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Earth Day 2024: Transitioning to Renewable Energy Sources for a Greener Planet

Celebrated on April 22 every year, Earth Day is as an annual reminder of our responsibility to protect and preserve the planet we call home.

April 22, 2024. By Anurima Mondal

The recent floods in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have led to many interesting theories. While many experts blame the storm system traversing the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf of Oman as the main cause of the event, others claim that rising global temperatures have intensified the rainfall. Meanwhile, cloud seeding has also been identified as one of the reasons for the floods.

Although various factors may have contributed to heavy rainfall, the fact that greenhouse gas emissions can lead to such extreme weather phenomena, cannot be denied. Every person, in every country is being impacted in some form by climate change; hence, it is an issue that needs to be addressed on local, national and global levels.

From renewable energy sources to electric vehicles, there is a plethora of innovative technologies that have the potential to pave the way toward a more sustainable future for our planet. As we commemorate Earth Day, there is no better time to reflect on our collective responsibility towards the planet and explore sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change.

Talking about such innovations, Dr. Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director,
Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) said, "Integrating energy efficiency, capacity building, and innovation for energy efficiency is imperative in our pursuit of a sustainable future in alignment with India’s ambitious climate goals. As we celebrate Earth Day, it's paramount to emphasise the pivotal role of energy efficiency in climate action and to redefine the significance of demand management in the energy transition. The New Delhi Leader’s Declaration of India’s G20 Presidency last year highlighted the significance of doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements to meet both global and national targets. Innovation serves as a catalyst for these transitions, with emerging technologies offering promising solutions to optimise energy usage and resource utilisation. Concurrently, there's a pressing need to prioritise inclusive capacity building within this rapidly evolving landscape, fostering innovation to carve out new pathways for progress. Through collaborative efforts, we can cultivate opportunities to mitigate environmental impact and empower the next generation towards self-reliance and sustainability."

According to IEA, the deployment of renewables in the power, heat and transport sectors is one of the main enablers of keeping the rise in average global temperatures below 1.5°C.

Highlighting the country’s efforts in the biofuel sector Kishan Karunakaran, CEO of Buyofuel said, "India is leading the way in global sustainability efforts, aiming to achieve a Net-Zero Economy by 2070 as we celebrate Earth Day. This ambitious goal necessitates a significant overhaul in our energy sector, and biofuels present a promising solution.

Government initiatives such as SATAT and CBG are actively encouraging the adoption of biofuels, environmentally friendly alternatives derived from organic waste, agricultural and forest leftovers, and municipal solid waste. By utilising these resources, biofuels offer a significant opportunity to achieve a sustainable future. At Buyofuel, we are spearheading the advancement of India's biofuel sector by operating as a dynamic marketplace for various forms of biofuels—solid, liquid, and gaseous. We facilitate easier access to biofuels by efficiently bridging gaps in the supply chain. Biofuels not only have a positive impact on energy production, but they also improve energy security by decreasing dependence on imported fossil fuels, provide economic benefits for farmers by converting waste into valuable resources, and contribute to the development of a circular economy. An excellent example of this is the introduction of 20 percent ethanol blending, which has benefited farmers by providing another source of income. Partnerships between public and private institutions can further promote the adoption of biofuels.

 As we celebrate Earth Day, let's take a moment to recognise our shared responsibility in building a sustainable future. By embracing biofuels and backing clean technology advancements, we can all play a part in building a more sustainable future for our planet."

Naresh Mansukhani, CEO, Juniper Green Energy, on the occasion of Earth Day said “Renewable Energy is integral for sustainable development as green energy significantly reduces GHG emissions which mitigates the effects of climate change. Of the 17 SDGs mandated by the United Nations for measurement of sustainable impact, research has unequivocally shown that adoption of renewable energy (SDG7) has a positive impact on the other 16 SDGs. This essentially means that with the integration of renewable energy, there is reduction of environmental pollution that are associated with fossil fuel combustion, improving the health of ecosystems to thrive. Adoption of renewable energy would also foster economic growth by creation of jobs and stimulation of investments in clean energy infrastructure. This would also foster energy access and equity in marginalised communities thereby promoting equitable social inclusion.”

Elaborating on the theme for this year – ‘Planet vs. Plastics’, Mahesh Girdhar, MD & CEO, EverEnviro Resource Management Pvt. Ltd. asserted, “It’s alarming that the world produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, while less than 10 percent plastic ever produced has been recycled. With every piece of plastic in the ecosystem, we risk losing the very ground that sustains us. At EverEnviro, we envision a world where sustainability is not an option but a necessity.  EverEnviro’s comprehensive approach tackles municipal, construction, and agro-industrial waste, and we are dedicated to innovating waste management solutions that not only recycle but also repurpose and reduce the use of plastics. Today, we stand at a critical juncture where the actions of each individual and organization can tip the scales towards sustainability. The campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics menace and protect the well-being of all life forms on our planet.”

Sachin Sharma, Founder and Director, GEM Enviro Management Ltd. added, "On World Earth Day, we confront the stark reality of 'Plastic vs Planet'. With plastic comprising 5–12 percent of global waste, our ecosystems, especially our precious oceans, face devastation. Among the top global polluters, India's  expected mismanaged waste in the calendar year will be 7.4 million tons, exacerbating pollution burdens. This urgent challenge demands a circular economy approach, requiring robust coordination between recyclers and waste creators to overcome logistical hurdles hindering recycling efforts. Let us seize this World Earth Day as a rallying cry for change, committing to innovative solutions and collaborative efforts to combat plastic pollution and safeguard the future of our planet."

Talking about ENGIE India’s contributions, Amit Jain CEO & Country Manager ENGIE India said, “On this Earth Day, ENGIE India stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the journey towards a sustainable future. Our commitment to the planet goes beyond mere words; it is a pledge to action, to innovation, and to the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, greener tomorrow. We are at the forefront of the energy transition, actively investing in renewable sources like solar and wind, to not only power today but to secure a vibrant Earth for all future generations. Our projects across India are testament to our belief that renewable energy is not just an option, but the foundation of a new era of eco-conscious living. As we celebrate Earth Day, let us remember that every watt of clean energy we generate is a step closer to harmony with nature. ENGIE India is proud to lead this charge, lighting the way with sustainable solutions that respect our environment and empower communities."

Celebrated on April 22 every year, Earth Day serves as an annual reminder of our responsibility to protect and preserve the planet we call home. As we confront the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, the significance of transitioning to renewable energy sources becomes increasingly evident. While much is being done by the government, businesses and other stakeholders, individuals must also do their bit by adopting simple lifestyle changes such as switching to electric vehicles, using renewable energy or simply turning off your lightbulbs when not in use. Small steps can make a huge difference!
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