India Green News: 4th Straight Hottest Year in India & More
2017 was the fourth straight hottest year recorded in India; How energy efficiency policies can help India save almost $17 billion by 2030; Air pollution-linked deaths will triple by 2050 if no action is taken
India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India.
January 18-25, 2018
The India Meteorological Department, in its draft climate summary, said 2017 was the hottest year recorded in the country’s history – the fourth straight year that the record has been broken, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday. The average temperature across India in 2017 was 0.71 degrees Celsius above the 1971-2001 average, the department said.
The period from October to December 2017 was the third warmest since 1901, the Met department said after analyzing weather data.
Scientists on Thursday said 2017 was the hottest year on record without an additional boost by the natural climate cycle El Niño, The Guardian reported. There were extreme weather events worldwide over the year, from hurricanes in the United States and the Caribbean to scorching heatwaves in Australia and a drought and flood in Asia….
(Scroll.in – January 19, 2018)
Refrigeration is essential for preserving food, comfort conditioning of living spaces and workplaces, and for the temperature and humidity control of different industrial processes. Today, there is an increased awareness of the emissions and refrigerants used to build cooling equipment, which tend to endanger the environment. The problem, however, is that while we know what not to use while building cooling devices, the alternatives remain unknown.
In high ambient countries like India, air-conditioning (AC) is important for productivity, especially in summers. But the penetration of cooling appliances is low in India: 6% of urban households.
However, factors such as urbanization and rise in per-capita income, coupled with increase in global average temperatures, contribute to growth potential for the segment….
(Economic Times – January 18, 2018)
January 18 (Renewables Now) - Solar parks in India accounted for 45% of the country’s fresh power capacity installations in 2017, surpassing coal for the first time, consultancy Mercom Capital said.
Last year, India added about 9.5 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity, bringing the country’s cumulative to around 19.5 GW. Installation activity was mostly spurred by the drop of costs, which fell to as low as INR 2.44 (USD 0.038/EUR 0.031) per kWh in an auction in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, wind farms represented 19.6% of India’s total power capacity additions last year, followed by coal with a 18.9% share. The total installed wind power capacity at the end of the year stood at 33 GW….
(Renewables Now – January 18, 2018)
After a year's wait for the central government nod to issue tax-free bonds, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is finally set to issue green bonds, reportedly the first Urban Local Body (ULB) to issue such bonds in the country.
The civic body has been exploring new ways to raise money through the market, eyeing international investors as well.
In his draft budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, civic chief Mukesh Kumar has proposed to issue green bonds worth Rs 200 crore.
Green bonds are expected to bring a solution to the issue of Pirana garbage dump as AMC may utilise the money raised from selling the bonds to initiate bio-mining of the garbage hill. The money raised from green bonds is primarily utilised for projects in sanitation, cleanliness and waste recycling….
(Daily News & Analysis – January 21, 2018)
In order to kick-start fund mobilization under the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the central government will set up a $350-million solar development fund. Nine companies and banks have agreed to develop and finance various solar projects, which include a $1-billion partnership corpus of NTPC and CLP India to the ISA.
The fund was announced by R K Singh, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, at the first ever outreach program of the ISA in Abu Dhabi’s World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2018. “Over the years, renewable energy has become cheaper and is set to replace conventional energy, which is a healthy development… India has one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the world and the country would achieve its target of 175 gigawatt of installed renewable energy capacity well before 2020. The ISA shall help mobilize sufficient funds for solar energy projects,” Singh said in his address at the WFES….
(Business Standard – January 19, 2018)
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND AIR POLLUTION
Air pollution- linked deaths in India could increase to 3.6 million by 2050 if no further actions are taken, according to a recent report published by the Health Effects Institute and IIT Bombay. The estimate took into account only pollution caused by PM 2.5, particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or less in diameter.
The analysis envisages three scenarios of mitigation actions and the tripling of mortality rates occurs in the no-action scenario. If very aggressive actions are taken to lower pollution, 1.2 million deaths could be avoided annually, the authors said.
A Global Burden of Disease report published last year estimated that 1.1 million deaths in India were linked to PM 2.5 air pollution in 2015. The new report also breaks down deaths linked to specific sources of pollution. Pollution from biomass burning is not on the largest contributor to ambient air pollution across India, it was also responsible for the largest number of deaths in 2015: 270,000….
(Hindustan Times – January 19, 2018)
Following orders from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), major traffic intersections in the national capital will display hourly Air Quality Index (AQI) and health advisories on LED panels under a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) project. The project, which was earlier envisaged by the Delhi government but not executed, will also be extended to the city’s hospitals and Metro stations, soon.
“Fifty traffic signals have been selected for the first phase of the initiative,” said CPCB scientist Aditya Sharma, who oversaw its rollout. He added that the PMO was behind the move. “We have covered major signals in ITO and Connaught Place, for now,” Sharma said….
(Indian Express – January 19, 2018)
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India's specifications and standards regulatory body, announced it has revised the standards on petrol and diesel as per Bharat Stage (BS) VI fuel norms from the earlier BS IV emission norms.
"BIS has revised the Indian Standards on Petrol (IS 2796) and Diesel (IS 1460) as per BS VI fuel norms. So far, these standards covered fuel requirements based on emission norms up to BS IV," BIS said in a statement.
BS norms introduced in 2000 are emission control standards introduced by the government, based on European emission standards, to keep a check and control over release of air pollutants from equipment using internal combustion engines including vehicles….
(Economic Times – January 18, 2018)
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the union environment ministry to not grant environmental clearance to any new thermal power plant unless they comply with emission standards notified in December 2015.
NGT was hearing a petition by environmental activist, Sunil Dahiya on the delay in implementing the standards and the resulting air pollution from thermal power plants across the country. The principal bench of NGT also directed the MoEFCC to not grant any environmental clearance to new thermal power plants unless they show mechanisms in place to implement and achieve the emission standards and water consumption requirements as stipulated in the new notification, said a statement from Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE). Advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Chowdhury of LIFE who are representing the petitioner said the MoEFCC had informed NGT that they had moved SC recently seeking an extension of the deadline for implementation of the standards….
(Times of India – January 18, 2018)
India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum (WEF).
While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned. Its overall low ranking—177 among 180 countries—was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.
The report was released on the sidelines of the ongoing WEF in Davos, Switzerland. It said deaths attributed to ultra-fine PM2.5 pollutants have risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1,640,113 annually in India….
(LiveMint – January 25, 2018)
Compiled by Laasya Bhagavatula
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.