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  • State of the Planet 2010 hosted by TERI called for a global cooperation to move towards a low-carbon economy

    26 March 2010

    To reach an agreement in Mexico, there is a need for the world leaders to debate and discuss possible solutions that can help reach a positive outcome end of this year. The State of the Planet conference organised by the Earth Institute, Columbia University, in New York City and the Delhi Session hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) brought insights from the world's most influential and innovative thinkers and leaders from academic disciplines, media, government, policy and business spheres - to tackle critical issues facing the world.

    The Delhi Session had a distinguished panel consisting of Dr Jyoti Parikh, Executive Director Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), member of Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, Mr Devin Narang, Chairman & Managing Director, Freeplay Energy India Pvt. Ltd., Mr P Balaji, Vice President - Marketing & Strategy, Ericsson India Pvt. Ltd., Mr Jagbir Singh, Group Chief Technical Officer-Mobility Networks at Bharti Airtel Ltd., Dr Leena Srivastava, Executive Director TERI and moderated by Mr Nitin Desai, Former Under Secretary General of the United Nations & Distinguished Fellow at TERI and member of Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change.

    The panel discussed three relevant questions, (i) Which set of country position needs to change in order to get a global deal?, (ii) What is the role of "Technology and Innovation" in the Global Sustainability debate? And (iii) What are the key policy changes required for moving to a lower carbon economy?

    Dr Jyoti Parikh, while addressing the first two questions, said, "Lack of trust, absence of penalty for delaying the process or rewarding those taking positive actions, etc are couple of problems hindering the conclusion of a global deal. With regards to technology, Intellectual property (IP) regime is questionable and we need have the spirit of global cooperation and pool in our technologies to work together. Adaptation Fund needs to be linked to emissions, and those emitting more should pay more. We need to go forward with our plans rather than waiting for a global agreement."

    Looking at the current scenario, Dr Leena Srivastava, said, "A global deal cannot happen without having the USA onboard, though we need to start thinking of alternate options if USA continues to maintain the same stand. There is a need to set goals that are driven by self interest considerations like using renewable energy to address the issue of energy security and energy efficiency is recognised as the "low hanging fruit' by the world. The basis of any international negotiation needs to take into account equity and to some extent historical accountability. We are in agreement with the carbon budgeting approach to look at the carbon space till 2050 to avoid the 2 degrees rise."

    The panelists from the corporate world emphasised on the need for country-specific technology development and the mainstreaming of renewable energy that need to be conducive for the users. Technology should bridge the rural- urban divide and the focus should be on rural India to reduce migration by providing access to education, health and governance in an effective and cost effective manner through wireless services. Policies should encourage good interaction between the industries for collaborate R&D and technological development.

    The four major recommendations from India were discussed when the session was connected live to the main event in New York that was moderated by Mr Simon Cox, South- Asia business correspondent, The Economist:

    • US, OECD and EU need to do more to move towards a low-carbon economy.
    • There needs to be a consensus on the baseline year that all need to maintain and follow.
    • For all the talk of technology transfer, the best technologies are homegrown and tailored to local conditions.
    • Governments should recognise that ICT is a green technology.

    For the first time ever, speakers and attendees participated from event sites in New York, Beijing, New Delhi, London and Nairobi. The debates of the day-long event moderated by The Economist journalists in New York and were broadcasted around the world via webcast. Three significant issues facing the world today - climate change, poverty and economic recovery were discussed. With a range of thought-provoking speakers and thousands participating from around the world, the resulting debates will be truly global in scope.

    The State of the Planet conference, held every two years, was organised by the Earth Institute, along with The Economist and Ericsson to bring the conversation to the global community. Four major topics placed on the table were: the science and politics of climate change; healing the world economy in an environmentally sustainable way; the ongoing challenge of ending extreme poverty; and how we can build and strengthen international systems able to deal with continuing crises that span borders.

    Renowned figures like UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon; President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico; Prince Albert II of Monaco; Sanjeev Chadha, CEO of Pepsico India; Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme; Xu Jintao, head of the environmental economics program, Peking University; and many others. Moderator: Al Jazeera journalist Riz Khan. Hosts of the event are: Earth Institute director Jeffrey D Sachs; Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg; and Matthew Bishop, American business editor and New York bureau chief of The Economist participated in the conference.

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