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, 7 March

  • 01:25pm - 02:05pm (CST) / 07/mar/2022 07:25 pm - 07/mar/2022 08:05 pm

    The Dual Challenge: Economic growth & energy transition

    Panel Energy Transition/Climate & Sustainability

    The next 20 years will be critical to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to the growing world population. United Nations’ estimates suggest that per capita energy consumption at approximately 100 Gigajoules is associated with substantial human development. Today, 80% of the world’s population live in countries with energy consumption below this level. Reducing that number to one-third of the population by 2040 would require around 65% more energy. The United States, Europe, and China have been the major emitters while developing Asia and Africa per capita energy use and GHG emissions are very low. In order to meet their citizens’ economic aspirations, these countries require a bigger share of the remaining carbon budget. While the phrase “just transition” is currently in vogue, what does it mean to you? Multilateral development banks have stopped or will soon stop lending for hydrocarbon projects; will this approach reduce emissions? There was renewed commitment at Glasgow to provide $100 billion climate finance annually. Many have called this a floor, not a ceiling. What is needed to fast track climate finance? While coal is the single largest source of emissions and a major fuel in many developing countries, how can we accelerate phasing out coal? Globally, renewables are now cost competitive, however, borrowing costs for clean energy projects are significantly higher in emerging economies than OECD. How could this risk premium be reduced to attract investment in developing countries? How should the global energy industry meet this dual challenge?

Tuesday, 8 March

Wednesday, 9 March

Thursday, 10 March

  • 11:30am - 12:00pm (CST) / 10/mar/2022 05:30 pm - 10/mar/2022 06:00 pm

    Energy Transition: Big ambitions, hard realities

    Presentation Energy Infrastructure/Supply Chain Energy Transition/Climate & Sustainability Carbon Management/Decarbonization

    In its report “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” IEA stated that getting to net-zero by 2050 will require “nothing short of a total transformation of the energy system that underpins our economies.” The report also observed that “the pathway is narrow but achievable.” At the same time, global GHG concentrations continue to increase and annual emissions are rising again after the pandemic-induced drop in 2020. Achieving net -zero by OECD countries and by major companies is necessary but not sufficient. Any roadmap to net-zero must travel via developing economies. Much of the progress to date has been in decarbonizing power sector, but only about one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions are from electricity. In this conversation, the panelists will explore economic, technological, financial, and policy actions necessary within this decade to start bending the emission curve with emission reductions across all sectors globally.

  • 05:00pm - 06:30pm (CST) / 10/mar/2022 11:00 pm - 11/mar/2022 12:30 am

    “Next Gen” Future Energy Leaders Town Hall

    Diversity & Inclusion/Future of Workforce Finance & Investment/Trading & Risk Management/ESG Carbon Management/Decarbonization

    The race is on for innovative, fresh approaches to solve the world’s greatest energy and climate challenges. The emerging generation of future energy leaders, technologists, and entrepreneurs have unprecedented opportunity for impact and to create real change. The energy world is hungry and open to disruptive ideas. There never has been a more exciting—or urgent—time to be part of the energy industry. Join this special interactive “Next Gen” dynamic session, featuring rapid-fire insights by leading minds on energy innovation, along with CERAWeek Future Energy Leaders. How can we achieve net zero ambitions by 2050? How can we tackle climate change while meeting the planet’s need for more energy? What are the promising and scalable technologies? What are the challenges and most exciting opportunities?