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Mark Kenber

Date
17 September 2012
Mark Kenber

Green Prospects Asia magazine interviews our CEO, Mark Kenber, where he explains our global Clean Revolution plans, with a focus on India. Part of the interview is below, but you can read it in full on Green Prospects Asia's website

  • What is the Clean Revolution campaign about and how will it affect a country like India? 

By mid-century, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to have been reduced by around 80% of today’s level. Change to a low carbon economy needs to be rapid and ambitious, which is why we launched the Clean Revolution campaign at the Earth Summit in Rio, in June this year.

The strategy for the Clean Revolution centers on the idea that there are a number of leaders around the world that have the power and influence to set the economy on track to meet this ambitious challenge. The Clean Revolution will work to target these influencers. One of the key elements of the Clean Revolution campaign is its global reach. This is not a campaign that focuses on the developed world only. We believe that countries like India, which has a very important and constantly rising clout regionally and internationally, can and should be Clean Revolution leaders. Investment in innovation, renewable energy and smart technologies will create jobs, sustain growth, increase prosperity and enhance energy security. 

  • What are the basic aims of the Clean Revolution campaign and how do you plan to achieve them?

To encourage leadership, decisionmakers must be given a clear, realistic and undeniable set of arguments on the economic, political and environmental advantages of the low carbon economy. The Climate Group’s Clean Revolution campaign aims to do just that. Over the coming three years the Clean Revolution will illustrate to the world’s decision-makers that this transformation is not only necessary and possible, but also that it is the key to raising living standards, creating long-term employment and raising productivity.

  • What kind of response did you get from different business leaders in the Sixth India Members Meeting in New Delhi?

The Sixth India Members Meeting was hugely encouraging; there were senior level representatives from Alstom, Mahindra Reva, Carbon Disclosure Project, RBS Foundation, Dell, CBRE, GE, IFC, Tata BP Solar, Philips and the British High Commission. There was an overwhelming desire from all attendees to grow India’s green economy. 
Contributors to discussions included Sunand Sharma, country president for India and South Asia, Alstom, who spoke in detail about the company’s energy efficient initiatives and Pavan Sachdeva, general manager for sales and marketing, and Mahindra Reva, who focused specifically on the challenges and opportunities for electric vehicles (EVs) in India. The subsequent corporate engagement discussion saw participants debate key issues including energy efficiency in the telecoms sector, financing barriers for low carbon solutions, and success and failures of carbon credits.

  • In the sixth India Members Meeting in New Delhi, you spoke about the LED street light pilots that are being undertaken to redefine public lighting in Indian cities. How do you think will it help in cost cutting and saving energy?

Lighting accounts for nearly 6% of global CO2 emissions or 1,900 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Startlingly, this is the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 70% of the world’s passenger vehicles. The solution is simple; when operated with smart controls, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting can cut CO2 emissions by between 50 and 70%. A full switch to LEDs could also reduce energy consumption for lighting by 40% worldwide, translating to 130 billion euros in running costs and 670 million tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions per year.

Results from a survey by The Climate Group investigating the effects of LED lighting installed across the Indian city of Kolkata, have found that nearly all residents are reaping big environmental and economic benefits from the low energy lighting. Results show that more than 90% of Kolkata’s road and park users find LEDs to be a better lighting option than conventional lights. Among shop owners, more than 80% of the respondents prefer LEDs, and more than 75% of the pedestrians that frequently visit roads with LEDs installed “strongly recommend” them. 


Biography

Mark Kenber has worked on climate change for fifteen years and is an expert on international climate policy. Before becoming CEO, Mark was The Climate Group’s Deputy CEO (2010) and International Policy Director (2004-2010), and has played a pivotal role within the organisation for six years. Mark has been instrumental in developing The Climate Group’s global network and operations in India and China, and directed ground-breaking projects with the international finance, energy, technology and aviation sectors.

Mark advised former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in the joint policy initiative Breaking the Climate Deadlock (2008-2009), which produced a series of high-level reports outlining the economic and technological rationale for a global climate deal and its key components. He is also a carbon markets expert and co-founded the successful Verified Carbon Standard (formerly Voluntary Carbon Standard) (VCS), now the most popular kitemark for the $400 million voluntary market. He continues to be involved as Deputy Chair of the VCS Association.

Immediately prior to joining The Climate Group, Mark was Senior Policy Officer for WWF’s International Climate Change Programme, focusing on carbon market and finance issues. During this time he led the creation of the CDM Gold Standard, a tool for channeling carbon market investments into sustainable clean energy projects, and participated in the European Climate Change Programme working group responsible for the design of the EU ETS. He has also served as Director of Planning at Fundacion Natura, Ecuador’s largest environmental organization, and climate change advisor to the Ecuadorian government.

Mark currently sits on the Climate Change Advisory Council at Zurich Insurance (since 2009), BP’s target-neutral Assurance and Advisory Panel (since 2007); the Climate Policy Editorial Advisory Board (since 2005); and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change Steering Committee (since 2005).

Mark has taught at universities in both the UK and Ecuador and is a frequent speaker at public events. He has published widely on environmental policy and climate change and is a regular commentator in the press.

Mark has an Honours degree in Economics and an MPhil in Development Studies. He lives in Brighton and is married with one daughter.

You can follow @MarkKenber on Twitter here.

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