Climate Change Summit: TN prepares greenhouse gas inventory for three districts

Speaking at the Green Climate Change Summit 2022 on Friday, December 9,Tamil Nadu Finance Secretary TV Somanathan called for infrastructure under construction or being renovated in the state to be made climate change resilient in view of increasing natural disasters.He said that Tamil Nadu had become vulnerable to various disasters, especially cyclones. “A significant amount of finances is being allotted to provide compensation for people, especially farmers, who suffered losses during natural calamities. Any infrastructure in the state that is either being constructed or being renovated must be made climate change resilient,” he added.

Speaking about financing green initiatives in the state, Somanathan said that greater emphasis was being placed on decarbonising the energy network and focussing on the production of renewable energy. Additional Chief Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forests Supriya Sahu, said that the state was preparing to decarbonise several industrial sectors, a climate budget, a climate studio and public-private partnerships to fund green initiatives. She also said that the Green Climate Change Company – one of the initiatives to make Tamil Nadu a climate-resilient state – would address three major missions of the Tamil Nadu government, namely Climate Change Mission, Green Tamil Nadu Mission and Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission.

The Tamil Nadu government hosted the two-day summit on December 8 and 9 in Chennai.

Speaking at the summit, Deepak Srivatsava, Director of Green Tamil Nadu Mission said that the priority of the state government was to increase green cover from 23% to 33%, including local communities in conservation by translating goals into local languages, and preserving the Pallikaranai wetland. The creation of an inventory of greenhouse gases for three cities in Tamil Nadu was also discussed at the summit.

Soumya Chaturvedula, the Deputy Director of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) South Asia said that an inventory of greenhouse gases had been made for three districts – Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli. She added, “These three cities are looking to develop City Climate Resilient City action plans that address both climate mitigation and adaptation. The per capita greenhouse gas emissions in all three cities are lower than the national per capita emissions. An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in the past five years has also been prepared for these cities. This inventory will inform the preparation of climate action plans, moving towards net zero emission cities.”

Shanmugam, the former panchayat President of Odanthurai village in Coimbatore spoke about introducing electricity from renewable energy sources to reduce the electricity bill. Speaking at the event, he said, “When I became president [of the panchayat], the electricity bill was Rs 5,000. Back then, we had only street lights and no drinking water facilities. But after the houses got an electricity connection and drinking water, the bill came up to Rs 30,000. The panchayat only had an income of Rs 20,000 then. Then, I decided to look for ways to reduce the electricity bill and introduced solar energy in 2001.” Shanmugam recounted that they were able to save nearly 50% of the money they were paying in electricity bills and said the surplus was directed towards other welfare schemes.

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