Young India is full of energy. Whether it is business, governance, sports, or social enterprises, innovative Indians are coming up with ever newer ways to create value and set new benchmarks of achievement. The Youth20 engagement group is exploring ways to help channel this energy to overcome obstacles, transform society, and build a better world. As a Part of India’s Youth 20 initiative, The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in collaboration with the Indus Entrepreneurship (TiE) Bangalore and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), organized a brainstorming session on ‘Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction’ on 7th March 2023 at Christ University conference room, Bengaluru. The session was attended by more than 70 young thinkers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and scholars. Dr. Pankaj Vashisht, Associate professor, RIS also attended the event. In his opening remarks, he talked about the importance of India’s G20 presidency and briefed the participants about the Youth 20 engagement group and the purpose of the brainstorming exercise. He exuded confidence that brainstorming sessions will bring out policy recommendations to mitigate the challenge of climate change.
Dr. Vashsiht’s opening remarks were followed by a panel discussion involving young achievers and eminent industry leaders. Mr. Ganesh Shankar, Founder FluxGen moderated the session. Participating in the discussion, Mr. Narayan Subramaniam, Chief Technology Officer, AI for Sustainability and Carbon Emission Reduction, pointed out that global temperature is set to increase by more than 2 degrees. Therefore, adaptation is essential to mitigate the risk associated with it. He pointed out that technology can help but in the absence of financing, investment in climate-smart tech solutions has remained inadequate. Vouching for the same sentiments, Lakshmi Santhanam, Founder, of Renkube pointed out that India has more than 80 thousand start-ups but only 2 percent of them focus on climate-smart solutions. Mr. Narayanan and Lakshmi lamented that venture capitalists are not keen to finance climate tech startups due to the long gestation period and urged the government to nudge venture capital funds to invest in start-ups focusing on climate-smart solutions.
Participating in the discussion, Mr. Abhishek Ranjan, Director Brillio, pointed out that a change of mindset is pertinent for addressing climate change-related issues. Dr. Indu Murthy, Sector Head for Climate Environment and sustainability, argued that the impact of climate change is not gender neutral as women are going to be more adversely affected and therefore a woman-centric approach is required. Ms. Shizia Usman, CEO, and Founder of Upciclo, pointed out that promoting a circular economy is key to mitigating risks associated with climate change. She argued that Government should subsidize inputs going into the production of climate-friendly products. The brainstorming was followed by a Q&A session where participants asked questions regarding India’s strategy for green transition and the challenges associated with it.