Welcome to the first post here at Lights On, a weekly newsletter that brings you original reporting and a curated list of essential news on climate change, energy and sustainability in India and beyond.
When I started as a correspondent with Bloomberg BNA (now Industry Group) in January 2019 I quickly realised I was one of the very few journalists covering the energy beat for a foreign media house. I was bemused.
How could the global business community be so oblivious to such a key region of the world - home to so much research and innovation? How could such a powerhouse be routinely overlooked by the energy and climate change community (or at least by the media speaking to them) beyond trite poverty porn or attention grabbing headlines on solar capacity?
From a field visit to Delhi’s Dwarka metro station - many of these tuk tuks may become electric soon
Where it all started
Moving to India two years ago was a leap of faith. But so was leaving my home country five years before then, at an age where many people are ready to settle.
My first job in the UK focused on reporting research from the developing world, which too often was falling under the radar. Those first formative years taught me many things, but the one key lesson that stays with me everywhere I end up living or working (so far it’s been Italy, UK, Kenya and India) is that Western media are as powerful in setting the global agenda as they are dangerously shortsighted. It’s no surprise that when we say ‘mainstream media’ we mostly conjure up Western titles - this happens even in India.
Why Delhi matters
If you work in energy or sustainability, or you simply care about climate change, by overlooking India you risk missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. And not just because its population size. For scale, India is the third biggest CO2 emitter in the world, and by 2040 it may account for 11% of the global energy demand. Whether these emissions rise or decrease - and if the energy the country demands will come from clean or dirty sources - matters to the whole world.
So while when I first landed in Delhi my plan was not at all clear, beyond covering my beat, I now know that there is an information gap that needs addressing, and local voices that need to be amplified.
I am starting this project for you, the reader with a passion for energy and climate change and an eye for the business side of things. This is your project as well as mine, and at this stage is particularly important for me to receive your feedback on content, the topics you would like to see more of, and the ways you would like to interact with me and with other readers.
For the first few months, Lights On will be free to read, with a view to implementing a membership scheme once our community is ready to grow further.