Resource Efficiency and Climate Change Mitigation

Last year at COP 21 in Paris, there were some ambitious commitments by developing nations from Asia and Africa with regards to mitigation targets. These targets would be difficult to achieve considering the finances and capacities available to the countries. Inventing new technologies to address mitigation needs is not easy and will be economically not viable considering the present market conditions. What is required at this time is modification of existing technologies and production systems in the most cost effective way as they provide a greater rate of acceptance among the industries.

Dr. Soumen Maity presenting on LC3 at  COP22 Side Event

Dr. Soumen Maity, Chief General Manager, DA, presenting on LC3 at COP22 Side Event

Almost all the countries and the global world have looked exclusively at emissions during all negotiations. However along with climate, the resource aspect of materials needs to be looked into as well. There is a strong link between resource efficiency or dematerialisation and climate change mitigation. Industries when looking at mitigation focus either on detoxification and pollution reduction or dematerialisation and resource productivity. However, Barnett (2012), in his paper “Link between climate change mitigation and resource efficiency: A UK case study”, suggests how a combined outlook would help in achieving challenging emission targets in a more efficient way. It is important that climate change mitigation in developing countries looks at resource efficiency as an important tool.

With the current pathway of growth in India, we are rapidly moving into a future with new climate realities and resource scarcity. While the temperature is poised to increase to near 1.5°C, India looks at a resource scarce future. Coal is expected to finish in the next 80 years at the current level of growth. But if looked at with a GDP growth rate of 5%, we will run out of coal in 45 years (Policy brief, TERI, March 2011). Similarly, limestone is the major raw material for production of cement. However, the resources that we have will last us only for 54 years considering the present growth rate.

To create a sustainable world for the next generation, a radical change in the way we approach sustainability in our life styles is required. Blue-Sky Innovations are revolutionary innovations that transform industries by looking at processes and our development pathways in a new light. They improve the economy’s efficiency considerably by enabling it to produce more with the same or fewer resources. Some of the Blue-Sky Innovations that the Development Alternatives Group has been working on are as follows:

• The Eco-Kiln technology is a firing process for producing burnt clay bricks. It is one of the world’s most energy efficient process for red brick production. The environmental emissions are reduced by 70% compared to the traditional Bulls Trench Kiln technology followed in India.

• Low Carbon Cement: To address the twin issues of CO2 emissions and saving natural resources, a new cement blend called Low Carbon Cement or Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3) has been developed. Life Cycle Analysis reveals that LCproduction can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30% and save up to 50% limestone as compared to conventional cement.

It is expected that these technologies will bring in a radical change in the way that industries operate creating low carbon pathways for our country.

Dr. Soumen Maity, Chief General Manager
Development Alternatives
smaity@devalt.org 
 

The views expressed in the article are those of the author’s and not necessarily those of Development Alternatives.

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