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Shravya Reddy’s Blog

India Climate Change and Energy News - Week of November 28 to December 4, 2010

Shravya Reddy

Posted December 8, 2010

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Climate Change

India Says Climate Talks Moving from Global Treaty

“United Nations climate talks in Mexico are moving away from a global treaty, and nations should focus more on what they can be doing domestically to prevent climate change, India’s environment minister said…. ‘An international agreement is not anywhere on the horizon,’ Jairam Ramesh said today in New Delhi. ‘Action has to be domestic. That’s what the last 15 months has shown’…. Policy makers have lowered expectations for a new climate treaty after efforts foundered a year ago in Copenhagen to write a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. India expects to be a ‘bridge player’ by helping narrow the divisions between the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest polluters, Ramesh said.”

(Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 11/30/10)

India Proposes a Monitoring System for All Big Emitters 

India is pushing a global emissions monitoring system in Cancun talks that could become the centerpiece of a compromise with the United States if other developing countries sign on. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is said to expect a ‘quid pro quo’ from the United States to make the deal work, new documents show…. In proposing a system that the United States and China might agree upon, Ramesh in no uncertain terms told U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern and Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman that money and technology assistance to developing countries must be part of any deal on formulating a transparent system. Moreover, he said, extending the 1997 Kyoto Protocol beyond its expiration date in 2012 is a key element to any agreement.”

(The New York Times, 12/1/10)

‘My Mandate is to Bring US on Board in Climate Talks’

“’I have submitted a proposal on MRV (measurement, review and verification)-LCA (international consultation and analysis) and on technology transfer. Both are linked to each other. There cannot be any progress on MRV issues provided we see quid pro quo from US on technology issues. Both are 10-point proposals. The MRV proposal suggested graded regime for verification of climate mitigation obligations. In this, I have proposed that for all countries, which had emissions equivalent or more than 1% of the global average, who are also major emitters, the frequency of MRV should be once in three years and for others once in six years. In the technology proposal, we have suggested a regime for free transfer of technology from public regime…. My mandate is to play a bridge between US and others.’”

(Hindustan Times, 12/3/10)

Ensure BASIC Solidarity: Ramesh told at the Cancun Talks

“The Union Cabinet , which drew clear red lines for Mr. Jairam Ramesh’s negotiating brief at the Cancun climate talks , instructed the minister to opt for a line that ensures solidarity of the BASIC group and protects India’s sovereign space in verification of climate change mitigation efforts…. The Ministry Of External Affairs has been arguing against New Delhi finalising its position without assessing the developed world’s negotiating stance…. While there was agreement that Mr. Ramesh should have some amount of latitude during talks, ministers who participated in the discussion maintained that there should be no dilution in India’s stand on MRV (measurement, reporting and verification). India has consistently maintained that only those actions supported by international funding should be opened for verification.”

(The Economic Times, 12/2/10)

India Envoy Says Climate Talks’ Success ‘Remote’ if Kyoto’s Not Extended

India said the success of global climate talks in Mexico would be “remote” unless countries agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012…. ‘If the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is not there, then I’m afraid the prospects for any positive outcome at Cancun are very remote,’ Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said today in an interview at his office in New Delhi…. Countries failed last year in Copenhagen to write a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that created an emissions-trading program and awarded hundreds of millions of Euros in tradable credits to projects in India to help reduce greenhouse-gas pollution.”

(Bloomberg, 12/2/10)

A Low-carbon Future?

“Though India's current per capita CO2 emissions are 1.2 metric ton (MT) against a world average of 4 (the US is 19), this cannot be used as an excuse for complacency in investing in green projects. Global warming is a real threat, and by facilitating additional investments and transfer of technology, low carbon investment can reinforce India's growth while controlling the carbon intensity of its development path. After all, India is both a large potential market for products borne out of low-carbon investments (like energy efficient household appliances) as well as an emerging player in the low-carbon industry — developing photovoltaic cells, wind power, waste management, reforestation efforts etc. ‘We have the option to get locked into a high-carbon growth trajectory since we have abundant reserves of coal. We find ourselves at a critical juncture if we want to stay on a low-carbon growth trajectory,’ says Shreekant Gupta, adjunct professor of Economics at the Lee-Kwan Yu School of Public Policy in Singapore.”

(Hindustan Times, 11/28/10)


Green Drive: Star ratings for Cars Soon

“Vehicles in India will soon come with star ratings, signifying how environment-friendly they are…. The star ratings are part of the government's move to stipulate strict fuel efficiency norms for cars, especially sports utility vehicles. The automobile firms are opposing it…. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), mandated by the prime minister's office to stipulate the norms under the Energy Conservation Act, wants automobile manufacturers to opt for fuel efficiency norms either on the basis of brand or weight…. The first option would mean separate star ratings for say, the Maruti Alto and the Maruti Wagon R. The second rating would be on the basis of both weight and engine capacity, which means both the Alto and the Wagon R would have the same rating.”

(Hindustan Times, 11/29/10)

Environmental Compliance and Governance

Govt Plans to Set up Environment Assessment, Monitoring Authority

“As part of its initiative to bring in larger regulatory reforms and improve environmental governance, the Government proposes to set up a national environment assessment and monitoring authority (NEAMA)…. The proposed authority is a revised version of the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA)…. It would be a professional autonomous body with domain experts, technological finesse and field outreach to appraise projects for environmental clearance besides monitoring compliance and initiating enforcement action…. NEAMA is a structural response for filling gaps in critical areas such as appraisal process and environmental clearances, among others, says a discussion paper put out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to seek comments from various stakeholders.”

(Hindu Business Line, 11/28/10)

India to Include Environmental Cost in Growth Rate: Ramesh

“By 2015, India will report its gross domestic product (GDP) in a manner that takes into account the cost of the environment, its preservation and natural resources, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday…. 'We need to redefine the way we measure growth and take into account the ecological environmental deficit,' he said…. 'By 2015, we will not only consider GDP as conventionally measured today but will also be reporting the GDP defining the estimated cost of the environment, its preservation and natural resources,' Ramesh said during the 5th Sustainability Summit: Asia 2010 here.”

(Sify, 11/30/10)

Centre: What about Impact on Environment

In its curative petition seeking enhancement of compensation to gas tragedy victims, filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, the Centre said that after the trial court in Bhopal pronounced its verdict in the criminal case against the accused on June 7, awarding two-year imprisonment, there was widespread public outcry and concern throughout the country. This led to a comprehensive reconsideration and review at the highest level by the Union of India of all issues of the gas tragedy and its aftermath. Various extremely hazardous wastes were lying on and around the factory premises. But the impugned judgments and orders of May 4, 1989 and October 3, 1991 ‘do not take into account the impact of the disaster on the environment’ and as ‘the respondents are liable to pay the costs on account of environmental degradation it is imperative that the settlement figure be reworked keeping in mind the true ground realities i.e. the actual number of fatalities and injuries.’”

(The Hindu, 12/3/10)

MoEF Okays Jaitapur Project, with 35 Riders

“The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) today okayed the 10,000-Mw Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, to be developed by the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) in collaboration with French power equipment maker firm Areva. The ministry also laid down 35 conditions and safeguards, of which12 are general and 23 specific…. Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh, who handed over the environmental clearance to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, admitted the decision had been difficult but was a balancing act. ‘The decision has been taken in 80 days, based on four crucial factors — economic growth, fuel mix diversification, strategic diplomacy and environment protection,’ he said.”

(Business Standard, 11/29/10)


(Prepared by Andy Gupta, Program Assistant)

Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the India Initiative or of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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