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Surveys say many Indians worried about pollution, but "unconcerned" about climate change

Kristina Johnson

Posted June 5, 2013

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May 28th-June 3rd, 2013

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

Environmental Health & Governance

Urban Indians grow concerned about pollution: Survey


NEW DELHI: India's cities are becoming more polluted and unhealthy, according to a new survey published Monday showing growing concern about the impact of high economic growth on the environment. 

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) research group based in New Delhi questioned 4,039 people living in India's six biggest cities about their perceptions, opinions and awareness of the environment and green issues over the last five years.

"Air quality in these six cities has become worse in the last five years or seen no change," the survey said.

"Surface water quality seemed to have deteriorated in all cities apart from Mumbai (no change). Five cities saw a fall in ground water availability (excluding Chennai) and the number of trees, birds and animals saw a decline in all six cities."

The survey said respondents from Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad claimed a worsening of waste management in their city, while respondents from Kolkata and Mumbai saw an improvement. The survey also showed Indians were increasingly conscious of the need to reduce pollution and that governments, industry and others should strike a balance between protecting the environment and development, said TERI's Ligia Noronha.

(Times of India, 6/3/2013)

Chennai breathless as more vehicles add to pollution

CHENNAI: Everyone takes the air they breathe for granted, but many city doctors feel the need to focus on respiratory health is more pressing now. The rapid increase in vehicle population in the city has led to ENT and pulmonology clinics seeing a surge in cases of respiratory illnesses caused due to severe air pollution.

The allergy and pulmonology clinic at the Madras ENT Research Foundation (MERF), which registered 823 cases of respiratory illnesses in 2011, saw more than 1,472 cases last year with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) topping the list.

"With its humid weather acting as a trigger, Chennai seems to choke with respiratory issues and the situation will ease only when the pollution levels come down," says MERF managing director Dr Mohan Kameswaran. He said 90% of the patients coming to the clinic suffered from dust allergy that stemmed from environmental pollution.

(Times of India, 6/2/2013)

Climate Change

Over 40pc of adults 'unconcerned, indifferent about global warming'

NEW DELHI Over 40 per cent of adult Indians are unconcerned, indifferent or disengaged about global warming, posing a threat to policy implementation on this crucial subject, says a research report by the Yale University.

According to the report, supported by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, while 43 per cent of adult Indians are informed or experienced, an almost equal number of 42 per cent are unconcerned, indifferent or disengaged.

The remaining 15 per cent are undecided, says the report titled “Global Warming’s Six Indias” that categorises the views of adult Indians in six segments.

It shows that 19 per cent of the people are “informed” about the issues of global warming and climate change, while 24 per cent are “experienced.” Fifteen per cent are “unconcerned”, 11 per cent “indifferent” and 16 per cent “disengaged”.

(Oman Tribune, 5/30/2013)

India lags behind China in tackling climate change: Expert


JOHANNESBURG: India has failed to meet its commitments towards tackling climate change mainly due to bureaucratic hurdles while China, the world's biggest polluter, has a better record, an expert said here. 

"A lot of the initiatives that the Indian government has taken look great on paper, but in reality there has not been an improvement in the market, which is the difference between India and China," said Dilip Limaye of the Energy Services Company (ESCO) while presenting the paper at the inaugural International ESCO Finance Conference.

Based in the US, India-born Limaye singled out the South Asian country's temperament in implementing strategy as the reason for this situation.

"The capacity to implement from the private sector, which outdoes China anytime, is there, but the bureaucracy from government and the regulation is still not enough."

On the contrary, China has fared much better than India in its efforts to implement alternative energies to deal with global warming.

"China is the biggest polluter in the world; more even than the US, but at least they are making an effort. When they set five-year term targets, they meet them," he said.

However, in India, Limaye said that "the strategy is there, the plans are there, the funding is there, but the problem is that they are not deploying the funds."

(Economic Times, 6/3/2013)


ACs ready for tougher green norms

Calcutta, June 2: Air conditioners are set to turn costly from next year because of tougher energy-efficient norms, but the makers are confident that this will not hurt sales.

Companies are planning to invest in ground staff who will educate customers on the scope of higher cost recovery in the long run.

According to Panasonic, it is still a challenge for a brand to communicate its value over price even though the Indian consumer has evolved.

“Although there still exists a class of consumers for whom pricing is of paramount consideration, we believe that the growth in technology and greater awareness will not let prices hamper the segment,” said Kanwal Jeet Bawa, managing director of Daikin India.

“With a largely enlightened buyer today looking at cost effectiveness and energy efficiency, the subsequent rise in prices because of the addition of such features will not affect the consumer buying pattern,” he said.

(Calcutta Telegraph, 6/2/2013)

Chinese onslaught: Govt set to protect domestic market

India is readying to protect its domestic manufacturers from Chinese products swamping the market, despite the danger of WTO rules looming large. The move, however, courts the danger of other countries dragging India to WTO terming the favours granted as unfair trade practices under the international agreement.

Three Central ministries - Telecom, Heavy Industries and Renewable Energy - would soon have policies to protect domestic producers from the increasing penetration of foreign manufacturers especially in the form of cheaper equipment from China.

These three sectors contribute to around 1/3 of annual manufacturing output in terms of money but their growth has slowed down in the recent years, with many players opting for cheaper and less reliable Chinese goods, thereby making the market unprofitable for domestic manufacturers.

“The Bharat Heavy Industries Limited has already manufactured equipment required to generate power in the 12th plan. We have expanded facilities to meet the target of the 13th five year plan also. But, the buyers are opting for cheaper Chinese power generation equipment and we are helpless,” said a senior official of the ministry of heavy industries.

This has prompted heavy industries minister Praful Patel to urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week to take a policy initiative which would protect the domestic manufacturers. He suggested incentives or mandatory sourcing of certain amount of equipment from the manufacturers as a part of the policy. The ministry also wants higher duty on power equipment imported from China.

(Hindustan Times, 6/2/2013)

Indian firms non-committal on Iran gas field contract

New Delhi: In the first such instance since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the monarchy in Iran, the Gulf country has offered a production-sharing contract (PSC) to Indian firms to develop the Farzad-B gas field in its offshore Farsi block, but local firms are non-committal because Iran faces sanctions due to its nuclear programme.

Iran has been working on a new contract arrangement to attract foreign investors to its hydrocarbon sector in the backdrop of US and European Union (EU) sanctions over its nuclear programme. Iran maintains it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and not to make bombs.

Iran has offered the first such pact globally to an Indian consortium comprising ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), which won a bid for the block in 2002 from National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC). Although the group does not have ownership rights, it was to be paid a 15% return on investment once it was awarded development rights.

“There has been no decision on the PSC and the issue is till hanging,” an OIL executive said, requesting anonymity. “Frankly speaking, we want to get out of it because of the US sanctions. We have already invested in the US and are interested in more properties there.”

OIL and IOC jointly acquired a 30% stake in Carrizo Oil and Gas Inc.’s shale assets in the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado last year.

After India and the US signed a civil nuclear deal in 2008, several Iran-related Indian projects have either been put on hold or dropped. This PSC will also provide a test case of India’s resolve for energy security vis-à-vis the willingness to accommodate US sensitivities.

“The Iranians have proposed a PSC, which is a first. It is a sweetener from their side,” said an IOC executive, who also declined to be named. “Let’s see how this contentious issue of sanctions can be avoided. It is important as anyone doing business there will attract sanctions in other places. If that can’t be resolved, we may not sign it. Let’s see how this works out.”

(Livemint, 6/2/2013)

India Solar-Credit Demand Slumps as Power Companies Snub Targets

Indian demand for solar-power credits has dropped 43 percent this month as electricity producers and distributors sidestep clean-energy targets, according to REConnect Energy Solutions Pvt.

Bids for credits, which power companies and industrial consumers need to meet renewable-energy goals, declined to 1,999 in May from 3,522 in April, REConnect said in an e-mail. The Indore-based trader records all the transactions on the Indian Electricity Exchange and the Power Exchange of India.

Trading remains “dry” because authorities are failing to enforce clean-energy targets on state electricity distributors and large power producers, REConnect said.

India, which generates 58 percent of its electricity from coal, requires companies including Tata Power Co. (TPWR) to get as much as 10 percent of their energy from renewables. Those unable to source enough locally may meet targets by buying credits from wind, solar, hydro and biomass plants via the two exchanges.

The decline in demand has pushed the price of credits to as low as 10,990 rupees ($196) apiece, according to REConnect. Each credit represents 1 megawatt-hour of electricity fed into the power grid.

(BusinessWeek, 5/30/2013)

U.S.-India Cooperation

US needs to work with India, China on climate change: Report

WASHINGTON: The US, which accounts for 18 per cent of the global carbon dioxide emissions, needs to work with India and China to make meaningful improvement on issues related to climate change and resource scarcity, a Congressional report has said.

"US currently accounts for about 18 per cent of global CO2 emissions which is projected to decline to about 15 per cent by 2035 as emissions in other countries rise. Growing economies like China and India should reduce their intake of carbon emission," the Congressional Budget Office said in a report on the policy implications of enacting a carbon tax.

The report notes that global efforts to reduce carbon emissions have fallen short.

"Analysts have estimated that in absence of a global approach, between 1 per cent and 23 per cent of the reduction in US emissions stemming from carbon tax could be offset through leakages, as higher prices for emission-intensive goods produced in US increased demand for cheaper emission intensive goods produced elsewhere," said the report.

(Economic Times, 5/30/2013)

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



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