N. Munal Meitei
Environmentalist email: nmunall@yahoo.in

N. Munal Meitei

World Decarbonisation Day is observed on 25th June. Decarbonisation is the removal or reduction of CO2 output intothe atmosphere. The goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by eliminating fossil fuel combustion. It will be achieved by switching to theuse of low-carbon energy sources. Carbon emissions are driving the climate crisis, so we have a choice – either reduce the amount of carbon we emit to zero or we remove carbon from the atmosphere. This involves the electrification of the economy based on clean, alternative energies that only emit what the planet can absorb.

Ocean-based or blue carbon removal are highly effective at sequestering – that can store 5 times carbon per square foot as land-based ecosystems. India will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW to meet meet 50% of its energy from renewable energy by 2030 to  achieve the target of net- zero by 2070.

Clean electricity is a core decarbonization strategy. In 2050, electricity will be used not only to power end uses but also to produce electrofuels or e-fuel which is in five pillars to brings us to clean fuels like green hydrogen.

Sectors that are particularly hard-to-abate include heavy-duty trucking, shipping, aviation, iron and steel and chemicals and petrochemicals. These sectors alone account for approximately one-quarter of the world’s energy consumption and around one-fifthof total CO2 emissions.Decarbonization initiatives in these sectors are therefore crucial to keep 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement within reach.

Bio-energy is indeed a big opportunity in decarbonising heavy industry and options such as biomass, bio fuels and biogas all have industrial applications. This makes a key part of the solution when it comes to fight climate change.

To cut greenhouse gas emissions and reach net-zero by 2050, three industries: hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and artificial intelligence are selected based on their potential in limiting global temperature rise and change the current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions.The crosscutting decarbonisation strategies are net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport and waste reduction, that would lead the world towards the goal of carbon neutrality.

These technologies offer significant positive opportunities for creation of sustainable jobs, skills and knowledge and extension of the lifespan of existing infrastructure – all of which can increase prosperity for workers, provide stable employment and boost clean economic growth. For deep decarbonization, all economies – big and small – will need to contribute towards this goal using available technologies.

Artificial intelligence is already being used to predict climate patterns and extreme weather events, improve crop yields, reduce water usage or optimize renewable energy systems. Harnessing artificial intelligence as an efficacy to decarbonise and mitigate climate change should also be involved in national policies and plans.

Successful decarbonisation can be achieved in the North Eastern States as the region is very rich in renewable energy resources. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, as of February 29, 2024, only 4943.31 MW of renewable capacity has been installed in the region, constituting less than 4% of its total potential of which, 83% is accounted by hydro-power plants. The region has a combined hydro-power potential of around 55930 MW, for projects larger than 25 MW. Arunachal Pradesh alone has the largest potential of 50328 MW, followed by Sikkim with 2282 MW, Arunachal Pradesh-1115 MW, Assam-350 MW, Meghalaya-322 MW, Manipur-105 MW, Nagaland-75 MW and Mizoram 60 MW.

According to NEEPCO, the renewable energypotential of theregion, encompassing solar, small hydro and bio-energy, is estimated to be approximately 65837 MW, of which only 610 MW has been realised. The solar power potential of around 62300 MW in the NER, particularly in Assam, Manipur and Mizoram and only236.87 MW has been harnessed. Furthermore, the wind power potential is 300-500 MW, especially at low hub heights of 50 and 80 metre. This potential too remains unexploited in the region, including Manipur.

Decarbonisation is increasingly viewed as a key step on the road to achieve net- zero by 2050. One of the best clues for decarbonisation and carbon removal is tree plantation and also restoring and managing the existing forests. Thus, the whole world with 8.1 billion people should join the opportunity of tree plantation during this season for global decarbonisation and net- zero.

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