Sunita Narain is a Delhi-based environmentalist and author. She is currently the Director General of Center for Science and Environment (CSE) and Editor of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth. Dr. Narain plays an active role in policy formulation on issues of environment and development in India and globally. She has worked extensively on climate change, with a particular interest in advocating for an ambitious and equitable global agreement. Her work on air pollution, water and waste management as well as industrial pollution has led to an understanding of the need for affordable and sustainable solutions in countries like India where the challenge is to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth. She was a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change and has been awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour. In 2005, the Centre for Science and Environment, under her leadership was also awarded the Stockholm Water Prize. In 2016, Time magazine selected her as one of the most influential people in the world. She received “The Order of the Polar Star” award from the Swedish Government in 2017. Penguin has recently published her new book Conflicts of Interest, in which she has written about CSE’s campaigns from air pollution to colas to tigers. She continues to serve on national and international committees on environment.
India faces dual challenges of energy security and energy sustainability. The government has committed to a lower carbon future in its COP 21 commitments, with ambitious targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and afforestation. India is already seeing impact of changing climate with changing patterns for the monsoon, more draughts and flooding. At the same time, economic growth requires more energy. What systemic changes need to be implemented to increase the penetration of low-carbon sources of primary energy? Are there strategies that fast-growing nations like India can learn from the mature European and North American markets in areas such as deregulation, competitive pricing, market liberalization, climate policy, and carbon markets? Where can India make the biggest gains in emissions reductions? What incentives are needed to stimulate private investment in solutions and R&D? Is a domestic carbon price necessary?