Sashi Mukundan, Head of BP India, shares his views on proactively managing climate change
Date: 12 August 2016
Everything is changing in our lives from the way we live to the climate! India is changing. More than half of its population is below the age of 25 and by 2020 the demographers estimate the average age of an Indian would be 29 years. So Young India is the Gen Z which is irreverent, impatient and innovative. They are better integrated, equipped and likely to change the status quo and challenge the paradigm. Mind-sets are changing. As communication becomes easy and information travels faster the world seems to get smaller and smaller. One of the biggest changes is in the way we interact. The young learn more in a shorter period of time and relate more easily to global changes. Due to social media networks, the sheer number of people that we can intermingle with gives us a global platform to air our opinions. Dangerously true, because there are no filters now on what we hear or the way we speak. Communities are changing in character. Pan-Indian now, they are racing to be global, and the new link is a ‘common digital platform’. Issues, harmonies and challenges coalesce into making these Digital communities. Like the ubiquitous WhatsApp groups. I have said it before, you may in India soon be part of the ’Airtel’ family or the “what an Idea, sirji?” family or the potential big daddy of them all - the Reliance ’Jio’ family!
New and disruptive technologies, along with private capital, are changing the business landscape and the way we think and do things. Most of our daily routine can now be accomplished with a click of the button!
Uber and Amazon have shown us that there are no boundaries for concepts and execution. A taxi service or an online purchase is accomplished globally through a platform sitting in an unknown place owned by someone and operationalized by another working seamlessly – all part of the new business climate with no constraints! The way we do business is changing. With the global reach and communities, collaboration is needed and accepted as a business value while competition is not necessarily being applauded. Start-up India is creating thousands of entrepreneurs from across India to drive the growth of this transformed and diversified economy. The significant modifications in tax structures, foreign direct investment, trade tariffs and customs procedures are all proving to be change agents. The implementation of the GST legislation will help the new age entrepreneurs, as they can access India as one open market. One simple change has now made life easy for small business.
Travel is changing. Access is easy. New locations are opening up, the world traveller has a choice of hotels, and budget stays, Air BNB, portals and holiday choices for everyone, around the year. Even better, one doesn’t have to travel at all with the much improved video conferencing and communications capabilities. On a serious note, all of this is leading to the vexing issue of Climate change. Mountain glaciers on every continent are melting. There is less snow cover with a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, plants are blooming earlier and sea levels are rising. The global average temperature has changed; it has increased by approximately 1.4 °F since the early 20th century. India has committed to lower its emission intensity by 35% of GDP by 2030. It is time then for India to make a concerted effort to change its energy mix as well. Gas is available, affordable and cleaner. It is ideal as a complementary clean energy to bridge the gap when sun and wind are not available. So why is it still just 7% of the Indian energy basket?
Some states are leading the change; take Gujarat where gas is 25% of the energy mix – 1% higher than the global average! Globally, it is stated that every 1% of coal replaced by gas will give the same effect as adding 11% more renewable energy. By replacing 10% of liquid fuel by gas we can reduce our carbon emissions by around 1%. Gas is cheaper than LPG by 33%, petrol & diesel by 40-50%, Naphtha by 40%. Natural Gas also emits 25% less carbon as compared to liquid fuel and 50% as compared to coal. So as the overall ’climate’ changes, it is important to proactively manage the climate change!