Greenpeace on Tuesday (Aug 28) launched its second report "Enabling Clean Talking" to promote complete phase out of diesel consumption within the telecom sector.
The initiative began last year with the release of its first report titled "Dirty Talking" in 2011, after which the international non-profit organization released the second report with an economic and environmental roadmap for implementing the progressive Green Telecom Directives issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRIA) this year.
The organization has called on the telecom industry to lay focus on managing its energy and carbon emission by substantially shifting its power generation for network operations to renewable sources, besides advocating for economy-wide policies to combat climate change.
According to the report, Indian telecom sector can save over ₹24.3 billion of its annual energy expenditures and over ₹3.8 billion to the state exchequer if the directives are implemented effectively on ground with mandatory compliance clauses within.
The report also suggested that a clean energy roadmap can ensure economic stability of the telecom sector and generate savings to the tune of ₹100 billion.
Jointly drafted by Greenpeace and Chennai-based industry research firm Energy Alternative India (EAI), the new report was released by the former secretary to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Deepak Gupta.
"Given the volatile pricing of the crude oil, adopting high sustainability scenario is the new mantra for the industry to ensure their long-term business stability and profitability," Gupta said.
"The Greenpeace roadmap for the implementation of the Green Telecom Directive provides a futuristic pathway for the telecom industry based on clean energy sourcing and low-carbon utilization," he said. "The telecom sector should decouple its business from rising carbon emission and we all know they can do it."
The roadmap also outlined an alternate and more structured approach from that of the TRAI. As per the report, there is a return on investment to the tune of ₹130 billion for Indian telecom industry if it phases out diesel completely and replaces it with renewable energy technologies by 2020.
Apart from suggesting a new and improved renewable energy target, the report also suggested a high but logical carbon emission reduction target for Indian telecom sector by year 2020.
It said that telecom operators should reduce their carbon emission by 40 percent (with 2011 as the base year) to enable effective transition to a low-carbon business model.
The organization also suggested simplifying some of the clauses related to carbon emission disclosures and synchronizing it with global standards along with providing fiscal support to the telecom sector for incentivizing clean energy transition.
Some of the key findings in the implication of the TRAI directive from the report included savings of more than 540 million litres of diesel on an average annually, and about 3.5 billion litres of diesel by 2015.
Secondly, about nine million tons of carbon emission could be saved in just over three years' time.
Nearly 70 percent of India's towers are in rural and semi-urban areas. Hence, the first step is to eliminate diesel consumption from there, the report said.
With an ambition to be diesel free by 2020, 12.5 percent of these towers need to be retrofitted every year, which will result in 100 percent of the towers going diesel free within eight years.
For the telecom companies, average savings would be ₹100 billion every year that adds up to nearly ₹800 billion over the 8-year period.
"With growth, the sector's appetite for energy will increase, making it a significant source of carbon emissions unless the industry adopts and advocates renewable energy use and backs laws to cut emission." said Greenpeace India Campaigner and co-author of the report Mrinmoy Chattaraj.
"The telecom sector is well positioned to transit to a low-carbon growth trajectory. They must use their influence to promote policies that will allow them to grow responsibly without helping to fuel climate change" he added.
Check out the video for a comprehensible yet easy explanation of the campaign.