India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environment and energy issues in India.
July 6 – July 18, 2016
Compiled by Jessica Korsh
Climate change is likely to kill 250,000 more people each year by 2030, latest assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows. Most of these deaths will be caused from malaria, diarrhoeal disease, heat stress and malnutrition.
India, already having a high burden of these diseases, is expected to contribute significantly to these deaths globally. A separate study conducted by the University of Oxford, which was published in the international medical journal Lancet earlier this year, projected 130,000 deaths in India from climate change in 2050.
(TOI – July 11, 2016)
Bhopal: From bone dry to flooded—all the districts of Madhya Pradesh which were either experiencing drought or facing seriously deficient rainfall are now flooded. Take the example of Damoh in the Bundelkhand region of MP, about 300 km from Bhopal. It faced three successive droughts, its inhabitants had to travel miles to fetch water, several farmers committed suicide and crops had gone dry. On July 6, the same Damoh received seven inches of rainfall in seven hours flat, and got flooded. The director of the meteorological department, Bhopal circle, Anupam Kashyapi attributed this to climate change.
(TOI – July 12, 2016)
A record 6,70,803 saplings will be planted in Agra on July 11 as a part of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's ambitious green drive. "The state government has announced that on a single day (July 11), a world record will be set by planting five crore saplings in the state. The action is part of state government's 'Clean UP, Green UP' initiative.
(NDTV – July 8, 2016)
New Delhi: The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) will be organised in October here to discuss climate action post the signing of the Paris Agreement last December. This year, the theme of WSDS will be 'Beyond 2015: People, Planet and Progress' and assumes significance in the backdrop of adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) organisers said. The summit's exhibition 'Greenovation 2016' will offer a platform to global players for showcasing cutting-edge technologies and design solutions in areas of renewable energy, waste management, sustainable buildings and transport amongst others.
(TOI – July 14, 2016)
Some tiny islands formed by backwaters of scenic Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River in Kollam District in southern Kerala, among the major tourist attractions, are sinking due to rising sea level and erosion, according to local authorities. The authorities and political activists have sought assistance from global conservation organisations to deal with the “alarming” situation.
Officials said the shrinking tiny islands were inhabited by humans. But now people were leaving these tiny islands as they find it very difficult to survive here as saline water has invaded the localities.
(Indian Express – July 17, 2016)
The country can achieve as high as 50 per cent growth in electricity production up to 1.65 trillion units next year, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today. Piyush Goyal said renewable energy has received unprecedented thrust in India and he has handpicked a joint secretary level official from Prime Minister’s office to focus on solar rooftop for which a target to reach 40,000 MW by 2022 has been fixed from a mere 200 MW when he assumed charge of the Ministry.
About the entire solar energy, he said the government wants to take it to 100,000 MW from a mere 2,400 MW when he assumed office. He said technology was used in augmenting solar power capacity in the country.
(Financial Express – July 7, 2016)
Mumbai: Sidbi today entered into a partnership with private sector lender Yes Bank to guarantee 75 per cent of loans of up to Rs 15 crore extended to energy efficiency projects under a World Bank initiative. The state-run Sidbi expects to provide credit guarantee to more than 500 projects and mobilize financing of up to USD 127 million through the tie-up. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Sidbi and Yes Bank under the Partial Risk Sharing Facility (PRSF) for financing energy efficiency projects program sponsored by the World Bank, Sidbi said in a statement. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) is the project execution agency whereas Yes Bank claims to be the first Indian lender to be empanelled for the program.
(TOI – July 8, 2016)
From female basket weavers in Tanzania to the women farming salt in Gujarat, social enterprises are helping women become clean energy entrepreneurs. The model of female-led clean energy entrepreneurship is not just confined to African countries. “Our experience shows that contrary to prevailing stereotypes, women are the highest adopters of technological solutions, particularly solar,” says Ajaita Shah, founder and CEO of Frontier Markets, a social enterprise employing women to distribute clean energy products in India. “They’re passionate about earning an income, and they have a clear insight into their communities’ needs.” In rural Rajasthan, 20-year-old Hansa Chaudhary looked after her family’s crops and cattle while dreaming of pursuing her education. As a solar saheli (Indian women friends) with Frontier Markets, she is bringing clean energy technologies to remote, off-grid families, walking the “last mile” for retailers who would not otherwise be able to reach them.
(Guardian – July 9, 2016)
The world is in the midst of a solar power revolution. In under two decades, the solar PV industry has evolved from being niche to one poised to take on the utility incumbents as an affordable mainstream energy source. However, right now solar and wind still make up only 1 to 2 percent of the global energy mix. Economies of scale and advances in technology have seen the global cost of solar tumble year after year, prompting speculation that it could contribute 20 percent of total electricity consumption by 2030.
Opening up affordable lending channels to all sections of society is a cornerstone of sustainable development, and in the case of solar power has the promise of far-reaching benefits. In India, an enterprising carbon finance-supported scheme has been delivering a fairer, more equitable financial mechanism offering affordable solar energy access to low-income households, community groups, micro businesses and schools, with encouraging results.
(GreenBiz – July 12, 2016)
As our climate warms, the need for cooling equipment – such as air conditioners and refrigerators, is growing. Increases in income and a growing middle class in emerging economies further add to the demand for cooling equipment
In particular, the air conditioning market is growing by 10 to 15 percent every year in many emerging economies, including India, China, and Brazil. Nearly three-quarters of all Indian households are projected to own a room air conditioner by 2030, up from only 4 percent in 2010. Under current trends, it is estimated that an additional 700 million air conditioning units will be added by 2030, and another 1.6 billion by 2050.
The electricity needed to run the growing demand for air conditioning is putting even greater strain on these countries’ weak grids. Proportionally, room air conditioning is the largest contributor to peak load electricity use from household appliances—and can account for 40 to 60 percent of peak summer energy load in cities with hot climates, such as New Delhi.
(Climate Group – July 11, 2016)
Under the Government of India’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all (UJALA) scheme, Gujarat has become the fastest state in the country to distribute 1 crore LED bulbs in less than 50 days. Over 20 lakh households in Gujarat have already benefited from the UJALA scheme, under which 9W LED bulbs are being distributed in the state. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture company under the Union Ministry of Power, is implementing the scheme. EESL is distributing approximately 2.5 lakh bulbs daily, an official said.
(The Hindu - July 14, 2016)
The UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is preparing a road map for 100 MW (megawatt) concentrated solar thermal (CST) capacity for the next five years in India, a top official said. "We are preparing a road map for 100 MW (megawatt) concentrated solar thermal (CST) capacity for the next five years in India," said UNIDO's National Project Manager Anil Misra on Saturday. Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) asked the organisation to prepare the roadmap and preparation of it is expected to be completed by the next two months, he said. In order to popularise and promote CST power, the MNRE has floated its own programme and as a supplementary to it, there is another programme, GEF (Global Environment Facility)-UNIDO-MNRE project.
(TOI - July 17, 2016)
Environmental Health and Governance
New Delhi: Development and environment go together and are "not against" each other, newly appointed Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said today as he took over from Prakash Javadekar during whose tenure activists had raised apprehensions about dilution of green norms. Speaking in the presence of Mr Javadekar, who now has the Human Resource Development portfolio, Mr Dave said all projects undertaken by his predecessor will continue although he would take a week's time to understand the functioning of the department. On how he would maintain a balance between environment and development, he said, "Development and environment go together. They are not against each other. We need to look at the issue in this manner."
(NDTV – July 6, 2016)
Anil Madhav Dave, appointed the new Environment Minister on July 6, 2016, said he will understand the challenges of his department and then decide the course of action on matters about the environment, forest and climate change. India has 11 out of 20 of the most polluted cities in the world. Ministers and citizens need to work harder at combating air pollution, which is one of the leading causes of mature death in the country. Times of India reported that every year, 1.59 million people in India die because of air pollution and according to a WHO report from 2014, Delhi had the dirtiest atmosphere out of 1,600 countries around the world.
Measures to curb toxic levels of pollution are being taken including the two, two-week introductions of the odd-even scheme by the AAP government. The Supreme Court is also trying to ban diesel cars above 2000 cc in major metropolitan cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai. However, recent data released by NASA shows that India is still struggling with toxic air. Bloomberg reported that the “research depicts how much sunlight is blocked by airborne particles, providing a proxy for levels of pollution. The data show parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain…suffer some of the planet’s worst haze in October through January after monsoon rains end in September”.
(India times - July 8, 2016)
Pollution is no doubt a major problem. But how much are people willing to pay to get rid of it? The answer: A lot. But, it also depends on a person’s income. That’s what my coauthor and I found in a new study. The findings come as leaders in emerging economies like China and India ramp up efforts to confront pollution. We provide a key metric to help them decide which specific policy changes strike the right balance between economic growth and clean air.
Knowing people's willingness to pay indicates how they weigh the money in their pockets vs the air they breathe. On average people are willing to pay $5.46 to remove one unit of pollution from the air they breathe for 5 years. Infographic available here.
(Forbes – July 12, 2016)
Less than one per cent of India’s population lives in areas that meet World Health Organization air quality guidelines. But if stringent air pollution regulations are in place, this could increase to almost 10 per cent by 2040, says a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The “Energy and Air Pollution, World Energy Outlook Special Report”, released in June, assesses the role of energy in air pollution and makes emissions projections for 2040 based on two scenarios.
The existing policy scenario includes policies adopted or announced by the government, and the clean air scenario highlights what could be achieved through stronger action. Housing over one-sixth of the world’s population but using only six per cent of energy, India’s energy use is bound to rise, the report says. Thermal power stations, vehicles, back-up generators, brick kilns, industrial activity and biomass burning for cooking and heating are major sources of energy-related pollution. Without policy efforts, sulfates and particulates would roughly double by 2040 and nitrates would grow almost 2.5 times.
(The Hindu - July 13, 2016)
The Delhi government’s flagship pollution-control plan—the odd-even scheme—will be back for a third round in winter this year, Transport Minister Satyendar Jain said. Jain cited the sharp spike in pollution levels during winter months as the reason behind the decision to bring back the road rationing scheme. “During monsoon, pollution levels are at their lowest levels. We are not going to implement the odd-even policy, or even observe a car-free day, right now,” he said. “We will bring it back once winter sets in, because that’s when pollution levels begin rising,” said Jain.
(Indian Express – July 13, 2016)
New Delhi: Diesel vehicles older than 10 years will be banned in Delhi immediately, the National Green Tribunal said today, refusing to back down on its order last year. The green court has asked the government to cancel the registration of vehicles that are more than 10 years old. It has also asked that a list of such vehicles be handed over to the Delhi Traffic Police for prosecution. Last year, the tribunal had asked Delhi to ban such vehicles saying that: "Pollution levels are at alarming levels and residents of Delhi deserve better." The tribunal had also said such vehicles coming from other states should also not be allowed to enter Delhi.
(NDTV – July 18, 2016)