• CERAWeek
  • March 18 - 22, 2024

Sunita Narain

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

Director General

Sunita Narain is an environmentalist and writer, and presently serves as the director-general of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which she joined in 1982. Ms. Narain through her research and advocacy has been influential in building public opinion on the challenges and solutions for environment, particularly in countries of the South. She has in her over 4 decades of work conducted in-depth research on the governance and management of the environment and directed campaigns on air pollution control, community water management and pesticide regulation and sustainable urbanization. Her effort to combine science-based evidence and solutions with a pro-poor perspective to mainstream environmental concerns in public policy and society has been richly awarded in India and internationally. Her ideas are built on the premise that environment and development are two sides of the same coin and that sustainable development is not possible without inclusive and equitable growth. For her lifelong and distinguished work in this area, she was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the nation’s highest civilian honours, by the Government of India. She was also made a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change that decides on actions to address climate change impacts. In 2005, she chaired the Tiger Task Force at the direction of the Prime Minister, to evolve an action plan for conservation in the country after the loss of tigers from a protected reserve. She was also a member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority set up by the then Prime Minister to develop effective measures to conserve and clean up the river. She was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2005 and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Award for her work to build a water literate society that values every raindrop and teaches society to learn from the frugality of our ancestors, to build a water prudent world. She was twice on the list of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals put out by Foreign Policy/Prospect, and in 2016, Time Magazine featured her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for her advocacy on poor and the environment and climate change. Narain received “The Order of the Polar Star” award from the Swedish Government in 2017 and the Edinburgh Medal in 2020. She continues to serve on national and international committees on environment and work to research and build awareness about the urgency of action on environment and development.

Sessions With Sunita Narain

Monday, 6 March

  • 03:55pm - 04:35pm (CST) / 06/mar/2023 09:55 pm - 06/mar/2023 10:35 pm

    Decarbonizing Solutions for Hard to Abate Industries

    Transportation & Mobility/Electrification (EVs/built environment)
    The so called “hard-to-abate” industries including heavy-duty transport, steel, cement, fertilizers and petrochemicals account for over 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. These industries use coal and natural gas as well as heat as part of their production process. While technology pathways are still emerging, hydrogen and CCS are considered key technologies to reduce emissions in these sectors. Another option is to convert captured carbon into a spectrum of useful products. An underlying challenge is the additional costs incurred to make these products “green” and the lack of markets and customers willing to pay a “green premium.” The panelists in this conversation will explore the following questions: Tell us about a major innovation led by your company to decarbonize these sectors? While there is a lot of enthusiasm for hydrogen as a potential solution, what is the business case for hydrogen today and what is the path to commerciality without subsidies? How can industry promote circularity of materials, extend product lifetimes, substitution and efficiency? Are customers willing to pay a “green premium”; e.g., for “green steel or “low-emission concrete”? Will policies such as “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” help or hinder decarbonization of these sectors? What government policies are needed to achieve industrial decarbonization?
  • 04:30pm - 05:10pm (CST) / 06/mar/2023 10:30 pm - 06/mar/2023 11:10 pm

    Balancing Net Zero and Just Energy Priorities in Energy Transition

    How can we promote energy transition policies that address climate concerns and balance with the basic need for universal energy access all global citizens should experience?

Tuesday, 7 March

Wednesday, 8 March

  • 09:30am - 10:00am (CST) / 08/mar/2023 03:30 pm - 08/mar/2023 04:00 pm

    Economic Growth, Climate Change and Investment Choices

    Description to update on program and website (edited today, 2/26 by Atul): It is well known that energy consumption is inexorably linked to economic growth. However, even after decades of economic growth, citizens around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia, remain impoverished economically and in their energy use. In 2020 the average annual per capita energy supply of about 40 percent of the world’s population (3.1 billion people, which includes nearly all people in sub-Saharan Africa) was no higher than the rate achieved in both Germany and France in 1860 (Vaclav Smil, 2022). Funding for climate mitigation and adaptation remains woefully inadequate and developed countries have yet to meet the $100 billion/year commitment to developing countries first made in 2009 while billions of dollars are being invested by the US and EU to deploy clean energy technologies domestically. In this conversation we will discuss what is the realistic pace of transition in developing countries, how to accelerate climate finance and technology transfer to emerging economies.