I realized from many social examples that a combination of simplicity and gain works with the masses. It’s all the more true with the poor working classes in India who have a hand-to-mouth existence. They relate easily, respond positively, and make such measures a part of their lives. Can we see any direct example now? – This is exactly what we see in the numerous electric rickshaws plying in the city of Ranchi. There, electric rickshaws replaced multiple auto and cycle rickshaws. Excitingly, this transformation is seen as a model to curtail carbon emission- a major goal the world is striving to achieve. This article examines how changes in India, such as this, can have a cumulative effect on the low-carbon future.
India can affect global Change
India is the third-largest emitter of carbon after China and the US. On the path of rising as the most dominant emerging economy globally, China disregarded carbon emission. So, its carbon emission had steadily been increasing until recently. The US withdrew from the world treaty and continued to emit the largest carbon level in the world. India has a great role to play as the other major emerging economy; grow environment friendly.
How can India grow as a low-carbon economy?
India is expected to be the most populous country by 2027. And India may account for high-level carbon emission owing to rising population and energy consumption accompanying economic growth. The two-pronged approach to contain the problem is to minimize carbon emission and maximize carbon sequestration. Reducing carbon emission includes using renewable sources of energy, shifting to electric vehicles, and implementing energy-efficient technologies.
Regarding the renewable energy source, India has greatly increased its solar energy capacity, and the process continues. Also, India widely produces clean energy through hydel projects, nuclear power stations, and wind farms. Shift to an electric vehicle is an ongoing process. Skill development in sustainability careers promises a future of energy-efficient technologies. To enhance carbon sequestration, we have the major conventional strategies of forest preservation and afforestation. Also, we can promote innovative methods such as City Forests and Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW).
Case Analysis- Sustainability of the Electric Rickshaw Model
The change to electric rickshaw increased profit and made handling easy. And it decreased the costs of ownership and maintenance. Overall, the idea was simple and fascinating, and it had many takers. Commuters prefer electric vehicle because it doesn’t pollute the surroundings. But, electric rickshaws cannot compete with other autos in speed. So, it seems to be more suitable in villages where the pace of travel is slower than in cities. And in cities, the provision of separate lanes for electric vehicles could be a facilitating option. Considering the relatively higher public use of electric rickshaws, it is a promise.
Emulation from the Electric Rickshaw model
The success story of the electric rickshaw is a pointer to change. We can shift to electric two-wheelers, four-wheelers, and buses. As the number of two-wheelers in India is almost six times the number of four-wheelers, shift to electric scooters and motorcycles will bring about relatively greater change. A few factors which can speed up the overall transition could be the enactment of the law, incentives to the automobile industry, tax rebate to buyers, government-sponsored charging stations, and public mechanism for safe disposal of used vehicles and their spare parts.
The City Forest campaign
The idea is to identify land parcels of approximately 5000 square feet along roads or adjacent to public places in cities and grow diverse plants and trees in them. While local self-government bodies could allot the land, the creation and upkeep can be taken care of by resident welfare associations (RWAs) or commercial establishments. This is an ideal way for communities to engage with the government. While this mechanism takes time to shape up, kitchen gardens with medicinal plants and curry leaves can be cultivated in apartments, just like community composting. The journey to the city forest can start from kitchen gardens.
Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW)
The process involves spreading rock dust on crop fields to remove a vast amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; calcium and magnesium in rock dust absorb carbon dioxide to form carbonates. This method is innovatively advised in acidic crop fields, while experimentation is required for perfect application.
The vision is of a low-carbon future, largely decided by India. The mission is to enhance the implementation of traditional methods and the application of new techniques. If we can have simple mechanisms that fascinate the large masses – rich or poor- the results can be achieved greater and faster.