Organisations in India Working on Climate Action

Updated: Jun 7

While you may be soundly sleeping as the world around us slowly collapses, these organisations are working their best towards climate action.

Do you want to see a future where migrating homes is only a choice of luxury? Do you want our world’s oceanic beauty, from fishes to coral reefs, to die out of over acidification? Have you ever wondered what life would be like if the air you breathed was just full of toxins?

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently released a report on four salient climate change indicators - sea level rise, ocean heat, ocean acidification and green gas concentrations - that have left our planet the warmest it has ever been in the past seven years. These indicators are indicative of how human activities have overshot planetary boundaries, leading to significantly harmful changes in land, ocean and atmosphere.

This is why climate action is needed; especially when there is a rapid threat to how we live, consume food, and do activities which are suited to our comfort.

Working on climate action will not only reduce the risk of wiping out our biodiversity, but a majority of the world’s coral reefs too. It can help prevent temporary climate pollutants from warming the planet even more, slow the progression of global warming, cut down public challenges like health-risks, and improve access to clean drinking water. It can also lead to more intangible effects such as low poverty and inequality.

There are many organisations in India that, with their efforts, are actively reducing climate change one step at a time. Let us see their work.

Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

Renowned for being one of the largest NGO research institutions in Asia, CEEW has actively worked towards ‘explain[ing] and chang[ing] the use, reuse, and misuse of resources’ for the past decade.

Their impressive portfolio consists of working in 300 research projects, including a 550+ page book on National Water Resources Framework Study for India’s 12th Five Year Plan’. They have also worked on a range of initiatives; such as scrutinising national consumption patterns, drafting models for solar rooftop adoption, assisting the adoption of electric vehicles in India, and analysing energy transitions in countries like Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

The Council operates on the philosophy of ‘Integrated, International and Independent’. This short phrase encompasses the need to imbibe issues in their research, while focusing on an international perspective to help better serve India on the global front. Their office in India currently is in New Delhi.

Shakti Foundation

Shakti Foundation believes that the choices we make about our energy will take an important shape in our lives in the future. The foundation wants to help transform the way

This foundation helps in the design and implementation of frameworks that help move India towards clean energy and power, greener methods of transport and solid climate policy. They do this by talking with experts from the government, civil society, academia, think tanks, and businesses to craft policies. They systematically assess the outcomes of our own efforts, determining success by unambiguous measures based on quantifiable renewable energy contributions.

Their current projects are divided into Climate Policy, Clean Power (Renewable Energy, Access for Development, Electric Utilities) Energy Efficiency (Buildings, Cooling, Industries), Sustainable Transport, Electric Mobility, and Clean Energy Finance. Some of these projects include understanding health impacts of prolonged exposure to pollution, supporting electric vehicles, progressing thermal comfort, and providing sustainable scaling of solar-based irrigation.

Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS)

Taran Bharat Sangh, an Rajasthan-based NGO, underlines the importance of bringing dignity to the poor and ‘restoring life and hope to the barren land of Rajasthan’. They do this by prioritising culturally existing traditions of managing natural resources such as water.

The main mission for TBS is to transform villages in a way that they become self-sufficient,to ensure women are participative in decision-making, to improve education levels and health infrastructure levels in villages. At every stage of their work, the TBS volunteers make sure they include villagers in development work.

Some of their projects include saving the natural forest ecosystems through their ‘Save the Tiger’ campaign, which helped boost the tiger population in Sariska Reserve Forest by 23 more tigers. TBS also created a ‘river parliament’ for the Arvari river that helped regulate resources, types of crops grown, and the water levels of the river. In addition, the NGO established 11, 800 johads or percolation ponds.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

TERI was founded by Darbari S Seth in 1974, with the aim of efficiently using resources, limiting damage to the environment, and social transformation.

Every year, it hosts the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) that is a global summit where various segments on sustainable development are discussed. The Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) initiative provides clean lighting to people belonging to the lower rungs of society. The Green Olympiad is an examination for middle to high school students about the environment that spans across the globe.

Today, the NGO has over 1250 members and is currently located in various cities across the world.

Collaborative Labelling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP)

CLASP is an international NGO that emphasises on ‘appliance and equipment energy performance and quality’, while improving the access to clean energy.

The NGO has released several publications and tools.

Among publications, they have released the ‘Cooling Benchmarking Study’ that was an international comparison of energy efficiency performance for ACs used in residential areas; the ‘Opportunities for Success and CO2 Savings from Appliance Energy Efficiency Harmonization’ that was an insightful exploration of the different energy efficiency standards in India, China, US. and the European Union; in ‘Compliance Counts: A Practitioners Guidebook on Best Practice Monitoring, Verification, and Enforcement (MV&E) for Appliance Standards & Labeling’ it is meant for policymakers to design compliance regimes and make sure that consumers make green purchasing decisions.

Among tools, CLASP has worked on the Policy Analysis Modelling System (PAMS)

which is aimed at policymakers to establish labelling programs so that they are better able to set targets for appliances and efficiency levels. The second tool they developed is the Global S&L Database which is also aimed at policymakers, but to ‘compare appliance, lighting, and equipment efficiency policies and regulations across countries and by product’.