COP15 - probably the single most important 'conference' of our lifetime - kicked-off this week, and now the world waits with bated breath for historic decisions.
But even as the world comes together to find sustainable solutions to save our planet, we continue to struggle with our differences - mainly the divide between developed and developing nations.
As the debates rage on, I have one simple question: Does this divide make our collective responsibility towards climate change any less important?
I believe if anything, the opposite is true – we must change our approach from where it is the ‘developing world’ against the ‘developed world’, and realize that there we are simply one world.
Having said that, I believe that the answer lies in our approach; countries on either side of the divide have equal responsibility, but possibly not equal capabilities. The key is to recognize an individual country’s strength and capitalize on it, never forgetting that the ultimate aim is to build a low carbon economy.
India comes to Copenhagen not only as a country on the other side of the divide, but as a nation that has embraced renewable energy in action, and not just words. As we look to new policies, like new tariff guidelines and generation based incentives, we certainly seem to be on the right track. But our pursuit of a sustainable future has to be viewed with the backdrop of limitations we face. As a developing country we tackle various economic, social and political challenges; inequitable distribution of income, poverty and limited resources. So the development model we adopt definitely needs to be green and sustainable; but also inclusive and innovative.
There is no debate that a responsible government should work towards guiding the country with frameworks and policies that encourage the use of clean energy. But that is just one side of the coin. India needs courageous companies to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the government and translate buzzwords such as sustainability and climate protection into products and solutions. Sustainable strategies, technologies, processes and products open up completely new potentials for growth and this growth can only be powered by collective effort. Companies must take energy efficient measures rapidly. And Governments need to not just set targets, but level the playing field for renewable and other sustainable products to make these targets achievable.
The expectations from COP 15 may not be completely justified but I continue to hope that we emerge on the other side with more than just resolutions. Not just an agreement to bind governments but a realization that each and every one of us – industries and individuals – needs to consciously work together towards a clean, green & sustainable future.