IPCC report: Role of climate start-ups
Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has announced its latest report on impacts of climate change. It talks about impending water stress, food shortage, heat waves and other disastrous consequences of global warming. This blog explores India specific findings, and how climate start-ups are addressing these challenges.
Predictions of IPCC report:
Occurrence of extreme heat waves and high humidity
India is going to witness frequent heat waves, as well as higher humidity. As a result, many Indian cities such as Lucknow, Patna will become unliveable. Higher heat will drive the demand for cooling solutions; not just for offices and residences but also for large public spaces such as railway stations, bus stations where air-conditioning is not effective. In this context, solutions offered by Oorja Engineering, that provide alternatives to air-conditioning through structural cooling technology, will be very relevant.
The report points out that by 2050, the demand for water in agriculture will surpass its supply. The water shortage is also expected to impact cities such as Delhi & Kolkata, making them prone to droughts, which will also have cascading impact on cities/regions from where the water in imported.
Water shortage could be addressed by solutions such as converting waste water into usable water, monitoring and controlling water usage and extracting water from the air. Start-ups that offer such solutions include Boson Water (converts waste water from apartments into usable water for industries), Fluxgen Technologies (IOT solutions for monitoring water and reducing water usage) and Uravu labs (converting moisture in the air into drinking water).
Rain deficit coupled with flooding and pest attacks will in general impact agriculture and specifically the yield of certain crops such as Maize and Rice. Lower crop productivity will impact marginal farmers who have limited means to diversify their farming income the most. Further, some of these farmers, who are on riverbanks, would also face the threat of erosion of their farms through floods and would need assistance in alternative means of livelihood.
A number of start-ups offer solutions related to early identification of pests (Telluris Biotech), crop monitoring and farm advisory (Fasal/Cropin/Satsure) and technologies for small holder farmers (Rukart).
Damages from Climate-related events
As per the report, more than 50 per cent of Asian cities with a population of 300,000 or more are susceptible to at least one of six climate related disasters including cyclones droughts, floods, earthquakes, landslides and volcano eruption. Further, Chennai & Kolkata are among 27 cities worldwide that are exposed to multiple climate events. The report states that despite all our attempts at implementing adaptation and mitigation actions, there will be residual losses and damages from these events.
In this context, we would need more accurate forecasting of extreme events and data driven tools to offer insurance and risk management solutions. While a few weather intelligence start-ups such as Skymet and Weather Risk Management Services have been around for more than a decade, they mostly cater to agriculture sector. Going forward, there would a need for solutions related to climate risk management for urban area.
Many of the above-mentioned startups such as Oorja engineering, Boson Water, Fluxgen technologies, Uravu Labs, and Telluris Biotech have been featured in Green Business podcast.
We know that climate change will bring more extreme weather events and climate start-ups offer us hope to make India liveable. However, many of these companies find it difficult to scale as they are outpriced by conventional solutions that do not have to factor in the cost of harming the environment. For example, renewable water has to compete with traditional bottled water suppliers who don’t have to pay extra price for reducing the water tables in the vicinity of their bottling facilities, sustainable cooling has to contend with conventional air conditioners that don’t bear any cost for discharging refrigerants in the atmosphere and climate friendly crop protection solutions face competition from chemical fertilisers that are subsidised.
The acceptance of climate positive solutions is expected to improve as large corporates sign net zero pledge and choose climate friendly solutions as against conventional ones. Further, retail consumers are also demanding environment friendly services as seen in the rise of electric vehicles. Rising attractiveness of climate related opportunities is also demonstrated by increasing equity funding to Indian climate start-ups, which grew 4X¹ in FY 21. In summary, there has never been a better time than now to start and grow a climate driven venture.
How can we help you: If you are a startup working towards preserving the climate or developing technologies to cope with the climate change challenges, we can help you raise capital in the form of equity, debt or grants.
We can also help you improve the visibility of your venture among investors and green entrepreneurs through our podcast. You can listen to the podcast here. and reach us here to get featured on the podcast.
 As per the report “State of climate finance in India 2022” by Climate