Tag Archives: Clean technology

Post Rio+20 – the path towards the actual Green Economy.

English: Graph showing Human Development Index...

English: Graph showing Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint. The “sustainable” criteria of ecological footprint within global capacity, and human development index above 0.8, is shaded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the eve and post Rio+20 UNFCCC meet a lot of things happened which needs to be understood for its far reaching implications in the near future. Highlighted below are a few paragraphs –

The world’s fixation on economic growth ignores a rapid and largely irreversible trend of natural resources depletion that will seriously harm future generations, according to a newly released report that unveils a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability.

On 17 June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the Rio+20 Summit), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and partners launched the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012.(IWR 2012)

The IWI report examined changes in the combined wealth of twenty countries, which together account for almost three quarters of global GDP, from 1990 to 2008. Despite reporting a growth in GDP Brazil, China, South Africa and the United States were shown to have significantly depleted their natural capital including fossil fuels, forests and fisheries.

Around the same time a letter was published at the Rio+20 Summit.The Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by The Climate Group and a range of partners from the public and private sectors that calls for a ‘green growth’ push out of global recession. The letter, says: “By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion. At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The ‘Clean Revolution’ is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.” It will be a new Industrial Revolution – Tony Blair.

The attempt to have subsidies removed all together from fossil fuel was the first  step in the right direction. It was bound to fail, but that itself is a success. Because never before so many groups from such diverse back ground could raise the collective voice against the fossil fuel lobby and be heard.

English: Created in Photoshop, based on "...

English: Created in Photoshop, based on “Sustainable development” diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What must be understood is that to have a resurgent economy, one must have the resources in place. And today, the World has an historic opportunity to remove inequality. Today we do not, other than in theory; have a developed against a developing world. Because once we change the indices which measures development and growth, it is the “least developed” and “emerging economies” which have more Natural wealth than some of the developed Nations who have over exploited their own.

However, the developed Nations like the EU & the USA, Japan, Russia, Australia and others have enormous technological advancement and knowledge base, which should be exchanged in fair-value for equitable distribution of the Earth’s Natural resources. And at the same time efforts must be made to replenish what is possible. It is indeed a fantastic time to do business which by default has to be sustainable because there are no options left. The best part is the large conglomerates and corporations survival depends on continued and constant supply of raw material for production. And they will ensure that Sustainability in all form of modern living is applied. It would be done either with partnership or coercion.

The call for going beyond material wealth to gauge our well-being and make sure that well-being is achievable and sustainable for future generations has long appeared in much of the sustainable development, environmental, and ecological economics literature, significantly less in economics and development literature. The present pre-occupation with the Green Economy, we fear, will not provide the change we seek if we do not address the fundamental problem of what precisely we are measuring and the indicators we need to develop. 

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These words in the IWR 2012, underscores the changing mindsets of the economies which have an impact in this World. And it would be well for all Nations to adapt and adopt measures which lead to an age and era where history will define it as the Golden Age of Mankind, when generating wealth would no more mean accumulation of riches which are intrinsic in nature but have the true resonance of Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals .


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The USA has given some of the top inventions to abate Climate Change.

Twelve countries accounted for nearly 90% of clean-tech inventions between 2000 and 2005, according to an analysis of the E.U.’s World Patent Statistical Database conducted by the economists Matthieu Glachant and Antoine Dechezleprêtre. Of those 12 countries, just three accounted for 60% of patent awards: Japan, the United States and Germany. As reported by William Pentland in the Eco-Tech section of Forbes in 2006.

When it comes to the wager about who can save Earth when the last call for saving the planet is given in 2017, U.S.A would be where I would put my money.

Not because they love Mother Earth more than any other Nation, they simply love to live life large size and for this reason alone they would help stop any event which could spoil their party.  While its true that Industrial Revolution started in Europe, it’s the Americans who taught the world how to pollute in style. A 20 tonnes of CO2e per head ! Wow.

From the automobiles, to airplanes. From telephone, to super large TV  to VoIP. From high-tech  homes which can communicate, to Skyscrapers, a simple sandwich to a fat hamburger;  the United States of America, depending on which side you’re, has fortunately or unfortunately created or popularized or exported around the world, everything with so much hype and business acumen that everyone ( let’s agree to tell the truth to ourselves) wants to live like an American.

In the bargain it has encouraged either by omission or commission a stupendous climate problem for Earth. Now, the World loves to deride USA for the high carbon life-style, yet paradoxically we all try to ape the very same and call it “our right to develop”.

In the past one month while researching for the various articles I’ve posted under “Green Business Ideas”, I became more aware of the various Clean technology field of work in which the USA has worked.   What most of us outside that Country do not know is that, there are two Americas. One the United States of America, which is run by proxy by the big oil & coal corporates. And then  the made in USA. Run by the very same people who made the brand USA.

The 2011 Cleantech Open Awards, a non-profit organization, has been rewarding entrepreneurs that espouse clean technology for six years running, reported that to date, 593 companies in the United States alone have finished the entrepreneurship programs of Cleantech Open, which in turn raised funding for an excess of $500 million.

These are astute businessmen, people whose hard work and perseverance made the Country a Super power. And some among them REALLY care about the Ecosystem.

So what is it that is stopping the USA from signing the legally binding treaty on Climate change control? About two year back I had heard Andrew Light, Senior Fellow at American Progress specializing in international climate and science policy, and a professor at George Mason University, when he was in India and a co-panelist at the Indian Business School, Powai, Mumbai. What he was trying to explain that the American people do not see fossil fuel, such as coal & oil; agent for global warming rather as pollution. And this is the reason White House can not sign a treaty so easily. I have immense respect for a person of that stature and do understand he would have a more in-depth knowledge about his Country.

During my interaction with him later, at the American Center, in the evening I had mentioned to him, that the World would always look up to a Leader. Whether we acknowledge it or not, as of now the USA is still considered the leading World economy which would find out a way out of these uncertain times.

In my opinion, it should be the various Climate experts both NGO’s and individual clean tech businessperson who should come together and clearly demonstrate the job opportunities as opposed to job loss to the public in America and thus create a conducive atmosphere to help Washington take the right policy step.

Once this happens, the BRIC or BASIC countries would be the first to benefit from the right technology transfer at a price that they can afford. Which in turn would help Clean technology to grow at a faster pace and percolate down to the underdeveloped Nations, bringing prosperity for all.


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Solar Laptop & Mobile : In your store by next summer?

Last weekend I was invited by BITS Goa Campus ( Birla Institute of Technology ) to give a talk on innovative business strategy in Clean Tech. It was organized by the students with their campus fest aptly named – Quark. G-Con as the green conference to which I was called is being held for the first time by the students. That this event was  to be taken seriously impacted me almost immediately upon being introduced to my co-panelists. Personalties, each with a body of work so profound, Ms Rishu Nigam -TERI, moderator Ms. Juhi Chaudhry of  CNN-IBN, reporter on everything related to environment;  and then the stars  Mr.Ravi Kuchimanchi ; Dr. Ritesh Arya; D.T. Barki; Mr. Atul Gurtu; people who have placed India on the world map with their thoughts and deeds.

Sitting among them, I was inspired and awed. And what inspired me more were the young and brilliant students of BITS, the future of India. This inspiration led me to ask both the students and the eminent personalities to devise a  model to propagate  the clean tech ideas which came into my mind, while listening to fellow panelists.

Self powered Lap-top. An inventor like Mr. Barki could devise surely a solar jacket for the Lap-tops which all the students carry. Imagine if a continuous power could be fed into a lap-top, unplugged and at 90%  battery, via Photo voltaic cells pasted on to the surface therefore unfettered, sensitive as a Casio calculators power panel, so even the ambient light within a room is sufficient? Even if it would be generating power say just 30% in total, it would still increase the battery driven operation time and at the same time reduce the need to plug it to a grid source. Scale it to a Billion laptops in use every hour which can produce 30% power, it is a respectable number in terms of GHG reduction. And when it comes to R&D surely another fellow panelist Mr. Raghvan, GM of Mahindra Solar;  a branch of the blue chip Green Company Mahindra; with international presence and owner of Satyam would like to do a dekho ( hindi; for -look ).

The same could be the fate of the future cell phones, why need a separate charger if one could integrate a semi-circular disk which winds a spring, which in turn applies pressure and excites a quartz ( ) and thus produces a small amount of charge, every time one moves? Remember the old Swiss  wrist watches – the automatic ones ? One never needed to wind it up. This was before cells were born into this world – small made of steel and having a cadmium heart; to be discarded without thought while the Earth is torn open to find more iron ore and methods sought to stop rivers to be poisoned by cadmium.  Coming back to a greener thought – could this be incorporated within the “hostler” that holds the mobile phone? Adding that small amount of charge that keeps the battery from going dead just when you need it most. Perhaps can be even a life-saver; all that a lost trekker needs to do is keep shaking it while making the S.O.S call. Will it save the Earth, count the number of chargers charging the phones around you, as you are reading this and multiply that with infinity – you can bet it would !  And yes perhaps the makers of the next Green Laptop / Cell phone could integrate this piezoelectric  right into the keyboards .  Is  Samsung /Sony / HP / Dell listening ?

Megalopolis like Mumbai has the perpetual problem of sewerage and power. Dr. Ritesh Arya could solve both with his path breaking solution to use the slush to produce steam and run a turbine. And this can be done anywhere as Lava is just under your feet!  Mumbai has its own at Ganeshpuri, then there is  Surajkund and many others, powering India could become limitless. And as the energy needs come form an infinite limitless source called – magma, the World is invited to dip there steel straws into the Earth core and drink aplenty. GHG can be contained. And very much before 2020. Will UNFCCC  at the Rio+20 advocate this for the GCF ?

Simple ideas are most profound and that came from Ravi Kuchimanchi in form of a hay box ( click on this link to see it ). Now, that  led me to think. This can lead to reduction of LGP gas use in the cities. How ? Simple. Ask  the  insulated hot box manufacturers  to design the same and market it. India today loses millions due to subsidy on domestic LPG and other fuel. If even 5% of the overall LPG use can be reduced, the figure would be large. (An amount which can perhaps be pumped back on rural development.) And it is always seen that once you give an innovation which is popular, the people innovate uses which could not have been thought by the inventor.

And speaking of India, a country of – jugaard ( loosely translated – rustic innovation ) one never knows what the next best thing could be.

Note: this article are for all those young minds, who need to understand that for a better world, one does not have to invent the wheel. Just add the wheel to the cart you make. 

A special thanks to the G-con team, especially – Soumaya, Madhuri, Ananaya, Gaurav, Sahil who helped me think this article.



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