The government gives a lots of subsidies on the fossil fuels every year – more than a trillion dollars in 2022! But using fossil fuel also causes problems for the environment and people’s health, which end up costing over 5 trillion dollars a year. Considering the challenges that today’s world is facing, there are other more effective alternatives towards which these billions and trillions of dollar should be diverged to, i.e. towards more sustainability driven initiatives.
Studies have found that air pollution from fossil fuels causes around 8.7 million early deaths each year. Plus, it’s messing up the climate big time. It’s a huge number, and it means that the fossil fuels when subsidized result in the suffering of humans from the bad health and environmental issues, which must be stopped. So, it’s high time to change our priorities and put our money into renewable energy like wind, solar, and hydro power. It will not only help us in the fight against the changing climate, but it’ll also create new jobs for us. Ideally, we should use this cash to create a more sustainable future for everyone.
Also, to set things in a more clear perspective before I start putting in my thoughts on how we can repurpose it is that, if we factor in the social cost of carbon (SCC), estimated at around $50 per ton of CO2, we can see the true impact of these subsidies. With $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies, we’re indirectly supporting the emission of around 20 billion tons of CO2. So, my intent in this blog is to give my own perspective, that is my individual perspective on different ways we could utilize this fund in a much better way. And I would love to hear your perspectives in the comment, or maybe your ideas.
Known for its resourcefulness and thriftiness, India is home to many diverse cultures and traditions. Because of its limited resources and growing population, the country has long recognized how important it is to conserve resources and promote sustainable practices. For centuries, India has practiced circular economy principles in various ways. It’s not a new concept in India. For instance, in India, repurposing kitchen waste is a common practice. For centuries, it has been practiced in different forms. Organic fertilizer for agriculture is made from this waste, and it’s turned into compost.
Using a circular economy minimizes waste, optimizes resource use, and promotes sustainability. Circular economies are different from linear economies, in which raw materials are extracted, processed, used, and then thrown away as waste. In general, the circular economy emphasizes repairing, refurbishing, and recycling materials so they can be reused for as long as possible. Three key principles of the circular economy: reducing waste and pollution, preserving products and materials for a long time, and regenerating nature.
India’s big step towards tackling the climate crisis by committing to the Paris Agreement is not shadowed on the international forums. Our country has made several ambitious targets to reduce its carbon footprint and increase its use of clean energy. But, as a developing country, we need support from the developed nations to achieve these targets. And, let me tell you, we are making progress, but still, there are areas where more efforts are needed. We need to speed up our efforts to fulfill our commitments and make this planet a better place for future generations.
India’s commitment towards Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
Let me tell you something, India’s aspiration and promising attitude to show the world in the fight against climate change has already caught the limelight in at the event of the Article 6 of Paris Agreement. To strengthen cooperation and support for global action, India has committed to the following initiatives:
175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022
Energy equivalent to 20% of the total energy consumption by 2020
30% of electric vehicles on the road by 2030
Reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 level
Create a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030
Process 100% of municipal solid waste by 2023
Increase carbon sequestration in agriculture and allied sectors by 2.5 to 3 GtCO2e by 2030
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement pertains to the cooperation between Parties in the implementation of the Agreement. It includes provisions for the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) towards achieving nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the creation of a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development. It also establishes a framework for cooperation on, and facilitation of, capacity-building, and transparency of action and support. This Article is one of the key mechanisms to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Countries with potential to help fellow countries as per Article 6 of the Paris agreement
The Paris Agreement, a historic pact signed by nearly 200 countries, emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in tackling this global crisis. Under Article 6, countries are urged to collaborate and support each other in reaching their climate targets.
In the below context, I am trying to drill down the nations that hold the potential to be instrumental in helping other countries reduce their carbon footprint and create a greener tomorrow. Whether through investments in sustainable energy sources, the development and export of low-carbon technologies, or the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels, these nations are poised to make a significant impact in our fight against climate change.
Electricity powers our daily lives and drives economic growth, so it’s no surprise that some countries consume more electricity than others. According to recent data, the top 10 countries with the highest total electricity consumption are China, the United States, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. These countries have high demand for electricity due to factors such as large populations, industrialization, and economic development.
It has been an interesting exercise to mathematically assume how much surface area would be required to install solar panels in these countries to meet their electricity needs. However, please do understand that this article is purely an interesting hypothesis and not a concrete recommendation in any sense. It’s just a mere area-based assumption to see how much land we might need to electrify a country or this entire world.
China, the United States, and India are the largest consumers of electricity globally, with China alone accounting for almost 20% of total global electricity consumption. Russia, Japan, and Germany also have large and developed economies, which contribute to their high levels of electricity consumption. South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Canada also consume relatively large amounts of electricity due to their populations, industrial bases, and economic development. I assume that you possess the basic understanding that electricity consumption doesn’t necessarily reflect a country’s prosperity or well-being, but it is a significant indicator of economic and industrial activity.
Top 10 countries with the highest total electricity consumption (2019):
China – 9,596 billion kWh
United States – 4,178 billion kWh
India – 3,599 billion kWh
Russia – 1,295 billion kWh
Japan – 1,196 billion kWh
Germany – 647 billion kWh
South Korea – 593 billion kWh
Iran – 423 billion kWh
Saudi Arabia – 358 billion kWh
Canada – 347 billion kWh
Again, I am referring my last quote before banging on the complete article is that the ranking of countries by electricity consumption may change depending on the data source and time frame being considered for these assumptions. It is also important to remember that a country’s electricity consumption does not necessarily reflect its level of development or well-being.”.
The cost of solar power has decreased significantly over time, making it more competitive with fossil fuels in many parts of the world. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has decreased by more than 80% since 2010, and it is expected to continue to decline in the coming years.
There are several factors that have contributed to the decrease in the cost of solar power, including:
Technological improvements: Solar PV technology has improved significantly over the years, with more efficient cells and modules being developed. This has helped to reduce the cost of solar power by increasing the amount of electricity that can be generated from a given amount of solar panels.
Economies of scale: As the demand for solar power has increased, the production of solar panels and other components has increased, leading to economies of scale and lower costs.
Government incentives: Many governments around the world have implemented policies and incentives to encourage the adoption of solar power, such as subsidies, tax credits, and feed-in tariffs. These measures have helped to reduce the upfront cost of solar power for consumers and businesses.
Increased competition: As the solar industry has grown, the number of companies producing solar panels and other components has increased, leading to increased competition and lower prices.
It is worth noting that the cost of solar power can vary significantly depending on the location and the specific circumstances of each project. Factors such as the quality of the solar resource, the cost of financing, and the availability of subsidies and incentives can all affect the cost of solar power.