Tambaram Spot: Engaging students is the best way of achieving ‘Net zero emission country’: former Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

Tambaram: SRM Institute of Science and Technology (SRMIST), Kattankulathur in collaboration with Green Terre Foundation hosted the U75: Net Zero University Campus Regional Workshop to sketch the roadmap for actions towards carbon neutrality. The event aims to equip higher education institutions with the knowledge and tools needed to create carbon-neutral campuses. The chief guest of the event was Member of Parliament and former Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, HRD, and I&B, Mentor-SCCN, Shri Prakash Javadekar.

In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor of SRMIST, Dr. C. Muthamizhchelvan spoke at length about the ill-effects of extensive exploitation of nature and how climate change has affected harmony in nature. “SRMIST has constituted a centre for excellence by the name of ‘Centre for Research in Environment, Sustainability Advocacy and Climate Change (REACH)’ for the very reason of tackling the multitude of environmental problems that are plaguing humanity,” he said.

He detailed that SRMIST has over 4500+ publications related to UN SDGs and has been entrusted with prestigious projects on lithium battery research and electric mobility by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as well as the Department of Science and Technology. He added that SRMIST is one of the lead members in the “India-Norway cooperation project in capacity building for reducing plastic and chemical pollution in India (INOPOL)”.

Explaining the context and background overview of the event, Dr. Rajendra Shende, Founder Director of Green TERRE Foundation and former Director of UNEP said that measuring impact is necessary to understand how our actions to safeguard the earth have made a change. He suggested that campuses be considered as ‘living laboratories’ and that all efforts to minimize emissions and achieve net zero needed to be digitized.

In an interactive session with the students, Shri Prakash Javadekar said, “Involving colleges and universities in ‘Carbon Neutral’ is a great way of achieving the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a ‘Net zero emission country’ by 2070.”

He added, “Mapping the energy & water consumption, waste management, and greenery on the campus will help institutes to have a 5-year plan to become carbon neutral. Saving electricity and water, generating electricity and processing the water, using energy, efficient electrical equipment, processing water & sewage, and more greenery are the main components of this action plan.

In his speech, former Dr. Erik Solheim, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Former Environment Minister of Norway, delivered a thought-provoking video speech on “Global Youth for Net Zero.”

The workshop featured interactive sessions and expert insights on open access data for net-zero campuses, accreditation criteria, technologies for net-zero campuses, digital tools for measuring GHG emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building case studies.

Present on the occasion were SRMIST’s Dean (College 0f Engineering and Technology) Dr. T. V. Gopal, Dean (Research) of SRMIST, Prof. B. Neppolian and Head (Centre for Research in Environment, Sustainability Advocacy and Climate Change) Dr. Paromita Chakraborty among others.


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