With over 80 per cent of India’s districts vulnerable to climate change, it’s in India’s interest to make development choices that provide sustainable prosperity to its people and contribute to mitigating the global urgency to transition towards Net Zero pathways. Bottom of Form Charting the Net Zero course would require technology, ingenuity, and intent. Unprecedented access to finance, recourse to better technological solutions and most importantly to information and knowledge, is vital for this course of action. Globally, there is an estimated capital need of $1-2 trillion per annum through 2050. The Net Zero transition capital requirements for India alone are estimated around $50 billion per annum through 2050.
India’s Net Zero transition holds the promise of resulting in economic growth to raise overall standard of living, while supporting India’s and indeed the world’s ambitious decarbonisation goals.
Strategic philanthropy can aid and expedite India’s transition. The current philanthropic flows directed towards India’s climate and clean energy are negligible considering that there is a need to venture in un-chartered territory – there is huge scope for innovation, disruptive ideas, game changing paradigms. Pooled-in philanthropic capital firmly focused on effective solutions to solve climate change is imperative.
 Investment Needs of a 1.5°C World, Bloomberg NEF, August 2022
Role for Philanthropy
Philanthropy for climate change in India is a fairly recent trend unlike in the Global North and we need to catch up in this arena. In recent years, domestic philanthropy has grown considerably to approximately $ 1.5 billion per annum and has contributed significantly towards meeting social sector goals. Traditionally tangible short run outputs were sought instead of long run outcomes pertaining to activities in and around the community, workplace and employees. In the case of climate philanthropy, achieving tangible impact requires time and perseverance.
For a country of its scale and size, India lacks adequate credible knowledge and policy research institutions. Building such knowledge capacities, especially at sub national level, is however a long-term investment. More pooled-in philanthropic capital needs to be brought on-board and directed towards strengthening institutional research capacities for evidence-based analyses and helping them grow into credible knowledge providers.
Philanthropic allocations, even if partially re-directed, can facilitate India’s sustainable transition by focusing on a few big bold transition bets that can unleash innovation at scale and speed; incubate and support national and subnational institutional capacities and systems to enable policy and practice to act in concert.
Government would need to create a fair and stable policy and regulatory environment; business would need to surmount risks and invest into the energy transition.
India’s Imperative: Balancing Economic Growth & Sustainable Development
India with the ambition to emerge as the world’s third largest economy by 2047, is taking significant steps such as AatmanirbharBharat, directed to catalyse the vision articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make India a USD 5 trillion economy and a global economic powerhouse.
India’s pledge to reach Net Zero GHG emissions by 2070, is not just a commitment for mitigation, but a commitment to a new economic development model. Developed countries are seeking Net Zero ambitions after achieving high levels of development and economic growth fuelled by fossil fuels. In contrast, as a key world economy, India must pursue its unfinished developmental agenda along with its decarbonising journey.
As India embarks to balance growth with sustainable development, it must be recognised that the developmental plan undertaken by India has no historical precedent or ready lessons that can be drawn from developed countries. India must carve out its own niche, becoming a harbinger of the new economic growth. The country’s victories and triumphs will lead the way for the developing world to pioneer pathways for sustainable economic progress.
The Challenge: Translating Thought into Action
The Private Sector is expected to shoulder the responsibility and take the lead in raising investments towards efficiency, clean technologies and deliver on the economic development paradigm. To ensure effective utilisation of such investments, it is crucial that Government develops and implements overall policy frameworks based on evidence and data while simultaneously augmenting the implementation capacities of national and sub-national institutions on multiple themes inter-alia viz.
There is sufficient institutional capacity available at various levels of governance. Decision makers need credible data evidence and knowledge sources towards actionable transition policy frameworks. It will be efficacious to leverage domestic knowledge sources such as – think tanks, academic institutions, and other experts to support decision makers.
To support the national growth paradigm, there is a need to strengthen policy research and knowledge institutions across the nation, and develop new institutions, especially at sub national levels.
About Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation
Since 2009, Shakti has emerged as a credible voice that translates philanthropic vision into national strategic development outcomes.With the view to support India’s development incorporating climate and sustainable development goals, Shakti’s approach has been four-fold:
Align ecosystem I Big Ideas I Collaborative action I Development outcomes
Currently, Shakti is actively crafting a strategy where-in philanthropy and the government can collaborate to develop relevant and necessary domestic knowledge capacity such as – Think Tanks, academic institutions, and other experts that can be leveraged to support decision makers.