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Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2015 recommends steps to curtail black carbon emissions
Narendra Ch | 13 Mar 2015

A host of measures including leapfrogging vehicular technology to meet Euro V and Euro VI norms, improving cookstoves to make them efficient, and making new and more efficient technology available to brick-manufacturers: These recommendations were proposed for stemming black carbon emissions after two days of deliberations by top national and international experts during the Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2015, organised here by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

CSE director general Sunita Narain said at the conclusion of the Dialogue: "We chose three areas for discussion – diesel, brick kilns and cookstoves -- as these are major sources of black carbon and are also responsible for ill-health and premature deaths in India. Our recommendations emanate from research, lessons drawn from national and international experience, and when implemented will result in major gains in terms of cleaner air and better health of our people as well reduced contribution to global warming."
 
The key recommendations on the three sectors are as follows:
 
Diesel
  • India cannot delay the acceleration of move towards Euro VI vehicles and fuels (with 10-15 ppm sulphur fuels) as dieselisation of passenger vehicles and emissions from trucks and buses running on diesel have huge health implications.
  • Black carbon from diesel vehicles is a concern worldwide but solutions include vehicle emission improvement followed in several countries. The western roadmap provides a learning curve to move faster to avoid public health impacts.  With right policies and decisions, the transition to Euro V and VI is doable within 4 to 5 years timeline.
  • India needs to make adequate investments in refineries to produce clean fuels. Fiscal measures are needed to enable this transition.
  • A clear need is to reinvent mobility – a combination of public transport, creating space for and safety in walking and cycling will help reduce growth of personal cars.
  • Build compact cities so that they are more walkable.
  • Increase the share of rail-based passenger and freight transport. Phase in action on off-road and non-road transport emissions.
 
Brick kilns
  • India needs to set up a National Brick Kiln Mission which is headed by Ministry of Urban Development and supported by many regional institutions. A clear policy on brick-manufacturing industry is needed.
  • The National Clean Energy Fund (around Rs 1000 crores) should be used for upgrading the brick sector and to fund the National Brick Kiln Mission
  • The policy should take into account environment concerns including air quality, reducing land degradation, reducing impact on agriculture, Impact on agriculture, availability of good quality coal, utilization of waste material, transportation of raw material and finished bricks.
  • New technology should be promoted and the brick-manufacturing industry supported in technology transfer as well through incentives in the form of technical support, tax benefits and low interest rates on loans.
 
Cookstoves
  • India needs a combined "Clean Cooking Energy Initiative" – perhaps as part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan – instead of various initiatives under various ministries functioning without sync with each other
  • Incentives are needed at the user end rather than at the input end to encourage use of clean cookstoves
  • Association of Clean Cook Stoves Manufacturers need to be able to communicate with governmental and regulatory stakeholders
  • As solutions needed for different settings will vary, customisation of solutions is needed and subsequently these should be scaled up to reach near-saturation
  • Users should be helped to make an informed choice
  • Technology agenda: Ensure minimum performing standard and have rankings/ratings based on services
  • Gas is inevitably the solution for clean cooking fuel considering the health implications of biomass-based cook stoves
  • Economic agenda: Understand the opportunity costs of time devoted to collecting fuel and also deferred health costs on improved cooking fuel and introduce a smart subsidy mechanism
  • Global linkages needed for modern cooking energy
  • Given the uncertainty with warming and cooling effects of black carbon, let us keep the cookstoves and cooking fuel debate out of climate negotiations; the local air pollution impacts of cookstoves should be given more emphasis.