Panchkula July 23, 2013: In the context of global warming and climate change, Prof. S. K. Sharma, Professor Emeritus, Energy Research Centre, Punjab University, said here today that energy security and controlling greenhouse gases have assumed enormous importance for sustainable development and equitable growth across in the developing countries. He expressed this view while delivering a lecture on Significance of Carbon Footprints to India organized by the Society for Promotion of Science and Technology under the Monthly Lecture Series.
Prof. Sharma listed out the greenhouse gases which have significant impact on climate and apprised the audience of their Global Warming Potential. He also described the factors which contribute to the warming effects of the earth’s ecosystem. Fossil fuel burning seems to make the maximum contribution to this and atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and methane (two major greenhouse gases) have increased by 31% and 149% respectively since the year 1750, which marks the onset of industrial era. Global surface temperature has increased in the last 25 years by 0.2 to 0.3 degrees centigrade. Although industrial revolution took place in the western hemisphere, today India and China are being projected as major contributors to carbon emissions.
Prof. Sharma explained the principles of estimating ‘ carbon emission ‘ of a process or product which spans the total time, cradle to glove. For India, unfortunately, ‘carbon intensity’, which is total carbon emission divided by GDP growth rate, is going up. The much trumpeted Kyoto Protocol is heavily biased against the developing nations and the ISO standard’s set for carbon foot printing is also defective. The developing countries are now able to buy carbon credits from other countries without actually reducing their own carbon emissions. Thus, on a global scale, there is no reduction in carbon emissions. Besides, such a system works against the interest of the developing countries in the times of poor economic growth as is being faced by them presently as the targets have been fixed in percentage terms.
He briefly discussed methods of energy production and showed that India has a different task ahead with regard to carbon reduction as a thermal power plant, running on coal, makes highest carbon emission. Next to renewable sources Nuclear power is the cleanest and most viable method to meet the power needs of the country.
He also said that the government has set up NAPCC (National Action Plan for Climate Control) with its various components. He is on the panel of advisors to the Prime Minister on Energy Resources.