Fergusson College, Pune to become carbon neutral

“Do not talk zero, walk the Net-Zero’’

Environment

September 1, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Fergusson College, Pune to become carbon neutral

The event in Fergusson College was part of the ambitious carbon-neutral movement called ‘Not Zero-Net Zero’

Fergusson College in Pune pledges to become carbon neutral, walking the distance to Net Zero, showing the way to countries and corporates to move away from talks of going carbon neutral.

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Nearly 200 students of Fergusson College dreamt of carbon-neutral campus with freedom from human induced Green House Gases, mainly carbon dioxide.

Riding bicycles, once a symbol of Pune’s dynamic  culture, and electric vehicles, the current symbol of innovative manufacturing hub that Pune is, students and the faculty moved on the famous Fergusson Road shouting slogans ‘Not Zero-Net Zero’. They were literally charged with the clean energy free from carbon emission. More than that they were determined to contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to make India Net Zero by 2070. They were at the forefront of a movement to set an example that Net Zero emissions are not only possible but  can also be achieved earlier than planned to save our only planet from climate crisis.

The event in Fergusson College was part of the ambitious carbon-neutral movement called ‘Not Zero-Net Zero’ that has been launched under a global network of universities called Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN). Erik Solheim, former Minister of Environment of Norway and Prakash Javadekar, former Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate change of India are the mentors of the movement.

Erik Solheim, former Minister of Environment of Norway and Prakash Javadekar, former Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate change of India are the mentors of the movement

Recent climate disasters like unprecedented rise in temperatures in most countries, droughts across the world from California to China and from Europe to Africa, drying rivers in USA and China, collapsing glaciers from Arctic to Antarctic, flash floods in Pakistan, rise in sea-level and ever-expanding deserts are creating an existential crisis for the life on the planet. The humanity that has barely managed to emerge from Covid-19 pandemic, is now facing the climate change pandemic.

The root cause for the climate change are the human induced carbon-emissions. Natural carbon-cycle established by the ecosystem of our planet allows the natural carbon-emission as well as the natural sink (absorption). Human-induced emissions from use of coal, gas and oil for electricity generation and transport has brought in the extreme imbalance in carbon cycle that is responsible for global warming. In order to rebalance the Earth, we need to reduce the emissions to ‘net zero’.

In order to limit the temperature, rise of our planet to not more than 2°C above pre-industrial level , as per recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC, the world’s carbon emission must reduce by 45 pc by 2030 and be net-zero by mid 21st century or by 2040-2075.

Recognising that nationally determined contributions pledged under the Paris Climate Agreement and subsequent enhancement are grossly inadequate to meet the target of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C above the pre-industrial level, educational institutes would be encouraged to skill the students to be future-ready to achieve the carbon neutrality by middle of this century.

A press release says that the movement of Net Zero signals the end of empty talks and hallow street protests and triggers the real action by transforming the Campus into laboratory for Net Zero. The students would be skilled in the laboratory for decarbonisation of their own alma mater. Such bottoms-up approach starting from youth in campus would set in chain of action to move forward to Net Zero cities, regions, states, and countries, adds the press statement. The era of decarbonisation of the economy would start at the hands of tomorrows policymakers.

‘‘What is needed is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the maximum extent through energy efficiency and renewable energy in campus and then offset the rest of it by tree plantation within the campus or outside to make it net-zero,’’ says Rajendra Shende, former Director of UNEP and prime mover of ‘Not Zero, Net Zero’ movement.

“Charity starts from Home. Net zero starts from Campus. Youth power is renewable and can sustain Net Zero,” Shende adds.

Smart Campus Cloud Network-SCCN is aimed at accelerating the momentum of implementation of Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs- and carbon neutrality across the Universities and Higher Educational Institutes.

“Net Zero will not be a burden on Fergusson College. It will be in fact cost-saving proposition. It would also reduce pollution and improve the mental and physical health of students to better study and generate creative ideas,” says Ravindrasinh Pardeshi, Principal of Fergusson, adding that the college would provide incentives to daily commuters by walk, cycle or EV. Those who actively participate in Net Zero may be considered for additional credits, says Pardeshi.

The bicycle and EV rally was followed by the appreciation-ceremony to felicitate  those who  commute to college by bicycles and EVs, which apart from students and faculty, also included office helpers and cleaners. Pardeshi was also awarded a certificate for his daily commute to college by walk, symbolising his leadership and commitment.

The real action to Net Zero started immediately after the rally. Representative of Ministry of Power, Srinivas Chavan, along with Durga Kamath of SCCN guided the college to form the core group on Net Zero of students in order to prepare the  plans and road map. The college will soon initiate the baseline surveys to calculate its carbon footprint in collaboration with SCCN and EESL.

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