Read full article By Shobita Dhar @ Times of India Photo Credit: ICRISAT
Moving away from water-intensive crops, like rice and wheat, towards more hardy crops like millets can save the country 50 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the main driver of climate change – as well as300 billion cubic metres of water annually by 2050, a new report has found.
The data-based prediction by researchers at the , Bengaluru also showed that India will have 500 million more ACs in the next 30 years, pushing up the demand for from now to 2050 due to space cooling and electricity demands.
Researchers studied possible scenarios in which India could meet its development goals (housing, food, healthcare, education, power, transport) without compromising its climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement.
For example, in the scenario the government is able to give equal priority to development and climate, then 24 giga tonne of CO2 emissions can be saved cumulatively by 2050 and the total electricity demand is 34% lower as compared to the scenario where India achieves its development goals without making efforts to honour its climate commitments.
In the first scenario, India’s total greenhouse gas emissions plateau in the 2040s and slowly decline post-2046.The researchers developed this scenario using SAFARI (The Sustainable Alternative Futures for India) model. SAFARI is a tool to understand and project India’s energy and resource needs up to 2050, with a focus on meeting development goals and to also look at alternative ways (or scenarios) of achieving development in a sustainable manner. Five such alternative scenarios have been presented in a new report, ‘Energy and emissions implications for a desired quality of life in India via Safari’.
The tool also suggests ways to minimise trade-offs through alternatives such moving away from water-intensive crops to millets.
In March this year, Prime Minister said that India is well on track to achieve its Paris Agreement targets before the 2030 deadline. Empirical evidence shows that in the past 200 years, economic development has led to a significant increase in global emissions. The researchers wanted to understand how the former can be achieved without compromising the latter.
“Our model aims to start a conversation around this question by presenting some plausible scenarios, to understand to what extent our development goals and our commitment to reduce carbon can merge,” said , one of the authors of the report.