hydrocarbon industry

Kigali agreement: India's HFC target is equal to shutting down 1/6th of its thermal power stations

India will reduce 75% of its cumulative hydrofluorocarbon emissions between 2015 and 2050, under the new agreement finalised in Rwanda.

India’s participation in a global agreement on climate change will reduce India’s greenhouse gases equal to closing one-sixth of India’s thermal power stations over the next 35 years, according to an IndiaSpend calculation, based on carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions from thermal power stations in 2012.

As many as 197 countries reached a legally binding agreement in Rwanda on October 15 to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – gases that can have global warming potential up to 12,000 times more than carbon dioxide. The agreement will come into force on January 1, 2019, and avoid emission of 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent globally – the same as stopping more than half of tropical deforestation.

India agreed to cut the production and use of HFCs starting 2028 – a more ambitious plan than India’s earlier proposal – according to a press release by Climate Action Network International, a network of non-governmental organisations working to limit climate change.

India will reduce 75% of its cumulative HFC emissions between 2015 and 2050, under the new agreement finalised in Rwanda, according to Vaibhav Chaturvedi, a researcher at Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a research institute headquartered in New Delhi.

Environmental impact

Developed countries will start reducing HFCs in 2019, followed by a group of developing countries including China, in 2024. India is in the group of countries which will reduce HFC consumption last, starting 2028.

The agreement is part of the Montreal Protocol, a global treaty for reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances, and now global warming gases.

“The agreement recognises the development imperatives of high-growth economies like India, and provides a realistic and viable roadmap for the implementation of a phase-out schedule for high global warming potential HFCs,” according to a press release by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

HFCs are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs would make up 5.4% of India’s global warming impact in 2050, as demand for air conditioners and refrigerators rises, according to a 2015 report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water. The highest HFC emissions in 2050 are predicted to come from residential air-conditioning (35%) and commercial refrigeration (28%).

HFC emissions in the world are expected to grow by 10-15% by 2050, and could contribute to 200 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. Preventing the rise of these emissions could reduce the warming of the earth by 0.5 degrees Celsius, according to this 2015 brief by Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, an advocacy and research organisation headquartered in Washington DC.

Ambitious plan

The new agreement for HFC reduction for a group of countries – which includes India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq – is more ambitious that the previous Indian proposal for developing countries but less intensive that the North American proposal.

India had earlier proposed a plan for developing countries to freeze HFC consumption by 2031, which means HFC use and production would be highest in that year, and decrease every year after 2031. A counterproposal by North America had suggested developing countries freeze HFC production and consumption in 2021.

An earlier freeze and baseline under the agreed amendment means that India will mitigate more CO2 equivalent that its original proposal.

Under the new agreement, India will freeze HFC consumption and use by 2028, while phasing down HFCs, by 2047, to 15% of the average consumption and use over 2024-2026.

It would approximately cost India $16.48 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore), Chaturvedi of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water said.

Another group of developing countries, including China, has agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use even earlier, by 2024. By 2045, these countries will reduce HFCs by 80% of the average consumption between 2020 and 2022.

Developed countries, such as the Unites States and western European countries, have agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use in 2019, and by 2036, phase down HFCs to 15% of the average use and consumption between 2011 and 2013.

“The flexibility and cooperation shown by India as well as other countries has created this fair, equitable and ambitious HFC agreement,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on October 15.

India, and other developing countries, will be financially assisted by the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, philanthropies, and other developed countries, as they switch from HFCs to other alternatives, with lower global warming potential, as IndiaSpend reported on October 14, 2016.

The Indian government also passed an order on October 13 for all producers to destroy HFC-23, a gas with a global warming potential 12,500 times that of CO2, according to the United Nations Environment Program. This will result in eliminating emissions of 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in India, over the next 15 years, according to Chandra Bhushan, the director of Centre for Science and Environment, a research and advocacy organisation, reported Livemint.

This article first appeared on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs

HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.

The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.

Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold

Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.

HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.

HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program
HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program

“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.

Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.

HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort
HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort

Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.

More than digital learning

The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.

HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand
HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand

Programs offered today

HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.

To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.

Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.

For more information, please review the HBX website.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HBX and not by the Scroll editorial team.