The Raison D‘etre
It’s hard to believe when you step out of home today that more than 60 PC of cars will be without petrol or diesel by 2030. Buildings won’t get water from outside at all. More than 50 pc energy will be from local grids of offices and residential colonies. Much of this will be done by each of us as individuals at home or as professionals at work, by law and mandate. Companies will have to offer Carbon Disclosure Statements by regulation in the next 3-5 years.
These will get done by mandate, for India has no option. And so with the world.
The terrain on professionals
- From 20,000 sft in 2003, we have reached 5.5 billion sft of certified green buildings, with most of it coming in just this decade. India will reach nearly 12 billion sft of certified green buildings by 2022 when India turns 75. This needs green professionals – moulded from out of today’s working and graduating engineers and MBAs, primarily [that is 1.5 million and 0.5 million respectively every year and a total of nearly 60 million such working professionals in industry today in India] and out of the smaller but influential group of architects who number a mere 100,000 today have the challenging prospect of a staggering 30,000 new architects joining the marketplace every year from this year.
The numbers are rising with Smart Cities in place
- By the time India turns 75 years old in 2022, nearly every building built in the major metros and the top 150 cities – the smart city program will ensure this – will be certified green, and energy-efficient.
- A whole host of Climate Change Officers and Resilience Officers that the Smart Cities are now recruiting will be backed by engineers and MBAs and architects and other graduate-officers who have to be necessarily skilled, capable and equipped to be EcoPro’s.
- India today produces a million engineers and MBAs. All of them will have to work on these challenges. They now don’t have the training nor even the awareness.
- We’ve 30 billion sft being built by 2030. That’s 250 pc of all buildings built over all time in India. India is No 1 in the world on CAGR of green building footprint or annual growth. We’ll be No. 1 in total Sft of green buildings by 2025.
- There are 40,000 architects [from 550 schools of architecture] and 1.5 million engineers [from 3500 colleges] and 0.5 million MBAs [from 1500 schools of business] emerging every year.
- The US has 90,000 green Accredited Professionals. India has less than 4000 as of last year. We need at least 300,000 such certified green professionals, with proficiency in energy-efficiency related domains for our homes, hotels, hospitals, offices, resorts and other buildings, not to forget the growing numbers of metros, the railways, and the veritable revolution in the auto industry as we move to electric vehicles from IC engines that are diesel/petrol based.
Where are the professionals with the skills to drive organizations in govt and industry and service sector to drive this?
India will lead the world but will need professionals to support it….
This interview with the Founder Trustee of Altech Foundation that SustainabilityNext featured recently paints the landscape well.
It’s the basis for founding AltechHub and the six strands of Eco-centres, each of them working with the other and feeding the Mission Objective that The Altech Foundation has set for itself. It is also the clear reason for its existence and its rapidly growing presence on the Indian professional firmament.
Some further figures that may help you communicate to people there. .
The Carbon War Before India and the Massive Business Potential
It is a veritable war.
India has the stiff but viable challenge of having to push back on carbon emissions in very big ways in the dozen years to 2030. The effort is on.
The Smart Cities alone will mean a spend of US$ 300 billion dollars of capital expenditure, while green products relating to energy, water and water treatment, waste management solutions and air quality products has a potential spend of US$ 300 billion in just the next 5 years.
The Carbon equation for India 2030
In next 12 years (to 2030) India is committed to —
NDC [Nationally Determined Contribution] targets as ratified by the Paris Agreement are —
- To reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by by 33-35 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030. The implication to Indian industry is immense on the need to measure, monitor, manage and report. Emission intensity in the simplest terms is ratio of Greenhouse Gases to GDP. Now you can see why “sustainability reporting and carbon disclosure” will be mandatory soon.
- To increase share of non-fossil based energy resources to 40 percent of installed electric power capacity by 2030, with help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
- To create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e (giga ton carbon dioxide equivalent) through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- At least 30 per cent of India’s expected population in 2030 of 1.4 billion has to become more environmentally conscious, reducing their energy demands (not just their non-renewable energy usage) to help achieve the India 2030 goal.
EcoPro’s will form the backend and the backbone
On the carbon scenario, and the imperatives therefore of India Inc having thousands more such professionals, you can see why ‘the backend and the backbone’ essentially of this market scenario that is building up for Indian industry across the board will be the hundreds of thousands of regular professionals becoming Eco-pro’s.
Reducing the emission intensity of the GDP as per the NDC targets (which is, to reduce this share to 60 percent, given that coal and Natural Gas have very high carbon intensity) in the next 13 years is a monumental task, requiring policy-makers, industry professionals across the board, and citizens/consumers to actively reduce their dependency on fossil-based sources by consuming less electricity and fuel, or to make the investment required to shift to renewable sources of energy.
This also needs very informed decisions on demand-side management with professionals in the building industry rapidly recalibrating their skills on design, architecture, supply chain, resilience, and other critical elements that go to make infrastructure of every kind.
The management of natural resources related to energy, water, air and waste requires a high order of professional training for corporate professionals
AltechHub and its six key strands fill this immense void.
Tectonic Shift in Behaviour and Mindsets
If these objectives are to be fulfilled, conscious behavioural change is required, over the next 3-4 years as India races toward enlarging the green footprint. Another part of the NDC targets talks about increasing the share of non-renewable sources of energy to 40 percent, from its current 30 percent, requiring “26-30 percent of the population in 2030” to shift to renewable sources of energy.
Engineers — mechanical, environmental, civil and electrical — as well as architects have to reinvent their roles quickly, with knowledge training in these areas for current professionals and the crop of new professionals entering the industry — not merely in the building sector, but in industry, farms, services, which are the 3 major culprits in energy consumption and carbon emission.
Energy conservation has to be the first fuel as AEEE [hyperlink] says in a very significant report on Transforming the India Energy Scenario 2030.
India today is the 5th largest consumer of energy in the world. The growth of electricity consumption is 23 per cent year upon year. India’s population is set to overtake China’s by 2035 with the rising population growth rate, and out of the estimated 1.6 billion people in India then, 480 million Indians [40%] have to use renewable sources or become environmentally conscious in some manner.
Assuming the rural-urban ratio to decrease, with 68 percent of India still living in rural India which is largely dependent on non-renewable energy sources, the conscious shift to renewable sources of energy in rural as well as urban households will require a tectonic shift in terms of behavior and thought.
Can we beat it without abuse?
We must add that India’s per capita income and emission seem minimal in comparison to the developed, Western world even today. China’s solid waste is at 190 million tonnes a year, the US is at 260 million tonnes while India’s is still at 45 million tonnes a year. Energy use in India is at 60 billion units while China and the US each guzzle about 3x of this.
But then, it must be remembered that three of the nine planetary thresholds have already been crossed thanks to the western world’s abuse in the last 50 years. India has not been a major contributor in the crossing of the planetary thresholds. With a larger part of Indians still living in poverty, India is yet to provide basic energy access to a large part of its population still deprived of it, which will naturally raise its emission rate further, unless there are other decentralized ways of offering such access without the ills and excesses of central power grids.
India’s emission and energy growth will be fuelled by greater urbanization (30-50 percent in 2030), demographic transition and dividend (10 m new entrants to the workforce), infrastructure transition, cooking fuel transition (700m people transitioning to commercial fuels), income effect (vehicular ownership and growth in appliance) and effects of technology.
Can India’s EcoPro’s do it?
India will have to adopt various lifestyle changes and demand-side shifts (lesser fossil fuel usage, waste creation, sustainable agro-forestry, and such. India has to also recognize that poverty alleviation and reaching a just, social foundation is a major priority (other than protecting planetary thresholds).
So while in many ways the scrutiny on India for climate action is unfair, it has to participate on the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility based on respective capability’ and reduce its emission intensity by 35 percent by 2030 (from 2005 levels), achieve 40 percent of electric power installed capacity from renewable sources by 2030 and create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 through forest and tree cover by 2030.
Can India’s professionals create an inclusive, sustainable growth model, which deals with the trade-off between poverty alleviation and environmental protection properly, without undermining any of these goals? That is the key question.