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Cutting the nose to spite the face

On 24 October morning there was a grand CII event - The Green Building Congress(GBC) 2013. A galaxy of leaders and large number of delegates participated in the three-day event. The adjoining exhibition hall attracted over 100 top companies, all proclaiming their commitment to protecting the environment, reducing carbon emissions and professing their interest in a green world. Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah to Jamshed Godrej, past President-CII and Head of CII-GBC and Prem C Jain, Chairman – Indian Green Building Council - all waxed eloquent on India emerging a global leader in a green world.

I cannot help relate this to the report in The Hindu that morning. It mentioned :

“Sticking to its stance of not allowing phase-out of climate changing refrigerant gases under the Montreal Protocol at this juncture, India continued to block the move at the ongoing meeting of the multilateral agreement in Bangkok.

“India has opposed bringing control of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — a family of greenhouse gases used as refrigerants.”

Countries in Europe, the USA and Japan banned CFC in the 1980s. India, on pressures from the air-conditioning and refrigeration industries, got an extension of over ten years to fall in line. I recall a delightful interaction with Dr Malli Rao, Senior Research Scientist at DuPont, who had over 50 patents, including several on refrigerant gases. A product of Chennai, Dr Rao expressed confidence over India phasing out the harmful CFCs and HFCs in quick time.

It is thus a matter for concern that India, should join hands with the leading polluter of the environment – China – to oppose phasing out such harmful gases in any time frame.

It is also a pity that Indian refrigerant industry with decades of profitable operations could not fund research and simultaneously look for more eco-friendly technologies. There is need for sticking to a time-bound commitment on this crucial issue that contributes so much to global warming.


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