TERI’s focus in the area of climate change commenced way back
in the 1980s, long before it became an urgent and worrying global issue.
Indicative of its farsightedness, TERI had established a Centre for
Global Environmental Research as far back as 1989. Besides at a time
when many dismissed the reality of climate change, TERI became one of
the first research institutes to study the phenomenon. In the years
that followed the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, it contributed significantly
to the international debate on climate change.
Ongoing climate change activities at TERI are focused towards making a significant contribution to the international climate debate and bringing out the developing country perspective in it. It is a known fact that climate change is a multidisciplinary field of study with researchers from fields as diverse as physical sciences, mathematics, biology, social science, and economics examining the implications of various dimensions of climate change in a comprehensive manner. In this context, the institute’s work in climate modeling focuses on the use of global and regional modeling tools to understand the climate. A well equipped modeling lab consisting of a supercomputer carries out global and regional climate projections and in collaboration with national and international institutions, projections of changes in weather patterns in different regions in India are being made under various climate change scenarios. The socioeconomic scenarios of different states, which can result from these changes, are also being worked out.
It is also involved in assessing the impacts, vulnerability of the entire nation, regions and states due to climate change. It took part in the first nation wide assessment of the impacts of climate change and globalization and on agriculture in India. A team which consists of experts from various disciplines is responsible for carrying out policy review and assessing impacts on sensitive areas like coastal zones, livelihoods, ground water and recommends methods to adapt to these impacts.
TERI has also made significant contributions at international, national and local level policies to prevent further impacts of climate change and help adapt to those changes that are inevitable. It played an important role in drafting the NAPCC or the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It has assisted the Government of India with technical inputs for carrying out international negotiations and also contributed to international networks of research on climate change policy.
TERI has also carried out research for strategies and options for climate change mitigation across different sectors. It has evolved several technological options in renewable energy, energy efficiency; clean development mechanism and green buildings, which can help enhance India’s energy security as well as reduce green house gases. It has been instrumental in setting up an indigenous rating system that can measure the environmental performance of buildings in India in the context of the climatic condition in which they are located. The rating tool called ‘Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment’ (GRIHA) quantifies parameters like energy consumption, waste generation, and renewable energy adoption over the entire lifecycle of the building. It was adopted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) as a national rating system for green buildings to bring down the ecological impact of buildings in India to a country wide acceptable level.
Awareness generation was another critical aspect with which TERI launched its work on climate change in the 1980s. Across India, its work has touched the lives of millions of people and made a difference. From the cardamom growers in the remote north-eastern state of Sikkim where their fuel costs have been reduced by 60% whilst improving the curing process of the cardamom to the glass furnace worker in Firozabad, who now makes glass bracelets, showpiece items, tableware, headlight covers, laboratory ware, vacuum flasks, and the like in energy-efficient, natural-gas-based pot and muffle furnaces to the farmers in Supi in the Himalayan foothills who are growing fragrant herbs as a second crop to supplement their incomes; to those millions in rural India, who had no access to electricity and were dependent on kerosene lamps, now have solar lanterns developed by TERI as part of the Lighting a Billion Lives©a Campaign (LaBL). The sun’s energy has lit up their lives thereby making education possible for children; providing better illumination and a smoke-free indoor environment for women as they go about their household chores; and has also succeeded in creating green entrepreneurs both at the individual and village level. Furthermore, it is the result of the sustained and untiring efforts of the likes of TERI that many average folk have some understanding of the dangers and implications of our collective actions on the survival of the planet, including that of climate change which, then, as well as now, is often unfathomable and too complex for the ordinary person to comprehend.
Even today it continues its work in this field through workshops, meetings
and newsletters, by publishing books on the subject, producing films
and reaching out to people through the web. It shows the corporate sector,
policy makers, NGOs, the media and school children how they can make
a difference in the scenario and encourages them to get involved by
showing how they can gain from it.
29 November to 10 December
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