From getting 10 climate change-related questions to be asked on Kaun Banega Crorepati to sifting through the periodic table to find a “sustainable but non-geopolitical element” to replace lithium, Kalaari Capital’s Net Zero Summit 2022 was rife with ideas on how India can take the lead when it comes to battling climate change.
While the latter suggestion may have been said in jest, everyone who attended the online summit was in agreement that to truly sow the seeds of climate change-focused entrepreneurship in India, one had to start by making it mainstream.
To inculcate climate change-focused entrepreneurial thinking and mindset, the easiest thing to do would be to produce 50,000 engineers who enable climate technologies, said Siddhanth Jayaram, Co-founder of Climes.io at the Net Zero Summit 2022.
He identified two big focus areas that need more collective effort: education and literacy on climate responsibility and technologies, and a change in behavioural patterns.
“Your films should talk about climate responsibility… the Amitabh Bachchans and Sachin Tendulkars of the world need to speak about these things…they need to come on panels like these and talk about what it means to be a climate responsible citizen. The point is, if an influencer speaks about this, or if there are 10 questions on climate responsibility on KBC, it’s going to start a movement,” he quipped.
Seconding him, Siddharth R Mayur, CEO at H2E Power, said India has always been an environmentally conscious country, right from the Vedic age, and the country is in a prime position to capitalise on its historic principles.
He admitted that while India’s large population is sometimes a liability, it is also an opportunity for meaningful work in the climate-tech space.
“All that waste we produce as a country can be converted into usable gas, and India can take the lead on that, not only creating technologies that support the conversion of waste into something useful, but also exporting the excess to the rest of the world,” Siddharth said.
But for anyone to be able to truly enter in the climate change space and make a substantial impact, climate technology needs to become affordable so that network effects add up, said Kalaari Capital’s founder Vani Kola.
“We have to think of technologies that are IP-led and reduce existing costs for customer adoption,” she said, adding that the needle will move only when climate technology becomes as cheap and affordable as legacy technologies.
Vani also advised climate change entrepreneurs to think about the big issues when it comes to climate change, and go in for the kill even if they’re the easiest solutions.
“Whether it’s something as simple as batteries, emissions control, or even agriculture…if you look at these, these are some basic but some of the biggest sectors that are going to have the maximum impact on climate, and none of these are easy solutions,” she said.