[Kurukshetra May 2024 Summary] Green Technologies- Explained Pointwise

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Green technologies are being promoted by various stakeholders to combat the huge impact of green house gas emissions, depletion of natural resources and the continuously increasing global warming levels. All the International conferences and meetings being held for environment sustainability, have placed huge importance and thrust on green technologies.

Green Technologies
Source- Kurukshetra
Table of Content
What is Green Technology? What are the key areas of its adoption?
What are the advantages of green technologies?
What are government schemes promoting green technologies in India?
What are the Challenges in the adoption of green technologies?
What should be the Way Forward?

What is Green Technology? What are the key areas of its adoption?

Green Technology- It is the creation and application of products, systems, and frameworks that aim to protect the natural environment and its properties by mitigating and reducing the negative consequences of human activities. Green technologies broadly encompass innovations focused on environmental enhancement and resource efficiency.

Cleantech vs Greentech- Cleantech aims to improve the environmental performance of existing technologies. However, Greentech promotes the adoption of new, sustainable solutions and encourages the use of renewable resources.

Examples of Green Technology- They range from renewable energy solutions like solar and wind power to advanced waste management solutions and eco-friendly materials.

Key Areas of Green Technology Adoption

Renewable EnergyGreen technology is being adopted in the solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass sector. Renewable energy sources offer alternatives to fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on finite resources.
Energy EfficiencyAdvancements in insulation, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances to reduce energy consumption.
Green BuildingGreen building technologies promote sustainable design, construction, and operation of buildings. This involves incorporating energy-efficient materials, passive design strategies, green roofs, and efficient HVAC systems to minimize environmental impact and enhance occupant comfort.
Sustainable TransportationElectric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, public transit systems, cycling infrastructure, and alternative fuels are the green technologies being used in the field of sustainable transportation.
Agroecology and Sustainable AgricultureGreen technology promotes sustainable agricultural practices that minimize environmental impact and enhance productivity. This includes organic farming, precision agriculture, agroforestry, and soil conservation techniques.
Water Conservation and TreatmentLow-flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting systems, wastewater treatment technologies, and desalination are the green technologies being adopted in the field of water conservation and treatment.

What are the advantages of green technologies?

1. Economic advantages- Green technologies open new markets and create jobs. These technologies foster business innovation, enable companies to develop new products and services that meet growing consumer demand for sustainability. For ex- Creation of new jobs in the circular economy.

2. Environmental- Green technologies significantly reduce carbon emissions contributing to the fight against climate change and environmental degradation. For ex- These Technologies help in assessing environmental quality, tracking pollution levels, and making informed decision regarding resource management and conservation.

3. Social- It also helps in improving the quality of life by providing clean air and water, reducing the risk of environmental health problems, and promoting a healthier environmentFor ex- Nullifying the negative effects of climate change on the quality of human life.

4. Reduced Energy Consumption- Green energy technologies such as solar panels, hydropower, and wind turbines, have significantly reduced our reliance on non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels.

What are government schemes promoting green technologies in India?

National Green Hydrogen MissionThis Mission aims at adoption of Green Hydrogen which will lead to significant decarbonization of the economy. It will also help India to assume market leadership in Green Hydrogen. It will support the development of supply chains that can help in efficient transportation and distribution of green hydrogen.
Subsidy Schemes for Biomass UtilizationThe government offers subsidies to promote the use of biomass-based power plants, biomass cogeneration projects, and biomass gasifiers.
National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)This flagship program focuses on developing technologies that are resilient to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, such as cultivating resilient crop varieties, implementing intercropping systems, and promoting organic farming.
Green Credit SchemeThe Green Credit Scheme aims to encourage behavioral change and incentivize environmental and ecosystem services across different sectors. It incentivizes sustainability and climate action in areas such as forest and ecosystem services, waste management, air and water quality improvement.

What are the Challenges in the adoption of green technologies?

1. High Upfront Initial Costs- Many green technologies, such as renewable energy systems and energy-efficient appliances, have higher upfront costs compared to conventional alternatives. For ex- 50% of the project costs for each megawatt of solar PV power plant installation in India will lead to an outflow of foreign exchange.

2. Limited Access to Capital- Green technology entrepreneurs face challenges in accessing financing and capital for their projects. The banks and financial institutions are also hesitant to provide loans for innovative and perceived high-risk projects.

3. Technological Barriers- Some of these technologies are in the early stages of development and face technological limitations. For ex- Intermittent energy production for renewables or energy storage capacity for electric vehicles.

4. Infrastructural Limitations- Inadequate infrastructure, such as lack of charging stations for electric vehicles or lack of availability of grid interconnections for renewable energy systems, often limits the scalability and adoption of these technologies.

5. Regulatory and Policy Constraints- Inadequate and uncertain regulatory requirements and compliance often deter investment and innovation in the sector of green technologies.

6. Lack of Public Awareness and Education- Limited awareness and understanding of green technologies among the general public, businesses, and policymakers have hindered their adoption.

Read More- India could use green technologies to galvanise its faltering economy

What should be the Way Forward?

1. Financial Incentives- Financial incentives such as tax credits, grants, subsidies, and low interest loans to support green technology adoption can help offset the higher upfront costs.

2. Regulatory Measures- The regulatory criteria must be streamlined to enable setting renewable energy targets, energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, emissions reduction requirements for vehicles, and renewable portfolio standards for utilities.

3. Research and Development Funding- Investment in R&D can drive technological advancements, reduce costs, and improve the performance and scalability of green solutions.

4. Capacity Building and Technical Assistance- Capacity building support and technical assistance like training programs, feasibility studies, and knowledge sharing platforms will help businesses, communities, and governments navigate the challenges of adopting and implementing these projects

5. Public Procurement Policies- Government procurement policies to prioritize the purchase of green products and services can create market demand for sustainable goods and services, driving innovation and lowering costs through economies of scale.

Read More- Investopedia
UPSC Syllabus- GS 3 Environmental Conservation
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