A Cool Opportunity to be Climate-Friendly
The agreement adopted at Kigali, Rwanda, to limit and reduce the use of heat-trapping refrigerant gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is a big win for the global effort to address climate change.
For its part, India showed flexibility to help secure an ambitious agreement while protecting its development space. Now, make this a grand commercial opportunity. The Kigali Amendment is a testament to the spirit of Paris; that countries can collectively work towards addressing global challenges like climate change without jeopardising their economic and developmental goals.
Having secured its developmental space, India cannot rest. The Kigali amendment is asignal to industry and entrepreneurs in India and across the world to develop viable and scalable climate solutions.
India needs to invest and encourage in research and development of alternatives. The government recently put in place a multi-stakeholder platform comprising research institutions and laboratories, and industry.
It now needs to encourage institutions and industry to participate through time-bound programmes to develop alternative refrigerant gases that will not harm the planet (Godrej uses propane in some of its appliances, which is a decent substitute in some contexts but not all).
Domestically, it needs to push industry segments that are able to make the transition to climate-friendly refrigerant gases soon and not wait till 2028 to begin the process.
Alater date to begin transition to climate friendly refrigerants must not become an occasion to do nothing. Instead, it must be space that propels industry to emerge as leaders in climate-friendly technologies.
This is an opportunity to utilise the startup ecosystem to meet a genuine engineering challenge, rather than find yet another variant of e-commerce.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.