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8 Ways for Climate Resilient Communities and Sustainable Development

Er. Anant Bhaskar Garg

As we know from several studies performed by leading scientists, professionals, and recent Masdar’s Global Youth Survey that climate change is one of the major challenges in the 21st century for which we need immediate actions by everyone. Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015 provide the direction and setup to combat the climate change whether restricting rise in global mean surface temperature to 1.5°C well below 2°C above pre-industrial level, and establishing funding mechanism for research, development, and implementation of new technologies. Formation of International Solar Alliance of 120 countries lead by India and France is very important step in this regard. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are due to several factors mainly human activities and reached around 405 ppm level which is alarming. Thus, both temperature and emission level are continuously increasing to more critical situation year by year. In the present scenario, potential damage attributed to climate change is enormous in terms of loss of lives and capital. Further, drastic changes can force unwanted migration of millions of people and loss of natural resources.

Launching of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015 for a period of 15 years from 2016 to 2030 and Agenda 2030 is crucial step towards reversing the trend. But implementation of these 17 goals and achieving 169 targets by 2030 for low-carbon smart resilient economy, and society require three things:

  1. Huge Investment for clean, green technologies and growth

  2. Strong Accountability and Monitoring Framework

  3. Every Citizen Involvement to check the climate-smart development

In a recent talk by Prof. Lord Stern from LSE on growth and sustainability, he highlighted steps taken since 2006 till now for climate change and next ten years prospects for low carbon economy. He emphasized that countries submitted their intended nationally determined commitments (INDC) before COP21 must bring together governments, businesses, and public for urgent action to curb emissions by 2020 as review timeline requirement.

As per Prof. Chris Field from Stanford, we need to implement a negative emissions approach to lower CO2 emissions that are bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technologies based to extract more CO2 from atmosphere then their emission. This will reduce net content of GHG in the atmosphere. BECCS converts wood, grasses and other non-edible vegetation into electricity, fertilizers and other fuels. While the plants are growing they remove CO2 from the atmosphere which can be captured as part of the process and pumped into long term storage, typically deep inside rock formations.

We need multidisciplinary approach to tackle risks associated with climate change and for sustainable development. We need commitment from everyone to take actions at the individual, local, regional, and global level wherever appropriate. Given below are eight areas which require technological impetus for sustainable smart urban and rural development.

  1. Our energy systems need to be efficient and clean with improvement in energy efficiency across industry, heating, transport, and buildings

  2. Power systems must transit to renewable (Solar, Wind, Hydro, Biomass, and Geothermal), clean and coal powered one use CCS technology

  3. Innovative geo-engineering methods of carbon dioxide removal for negative emissions of CO2

  4. Clean transport vehicles running on electric, hybrid, hydrogen, and biofuels

  5. Climate-smart agriculture with precision technology, clean supply chains

  6. Rehabilitation of degraded land and soil to capture more carbon dioxide, afforestation

  7. Efficient water management especially methods for IWRM, onsite reuse

  8. Effective waste management technologies for composting, waste-to-energy

Besides this, we need most important aspect for all of the above technologies implementation is Quality Education which is SDG Goal 4 to create awareness, capacity building, research, and development. We need to acquaint every citizen about risks associated with climate change and possible mitigation measures they can take and practice. With the help of digital technologies such as Big Data, Cloud and mobile communication, we can analyse data, patterns much quickly and disseminate information in an interactive and engaging way. This is motivating users to change their habits and tracking their behaviour. Thus, with technological developments, we can hope for better #WorldIn2026

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