India can counter climate change through tree plantation drives: Bikrant Tiwari


Mumbai: Tree plantation drives are the simplest and cheapest way to counter climate change said, Bikrant Tiwari, CEO of and he suggested five other ways on how India can mitigate the impact of climate change.

Tiwari’s offered these suggestions after the recently concluded the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27 held in the coastal city of Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh.

This year’s parties at COP27 reached a new global climate pact – the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. This included a commitment by richer nations to offer financial support to developing nations so that they can recover from the aftershocks of the ongoing climate change.

“With each passing year, we are seeing how climate change is bringing more and more devastation to different parts of the world. This year, a large part of Pakistan was submerged in floods, East Africa is facing drought and a recent report by the World Bank has warned that India will soon be one of the first countries that will experience severe heat waves beyond the human survivability limit” Tiwari said.

“As a nation, we should be doing everything we can to avoid such a scenario and COP27 despite not reaching an agreement to reduce fossil fuel usage, has still offered ideas that could clarify the way forward for us” he added.

Bikrant offers a few other actionable ideas gleaned from COP27 as follow:

Low-emission transport and infrastructure projects

One of the agendas put forward by India at COP27 focussed on low-carbon electricity and transport systems. The International Council of Clean Transportation has predicted that carbon dioxide emissions will be 3.5 to 5 times higher in 2050, emitting over 1.5 gigatons of annual carbon emissions.

Transportation is one of the key contributors to carbon dioxide emissions in India and road transport accounts for 90% of total energy consumption. India could strive towards switching to alternative low-carbon technologies such as biofuels, hydrogen, and LNG, improving public transport facilities and encouraging carpooling.  
Disaster resilient solutions

As per a 2017 UN report, 14 million people become homeless on average each year due to climate disasters. India’s geo-climatic conditions make it prone to environmental disasters such as floods, cyclones and droughts. To withstand these, the country needs to have a multi-pronged disaster plan in place.We need technologically empowered think tanks to ideate preventive solutions and lightning fast teams that can offer assistance when needed.

Floods and heat waves can also be prevented with massive afforestation drives. Suitable architecture with green roofs and ample ventilation can also reduce the impact of heat waves. In Kerala, flood resistant houses are being built on pillars of treated bamboo and other sturdy materials. But there needs to be a bigger strategy in place to protect India’s daily wage workers who have no choice but to battle the elements everyday to earn their living.

 Accelerate sustainable agriculture practices

Climate change has impacted agriculture and crop yields all over the world and sustainable agriculture can be one way to address this issue. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) defines sustainable agriculture as a practice “seeking to sustain farmers, resources and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.” In India, less than one percent farmers follow sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation; agroforestry; rainwater harvesting; permaculture, mulching etc even though they are economical, save energy, and prevent pollution and soil erosion. Needless to say, we should adopt sustainable agriculture more extensively.
Reverse forest loss and replenish mangrove forests

At the heart of climate change is also a simple solution. Restoration of forest loss. One of the main agendas put forward by COP27 was to reverse forest loss by 2030. Trees act as natural barriers against storm surges, coastal flooding and rise in sea levels. As per the Global Forest Watch Data, annual tree cover loss worldwide averaged 24.8mn hectares (ha) between the years 2018 and 2021 and that does not bode well.

It is good news that India is committed to increasing the forest cover by 25% to 33% by 2030. has initiated various projects like ‘Tree for Tigers’, Trees for Himalayas’, ‘Trees for Water’, ‘Trees for Rural Communities, and ‘Trees for Forests and Wildlife’ and is taking the help of corporate entities, individuals and local communities to increase India’s forest cover. India was also one of the first countries to join the ‘Mangrove Alliance for Climate’. Mangroves can sequester more carbon than rainforests and can be breeding grounds for various species of flora and fauna. incidentally has also taken up mangrove plantation drives in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and West Bengal for protecting coastal ecosystems and wildlife .
Create greener jobs

Creating greener jobs will not only lead to a greener environment but also improve the economy of the nation and create employment opportunities in the traditional, manufacturing and construction sectors. A joint report published by International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Labour Organization titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2022’, says that as many as 863,000 green jobs were created in India in 2020-21 of which 217,000 were in solar photovoltaic vertical and 414,000 in hydropower.

The report also suggested that India could create 3.4 million new jobs by 2030. India has prepared grounds for institutionalising capacity building for green jobs through skill mapping and legal regulations but there needs to be an increased awareness in the corporate sector about renewable resources and the impact of unsustainable practices on climate.


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