The past year has seen the onset of the world’s first truly global energy crisis, with turbulent markets and sudden price increases posing challenges for people, companies, and governments. India’s new Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative is an important platform that could help lower energy costs, carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution and inequalities in energy consumption.
- The concept of Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) was introduced by the Prime Minister of India at COP26 in Glasgow on 1st November 2021.
- He called upon the global community of individuals and institutions to drive LiFE as an international mass movement towards “mindful and deliberate utilisation, instead of mindless and destructive consumption” to protect and preserve the environment.
- It seeks to nudge individual and collective action to protect the environment. This includes making informed personal choices such as using public transport more, buying electric rather than petrol or diesel vehicles, etc.
- According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis, if all countries were to adopt the kind of measures recommended by LiFE, it would reduce global CO2 emissions by more than 2 billion tonnes by 2030. This alone would deliver around one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed this decade to put the world on a path to net zero emissions.
- The measures would also save consumers globally around $440 billion in annual energy bills.
Need for LiFE –
- The IEA’s analysis highlights that energy demand in developing economies will continue to increase as people strive to improve their living standards.
- It is important to note that prioritising the environment does not need to come at the expense of India’s broader development agenda.
- This requires a range of measures to ensure countries prosper in tandem with advancing their decarbonisation efforts. LiFE’s recommendations can help support this.
- Evidence suggests that the global energy crisis is sparking renewed interest in behaviour change and energy efficiency, particularly in advanced economies that have been heavily affected. For instance, the EU set a goal of reducing its natural gas demand by 15% in response to the crisis.
Strengths of LiFE –
- While the goal of using energy more efficiently is at the heart of LiFE, the programme does not negate the need for strong policies to accelerate the expansion of clean energy technologies such as solar, wind and hydrogen.
- LiFE’s recommendations can be a valuable complement to more traditional policies. For instance, hard-to-decarbonise industries like steel and cement can adopt approaches that use more energy efficient resources.
- It helps make the scale of the challenge more manageable. For example, increasing the volume of steel that is recycled can reduce the amount of steel production that needs to be decarbonised.
- It combines individual accountability and policy actions. This is critical, as the right choices when it comes to the environment and sustainability needs to be supported by appropriate infrastructure, incentives or information. For example, urban planning needs to be optimised so individuals can live closer to work and to amenities that reduce commute times and encourage walking and cycling.
- Policies enable sustainable choices by actively supplying alternative options. For example, India’s Ujala scheme to provide affordable and hyper-efficient LED bulbs has transformed the Indian lighting market by educating consumers.
Way Ahead –
- India’s G20 Presidency represents a unique opportunity to globalise the LiFE initiative – providing a knowledge-sharing platform for other leading economies to realise the impact that LiFE’s recommendations can have in the fight against —
- Climate change,
- Air pollution and
- Unaffordable energy bills.
- Since the G20 makes up nearly 80% of global energy demand, meaningful changes by its members can make a big difference.
- This is why the IEA welcomes such initiatives and hopes that all countries will learn some LiFE lessons from India.
- Technology can also help stimulate businesses and citizens into action. Last year, when California’s grid faced an extreme heatwave, consumers received a text message alert to voluntarily reduce demand. The result was a rapid drop in electricity demand – equivalent to the output of three coal power plants – that averted the threat of blackouts.
With the world contending with the major challenges of climate change and air pollution, the latest crisis has prompted many people to look again at how they use energy. The California example shows consumers are willing to take responsibility for the energy they use for the greater good. Therefore, efforts like LiFE to improve the energy efficiency of items of everyday use – from home appliances to cars – along with changes in habits and behaviour will play a crucial role in making the world’s energy use more sustainable.
Source – The Indian Express
QUESTION – What is the vision of LiFE shared by the Prime Minister of India in the Glasgow Summit? Discuss its significance and suggest how India can utilise its position as the current G-20 president to popularise this concept?