B4E, the Business for Environment Global Summit, is the world's leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. The summit addresses the most urgent environmental challenges facing the world today. Important topics on the agenda include resource efficiency, renewable energies, new business models and climate policy and strategies. CEOs and senior executives join leaders from government, international agencies, NGOs and media to discuss environmental issues, forge partnerships and explore innovative solutions for a greener future.
Guy has been involved in the energy sector since 1984 working initially in the oil and gas industry as an exploration geologist for Amoco before joining the newly formed PowerGen in 1990. At PowerGen Guy worked initially in the UK core business before transferring to be part of the International expansion of developing conventional power stations in Portugal, Germany and Eastern Europe.
Pete is the Programme Director for Transport at the European Climate Foundation, where he has worked since 2011. Prior to that, he spent 10 years analysing and reporting on politics, business and markets for the international newswire Reuters. Since 2008, he has been living in Brussels, focusing on the European politics of climate and energy. He has published several books and papers on ecology, travel and communications.
Aled has 15 years’ experience in the development of regional sustainability policies and programmes in the UK and Europe. He started his career in local government working on the EU Structural Fund programme for West Wales and the Valleys before moving to the Wales office in Brussels as a policy adviser on regional and environmental policies. He returned to the UK to work for the Regional Development Agency for the West Midlands on its low-carbon development projects.
By Yasmin Siddiqi, Principal Water Resources Specialist, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department
This article originally appeared on Asian Development Blog and is republished with permission.
Developing economies, population growth and rapid urbanization are increasing demands on water resources for food and energy production. By 2050, agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally, and developing countries will have to double their food productions to feed their growing populations. Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water, using up more than 80% of water resources in Asia. It is also a big user of energy – recent research shows that in places like Punjab, Pakistan, about 20% of the province’s entire power is used in agriculture.
As people in Asia get richer, so do their diets. Eating more meat means using more water, as producing 1 kg of meat needs six times more water than 1 kg of rice. With climate change impacts on the amount of water available in the future, growing more food with less water is the only solution to feed hungry urban populations and quench the thirst for energy. Innovative approaches to managing energy and water can provide solutions.
More than one-third of the world’s 303 million hectares irrigated area is served by groundwater, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Of this, over 70% is in Asia, and India consumes the largest amount of groundwater, over a quarter of the global total. Pumping groundwater is hugely energy-intensive – Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan annually pump about 210–250 km3 of groundwater, consuming almost 70 billion kilowatts per hour annually, close to $4 billion. There are also climate impacts, such as in India, where lifting water for irrigation alone can contribute up to 6% of total national greenhouse gas emissions.
The Surya Raitha scheme in Karnataka, India is an innovative way to manage groundwater and energy. Farmers are provided renewable energy in the form of solar irrigation pumps, and this—coupled with drip irrigation, which uses much less water—is a good combination to reduce consumption. But most innovative is the power buy-back scheme, which encourages farmers to be efficient, with the government buying back excess energy produced by the solar irrigation pump. This means farmers can pump only when they need to irrigate, and any extra energy is also purchased – much like a crop. Farmers are paid to conserve energy and water. The scheme is new, but holds much promise for scaling up in the region, especially in countries that rely heavily on groundwater.
The power of innovation often lies in its simplicity, and a good example is laser land leveling. Flat fields allows irrigation water to flow faster and more evenly to all crops. Research by the International Water Management Institute in South Asia shows stark improvements in crop production, with average annual incomes from the laser leveled fields increasing by 22% compared to non-leveled fields. Clearly there is potential here, but uptake of such simple techniques has been slow and sporadic. South Asia has benefited greatly, central Asia remains far behind. More action is required to work closely with governments, the private sector and farmers to find solutions and provide the right incentives to adopt this beneficial yet simple practice.
Using satellite data and field measurements allows us to more easily measure how much water is used to produce crops. This is an exciting tool, which ultimately could provide a map for Asia and the Pacific, highlighting regions where more crop per drop is produced. The technology would also give farmers and government agencies instant access through the mobile phone network to data on irrigation performance, crop production, and market prices. This opens up opportunities to better measure the impacts of investments in irrigation, providing before and after figures for the amount of crop produced per unit of water. So far, such measurements have remained elusive, but this approach—new for the Asia—is the way forward.
As more users compete for water resources in the future, producing more with less becomes the overriding goal. Irrigation has remained in the doldrums over the past decades, but now it has to move into the fast lane. Innovations, whether smart approaches to incentivizing farmers, simple improvements in managing land or using more advanced approaches like satellite data and computer simulations, provide a new world of opportunities.
The challenge is sharing knowledge, taking risks to adopt new ideas, and scaling up.
What's slowing down the adoption of innovative approaches that produce more using less?
This article originally appeared on Ecofys and is republished with permission.
Global energy savings of 13% and 7% greenhouse gas emissions reductions could be achieved in 2030 if globally harmonised energy efficiency requirements for appliances could be agreed. Energy savings could total €280-410 billion a year. A new study also identifies significant other benefits in trade, economic growth, employment, consumers, the environment and innovation would also be achieved.
The research, carried out by Ecofys and partners for the European Commission, examines the potential for and impacts of greater harmonisation of global energy efficiency standards. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and energy efficiency labels for appliances and equipment are increasingly applied by countries around the world, but in a variety of ways and at different levels of ambition.
The study models three different scenarios for global harmonisation. The lead scenario estimates energy use in 2030, if from 2020 the current highest MEPS for consumer, commercial and industrial appliances and equipment were aligned to the current most ambitious MEPS level. The report also explores the impacts if this happened already as of today, and if the most ambitious current energy labelling system were applied in addition to MEPS.
By Martin Wright on Fri, 13/11/2015 – 12:09
This article originally appeared on Forum for the Future and is republished with permission.
When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes the applause at Wembley this evening he will be basking in familiar adulation. Immensely popular among the Indian diaspora, he could be forgiven for feeling somewhat more welcome here than back home. Since his stellar election success 18 months back, his road has become a little rockier. In the last month alone, his ruling BJP party has taken a hammering in state polls in Bihar, with many voters seemingly disillusioned by the failure of economic reformist rhetoric to deliver jobs and prosperity on the ground. Secularists have criticised his failure to promptly and roundly condemn continuing attacks on Muslims, and over 100 of the country’s most eminent scientists wrote to the President warning of a growing “climate of intolerance”.
That 2019 election victory, once seen as mere formality, isn’t looking quite so nailed on.
But when it comes to the physical climate, Modi might just be on surer ground. After years when Indian politicians both played the victim card on climate change – “it’s not our fault, so we shouldn’t have to do anything about it” – while also giving the impression that it wasn’t that serious an issue, the Modi administration is taking a more self-confident stance. Witness the climate and energy agreements signed during the UK visit, carefully choreographed as part of the run-up to the Paris COP talks. For sure, India is still pushing for funding pledges to help meet its climate targets – you wouldn’t really expect anything else – but it’s speaking in starker terms about both the threat and the opportunities, too.
This came home to me recently when I was in Delhi to ‘MC’ the annual summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development. Now, even a few years ago, you could reliably predict that big Indian sustainability conferences would be full of rhetoric along the lines that “Environment’s all very well, but first we have to lift people out of poverty”. As though the two were somehow at odds. There were echoes of that at the CII summit, but they were few and far between – and mainly from those no longer in power, whether in politics or the boardroom.
Instead, we heard environment minister Prakash Javedekar – hardly a green zealot – insist he was “convinced that protection of environment and development is possible simultaneously, they go hand-in-hand, they are not against each other. That is what sustainable development means.” Finance minister Jayant Sinha said starkly that “the number one risk [faced by the Indian economy] is climate change”. And he also pointed to the more immediate health impacts of coal power stations and soaring vehicle emissions. Most telling of all was railways minister Suresh Prabhu – whose political influence in practice extends well beyond his brief. (And given the fact that its railways are India’s single largest consumer of energy, that’s quite a sizeable brief in itself.) Prabhu castigated businesses who fail to see sustainability as opportunity, and who drag their feet waiting for regulations to force them to act. Instead, he said, they should be actively competing on sustainability – as the best way of positioning themselves for future success.
Of course, saying the right thing to a sustainability audience is hardly proof that there’s been a seismic shift in Indian realpolitik. But add that to the government’s aggressive pursuit of solar power – especially in Modi’s home state of Gujarat – and you can at least imagine you’re feeling the earth start to move.
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