National Conference on Strengthing Climate Action through Alternate Energy Options


Coping with climate change is rapidly becoming a major challenge for the world, particularly for developing countries like India. Even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced significantly in the coming years, climate change impacts, such as gradual temporal and spatial shifts in resources as well as drought, floods, severe weather events and sea-level rise, are likely to result in food shortages, increase in vector-borne diseases, infrastructure damage and the degradation of natural resources. Development choices today influence the adaptive capacity of the community and the policies framed by the government on climate change adaptation. Therefore, a delay in action can destabilize human society in its various sectors..

The ramifications of climate change spare none. In most cases, it is found that the adverse effects caused by climate change hit the poorest hard. 1.3 billion people across the developing world do not have access to energy today. Access to energy is crucial to meet the development aspirations of these people who are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Alternative energy options like solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy are essential for the developing countries to ensure that the current pace of development is maintained while cutting down emissions

International Solar Alliance pushed by Government of India during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) is seen as a key policy instrument to mitigate the effects of climate change while maintaining the development growth. Countries lying between tropic of cancer and tropic of Capricorn have large potential to harvest the alternate energy sources. 121 such countries are invited to form an international Solar Alliance with secretariat established by Government of India. While the alliance would look into capacitate the countries and establish financial instruments, there needs to be a concerted effort by various actors within each of these countries to effectively implement these options.

While Government of India is committed to implement the National Action Plan on Climate Change, private and civil society organisations have worked on identifying and promoting alternate energy options suitable for the region. This has large potential to further the efforts of Government and cut down the emission, which could foster development.


India is the second most populous country in the world where 179.6 million out of the world’s 872.3 million people live below the poverty line. Poverty in India is spread out covering urban and rural areas alike. Climate change is a cumulative effect – caused by industries, households and even natural factors. While the nature has the inherent ability to repair the climate change caused by its own processes, the huge pressure created by anthropogenic factors breaks the ability of nature to correct the imbalances. From the onset of industrial revolution in late 18th century and the beginning of 19th century, environment across the globe has been under mounting stress. Early human civilization did little to harm the balance of the nature; it is the industrialization and the unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases made the nature to wilt down.

Internationally many efforts are underway for establishing checks and standards for global emission and thus reducing the pressure on the brittle balance of environment. Formation of UNFCCC and further negotiations coupled with ever increasing extreme climate events has brought both developed and developing countries to accept the fact that climate is changing fast and we need to approach it together and fast. CoP 21 has yielded remarkable results in taking it forward.

India is young and growing. In order to ensure that the countries development targets are met, the country needs to focus on infrastructure development which has to be sustainable in-order to address climate change. India is presently the fifth largest producer of wind power in the world. India is planning to upscale its focus of generating power from solar from few thousand MW to 100,000 MW. India has committed to the National Action Plan on Climate Change and the missions enshrined are focusing on mitigating and adapting climate change. International solar alliance is formed during COP21. It is a good opportunity for India to have better access to technology and finance from some of the most polluting countries in the world.

CARITAS INDIA and her partner Seva Kendra Calcutta has a major long-term development stake in promoting, understanding and identifying appropriate approaches and practical ways by integrating climate mitigation and adaptation into its development policies and activities at the grass-root and state levels. We strongly believe that integrating adaptation into development cooperation, between PVOs, Government and the communities, will provide an essential opportunity to make more climate-resilient development investments at household and community levels.


Some of our major initiatives are mentioned below:

  1. National and international campaign of Caritas confederation for climate justice.
  2. Research study in collaboration with School of Oceanographic studies, Jadavpur University.
  3. Action research on strengthening adaptive farming in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  4. Promoting climate resilient and sustainable agricultural practices in about 600 villages covering about 120,000 ha through the initiatives of Caritas India and her partners in India.
  5. A dedicated Centre on Environment in Central India “Centre for Environmental Studies in Social Sector (CESSS)”
  6. Reducing vulnerability due to recurrent flood, cyclone and embankment erosion of the 72 most vulnerable Gram Sansads of North 24 parganas District of West Bengal.
  7. Green Technology Initiatives such as Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants, Solar Outdoor Lighting, Solar Street Lighting, Solar Water Heating Systems, etc.
  8. SKC had installed a Solar Photovoltaic Power unit of 36 KwP which is linked to C.E.S.E and another 2 KwP is a standalone system. This solar unit produces 135 units per day (average). Surpluses are sold to the Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation through a bi-lateral agreement. Since its installation in 2013, the unit has generated 129,600 units of power.
  9. SKC had developed an efficient rain-water harnessing unit which eventually became a model for dependable alternative water sourcing. The model has helped SKC reduce dependence by 35% on local Municipal Corporation for its water needs.
  10. Urban Organic Agriculture: Supports numerous households in the city and 40 organizations/hostels have introduced organic farming.
  11. So far young people from 8 States have come to SKC for training on solar lanterns. 38 batches of 304 young people have already been trained by SKC as Solar Lantern Technicians. More than 20,000 lanterns have been sold till date.
  12. SKC has installed 12 systems of 2 KwP in the remote hostels of the different districts.
  13. Similarly, 116 Solar Water Heating Systems have been installed.
  14. In Satjelia Sukumari of Sunderbans, SKC has installed a 3 KwP Hybrid System of Solar PV Panels and Wind Mill.
  15. Alliance for Climate Risk Reduction (ACRR): SKC is a lead agency of the alliance that works on Climate Risk Reduction (ACCR) in coordination with civil society organizations, ministries of government, institutions and universities.


Caritas India and her partners are committed to take foreword the positive initiative and partner in the endeavor of the Government to improve production of clean energy and promote energy efficiency. We are considering it as an option for the poor in the country to use these resources to develop. We are focusing and seeking expertise and experiences on the following areas:

  1. Mass production and establishment of alternative energy generating units.
  2. Financial inclusion is promoting alternative energy.
  3. Proactively engage the poor and vulnerable in the value chain of alternative energy generation.
  4. Use the mechanism to improve the resilience of the communities.
  5. Technology to reach locally to the unreached masses to improve access to energy
  6. Carbon finance – Financing models for alternative energy
  7. Carbon trade


The national conference will bring together perspectives, knowledge and experience in the sectors of prevention, mitigation and adaptation for helping communities and governments to design and implement mechanisms to improve resilience. The expected results of the conference are:

  1. Generate a pool of technological and financial innovations in promoting alternative energy in rural and urban contexts.
  2. A way forward for the civil society organisations to engage in development and promotion of alternative energy for the poor.
  3. Create a platform for forging partnerships that will foster environment responsibility and resilience: India Solar Alliance
  4. Generate confidence among stakeholders in participating and taking forward the climate justice action plan of the government.


“Strengthening climate action through alternate energy options” SUB-THEMES:

  1. Innovations in alternative energy
  2. Financial inclusion in promoting alternative energy
  3. Community stake in alternative energy generation
  4. Use of technology to reach the unreached
  5. Carbon finance – Financing models for alternative energy
  6. Carbon trade


  1. Pre-conference campaign
  2. Plenary session
  3. Key note on pertinent conference themes
  4. Presentation of successful stories of change
  5. Working session to generate plan of action
  6. Interaction with key stakeholders in panel discussions / round table
  7. Exhibition of good practices
  8. Participation of important stakeholders especially the community members
  9. Voice of the people
  10. Cycle rally


  1. Ministries of the West Bengal Government.
  2. Government officials from the concerned departments, e.g. Agriculture, water, power RE etc.
  3. West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) officials.
  4. Climate change cell, West Bengal
  5. Some Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) representatives.
  6. NGO’s
  7. People from the Academic World
  8. Representatives from the corporate companies etc.
  9. Principles of colleges, schools etc.