Invest in girls to fight climate change: Ashok Khosla

Investing for girls’ education and employment can be helpful in curbing carbon emissions, said Ashok Khosla, an expert on environment and sustainable development.

New Delhi : Indian environmental thinker Ashok Khosla has urged the poor and developing countries of the world to enhance investment in girls’ education to curb carbon emissions which would be helpful in fighting climate change.

Speaking at the CII conclave on climate change, Khosla asserted that a decent life to women could be helpful in reducing carbon footprints. “Countries where women are treated well have a low birth rate while countries where women are not treated relatively well have high birth rates. Decent life to women can bring down the birth rates which will eventually result in lesser population, and hence, lesser carbon emissions” he said.

Talking about a green way of life, Khosla urged people to explore the practices of bio-mimicry for developing sustainable environment around human communities. He also urged the developing countries to look for ways of decoupling environmental pressures from economic growth.

“To attain a sustainable growth, decoupling is the only answer where with the growth in GDP the use of resources decline. Though there have been indications that there has been some degree of relative decoupling but what we need is absolute decoupling. While developing nations like India can look at undertaking relative decoupling but it is critical for industrialised countries to find ways towards decoupling and resource use decline in absolute terms,” Khosla said.

Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said that the momentum of economic development globally had led to disturbing inequities threatening the environmental balance in the world. Striking a cautious note, he said that one such initiative, the Green climate Fund, has still to gain traction despite commitments by developed countries.

“The Green Climate Fund which was set up has not witnessed much traction with only about $10 billion in the pool vis-à-vis a commitment of $100 billion annually. This support is critical to address climate change,” he said.

Speaking on the growing need of resources, Lavasa said; “According to the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Expert Group under the United Nations, almost $66 billion of financial resources are required annually in case development has to take place and inequities minimised.”

Sunil Wadhwa, Co-Chairman, CII Climate Change Council and Managing Director, urged for the need to look at the Clean Development Mechanism. “If the impact of development on the environment has to be shared equitably, then globally, we can look at putting in place a carbon tax similar to what is in place in India in the form of the National Clean Energy Fund. This will ensure that the end consumer pays,” he said.

Subodh Kumar Agarwal, Executive, Programmes, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung fur die Freiheit, said, “The private sector can play a significant role to address the energy concerns by providing market based solutions without being further detrimental to the environment.”

Talking about CII’s initiatives, Seema Arora, Executive Director, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development said, “Through our Green Building Centre, we now have helped create a footprint of over 2 billion square feet in green buildings.”