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IIT Guwahati hosts National Movement of U75: Net Zero Workshop for NE Region

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Hosted in association with Green TERRE Foundation (GTF), the program entailed a deep dive into setting ambitious carbon neutrality targets and implementing sustainable infrastructure and energy solutions, starting with University Campus

To promote ideas of sustainability in the state, the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, in association with Green TERRE Foundation (GTF), hosted the National Movement of U75: Net Zero Workshop for NE Region, on 20th February 2024, at the Institute campus.

U75 stands for ‘Universities for carbon neutrality during the amrut kal after 75th anniversary of India’s Independence a bold initiative aimed at empowering Universities and colleges to achieve carbon neutrality. The event brought together key stakeholders such as students, faculty, University administrators, sustainability experts, policymakers, and industry leaders to pave the way to begin drafting road map for Net Zero Insightful presentations provided practical solutions for achieving carbon neutrality within university campuses.

The event was graced by the esteemed presence of Member of Parliament and former Union Cabinet Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, as the Chief Guest, along with Shri Erik Solheim, Former Under Secretary General of United Nations and former Environment Minister of Norway, virtually attending the event. In addition to this, Prof. (Dr.) S.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Royal Global University, Prof. A.V.N.L. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, GIET University, Prof. Vimal Katiyar, Dean of Research & Development, IIT Guwahati, and Prof. A.S. Achalkumar, Dean, Outreach Education Programme, IIT Guwahati, also attended the event.

Along with the esteemed Chief Guests, experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ministry of Power, Associated Chambers of Commerce, and Industry of India (ASCHOCHAM), and experts from GTF also attended the workshop.

Speaking during the event, Prakash Javadekar said, IITs stand as the pinnacle of education, guiding individuals towards personal career heights and collective goals. As the world grapples with severe climatic upheavals, India’s 3% contribution to carbon emissions demands urgent action. We must recognize that the brunt of climate change falls on the shoulders of the poor. As a responsible nation, it is incumbent upon us to lead the charge for change. With the rise of electric vehicles, infrastructure, and energy efficiency, India is making strides in reducing carbon emissions and achieving G20 targets.”

He added, “As stewards of the environment, we must prioritize watershed development, echoing the mantra: ‘save water, generate water; save electricity, generate electricity.’ Initiatives like Terre’s climate-tracking app for universities and the net zero workshop signify a collective commitment to green action and a sustainable future.”

As the global community continues to grapple with the urgent need for climate action, more than 260 universities worldwide have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality, with 150 already taking concrete steps towards this ambitious goal. Recognizing the multitude of benefits associated with becoming Net Zero, including cost savings and environmental stewardship, these institutions are at the forefront of driving meaningful change.

Highlighting the sustainable practices being followed by IIT Guwahati, Prof. Vimal Katiyar Dean, Research & Development, IIT Guwahati, said, “Embracing innovation and sustainable practices, IIT Guwahati is spearheading initiatives towards carbon neutrality and zero discharge campuses. From harnessing food waste and solar modules for energy to pioneering hydrogen projects, the institute is leading the charge towards a greener future. With the launch of SDGs courses and grassroots technology integration, we’re not just meeting goals – we’re shaping tomorrow’s solutions.”

Responding to question as to why universities, Dr. Rajendra Shende, Founder Director – Green TERRE Foundation, stated, “University campus is where minds are moulded, actions are accelerated and innovations are incubated. This is what is needed to speed-up and scale-up the carbon neutrality in Bharat.“

The one-day workshop showcased insightful presentations by distinguished speakers from across the country. Highlights included:

  • Girija Shankar, General Manager at Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, Ministry of Energy, delving into “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Financial Models for Universities.”
  • Ar. Kanagaraj Ganesan, UNDP expert on Carbon Neutrality and IIT Madras Alumni, discussing the “Management of Carbon Neutral Campus: Scope, Scale, and Speed.”
  • Mr. Sandeep Narang from the Council for GEM-Green Building Certification Programme, ASSOCHAM, presenting “‘Green-Buildings’ on Campus: Case Studies of Universities and Actions for Net Zero.”
  • Ar. Kanagaraj Ganesan. UNDP expert on Carbon Neutrality and IIT Madras Alumni, sharing insights into “Digital Technologies to Measure, Manage, Verify Emissions to Accelerate Net Zero.”
  • Dr. Moonmoon Hiloidhari from the Department of Ecology and Environmental Studies at Nalanda University sharing the “Success Story of Nalanda University in Achieving Net Zero.”
  • Ar. Durga Kamat, Senior Project Coordinator at GTF, SCCN, providing the “Way Forward to Net Zero: Next Steps.”
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