portfolio standards and mandates for having a share of renewable energy within energy mix.
  • Enforcing laws to stop de-forestation.

More than 40 countries like- The US, Germany, Chile, Brazil, and some of the EU countries have already implemented or in process of implementing these policies to support Carbon pricing.

Exceptional Examples

Estimating that carbon pricing could reduce pollution by 80 to 90 million tonnes by 2022, US states like California have introduced state-wide policies in support of carbon pricing.

Climate awareness in Canada has seen nearly 97% of its residents to commit towards pricing carbon pollution. Provinces like Quebec and Ontario in Canada have implemented cap-and-trade systems- enforcing to get permits for carbon pollution, curbing the pollution rate.

India Walking Towards Success

To support solar energy growth in India, the country is also implementing supporting policies like carbon pricing. And as a result In 2017, 40 Indian companies out of 139 companies in Asia have put price on carbon.

Government of India’s initiative towards Perform-Achieve-Trade (PAT) policy for energy efficiency, and renewable energy certificate scheme have also supported carbon pricing. World Bank and the Government of India are working together to explore a domestic carbon market in micro, small, and medium enterprises.

 

Carbon pricing provides emitters financial incentive for choosing green energy solution as it will generate energy without levying taxes. And with the world, India is working towards restoring the climate by selecting green energy and initiatives that speed up transition from fossil fuel. However, considering the rapid growth of population and pollution, world wide efforts need to be increased to see expected results.

 

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate

change/news/2017/05/pricing_carbon_pollutionincanadahowitwillwork.htmlhttp://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/pricing

carbonhttps://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what/

 

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The unutilised state of National Clean Energy Fund

The formation of NCEF or National Clean Energy Fund was indeed the right step towards supporting India’s green energy initiatives. The idea was introduced by the Government of India in 2010-11. And upon receiving huge support, it quickly became India’s carbon tax, on coal to generate fund for research and financing clean energy technology. Currently, the name of NCEF has been changed to National Clean Energy and Environment Fund (NCEEF) to support initiatives for clean environment development.

It should be noted that at the beginning, tax imposed on coal on behalf of NCEF was INR 50 per tonne, which eventually ascended to INR 400 per tonne in 2016-17. It is fairly easy to glean from the context that NCEF could have been identified as a very able supporting column for nascent green energy infrastructure of India.

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Joining Hands to Protect Water: A Move That Can Result In Climate Restoration

In development of a country, using and protecting the natural resources plays a major part. To change the climate from going through drastic negative changes the world has readily accepted solar. However, it is also important for a country to focus towards protecting its water resources to support its economic growth while ensuring sustainability. Within Asia, India and its south Asian neighbours are blessed with huge reserves of natural water. However, due to lack of an infrastructure to distribute the water carefully and equally, the countries still suffer from scarcity of water from time to time. Statistics show that availability of water per capita in India has reduced by almost 70% since 1950. And while move towards industrialisation and economic development has gained importance, population growth and inefficiency in water use has resulted into water scarcity in regions.

Global Scenario

Research statistics show that increasing stress and degradation of climate mainly due to fossil fuel combustion, is affecting economic growth of South Asia, and seems to be leading to prolonged water scarcity in the near future.

The United Nation has recognized protection and efficient use of water as an important goal to establish and maintain sustainable development. The World leaders are starting to understand that setting a dedicated global goal for water is a necessity now, because water is a global resource and even if one country is left out of the development process, it will have negative impacts on the sustainability of the climate, which the whole world shares.

The developed and developing countries are banding together to create an international cooperation for saving the water resources for the global good. Information, methods are being shared and investments are being made to support better water harvesting, wastewater treatment, recycling, and sanitation-related activities and programmes. Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations have set a timeline of 2030 to incorporate changes that can assure climate sustainability and allow developing and developed countries alike to initiate economic development initiatives without hindrance.

Joining Hands and Resolving Disputes

There are 12 major river systems and a number of small rivers that go through India. And as the country is agrarian in nature, the demand of water is very high. Lack of technical competence to efficiently use the water doesn’t seem to satisfy the requirements thus creating an unnecessary demand for more of it. The similar scenario is seen in the neighbourhood countries of India, which leads to disputes for claim on the water.

India is moving towards the right way by choosing solar. Renewable energy shift can revolutionize India’s energy scenario and bring in socio-economic growth. However, to complete the transition, India also needs to focus on its use of natural resources as well. Developing an efficient water management is very important to ensure water security and also to share the natural resource to other countries.

Inter-sectoral water cooperation is also necessary as it can help the country understand the best way to divide the water into different sectors such as- Agriculture, Construction, Mining, Energy and Industry. Efficient usage and water protection rights will stop it from being misused or wasted.

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Solar Has Made It Easier

Conventional energy generation process uses a lot of water (1.90 liters/kWh for Coal, and 1.60 liters/kWh for oil, and 2.30 liters/kWh for generating energy from Nuclear). And besides using up water, the kilotons of toxic waste produced by the conventional power plants annually contaminate rest of the water sources.

In this scenario, choosing solar as the mainstream energy source can win the battle for climate improvement, as it is a water free energy generation system. Additionally, solar can make it easier to send water to the cities, states or even countries which are in need of it by reducing cost of pumping water through solar water pumping solutions.

So, it seems that India is standing upon the perfect opportunity to not just better its socio-economic progress, impacting climate a positive way, the country can inspire other developing and developed countries to establish sustainability through protecting and efficient use of natural resources.

 

http://wsds.teriin.org/water-cooperation.php

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Investment in Fossil Fuels Is Investment in a World of Fumes

Renewable energy investment ($ 286 bn) surpassed investment in coal and gas ($ 130 bn) in 2015-16 and estimated to amount to $333 bn in 2018-19. Not just the developed countries, but developing countries like Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Chile, Africa, and India are focusing on renewable energy to phase out fossil fuels. Solar has obviously become the world favourite in a short span of time, showcasing its feasibility, low maintenance, prolonged lifespan and easy to install attributes.

The Looming Threat

It is important to note that oil and gas investment in 2016 was close to $ 522 bn, although it was down from 2015’s investment ($ 595 bn), it was still higher than renewables. Therefore, it is apparent that to push out fossil fuels, which is not just an option but a necessity now, the world would require more effort and aggressive investment initiatives.

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Innovative Financial Mechanisms Can Speed Up Renewable Energy Growth

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With climate control initiatives becoming a necessity and greatly accepted by the countries, the world is feeling the urge to boost its efforts in renewable energy growth. Important initiatives that pave the way for clean energy growth are being highlighted and taken into consideration to maximize results. Innovative financial mechanism is one such element that can transform positive green energy building strategies into reality.

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