Who Created the Climate Crisis and Who Should Fix It?


November 2021

Who Created the Climate Crisis and Who Should Fix It?

As the COP26 is over, many people have given their two cents on the summit leaving two ends of the spectrum up for analysis. One, the young environmentalist Greta Thunberg, who believes the real work continues outside these halls; and the other, my colleague, Nithya Balakrishnan, who believes that decision-makers are appreciating the need to make smarter and greener choices.

I wish to evaluate the climate crisis with a different lens, i.e., to understand who created the crisis and how to fix the problem?

As the bestselling author, John Doerr mentions in his latest book, Speed & Scale, "I’m scared, and I’m angry’, my daughter said. Then she added, ‘Dad, your generation created this problem. You better fix it."


Chart 1: Annual CO2 emissions for key countries

Chart 2: Per capita CO2 emissions

As can be observed in Chart 1 above, the two major economies of United States and China are the leading emitters of CO2 on an annual basis. Further, even United Kingdom emits more CO2 than India on a per capita basis. There has been enough chatter in the halls at COP26 on whether developing nations need to commit to net zero on the same timelines as developed nations. Moving to net zero is definitely not easy operationally. Moreover, Climate Finance is a conundrum which the developing nations have not been able to successfully solve as yet. The pledge from developed nations of $100 billion per year for developing nations has not materialized, and is neither expected to.

While having long term goals is fair, there are enough arguments as to why this need to be country specific and not a one size fits all approach. I would urge that countries delve deeper and in-turn citizens set out to have targets on a more bottom-up approach.

The optimist in me is urged to focus more on the solution and not the problem.


At a Corporate level, the RE100 is a step in the right direction and India mandating top listed entities to submit a Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report furthers the cause.

While the above initiatives are in the right direction to fix the climate crisis, it would be a futile exercise if there are no clear and measurable targets at the micro level. It is time to turn ‘movements’ into action; arguably we have all the pieces of the jigsaw and now we need to solve it.

While India strives to achieve its audacious goals of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024, it is making every effort to “phase down” the use of coal and target to have 50% clean energy share, this will require a monumental effort from all the stakeholders, especially corporates.

The Supreme Court ruling on the SEBI-CERC regulatory powers provides long-awaited clarity and necessary impetus for the power derivatives segment. This should democratize Renewable Energy adoption as it will increase accessibility and create an equal opportunity across the spectrum. Further, this will enable consumers to meet their power requirements leading them to achieve their sustainability targets.


India will also need to leverage digital technologies and ubiquitous data to aggregate supply and demand resulting in smart contracts and optimizing the grid therein enhancing efficiency.

It is time for our generation to make a concerted effort to live by the ethos of sustainability. Every aspect of our life needs to go green, from the food we eat, to the car we drive, to the appliances we use, to the energy we consume. This must be an end-to-end solution driven on a bottom-up approach for us to do our bit.

We at Fourth Partner, are optimistic and strong advocates of the solution which to a large extent entail advance decarbonization of the grid and electrification of transportation for Corporates.

As Barack Obama eloquently said, “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.