Net Zero Carbon Keralam through People Campaign

Today the whole world is convinced that climate change is a reality. The underlying reason for this is the uncontrolled increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are scientific solutions to this. But political intervention and methods accepted by the public are essential factors for its implementation. The country and states are committed to taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and reach a level of net zero carbon. Our country is trying to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2070. Kerala is working towards achieving this goal by 2050 itself. The people of Kerala are now directly experiencing some of the major effects of climate change such as extreme rainfall, floods and the resultant landslides, unusual sunburn and sunstroke during the summers, and crop losses caused by unseasonal rains. Simple activities and habits that can be easily done by everyone along with meticulous and complex execution are essential to reach net-zero emission. These activities should not adversely affect the daily lives of the people and should improve the livelihood and living standards of the local population. Kerala is a state in which the decentralized administration of governance system has been successfully and efficiently implemented. The local self governments can intervene effectively in the climate change prevention work and create awareness among the people in this regard.

Net Zero Carbon Kerala is an initiative by the Haritha Keralam Mission as part of the Nava Keralam Action Plan with the aim of helping the local self-governing bodies and promoting lifestyles that reduce carbon emissions through people's activities. The activity is being initiated on the basis of an implementation roadmap formulated by a collective of experts, administrators and environmentalists based on the state government's stated objective.

A two-day workshop was organized in April 2022 under the aegis of Haritha Keralam Mission. About 150 delegates, including experts in the field, environmentalists and officials of various departments/agencies, participated in the workshop. The draft of the implementation blueprint was prepared under the leadership of Haritha Keralam Mission by compiling the ideas emerged in the workshops and collecting the necessary components from other sources. The implementation guidelines has been put forward in such a way that it provides a preliminary understanding of the possibilities of implementing climate change prevention activities at the local self-government level, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon storage capacity.

The key actions under this initiative are data collection with people's participation, the calculation of carbon emissions and carbon reservoirs on the basis of which, and the interventions are planned by analyzing them. The supervision and assistance of experts at the state level, the support of the core group consisting of experts at the district level, the functioning of technical committees at the local self-government body level and the cooperation of Haritha Keralam Mission resource persons serves as the support mechanism for these activities. The district core group members and the resource persons were trained by incorporating practical activities.

In the first phase, 85 local self-governing bodies have volunteered to participate in this activity. A district-level orientation was organized involving the chairpersons of these local self-governing bodies and chairpersons of the standing committee followed by a gram panchayat/municipality level workshop involving various sections of people. Gram panchayat/municipality level technical committees have been formed in the selected local self-governing bodies with local experts, environmental activists as well. Data collection and GHG calculations are done based on the IPCC guidelines under scope 1 and 2. This was conducted on a pilot basis in all the 85 local self-governing bodies. Sectors where emission mitigation activities should be implemented were identified. A workshop of local self-government institutions, which completed the first phase of the survey, was organized on May 17 and 18, 2023. The process for the second phase of survey activities in schools, homes and private institutions is in progress. A mobile app is being developed for the same.

As part of this campaign, various activities are being implemented in the field of energy conservation in collaboration with the Energy Management Center. The Angan Jyoti scheme is currently underway to bring energy self-sufficiency in anganwadis and to increase energy efficiency. A total of 2211 anganwadis have been selected from the 85 local self-governing bodies implementing the Net Zero Carbon Project for inclusion in the Angan Jyothi. All the 2211 selected anganwadis will be provided with electrical induction stoves for cooking, accessories, LED bulb, BLDC fan, two-wheeler/three-wheeler electric charging facility, etc.

Energy Management Center (EMC) will conduct energy audit in slecetd 1534 government institutions. 85 government institutions have been identified to be converted as model energy efficient institutions. The EMC will directly implement the activities in all these 85 establishments as per the findings of the energy audit conducted. As many as 84 schools in Net Zero Gram Panchayats have been selected for implementing the model energy efficiency activity. Other activities as part of the campaign include promotion of green & clean energy, climate resilient agriculture practices, conservation of water resources and proper waste management.

Haritha Keralam Mission aims to declare different units such as public/private/co-operative institutions, grama panchayats/municipalities, etc., as net zero carbon in a phased manner, and to create a situation where by 2050 the entire area of the state can be declared as net zero carbon through the practical activities that are being carried out in a mass manner.