India Leads Southeast Asia with Region's First Heat Action Plan
April 11th-18th, 2013
India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India
Environmental Health & Governance
As temperatures rise throughout India, Ahmedabad launched a ground-breaking Heat Action Plan today, becoming the first city in South Asia to comprehensively address threat of extreme heat fueled by climate change. Propelled by 2010’s deadly heat wave, Ahmedabad officials, together with NRDC and other health and scientific partners, have developed India’s first-ever early warning system and preparedness plan to save lives when the next heat wave hits.
The Heat Action Plan can be found online here:
(Bilkul News, 4/16/2013)
AHMEDABAD: The Indian city of Ahmedabad launched a first-of-its-kind Heat Action Plan, making it the first city in South Asia to create a comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events fueled by climate change. The project created by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in partnership with an international coalition of health and academic groups, that will help in reducing the deadly impact of extreme heat by initiating an early warning system for residents, providing preparation training to medical and community workers, building public awareness of the heat-related risks, and coordinating an inter-agency emergency response efforts when heat waves hit.
(Economic Times, 4/16/2013)
Drawing millions of devotees and tourists, the two-month-long Maha Kumbh Mela festival is celebrated every 12 years on the banks of the Sangram, at the confluence of sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India. But the Ganges River especially has been revered by Hindus to the point of extinction.
The Kumbh Mela custom is to bathe in these waters – a dip is in the Ganges, or Ganga, said to be a baptism for the soul; a sip is nectar to cleanse the body – even as more than a quarter-million gallons of raw sewage are pumped into the river every day, reports The National. Factories dump industrial waste into the river, which mixes with untreated sewage from cities with treatment plants unable to keep up with the waste produced by their booming populations.
(The Weather Channel, 4/16/2013)
Toxic chemicals are accumulating in the ecosystems of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau, researchers warn in the first comprehensive study to assess levels of certain organic pollutants in that part of the world.
“The rigor and quality of the work are impressive,” says Surendra Singh, an ecologist at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. “It’s the first study to quantify the accumulation of [persistent organic pollutants] in ecosystems in the region.”
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are carbon-based compounds that are resistant to break-down. Some originate from the burning of fuel or the processing of electronic waste, and others are widely used as pesticides or herbicides or in the manufacture of solvents, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Some POPs, such as the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the herbicide Agent Orange, can cause diseases such as cancers, neurological disorders, reproductive dysfunction and birth defects.
The Eastern Himalayas in India are one of the twenty-five biodiversity hot-spots in the world. The area exhibits high species richness that is geographically unique to Himalayan region.
However, the ecology of the upper reaches of Himalayas faces extensive threat due to tunneling and diversion of Himalayan rivers.
According to a report by an Indian magazine, Tehelka, the Indian Government has planned 600 dams on the river Ganges and tunneling of 130 km, starting just 14 km from its origin.
Environmentalists worry that tunneling for such long stretches would result in loss of flora, fauna, and fertile soil. Warming climate across the globe is changing the Himalayas faster than any other region in the world, and the mighty glaciers feeding most of the Indian rivers are melting.
(Epoch Times, 4/16/2013)
The Centre for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) at the University of Colorado-Boulder, US, has an interesting continuing research. It tracks media coverage on climate change and global warming in 50 newspapers being published in 20 countries across six continents.
The study also includes India, and four English language dailies are included — Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Times of India and The Hindu.
The results are published in the form of graphs. The lines in the graph are jagged — with sharp peaks and deep ravines.
PEAKS AND TROUGHS
The lines for all the continents mostly follow the same trends, thereby indicating that there is a global pattern to media coverage on climate change. The highest peak (the highest media coverage), in all continents corresponds to November-December 2009 — just before, during and after the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Climate Change Convention held at Copenhagen in Denmark.
(The Hindu Business Line, 4/16/2013)
GENEVA (Reuters) - India hit back at U.S. accusations of trade restrictions in its solar industry on Wednesday, suggesting Washington was guilty of the banned practices, in a move that may deepen divides between giants of the developing and developed world.
India asked Washington to justify incentives offered to U.S. companies to use local labor and products in renewable energy and water projects, in filings to the World Trade Organization published on Wednesday.
It cited a list of projects in U.S. states and regions. "As the U.S. is aware, compliance with requirements of WTO agreements extends to all levels of government within a WTO member," India said in one of the filings.
Its requests for information - sometimes used as a precursor to a formal trade dispute - came two months after the United States launched a trade dispute about incentives offered to local suppliers in India's solar industry.
The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA), on Tuesday, called for imposition of anti-dumping duty on cheap imported solar equipment from China to protect the interests of the Indian industry.
Stating that government should encourage domestic production, something that is practised in countries such as Italy and Canada, ISMA said in the absence of any clear directions from the government, the domestic units would turn sick. This, in turn, would lead to a loss of jobs. Tata Power Solar CEO Ajay K. Goel said that the dilution of domestic content requirements of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) sets up perverse behaviour in the marketplace. According to Mr. Goel, this is mainly due to current global supply dynamics, where value leaks out to exporters in the U.S. and Asia. “The thin-film, a technology most experts agree is unsuitable for India, takes 75 per cent share of the projects purely due to subsidised financing. In addition, many sub-standard modules make their way into India as the policy remains sensitive only to cost and not quality, which, in the long-term, will harm the industry,” he said.
(The Hindu, 4/16/2013)
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, on Friday said India should align domestic energy prices to international market rates before exploring shale gas.
"I think shale gas is far way. We should put in place a policy and start exploring shale gas but no gas would come before three-four years. There is no evidence of how much shale gas we have. If you are not aligning domestic energy prices to the international market, then shale gas is far away," Ahluwalia told mediapersons. Ahluwalia said before exploring shale gas, other issues such as price pooling need to be resolved.
(The Hindu, 4/12/2013)
NEW DELHI: The government today expressed its commitment to incentivise use of clean energy with a view to encourage domestic production and usage.
"We are interested in incentivising the use of clean energy. We are also interested in creating a viable and competitive domestic production base," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said in his address at the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial here.
The big increase in clean energy will come from wind, solar and biomass, Ahluwalia said, adding the government will have to take "difficult decision" by incorporating them into the integrated energy policy.
"China has invested 10 times more than us in clean energy. We have to increase the percentage of clean energy and need to integrate all forms of clean energy", he said.
(The Economic Times, 4/17/2013)
Financing of green energy is one of the crucial issues for promoting expansion of clean energy, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Speaking at the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial here, he said investments in green energy were subject to technological, commercial and regulatory risks.
For the moment, green energy was not viable without subsidy or regulatory incentives, he said, adding that investors obviously needed assurance that these incentives would continue.
The Prime Minister said market forces alone would not provide sufficient financing unless the risks of policy change were appropriately addressed. He hoped that the participants in the meet would be able to share their experiences on the issue of financing of green energy.
(The Hindu, 4/17/2013)
NEW DELHI: India represented 8% of the increase in global energy-related CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2010 according to a report by US based Climate Policy Initiative (CPI). In contrast, China represented a whopping 68% of the increase in global CO2 emissions.
The study released on Monday at The Brookings Institution in Washington DC, claims to have analysed the impact of three decades of implementation of various kinds of policies to curb climate change in - India, China, Brazil, the EU, and the US. It says that impact of these policies has accelerated despite an impasse in international climate negotiations.
(The Times of India, 4/15/2013)
This compilation of the India Green News was authored by Kristina Johnson.