Sowing the seeds for tomorrow’s climate leaders

Carbon neutrality pledge by Indian educational institutes

Environment

December 9, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

Sowing the seeds for tomorrow’s climate leaders

Terre Policy Centre would empower the youth through the carbon neutral campus guidelines, expert consultations, workshops, demonstration projects by encouraging exercises in learning by doing and skilling by sharing

On the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, on December 12, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a virtual global climate summit, several leading Indian universities will also gather with a promise to go carbon neutral.

To mark the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and in an effort to boost the global commitment to slow down global warming and arrest climate change, Climate Ambition Summit is being hosted by United Nations, UK and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has positioned this virtual summit as a “sprint to Glasgow,” where the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place from November 1–12, 2021 as the scheduled meeting this year could not be organised due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To commemorate the occasion, several leading universities of India will also gather in the virtual space for their own Ambitious Pledging ceremony for Carbon Neutral Educational Institutes. The event is being hosted by Terre Policy Centre, an environment-focused NGO will also take place virtually on the same day. Positioned as ‘Not-Zero Net-Zero’, the event is partnered with All India Council for Higher Technical Education ( AICTE), Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) as well as Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) and Global Carbon Council ( GCC).

Climate Change has now become a war by humanity on Nature. Years of inaction that ignored science, have resulted in not only creating near irreversible imbalance in nature’s carbon cycle but the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by nearly 62 pc as compared to 1992 when United Nations Convention on Climate Change was first agreed to by global leaders. A number of countries including EU, Japan and China as well as large businesses like Apple, Reliance, Coca Cola, Tata in 2020 have declared their plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 to 2075.

While today’s leaders are failing the planet, tomorrow’s leaders getting groomed in the universities and educational institutes are ready to take action on climate change. Universities are powerful germinating centres as the future policymakers spring up in the campuses and they alone can transform the world towards carbon-neutrality.

The pledge revolves around the warning of the thousands of the scientists engaged in IPCC-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that in order to limit the rise in temperature of our planet to not more than 2°C above the pre-industrial times, the world’s carbon emission must be net-zero by around mid 21st century.

The pledge is expected to ‘unlock’ the potential of youth to address the greatest challenge of our times-climate crisis. In a way, it is a skill-building exercise in addressing the climate challenge.

Recognising the urgent need, Terre Policy Centre under its Smart Campus Cloud Network-SCCN-is catalysing the accelerated action under the pledge to unleash the high-octane energy of youth in educational institutes. “PledgingNot-Zero Net-Zero’ is a small step to pilot the carbon neutrality in university campuses and the odyssey from carbon-addicted economy towards ‘carbon net-zero world”, says Rajendra Shende, Chairman Terre Policy Centre and former director UNEP.

The underlying principle of the pledge is not to necessarily make carbon emissions zero but to reduce them to the maximum extent possible and for rest of the emissions create carbon-sink/off-set, for example by planting trees and afforestation. Accelerated deployment of the new renewables and efficient technologies would transform the pledge of carbon-neutral future into reality.

Terre Policy Centre would empower the youth through the carbon-neutral campus guidelines, expert consultations, workshops, demonstration projects and by encouraging exercises in learning by doing and skilling by sharing. Terre would also catalogue the pledges and progress on the dashboard and monitor it through the app.

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