Interventions: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Who Wants to Fix Our Climate and Eat Our Lunch?

National Consultation on role and responsibility of big technology in sustainable and inclusive development

25 April 2018 | Delhi

The Consultation started with the welcome by Mr. Ajay Jha. He put forth the objective of the consultation to discuss the state of play of big technology related to climate change, sustainable development, agriculture and food systems at the global level. It is being said that it is not possible to achieve 20C goal of Paris agreement without negative emission technologies and from 2050 we would require to remove 10-20 giga tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to remain within 20C scenario. He elaborated on few technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) & Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECC) being pushed as solution in the climate debate. He emphasized that the need is to debate on whether we are going on the right direction or the big technology has diverted us from the core question of reduction of emissions. ‘Such technologies may be crucial in keeping the temperature rise below 20C but they are hugely expensive and the debate on this aspect is somehow missing’. He informed that the range of expenses for removal of 1 ton carbon from these technologies will be of the range of 50-150 dollars from BECCS and of the tune of 400-1000 dollars/ ton of carbon using Direct Air Capture (DAC). This will further enhance competition for land and land grabbing. As per an estimate 1000 million hectare of lands out of 5000 million hectare of agriculture and pasture land we have will be required for CCS technologies. He further said that it is also important to know that countries like Germany and Netherlands have already banned shore storage of carbon because of adverse public and political opinion. Around the world there are 17-18 ongoing projects and out of these, 12 are based in US and Canada. Without the huge government support these technologies cannot exist. This means that huge resources are being diverted towards these technologies and this further reduces the capacity of the governments to remove poverty, social protection and basic services. As far as India is concerned not much information is there related to these technologies in the public domain. It is being estimated that India’s carbon capture and storage potential is 30 GT and there is only one commercial plant at present in the country -in Chennai. India is a founder member of Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum which is a group of 25 big countries and the EU and seeks to facilitate research development and deployment of CCS. He cautioned that the extreme optimism being shown for big technology and underlined that the people must have a role in determination, development and deployment of technologies.

This is followed by welcome remarks from Ms. Elenita Dano, Asia Director, ETC Group and Member UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism. In her opening remarks she said that ETC is looking to reach out to Indian civil society organizations as India is playing pivotal role in the way of the emergence of the technologies. Giving the context to the consultation she said that the present era of the 4th industrial revolution is characterized by convergences of the technologies and unprecedented inequality in the world. In the present time 1% of the population owns 20% of the global wealth while the bottom 50% population shares 9.7% global wealth. This is unprecedented in the human history. She emphasized that the 4th industrial revolution has coincided with extreme poverty and violence and now the time has come when we should stop for a while and look what is the role and responsibility of technology and how technology is reinforcing the context of extreme inequality. While addressing the audience, she said ‘we live in a world which is guided by 2030 agenda of sustainable development and direction of trade and economic development are being shaped by technological development and vice versa. Such situations calls for civil society and social movements to look at the roles and responsibilities of technology not just in attaining the sustainable development, but also values drivers and values fears where we engage. We need to have critical lenses as to know who drives these technologies, who controls, and the bottom line issue of who benefits from these technologies.’

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sustainable development

PAIRVI promotes rights based approach to development and believes that current economic models have failed to address poverty, inequality, marginalization and are based on overexploitation of natural resources. It engages with Sustainable Development Goals and other policies aimed at sustainable development. It promotes decentralized policy making and demands accountable governance. It seeks to enhance peoples understanding on sustainable development so that they can be partners in development and analyze policies, programmes and actions. It also engages with UN agencies working on sustainable development and environment including United Nations General Assembly, High Level Political Forum on SDGs, United Nations Environment, and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. PAIRVI is an active member of the Asia Pacific Regional CSOs Engagement Mechanism on Agenda 2030.