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India Green News: Efficient air conditioners and green buildings are key to India's energy future, say two studies.

Kristina Johnson

Posted October 25, 2013

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October 15th-24th

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


Improved air conditioners can save India 60,000 MW (Comment, Special to IANS)

The India-US climate cooperation agreed to during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent summit meeting with President Barack Obama will also include a focus on improving the energy efficiency of air-conditioning in India, which has the potential to avoid as many as 120 large power plants of 500 MW each, and to help avoid brownouts and blackouts. More importantly, it has the potential to significantly reduce the import of fuel for power plants, thereby reducing the vexing issue of the current account deficit that the finance ministry and the new Reserve Bank of India governor are trying to tackle.

The preliminary calculations based on study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, show that such reduction in import of the fossil fuel can be much more than announced under the increase in import duty on gold and other electronic appliances, as urgent measures.

Air conditioners could add as much as 140 GW to peak load by 2030. The new India-US Collaboration on Smart and Efficient Air Conditioning and Space Cooling is intended to advance policies and innovation to drive mass deployment and rapid uptake of high-efficiency cooling equipment and technologies to capture significant energy savings.

(Business Standard, 10/24/2013)

Shakti Foundation inks deal with EESL for energy efficiency

Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to undertake collaborative activities to promote energy efficiency and conservation in the country.

Under the agreement, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation will provide technical support to EESL to ensure the effective implementation of EESL programmes.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited is a joint venture of Central Public Sector Enterprises - NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation of India Limited, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Grid Corporation India Limited - under the ministry of power. It was set up to lead market development and implement the "national mission for enhanced energy efficiency".

(News Track India, 10/16/2013)

Savings, government policies drive energy efficiency in Asia: survey

Johnson Controls has released its latest global Energy Efficiency Indicator study, providing a summary on Asia for the first time as well as highlighting the growing interest in energy management in buildings in the region

Johnson Controls recently released its 2013 Energy Efficiency Indicator study which presented a summary on the state of energy efficient building in Asia for the first time. Image: toonman /

Energy efficiency in commercial buildings is experiencing an interest growth in Asia, with a jump of 10 per cent from 2010 according to a new worldwide study published by Johnson Controls on Monday.

(, 10/16/2013)

National building code with green norms will be ready by March

The country will have a fine-tuned National Building Code by March next year. This addendum to the original building code will incorporate green building norms among other aspects, according to Prem Chand Jain, Chairman of Indian Green Building Council.

The draft upgraded norms have been circulated and feedback received. Based on the response, the 13-member panel, which Jain works with, has incorporated many of new features.

“We will take the draft code to several cities, discuss with various stakeholders, including municipal bodies, before releasing them. This will serve as a reference point and a guideline for engineers, architects, builders, local bodies and material suppliers etc,” Jain told Business Line.

(The Hindu Business Line, 10/18/2013)

Local sourcing mandatory in Phase II of solar projects

Cocking a snook at the US, which had objected to compulsory local sourcing conditions imposed in the first phase of India’s National Solar Mission, the country is all set to extend similar norms to the second phase as well.

Domestic sourcing conditions would, however, be imposed on just 50 per cent of capacity earmarked for the second phase, a senior Government official has said.

(The Hindu Business Line, 10/20/2013)

Climate Change

No phasing out refrigerant gases: India

Sticking to its stance of not allowing phase-out of climate changing refrigerant gases under the Montreal Protocol at this juncture, India continued to block the move at the ongoing meeting of the multilateral agreement in Bangkok.

India has opposed bringing control of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — a family of greenhouse gases used as refrigerants — under the Montreal Protocol, which is meant to deal only with ozone-depleting gases.

Recently India came in for diplomatic arm-twisting by the U.S. to let that happen in the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with President Barack Obama. Having softened its stance on the issue at the G20 talks, the Indian government had to take a step back later in bilateral meetings with the U.S.

(The Hindu, 10/24/2013)

Why don’t Indian media write more on climate change?

When an Asian climate change report was launched in the Indian capital last month, it was presented by a big Indian television news channel that has no regular programming of its own on environment or climate issues, and that relies on imported Bollywood stars to attract viewers to its annual climate change gala.

Some media analysts say the slim coverage of climate issues by India’s local-language press is due more to commercial decisions and a shortage of trained science journalists than a lack of interest among readers and viewers.

Yet the number of journalists focusing on the environment and climate change has been rising. “Since the time emails have become pervasive, say since the 1990s, the number of registered environmental journalists has grown to about 500,” says Daryl D’Monte, chairman of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India.

(Thomas Reuters Foundation, 10/21/2013).

‘Climate change affecting major food crops’

Climate change is hitting closer to home than earlier expected. Agriculture production has seen a significant drop due to the effects of climate change such as increased temperature, floods and drought.

In a country struggling with rising population and the need to feed people ore every year, farm production is taking a big hit, according to Sanjoy Bandyopadhyay, Principal Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

Climate change has resulted in 70 per cent of India’s land becoming drought-prone, 12 per cent flood-prone, while eight per cent is affected by cyclones.

(Business Line, 10/18/2013)

Environmental Health and Governance

Air pollution: India faces a grim predicament

Earlier this week, in the babble and bombast over Gandhi vs Modi, a seminal announcement from Lyon, France, with great — and grave — relevance to India, escaped the attention it deserved.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced, for the first time, that air pollution causes lung cancer.

It also said that poisoned air’s major component, particulate matter — smoke, dust and other dirty byproducts of road traffic, factories and construction — must now be classified a carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance, alongside tobacco, asbestos and ultraviolet radiation.

(Hindustan Times, 10/23/2013)

Early warning, massive evacuations save eastern India from large cyclone casualties

Three days after the dreaded Cyclone Phailin battered the heavily populated eastern coast of India with torrential rain and terrifying winds in excess of 200 kilometers (124 miles) an hour, a delicate consensus has emerged on its impact.

As anticipated, the material destruction has been terrible, and the flood waters left in the cyclone's wake have caused a second crisis as tens of thousands wait for relief operations to reach them. But here's the good news. Decisive interventions by the state, including a mass evacuation of almost 1 million people as the cyclone approached, were able to minimize the loss of human lives. The death toll from the cyclone was at least 43. Some of these casualties were the result of the floods following the storm.

By comparison, as many as 10,000 perished in 1999, the last time a cyclone on this scale hit the east coast of India. Overall, the price of life continues to be far too cheap in India -- the same weekend as Phailin, more than 100 people died needlessly in a stampede near a temple in the center of the country. But the handling of the cyclone by multiple state agencies, from the Indian Meteorological Department to the Odisha Disaster Management Authority, sets an improved benchmark for responding to natural disasters.

(ClimateWire, 10/15/2013)


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