''Alongside the global fuel, food and financial crisis, a far more severe crisis on sustainable development is the climatic change. This will soon hit the global arena'', said, Ahmed Naseem, minister of state for foreign affairs, Republic of Maldives.
He was speaking at the plenary session of the 3rd Sustainability Summit: Asia 2008, Competitiveness Redefined, organised by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and Development Alternatives. He further added, ''we should voluntarily adhere to Kyoto Protocol, designed for making a transit to a lower carbon community in global sphere. Realigning policies for exploring alternative energy sources, restoring wind, water and solar energy sources are imperative.''
Broad consensus is now emerging that the world needs to address the dual challenges of increasing the energy supply and services critical for economic growth for all developing countries, and moderating and managing climate change. It is not only vital to address climate change as a risk to development, but also leverage it as an opportunity to accelerate economic transformation by take advantage of new technologies.
In his special address, Gunter Pauli, founder and director, Zero Emissions Research & Initiatives, stated, ''We have to maintain a balancing act with innovation on one hand and low carbon emission environment on the other. The ideal should be to translate competitive corporate strategies, with leader's preparedness, to shift to a sustainable business model, utilizing available resources and developing new synergies.''
Suresh P Prabhu, member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, stated ''low carbon economy is not possible unless the global community joins hands for adopting and following a different energy profile. Lifestyle trends contribute to higher carbon emissions, which cannot be mended merely by passing legislations.''
Recounting the case of a successful village electrification project in village Jemara in Chattisgarh, Dr. Veena Joshi, team leader, rural energy and housing, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, urged for capacity building and efficient policy framework to identify and meet the energy needs of people. ''Institutional and intellectual property frameworks act as a barriers to adoption of technologies. Such barriers should be waived off. Entry of private sector for meeting the energy demand ought to be encouraged'', she added.
Postulating the four pillars for managing climatic change Marcel Engel, managing irector, WBCSD Regional Network, said, ''integrating technology, markets, finances with global burden sharing can help in getting carbon emissions down to manageable levels.''
Pratyush Kumar, president and CEO, GE Infrastructure, India, said ''understanding the future needs, GE has adopted 'Ecomagination', a business growth strategy which not only brings us the credit of being environmentally responsible but also win us new customers, products and markets. As a part of this strategy the enterprise is committed to grow its revenues, double its R&D, reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, reduce water usage and inform public about its achievements.''
Earlier in his welcome note, Dr. Ashok Khosla, chairman, Development Alternatives, said, "The session will deliberate upon how to collectively work towards a low carbon economy. Low emissions should be complemented with low resources utilisation and high efficiency.''
Moving towards a low-carbon economy would mean developing a comprehensive approach to climate change extending beyond clean energy and addressing sectors such as transport, agriculture, forests and urban development; a stepped-up programme in policy research and knowledge sharing; an enhanced role in the acceleration of new technologies; and an increased engagement in climate risk management.