India Green News: Beyond Paris; Green Financing; Air Pollution

Washington DC, June 8th
Credit: Sameer Kwatra

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

From June 4 – June 13, 2016
Compiled by Jessica Korsh

Climate Change


In boost to Paris climate pact, India says it aims to join this year

India has agreed to work toward joining the Paris Agreement on climate change this year, India and the United States said on Tuesday, giving a jolt of momentum to the international fight to curb global warming.

(Reuters – June 7, 2016)

PM Modi's US Visit Gives A Chance To Assess Strategic Ties: State Department

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in Washington this week will focus on enhancing Indo-US security and diplomatic cooperation and offers a chance to reflect on how much the strategic partnership has grown during eight years of Obama administration, the State Department has said.

"We look forward to Prime Minister Modi's visit next week, which will include both a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President (Barack) Obama and a lunch at the White House," a State Department spokesman told news agency PTI.

Since 2014, there have been six meetings and countless phone calls between Mr Obama and PM Modi, and this visit "reflects the significance that the two leaders place on the natural alliance between the two largest democratic countries of the world", the spokesperson said.

According to the official, the discussions will focus on advancing the ambitious climate change and clean energy agenda, further enhancing security and diplomatic cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region, as well as supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in both the countries.

(NDTV - June 5, 2016)

ISRO leads charge for space agency collaboration to prevent global warming

For the first time, under the impetus of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French Space Agency (CNES), space agencies of more than 60 countries agreed to engage their satellites, to coordinate their methods and their data to monitor human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

The COP21 climate conference held in Paris last December acted as a wake-up call in this context. Without satellites, the reality of global warming would not have been recognised and the subsequent historic agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York on April 22, 2016 would not have been signed. Out of the 50 essential climate variables being monitored today, 26 - including rising sea level, sea ice extent and greenhouse gas concentrations in all layers of the atmosphere - can be measured only from space.

(dnaIndia – June 4, 2016)

Climate change: Temperatures in Madhya Pradesh to surge by 1-1.5 degrees by 2045, says study

Ahmedabad: Madhya Pradesh is likely to see 1-1.2 degree Celsius rise in temperature by 2045, bringing more droughts that will pose "enormous" pressure on agriculture, water resources, infrastructure and energy sectors, according to a study.

The study, "Climate Change in Madhya Pradesh: Indicators, Impacts, and Adaptation," done jointly by faculty member Veemal Mishra of IIT-Gandhinagar and Amit Garg of IIM-Ahmedabad says that with rise in temperatures, the "frequency of severe, extreme, and exceptional droughts" will increase.

"Increased warming under the projected future climate may lead to more frequent, severe, and wide-spread droughts during the monsoons season. The frequency of hot days, hot nights, and heat waves is projected to increase in the state," it says.

(ZeeNews - June 6, 2016)

Energy

India’s Tata Power Buys Welspun Renewables

NEW DELHI—India’s Tata Power Co. said it agreed to acquire renewable-energy company Welspun Renewables Energy Pvt. Ltd. in a deal with an enterprise value of 92.49 billion rupees ($1.38 billion). Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd., the renewables unit of Tata Power, signed an agreement to acquire Welspun Energy’s subsidiary in “the largest transaction in [the] renewables space in India,” Tata Power said in a statement to the stock exchange in Mumbai on Monday.

(Wall Street Journal – June 13, 2016)

Tata Inks Biggest India Green Energy Deal Valued at $1.4 Billion

Tata Power Company Ltd. agreed to buy a 1.1 gigawatts solar and wind portfolio from Welspun Renewable Energy Pvt in India’s biggest clean energy deal, according to an exchange filing.

The transaction values Welspun’s assets at 77 million rupees a megawatt, Tata Power’s Chief Executive Officer Anil Sardana said in Mumbai on Monday. The acquisition’s enterprise value is 92.49 billion rupees ($1.4 billion), of which the debt component is $820 million, he said.

The acquisition “will give us better returns and lesser risk,” Sardana said in a broadcast briefing. “It’s strategic and tactical for Tata Power.”

Welspun’s renewable assets will boost capacity of Tata Power’s renewable energy unit to about 2.3 gigawatts, according to the filing. In addition to the 294 megawatts of wind and solar already under management, Tata Power is transferring another 500 megawatts of renewable projects onto the books of Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd. Another 400 megawatts of solar and wind projects are being implemented.

(Bloomberg – June 13, 2016)

India to Auction Wind Projects to Meet 60-Gigawatt Target

India will introduce competitive auctions for wind farms this year in a bid to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal for 60 gigawatts of capacity by 2022.  Varsha Joshi, joint secretary at the new and renewable energy ministry, said the auctions for 1 gigawatt of capacity will start in two months and have a minimum size of 25 megawatts. The ambition is to spur trading of wind power between states. “The purpose is to achieve the target of 60 gigawatts of wind capacity, which can’t happen only with wind energy being absorbed in the states that produce it,” Joshi said in a phone interview.

(Bloomberg – June 7, 2016)

US green firms commit to invest in power projects in India

New Delhi: India and the US have reaffirmed their focus on clean energy and have decided to set up new initiatives to raise funds and finance Indian solar projects, particularly in rural areas. 

A White House statement on Tuesday mentioned “5.4 GW of new commitments from US renewable companies that are seizing the opportunity to invest in India.” 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have agreed to focus on tackling climate change, increasing energy access and promoting clean energy.  It was the third bilateral summit between the two leaders.

(LiveMint - June 8, 2016)

Axis Bank Raises $500 Million Through Green Bonds At London Stock Exchange

London: Axis Bank on Monday raised $500 million at the London Stock Exchange after it launched India's first internationally-listed certified green bonds to finance climate change solutions around the world.

One of India's leading private sector capital market banks opened trading at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) with the bonds, which are certified by the Climate Bonds Standards Board, and raised $500 million.

Axis Bank said the proceeds of the bond will be invested in green energy, transportation and infrastructure projects, reinforcing India's commitment to produce 175,000 MW of renewable power by 2022.

(NDTV – June 6, 2016)

India will double its investment in clean energy research in five years: Harsh Vardhan

India will double its investment in clean energy research from the current $72 million to $145 million in the next five years, it announced on Friday, June 3, at a global meet on the subject in San Francisco in the United States, according to a statement by the Ministry of Power.

As member countries outlined their agenda for the next five years at the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial and the Inaugural Mission Innovation Meet, also called CEM7, Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan, who led the Indian delegation at the event, also announced new joint collaborations with Mission Innovation Countries.

(IBT – June 4, 2016)

Environmental Health and Governance

Health effects of PM2.5
Credit: Abhiyant Tiwari

Air pollution cuts life of Indians by average 3.4 years: study

Pune: Air pollution has reduced the life expectancy of Indians by an average of 3.4 years with Delhi topping the list at 6.3 years, according to a study. Delhi is followed by West Bengal and Bihar at the reduced life expectancy at 6.1 years and 5.7 years, respectively, stated the study conducted by the city-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in collaboration with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Colorado.

(Deccan Chronicle June 8, 2016)

Rising air pollution affecting cops' health

The rising level of air pollution in the city has a new target - traffic cops. The effect of reducing air quality is presenting a worrying picture because of its effect on the health of the traffic police. Though it is not known whether the situation changed suddenly, in the past five months traffic policemen are regularly complaining about health issues that seem to be a direct effect of emissions by vehicular traffic.

The situation was highlighted not long ago by KGMU faculty member, Professor Ajai Singh, during a seminar on May 23. Singh used the findings of a 2013-14 survey, wherein, a team of doctors spent time with 266 traffic policemen. At the end of the survey, 190 doctors were found to be more vulnerable to health issues as the level of lead in their blood streams exceeded 5 micrograms per decilitre, which is the recommended level.

(Times of India – June 6, 2016)

Air Pollution Causing Half Million Premature Deaths Per Year: IITM

New study reveals cost of these deaths is 10 times higher than national spend on health; Maharashtra beats New Delhi in terms of absolute numbers

New Delhi is already widely known to be a city plagued by the deadly effects of all-pervading pollution, majorly affecting the health of citizens living in the nation's capital or even visiting it.

Now, however, a piece of research on mortality caused by pollution, conducted by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), has shed light on an alarming countrywide situation—India has hit the mark of half a million premature deaths due to air pollution.

(Pune Mirror – June 6, 2016)

Delhi's Pollution Woes Are Far From Over: Centre For Science And Environment

NEW DELHI: Delhi's pollution troubles are "far from over", a green body today said as its analysis showed that the number of vehicles entering the national capital from other states every day is close to the total number of vehicles that get registered in the city annually.

A real time cross-border traffic survey by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that personal and passenger vehicles from outside account for 22 per cent of the total particulate load which is not only undercutting pollution control efforts in Delhi but also making enormous demand for land for parking facilities.

Noting that while cutting down on truck pollution is a good step, but not enough for the city as it is a "pollution highway" for cars, CSE said diesel fuel use is still high in Delhi as the total number of diesel cars, taxis and SUVs entering the national capital daily are also 2.5 times the diesel vehicles registered in Delhi during 2014-15.

(NDTV - June 3, 2016)

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