SOCIO-ECONOMIC VOICES

"Blended Financing & Market-based Mechanism Required to Achieve Global Net Zero Targets"
-Megha Nath,Manager - Energy & Environment, Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC)
"Coexistence of ecology & economy is possible by decentralizing manufacturing centers, pushing adoption of green fuel and clean technology"

Intro: This week on Socio Economic Vices we have Megha Nath, Manager - Energy & Environment, Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC) who stresses on the immediate need of the process of transition towards clean technology ecosystems and consequently a sustainable economy. Speaking to senior journalist Mahima Sharma, The Environmental Economist emphasises that this humongous task not only requires awareness and knowledge, developed institutional framework, infrastructure, conducive policies and legislation, but also easy access to finance, and reliability and confidence to invest in the clean tech market. How will this and more be achieved for India to achieve the Net Zero Emissions 2070 target? An exclusive interaction reveals it below.

MS: Building India's sustainable smart cities of the future via sustainable manufacturing (considering the manufacturing sector will be driving the economic growth in India in the next decade). What's your take and advice on the same towards environmental policy upgradation?

MN: Industrial development cannot always be seen through the lens of environmental degradation. The cities that we talk about in the future hold the keys to intermingling conservation principles with the maximum benefits to the people who will be front-running the whole race of making the human habitat as resilient and as sustainable as they can get to withstand the effects of changing climate. C40’s Leadership Standards for 2021-2024 went into effect, setting an ambitious science-based standard for C40 cities to ensure they are on a path to a zero-carbon future. However, the cities will have to have components of generating income since the whole economic structure of human civilization cannot be scrapped just because 'save the ecology' is the driving slogan of the future. Many niches are already developing in view of the coexistence of ecology and economy, and I believe it can only be done through sustainable manufacturing. The catch is to make the manufacturing centers as decentralized as possible with maximum adoption of green fuel, clean technology and skilled workers who are aware of their actions. The future cities will have to have their carrying capacities understood and the bottlenecks have to be internalized in their planning process. For example, pollution and its detrimental effects on health can be taken up as the main frame indicator on which the planning process can be designed after the carrying capacity assessment has been done for the city expansion projects. The larger manufacturing hubs can be set away from the core residential areas to reduce health effects which can inherently be reduced if the supply chain is making progress in adopting clean technologies with minimum errors in operations with maximum resource efficiencies.

Behavior change can be the key wherein the industrial clusters able to generate employment for the future human population of the cities, would also be planned with stringent eco-industrial planning principles as well as manufacturing goods which is good for the circular economy of the city. The laws are already promoting the circular economy principles and National Green Tribunal is keeping a watch over the 'defaulters', thus rather than imposing environmentalism as something one has to do if it can be promoted to a positively 'doable' process.

MS: You have been quite active towards ‘Decarbonization and Social Equity.’ Please detail this for the understanding of the mass readers per say where does India stand and why? What are the corrective measures that need to be taken?

MN: Decarbonization literally means the reduction of carbon. Social equity encompasses the accomplishment of fairness and justice for a multitude of systemic inequalities, to ensure that everyone has access to similar opportunities and outcomes, irrespective of their identities. As nations transition towards low carbon and eventually net zero carbon economies, it is crucial that historical structural inequities do not permeate the newly constructed systems when clean technology and sustainable practices eco-systems are being built.

Most people view decarbonization and social equity as mutually exclusive concepts. Because of the multifaceted nature of equity and its linkages to factors such as race, caste, religion, gender, geography, culture, and socioeconomic class, go beyond that of merely fulfilling social and moral obligations. This limits the lens of climate experts and practitioners in designing and strategizing decarbonization pathways taking the intersectional co-benefits of inclusion, diversity and equity. Taking gender equity as a case, according to McKinsey and Company, nearly 70% of the GDP opportunity comes from increasing women's participation in the labor force by a mere 10%, as they contribute to higher productivity, creativity, and holistic decision-making. In India, where women make up half of the potential workforce, only 25% of the labor force is female, contributing as little as 18% to the GDP1. Promoting the participation of millions of potential women workers towards a low carbon economy will not only enable them to utilize the expanding employment opportunities presented by the Cleantech deployment but also boost India’s economy as it heads to a clean energy transition.

MS: Combination of cleaner fuel and technology options to make the entire MSME ecosystem more sustainable and conducive to 'greener' advancements. Please share a detailed take on the road that India needs to take ahead. Also, can you please illustrate the same using something that is already being done very successfully?

MN: The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector is the backbone of the country's economy. In the next six years, India envisages 50 percent of India's GDP from the current 30 percent and boosts job creation to 15 crores from the present 11 crores.2 These staggering numbers highlight our reliance on MSMEs.

For India, transitioning into low-carbon operations would need a multi-dimensional roadmap, to deal with the transitional risks, changing its present compliance-stricken agenda. Currently, 25 percent of GDP is procured by MSMEs. However, there is no green focus in this procurement. Including a green procurement mandate in public procurement can incentivize MSME suppliers to promote a value chain-driven approach to shifting to greener products and processes. Green financing is one of the significant key pressure points for MSMEs, with the estimated financial gap to be close to $400 billion. Tailored green financing programs in critical technologies and sectors like energy efficiency and renewable will significantly boost MSMEs' growth.

Technology integration can change the future of Indian MSMEs; digitalization could accelerate the MSME sector's clean energy transition, improve energy efficiency, and reduce resource use and waste. AI/ML can significantly increase the process and energy efficiency of MSME operations. For example, a GIS-enabled SCADA system reduces error margins by allowing fixed geographic positional monitoring.3 The sensors could monitor the health of electronic components; 'smart' meters could provide consumption data and patterns, potentially predicting future demand, leading businesses to optimize production and reduce consumption. Lastly, efficient and sustainable adaptation strategies to withstand and recover from shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic are essential for MSMEs.

MS: Decentralized renewable energy is the key to fueling India’s socio-economic growth. Your statistical analysis and take on the same? Plus also, how will it break the vicious circle of the energy crisis?

MN: The Government of India has made significant progress towards providing universal access to electricity and clean cooking energy at the household level through the successful implementation of the Saubhagya and Ujwala programs over the past five years. However, there are significant gaps so far as access to energy (electricity and thermal energy) for rural livelihoods and economic activities, both in the farm as well as non-farm sectors. Decentralized renewable energy plays a significant role in bridging this gap by offering decentralized / modular, and affordable clean energy. Example: milking machines, cold storage, DRE powered agri-processing machines which allow small landowners to process and grow their income etc.

Promotion of DRE technologies for productive/livelihoods applications are especially relevant in the context of the current Covid-19 crisis because –

  • promotion of livelihood activities will create jobs, which will help balance the likely reduction in cost of labor in rural areas on account of significant reverse migration.
  • improve energy security and build resilience at the local level
  • co-operation between complementary programs and schemes can boost Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan at both state and center level

DRE technologies are proven, and there are some good use cases on the market- Selco's milking machine, Ecozen's cold storage, S4S Technologies' solar drying, Resham Sutra's solar handlooms. Yet there are gaps when it comes to last mile maintenance, after sales services, integration of DRE as a default energy source for last mile, pricing and standardization. These are the reasons NBFCs view DRE as high risk as there is a looming threat of "what happens when the grid becomes efficient".

MS: What does India's Cleantech Ecosystem so far looks like? What are the drawbacks, and what is the way forward towards creating a sustainable, circular economy?

MN: Clean technology refers to those technologies that reduce the negative impacts on the environment (ex. through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or efficient waste disposal), leading to energy efficiency, sustainable use of resources, and environment protection. Common examples of clean technology include, solar power hydro power, biofuels, clean air conditioning, EVs, LED lights etc.

Increasing power demands in India due to a booming economy, dove-tailed with recent clean technological innovations, and the government’s support (like PLI schemes, improvements in grid management and greening of grid, bettering EV infrastructure, vehicle scrapping policies, penalties on untreated waste water disposal, etc.) has increased India's uptake of clean technology in the recent past and attracted billions of dollars of foreign investment for clean technology. India has ambitious climate goals like deploying 450 gigawatts of solar power by 2030, and between 2009-2020 the installed solar power increased 10 times, from 3000 MW to 36000 MW.4 So far, the government has started several projects like the green energy corridor and national solar mission, decentralized solar power for private sector engagement and established that clean technology will lead to massive ‘green’ job opportunities. However, there are several challenges that require a focused approach. The unreliable nature of renewable energy and clean technology poses a threat to the huge power demand of the company. Costs of installation, research, and last mile connectivity are significantly high. Furthermore, India does not have particular laws overseeing clean technology and sustainable development as opposed to electricity from fossil fuels (ex. the electricity act, national tariff policy etc).

The process of transition to clean technology ecosystems and consequently a sustainable economy requires not only awareness and knowledge, developed institutional framework, infrastructure, conducive policies and legislation, but also easy access to finance, and reliability and confidence to invest in the clean tech market.

MS: What kind of climate finance needs, international collaborations and investments must India look at to meet its Net Zero Emissions Target of 2070? (You may push the details up, in this arena by adding anymore points that need to be touched beyond what's asked)

MN: According to the ‘Getting India to Net Zero’ report, the investment required will be ?700 lakh crore ($10.1 trillion) if the target is to be met by 2070. The ‘Landscape of Green Finance Report’ by CPI tracked green finance in 2019-2020 was INR 309 thousand crores (~USD 44 billion) per annum, which is less than a fourth of India’s green finance needs. Green finance still only accounts for 3% of total FDI inflows to India.

India’s reliance on coal-based energy contributes to 68% of GHG emissions, of which 41% are consumed by industries. Industrial decarbonization would be a game changer as it could attract the maximum amount of funds and innovation. Industries would first go through a shift to electrified processes, and low-carbon energy, e.g., renewable electricity, green hydrogen, or bio- methane, and a shift in the feedstock to biomass or recycled materials. This will require reliable access to ‘affordable’ renewable energy and/or hydrogen and related infrastructure. It will also include transforming industrial processes, e.g., direct reduced iron (DRI) with hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. Zero-carbon materials such as green steel, green cement, or chemicals are indispensable to reaching global climate targets. They are central to reducing the carbon footprint of sectors essential for our development – for example, our physical and digital infrastructure, mobility, buildings, and the energy sector. Technologies exist or are expected to exist soon. Final investment decisions are often pending due to a need for end-markets, finance, infrastructure, innovation support, and the right regulatory and policy frameworks. Cross-border climate and clean energy financing are not responding due to accounting ambiguities, perceived and actual risks, and limited capital flows to developing countries. Climate finance needs to attract more private finance. Models for blended financing along with other financial instruments such as loans, debt and equity investments also can aid in bridging the shortfall in private equity capital in developing countries.

Just transition priorities must be included in the longstanding $100 billion climate finance pledge from industrialized to developing countries.5 Countries in the Global South must prioritize just transition principles into scaled-up revenue generating models to help overcome market and policy barriers towards equitable decarbonization.

International collaboration can take several forms, one of which is the engagement of public and private actors via sectoral net zero initiatives. The number of these initiatives saw an unprecedented increase in number in 2021, including public-sector, private-sector and hybrid initiatives, sector forums. These engagements weren’t limited to only mobilizing international public- and private-sector procurement of low-emission steel and cement but also covered commitments to increase zero-emissions fuels in aviation, shipping and also develop roadmaps for net zero steel.6 UNFCCC’s champions and race to zero initiative brought together facilitators and champions to collaborate. Further coordination is required around market mechanisms if we speak of international carbon taxes or markets. For instance, a carbon adjustment tax by Europe may be a point of concern for Indian suppliers.

MS: Financing climate action with a positive social impact: How can global banking support a just transition?

MN: As an International Monetary Fund ("IMF") report puts it: [a] successful transition demands a deep economic transformation, requiring the mobilization of private finance on a large scale. The global financial sector can play a crucial role in catalyzing private investment and accelerating the transition.”7

A transition to a more sustained future should follow the principles of distributional and procedural justice.8 From a distributional perspective, both the opportunities created and the costs incurred by transition should be shared equitably, taking into account and addressing current and potential inequalities at different levels: among individuals, social groups, sectors, communities, regions, and countries. From a procedural perspective, citizen participation in decision-making and policy implementation should be ensured.

In 2021, at COP26 in Glasgow three important steps were taken to ensure a Just Transition:

  1. Eight leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) adopted a collective statement on ways to support financing and engaging government and private sector to ensure just transition.
  2. A dedicated Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) worth $8.5 billion between South Africa and Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union was announced for South Africa’s coal phase out.
  3. Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which is the largest coalition of financial institutions, recognized just transition as the best practice and emphasized the need for design and delivery in business and financial planning.

The world’s banks, insurers, and investors have to make the just transition a core component of their net-zero plans, not only by ensuring that labor standards and human rights are applied but also by ensuring justice in the distribution of resources (land, technology), and the dissemination of information. Countries have started estimating the financing needs for a just transition post COP26. For instance, India’s Ministry of Coal has created a just transition division, Coal India (India’s largest public sector coal mining company) has created a just transition committee, specific states and districts that are very dependent on fossil fuels have created task forces and commissioned studies to estimate the range of public and private finance they’ll need. Modeling analysis shows that as India phases out coal and reduces consumption of oil and gas, the Indian public finance sources will be hit by the loss of revenue from coal cess and the tax on liquid fuels. This would hit the government’s investment that goes towards education, health and safety net.

However, iForest has looked at alternative revenue options, for example, the District Mineral Foundation, in areas that are majorly into coal or iron mining, are able to put together some funds which could be used for the benefit of workers or could be used for restoration of land after coal mining closure. Also, India has something like 50 million workers in the building and construction sector, and there is a cess that is collected for the welfare of these workers. Cess collected in 2021 was $10 billion and half of it remains unspent. Domestic funds can be matched for the loss due to transition, yet routes for international funding need to be created to ensure research and development, skill and knowledge transfer towards a just energy transition. However, India (and other vulnerable countries) needs to ensure that transitional finance doesn’t fall in the trap of debt like what happened with adaptation funds. Concessional financing is a must from global banking.

Principles of sustainable finance and ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) have been incorporated into banking systems to ensure a holistic approach to validate projects. Collaborations within the financial sector were made to accelerate lending and investment in the transition emphasizing sustainable, inclusive and equitable financing. For example, FAST-Infra (Finance to Accelerate the Sustainable Transition-Infrastructure) was launched to recognize and accelerate project finance for green infrastructure. Public and private sectors working together would de-risk projects that may be vulnerable to climate change. The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM), uses public and private investments to take a market-based approach in accelerating the retirement of coal-powered assets while building renewable-energy plants and infrastructure.

MS: Climate Change under the gender lens, the gender bias. Your take on the same by sharing glaring examples of how women are impacted more than men? Plus what corrective measures need to be taken in under-developed and developing nations at priority?

MN: Here I’ll echo UN Women’s statement that climate change isn’t gender neutral. While women and girls experience disproportionate impacts from climate change at the global level, the effects are not uniform. Structural inequities exist everywhere in the world – whether its racial equity in the US or gender inequality in India which can be ameliorated with the rapidly growing clean tech field. 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, and in times of extreme weather conditions such as drought, girls are vulnerable to being pulled from school to help their families make ends meet, either temporarily or permanently.910

Gender equity has an influence on not just individual women's lives, but also on the nation's productivity. A $28 trillion increase in global GDP is anticipated if women participated in the labor markets to their full capacity. This emphasizes the intersectional aspect of Gender Equity, which is a complex issue that is further interlinked with race, caste, religion, location, culture, and socioeconomic standing or class. Several other SDGs, such as No Poverty, Clean and Affordable Energy, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Reduced Inequalities, will be unreachable by default unless gender equity, the United Nations’ 5th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is achieved. If I use the United Nations SDG created in 2015 as a blueprint to achieve a more sustainable future for all. While all 17 goals are interconnected to some degree, SDG 5 on gender equity is regarded as providing a basis for most of the others. SDG 5 aims to eliminates all sorts of discrimination and violence against women in the private and public spheres and to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership of property. I’ll share few examples of how other goals can’t be achieved if SDG 5 is not in line – women’s participation enhances agricultural production supporting SDG 2 (no hunger); two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are females after SDG 4 (quality education); over 330 million women and girls worldwide live under 1.9 USD per day affecting SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

Sustainable energy transitions provide a platform not only for technological transition but also for the formation of new socio-cultural structures. Something that wasn’t planned for during the agricultural revolutions or even the industrial revolution, can be achieved in the world of the internet, automation, and artificial intelligence while we try to transition to clean energy in a just manner. Emerging markets, in general, have the opportunity to leapfrog structural gender inequity through clean tech deployment. There is a huge opportunity since in India, women potentially make up half of the workforce, yet are only 25% of the current labor force, contributing to as little as 18% to the GDP. Women constitute only 1/5 th of the MSME workforce in India (Das et.al., 2014). This makes it ideal to undertake gender equitable decarbonization in Indian MSMEs, as the increase of women workers as technology landscape changes to cleaner/ greener energy, gives the opportunity of forming a stronger, climate resilient green workforce that is resistant to risks such labor migration, skill shortage etc.

My current work at the Institute for Sustainable Communities is to accelerate equitable clean manufacturing in Indian industrial clusters and across the supply chains of large companies. The long-term vision is to create a gender balanced manufacturing sector where women have equal decision-making powers and are equipped with high productivity green jobs as the sector heads toward net zero commitments (i.e. zero carbon operations). The need for gender equity is evident, and the work is underway. But it needs to be operationalized and implemented at scale using the clean energy transition as the basis of a new, structurally equal system for all genders. The clean energy sector can be more gender inclusive (demand side) while also preparing women for this opportunity (the supply side). India has the opportunity to be a world leader in decarbonizing in an equitable manner. This could be the kaleidoscope moment for India, where the right action and policies could achieve both gender equity and decarbonization successfully.

MS: What is a carbon market, and why does India want to create one?

MN: A carbon market puts a cap on the total emissions and allows flexibility to achieve that cap through trading among entities. The underlying principle of putting a price on carbon is to make emitting costlier and to level the playing field between fossil fuels and cleaner alternatives.

India aims to cut its emissions intensity by nearly half by 2030—that means each unit of GDP growth will have to come with significantly less emissions. There are two very straightforward reasons why India is welcoming a carbon market. Firstly, market mechanisms have worked well for India in the past, when countries were allowed to buy credits for projects that reduced GHG emissions via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). India received $12 billion investment, i.e., one-fifth of the total global CDM investment.11 Secondly, a policy tool that allows flexibility to achieve low carbon operations is more appreciated by industries, as it leaves decision making in the hands of the businesses as to how much to invest towards growth vs emission reduction, gives a fair business case to switch to clean energy and considers temporal aspects to the energy transition. Markets are definitely an efficient way than the top-down approach of dictating where and how emissions should be reduced.

Establishing a domestic market also gives scope to attract investment globally. Initially for clean tech and later if the domestic carbon market can be part of an international one, this is an added source of revenue for the country. ICAP estimates that by the end of 2021, global emissions trading systems had raised a record $161 billion in auctioning revenues.12

MS: How can India realize the existing potential of its young entrepreneurs by building up a #greenworkforce to help push MSMEs toward a more sustainable planet?

MN: The percentage of youth in India has been rising since 2011, which is currently 27.2%, according to the Youth in India report 2022, and is anticipated to fall by 2036. India is currently witnessing a "youth bulge," where a sizable proportion of the population is between the ages of 15 and 29. India is making the most of its present youth potential and the startup boom by encouraging climate entrepreneurship and imparting "green skills" in order to meet its climate goals. A stable business environment, market-oriented reforms and key initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Mudra Yojana, Atal Innovation Mission, 59 minute loan, Stand up India, and Start-Up India are encouraging aspiring and ambitious young Indians. The country’s startup ecosystem, with over 61,000 recognized startups, spread across 55 sectors and 635 districts is the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world, with the number of incubators increasing by 40% every year.

To build a green entrepreneurship mindset among India’s youth, is it necessary to build an enabling environment with conducive policies for climate entrepreneurship and hand-holding for training support, developing a knowledge base (both technical and technological), awareness around climate change and green jobs opportunities it creates, financial support, and market/ industry linkages for pilots and scaling of businesses. At the same time, manufacturing SMEs are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and a haven for the growth of cutting-edge clean technologies and sustainable practices.

Utilizing the existing potential of its young entrepreneurs efficiently, to help push MSMEs toward a more sustainable planet, can be a two-step process:

  • Youth-friendly seminars and training sessions that raise awareness at the educational level about climate change, green jobs, business analysis, accessible financial support, and the technicalities involved. To assist with pilots and in foreseeing the success of the innovations, the government and private companies can sponsor technological innovation platforms at the high school and college levels.
  • A direct linkage between young climate entrepreneurs and their start-ups around energy storage, EV solutions, energy monitoring systems, hybrid renewable technologies, battery technologies, with the potential SMEs for piloting and scaling technologies, and subsidized rates either by the govt. or large companies for their supply chains

MS: The Indian government passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 last month to bring a renewed focus on sustainability and support India’s transition to a net-zero economy by 2070. How do you see the amendments as an environmental economist, and if any further teeth are needed, what should they look like?

MN: The bill was amended a second time after 2010 with the vision to facilitate achievement of India’s commitments at COP26, i.e., achieve India’s renewed Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), promote renewables, accelerate use of non-fossil sources, and establish a carbon market. For an environmental economist, the most heartening amendment to the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 was specifying the establishment of a carbon credit trading scheme and attaching a fine for non-adherence to the obligation for the utilization of non-fossil sources by Designated Centers (DCs). The proposed carbon market not only contributes to reducing emissions from various industries but also incentivizes a shift to cleaner fuels and advances a wider market for energy savings. The amendment does not provide details on the carbon market’s regulatory structure or linkages with existing programs (like PAT/RECs etc.).

Secondly, the amendment makes strides towards the inclusion of sustainability parameters beyond energy efficiency and renewable energy. This is evident by the inclusion of a wider scope for the buildings code giving state governments a larger mandate to direct owners of large commercial and residential buildings to comply with not only energy efficiency but also conservation standards and deploy renewable energy and sustainable materials for construction.

Finally, the amendment acknowledges the need for an economy-wide approach to regulate energy consumption and enhance energy efficiency through inter-ministerial coordination. Changing the governing structure of BEE and including ministries of shipping, railways, steel, aviation and road transport ensures better coordination and scope for implementation.

At this point of time, the government of India is focusing on hard to abate industries, power sector, buildings and transportation. But to achieve 2070 net zero goals, the government would need to go beyond the current scope to include more sectors and the entire value chain. Further amendments would be required to the existing Bill with the development of technology like Green Hydrogen and Green Steel, adoption and deployment practicalities would be required to be considered. Penalties and incentives would need to be modified depending on the ease of adoption.

MS: Last but not the least, what's your take on the construction of Biodiversity Parks in reserved forest areas? (How will this deforestation and public crowd into a stable ecosystem improve the environmental health/ finances of India?)

MN: Reserve forest is the designated forest with many other natural areas that enjoy judicial protection based on the legal systems. Biodiversity Park is a landscape of wilderness where ecological assemblages of native plant and animal species in the form of biological communities are recreated in a region. A typical Biodiversity Park should have two basic components: a Nature Conservation Zone for terrestrial communities including a mosaic of grasslands and wetlands; and a Visitor Zone which can have many components such as an Herbal Garden, Butterfly Conservatory, a Scared Grove, a Climbers' Grove, Recreational Garden.

Reserved forests render multiple ecological services including carbon sequestration, recharge of ground water aquifers. Normally, the Reserve Forest cannot be touched for construction. But to increase eco-tourism, help maintain and monitor the reserved forest, biodiversity parks can be constructed only in the Buffer zone. Creating these biodiversity parks within reserved forests need to consider the carrying capacity and are built in a very controlled manner.

Scientists often speak of three levels of diversity: species, genetic, and ecosystem diversity. In fact, these levels cannot be separated. Biodiversity parks are a unique conservation strategy that involves important facets of in situ as well as ex situ conservation. The fundamental principle behind the setting of these parks is to recreate self-sustaining ecosystems where emphasis is laid on building a system that supports native biodiversity, structure of ecosystems and both ecological and provisional services offered by these systems. Biodiversity parks are not only a symbol for clean air, or sinks for sequestration but a good financial model to sustain an ecosystem using a scientific method to serve nature’s laboratories, where experiments are designed and conducted to know the status of the health of the soil and other environmental variables. In these parks biological methods of treating the soils, improving and mitigating the problems of the soil is done using bioremediation, and indicator species are used to assess the nature of the substratum and food chains and interactions. The parks serve as living examples of how the interplay of various factors can help recreate ecosystems that are highly productive. For example, Aravalli Biodiversity Park and Sanjay Van in Delhi has been a replicable case for the country to leverage eco-tourism, ecological balance for urban cities as well as retain the biodiversity of the reserved forests too.

Source:
1 https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/gender-equality/the-power-of-parity-advancing-womens-equality-in-india-2018

2 Gupta, S. (2020, October 4). Greening MSMEs. Retrieved from The Indian Express:
https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/economy-micro-small-and-medium-enterprises-unemployement-6702817/

3 Kajol, A. S. (2022, June). How digitalisation can green the MSME sector. Retrieved from The Hindu Business Line:
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/how-digitalisation-can-green-the-msme-sector/article65568041.ece

4 https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1785808

5 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/06/here-s-how-to-mobilize-finance-for-a-just-transition-and-net-zero/

6 https://www.iea.org/reports/international-collaboration

7 International Monetary Fund, Investment Funds: Fostering the Transition to a Green Economy (2021), p.60, available at:
https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/GFSR/2021/October/English/ch3.ashx

8 (McCauley, D., & Heffron, R. (2018). Just Transition: integrating climate, energy and environmental justice. Energy Policy, 119, 1- 7)

9 A 2017 Brookings Institute study suggests that for every additional year of schooling a girl receives on average, her country’s resilience to climate disasters can be expected to improve by 3.2 points (as measured by the ND-GAIN Index, which calculates a country’s vulnerability to climate change in relation to its resilience).

10 In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, an Oxfam report found that surviving men outnumbered women by almost 3:1 in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. A report produced by the Post-Nargis Joint Assessment three months after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta, Ayeyarwady Delta, and Yangon regions in May 2008 found that 61 percent of casualties were women, and that in some villages the difference was even bigger.

11 https://cdm.unfccc.int/about/index.html https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/35620

12 https://icapcarbonaction.com/system/files/document/220408_icap_report_rz_web.pdf

About Megha Nath

Megha Nath is a Project Manager with the Energy and Environment team at the Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC). She leads the equity and decarbonization work for the India team. She has worked in several sectors, including power, coastal and marine ecosystems, forest conservation, agroforestry, agricultural innovation, nutrition, water, carbon markets, and energy efficiency. Prior to ISC, she worked at the World Resources Institute, where she created a data visualization dashboard for the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and Resource Watch and advanced WRI’s research on carbon markets.

After her Master’s Degree in Environmental Economics from Madras School of Economics she worked with multilaterals, funding organizations, think tanks, and government departments and understands how social development and the environmental ecosystem operate. Megha supported Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) as managing editor to launch their first Journal – the Ecology, EconomyEconomy, and Society. She has also taken social entrepreneurial initiatives to build a business model and road map for policy implementation to utilize wastewater in urban spaces in India. She conceptualized the project (“Rent-O-Rewa”), to map wastewater demand and existing supply sources for commercially treated water in Bangalore, India. The idea was incubated at “Green Preneurs” at Green Growth GGI, Korea in 2019.

About the Interviewer

Mahima Sharma is a Senior Journalist based in Delhi NCR. She has been in the field of TV, Print & Online Journalism since 2005 and previously an additional three years in the allied media. In her span of work she has been associated with CNN-News18, ANI - Asian News International (A collaboration with Reuters), Voice of India, Hindustan Times and various other top media brands of their times. In recent times, she has diversified her work as a Digital Media Marketing Consultant & Content Strategist as well. Since March 2022, she is also an Entrepreneurship Education Mentor at Women Will - An Entrepreneurship Program by Google in Collaboration with SHEROES. Mahima can be reached at media@indiastat.com

Disclaimer : The opinions expressed within this interview are the personal opinions of the interviewed protagonist. The facts & statistics, the work profile details of the protagonist and the opinions appearing in the answers do not reflect the views of Indiastat or the Journalist. Indiastat or the Journalist do not hold any responsibility or liability for the same.

indiastat.comNovember, 2022
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