Event Recap

Highlighting the importance of research and the need for compliance, Jairam Ramesh, MP, Andhra Pradesh and former Minister of Environment and Forests, and Rohini Pande, Harvard Professor of Public Policy, spoke at the ‘Economic Growth and Environmental Protection through Evidence-Based Policy’ conference hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago at the University of Chicago’s new Delhi Center.

Jairam Ramesh, MP, Andhra Pradesh and former Minister of Environment and Forests, reinforced the need for compliance at the ‘Economic Growth and Environmental Protection through Evidence-Based Policy’ event hosted by Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) at the University of Chicago Delhi Center

India’s government faces a daunting challenge: how to meet the constitutional right of citizens to a clean environment without compromising economic growth. To drive the creation of new environmental policy to meet both goals, leading regulators, industrialists, environmental lawyers and researchers today met at the University of Chicago Delhi Center at Baba Kharak Singh Marg.

Central Pollution Control Board figures indicate that the respirable particulate matter concentration across 180 monitored Indian cities was six times what the World Health Organization considers safe and twice India’s own national standards. India now has the highest rate of death caused by chronic respiratory diseases anywhere in the world. The need of the hour must therefore be innovation in the use of both technology and regulation. It is also essential that we enhance the use of evidence based policy making in environment. Regulatory reform including market based regulation may hold the potential to solve our environmental challenges, while retaining vibrant economic growth.

These ideas formed the basis for discussions during a conference on ‘Economic Growth and Environmental Protection through Evidence-Based Policy’, hosted by Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) at the University of Chicago, in association with the Evidence for Policy Design at Harvard University.

In her opening remarks, Harvard Professor of Public Policy, Rohini Pande highlighted the role of research evidence in Indian policy. Research suggests that particulate air pollution in India may result in life expectancy reductions of over 3 years. At the same time, evidence from the United States suggests that market based regulation can successfully be used to combat air pollution, in settings where command and control style approaches have failed.

Jairam Ramesh, MP, Andhra Pradesh and former Minister of Environment and Forests, reinforced the need for compliance. “A Substantial chunk of projects fall into the ‘yes but’ category,” he said, referring to conditions placed on an environmental clearance. But, he said, “compliance is the real issue. We need to have penalties for non-compliances. If there are 36 conditions, each of them should be monitored to ensure compliance.” He also stated the need to explore regulatory options beyond the current command and control system. “We need to have regulations that don’t require regulators… It’s important to explore non bureaucratic ways for giving permits.”

Other sessions focused on Data Driven innovations. Panellists D. Saha (Central Pollution Control Board); V.M. Motghare (Maharashtra Pollution Control Board); and others, introduced their work on regulatory innovations. Two key ideas state pollution control boards have experimented with include (i) the use of continuous emissions monitoring to radically transform how industrial emissions are monitored (ii) the use of so called ‘third-way’ regulation built around transparency and public disclosure of data.
Dr V.P. Joy (Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat); Seema Arora, (CII); Anant Sudarshan, (EPIC); shared their views of the future direction of environmental regulation. In an indication of how seriously industry views the need for regulatory reform, CII has taken the step of producing a detailed white paper on innovative new regulation.

This policy dialogue initiative was the first in a series co-hosted by EPIC’s new India office, housed in the University of Chicago Center in Delhi. EPIC India aims to become a leading research center and a ‘think and do’ tank for energy, environment and water policy in India.
Support for the event: IFMR LEAD, The British Department for International Development’s Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence Program (BCURE), and Harvard University’s Sustainability Science Program.

Note to editors:
One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Chicago and international campuses, keeping the University at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

The UChicago Center in Delhi is a home for research and education for University of Chicago faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates working in India and throughout South Asia, as well as conferences, workshops, and collaborations with students and researchers representing a wide array of international institutions. The Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) is an interdisciplinary research and training institute focused on the economic and social consequences of energy policies.

Agenda

9:30 am–10:00 am

Registration and Coffee

10:00 am–10:15 am

Economic Growth and Longer Lives: The Benefits of Evidence-Based Policymaking

Rohini Pande, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

10:15 am–11:00 am

Conversation on Economic Growth and Environmental Protection: Are there Trade Offs?

Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Environment and Forests

Bahar Dutt, Conservation Biologist and Senior Journalist, Academic/Policy Perspective (TBC)

11:00 am–11:15 am

Break

11:15 am–12:15 pm

Data-Driven Innovations in Monitoring and Regulation

D. Saha, Scientist ‘D’, Central Pollution Control Board
V.M. Motghare, Joint Director, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board
Ajay Tyagi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests
Nick Ryan, Yale University (Moderator)

12:15 pm–1:15 pm

Next Generation Environmental Regulation: Center, State and Industry Perspectives

Hardik Shah, Member Secretary, Gujarat Pollution Control Board
V.P. Joy, Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat
A. Akolkar, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board
Seema Arora, Executive Director, Confederation of Indian Industry
Anant Sudarshan, EPIC at University of Chicago (Moderator)

1:15 pm–1:30 pm

Catalyzing Research-Policy Partnerships and Concluding Remarks

Jyotsna Puri, Deputy Executive Director, 3ie
Charity Troyer Moore, India Lead, Evidence for Policy Design

1:30 pm

Lunch

Registration

The conference was jointly hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC Center) at the University of Chicago and Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard University, along with support from IFMR LEAD, the British Department for International Development’s Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence Program (BCURE), and Harvard University’s Sustainability Science Program.
Areas of Focus: Climate Change
Definition
Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
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Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...