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India Green News: U.S.- India partnership remains strong; Indian ministries in disagreement over coal block allocations

Grace Gill Qayoumi

Posted July 11, 2013

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July 3-8, 2013

India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India

Climate Change

North India among climate impact hotspots

North India is among the few regions identified as hotspots vulnerable to extreme climate changes that could lead to drop in agricultural production and pose risks of severe ecosystem shifts, says a study.

The study — multisectoral climate impact hotspots in a warming world — is likely to be published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The hotspots, including southern Amazon basin, southern Europe, Ethopian highlands and north India are geographically diverse and are driven by different combination of coinciding sectors.

“The study identifies the regions where impacts in multiple sectors overlap. For north India, this would mean drop in agricultural production (based on 4 crops: soy, wheat, rice, maize).

The overlap is based on changes in both sectors which change average conditions from what we are used to.

If this happens in multiple sectors in parallel, impacts can amplify each other or interact, resulting in increasing adaptation challenges,” lead-author Franziska Piontek of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said.

While earlier studies explored individual impact of climate change, the new analysis is spread over four key impact sectors — water, agriculture, ecosystem and health.

(Hindustan Times, 07/04/13)


Power-starved state focused on solar parks

Solar energy is literally one of the ‘hottest’ sectors in India today, both in terms of growth and future potential and the controversies surrounding it.

The government of India launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010, setting an ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. At present, India’s solar energy capacity adds up to about 1,700 MW, but several projects — both large ones taken up by corporates and even small, roof-top ones on individual homes — are being executed across the country.

The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), a state-owned firm, has emerged as a significant player in solar energy. It is setting up four solar power parks under the public-private partnership scheme, with partial funding by the Asian Development Bank, across the state.

(Khaleej Times, 07/07/13)

U.S. – India Cooperation

India seeks US investments in power sector

India's Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia sees great potential for US investments and co-operation in the Indian power sector

Potential areas of such co-operation include transmission technologies, development of large scale hydro power, supercritical technology development for efficient energy production, smart grids and energy efficiency improvement programmes, he said.

Scindia, who was here on a short visit at the invitation of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, said a $25 billion financial re-structuring plan (FRP) aimed at improving the viability of the state power utilities.

Addressing the issues of growth of the Indian power sector, Scindia said it was especially significant in the Indian context, since apart from meeting India's energy requirement, it also drives capital investment and resultant growth.

(Business Standard, 07/04/13)

India has been and will continue to be strategic partner: US

India has been and will continue to be a strategic partner of the US, an American official said today, asserting that Secretary of State John Kerry is looking forward to continuing the positive bilateral relationship.

Kerry, who travelled to India during his just concluded Asia trip, "enjoyed every aspect of his visit," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

"He had some very productive meetings as part of the India Strategic Dialogue. He also gave a speech there about the importance of climate change and elevating that as a global issue," she said at her daily news conference.

"He even had the opportunity to go to the Lodi Gardens while it was hot out. He really enjoyed how beautiful and historic that site was," she said.

"As you know, India has been and will continue to be an important strategic partner, and I know he is grateful he was able to spend a couple of days there, and he's looking forward to continuing the positive relationship," Psaki said.

(Business Standard, 07/03/13)

India Likely To Impose Anti-dumping Duty On Solar Cell Importers Including U.S.

The New Delhi government might introduce anti-dumping duty on solar cell-importers including China and U.S., according to the Indian media.

One of the leading Indian business newspaper, Economic Times, Wednesday said that New Delhi might impose anti-dumping duty on U.S. China, Malaysia, Taiwan and other major importers of solar cells as Indian local producers last year filed a case alleging that these countries were  exporting solar equipment to India at "ridiculously low prices," which was "bleeding the local industry". 

If convinced India is planning to impose the duty after listening to the grievances of its local manufactures this month. 
"It is a complex case with over 100 companies involved. An initial hearing is scheduled for July 18 to understand the case better. We will start the investigations once the preliminary hearing is over," said an Indian official in the commerce ministry, according to the Economic Times.

"There's sufficient prima facie evidence of 'injury' being suffered by the domestic industry caused by dumped imports from the subject countries to justify initiation of an anti-dumping investigation," said the case filed by the local producers last November.

"There's an over capacity of solar cells globally due to over production by countries like China, which are also dumping at prices below our cost of production," Indosolar Ltd Managing Director HR Gupta, told the news paper.

With cheap imports flooding the European mark, EU has recently introduced provisional anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar import. 

(HNGN, 07/03/13)

Environment Governance

Clashes between environment ministry, coal ministry on blocks allocation to continue

NAGPUR: In a bid to wash off the soot left by the Coalgate scam, the ministry of coal has auctioned 14 coal blocks to public sector units (PSUs) in the biggest allocation of coal blocks since the scam. However, this process is marred by controversies and flaws, as out of these as many as 8 coal blocks fall under dense forest areas with presence of tribal villages, endangered species, rivers and other water bodies.

According to a Greenpeace India report, these 14 coal blocks allocated to various PSUs will destroy 4,200 hectares of forest, including 2,200 hectares of dense forest. Besides affecting 17 villages, this will have an adverse impact on elephants, tigers and leopards in nine blocks.

These auctions also come at a time when the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is still in the process of making the criteria for the 'inviolate' forests areas to demarcate certain forests areas to be kept out of bound from coal mining.

(The Times of India, 07/05/13)

For more news on the issues we care about, visit our India News archive or read our other International blogs.

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