India Green News: Climate change; Energy; Air Pollution

Credit: Dr. Kim Knowlton

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

From June 13 – June 20, 2016
Compiled by Jessica Korsh


Climate Change

Under Modi, India Is Embracing a More Constructive Role on Climate Change

During his visit to Washington last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to formally ratifying the Paris climate change agreement by the end of 2016. In an email interview, Neil Bhatiya, the climate and diplomacy fellow at the Center for Climate and Security, discusses India’s response to climate change.

(WPR - June 17, 2016)


Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today, scientists warn

Unprecedented temperature levels mean more heatwaves, flooding, wildfires and hurricanes as experts say global warming is here and affecting us now.  May was the 13th month in a row to break temperature records according to figures published this week that are the latest in 2016’s string of incredible climate records which scientists have described as a bombshell and an emergency.

The heat so far has already had major impacts, including a record temperature of 51C in India amid a serious drought and a record warm autumn in Australia, as well as many in the US.

(The Guardian – June 17, 2016)


Climate experts warn global warming breaking all previous records

"It is in my view highly unlikely that we would be seeing record drought, like we're seeing in California, record flooding in Texas, unprecedented wildfires in western North America, and the strongest recorded hurricanes in both the northern and southern hemisphere were it not for the impact of human-caused global warming," Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University is quoted saying by the Guardian.

Killer heat waves are also increasing exponentially, said professor Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.  More than 300 people in India have been killed in recent heat waves.  "Our analysis of monthly heat records around the globe shows they now occur five times as often. It is those monthly heat records that are representative of heatwaves that last for weeks on end and they are ones that take the highest death toll." He said.

(IBT - June 19, 2016)


Hit Hard by Climate Change, Rural Women In Sundarbans Turn Photographers

In the Bengali language ‘Sundarban’ can be literally translated as ‘beautiful forest’. A World Heritage Site, the area is the largest block of continuous mangrove forest in the world, being home to almost 500 species of reptile, fish, bird and mammals, including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. A group of poor rural women in the remote parts of the Sundarbans, whose lives have been hit hard by climate change, have turned into photographers to record the hardship they face.

(Better India - June 17, 2016)


State implements 17 plan schemes to combat climate change

MANIPUR: To combat climate change scenario in the State – a burning issue in the global context, 17 approved plan schemes with community participation which may serve as an approach for strategies and action plan are being implemented presently by the Directorate of Environment

The plan schemes are eco-development programme, environment education programme, environment monitoring cell, solid waste management, environmental information dissemination, multi-disciplinary scientific study of catchment area of major river basins, information technology (IT), natural resources, environment impact studies, GIS applications/techniques/tools/training, ecology and environment (conservation of wet- lands and lakes), climate change, environmental research and developmental programme, environment planning and management, management and conservation of water bodies, cultural and traditional ecology, prevention and control of pollution.

(Sangai Express – June 17, 2016)


The Heat Is On: Collaborations Between Climate and Health

This year’s extreme heat in India has become increasingly common in recent years. In 2010, Ahmedabad, India, experienced a heat wave with temperatures reaching 117 degrees, contributing to more than 1,300 deaths. “What is sometimes known as a silent killer—heat-related illness and mortality—was not so silent anymore,” said Kim Knowlton, assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences. “People were dying in the streets.”

Following this wake-up call, the municipality worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where Knowlton is a senior scientist and Science Center deputy director, to create a heat action plan, including an early warning system. In the most recent heat wave, Ahmedabad reported 10 deaths—a number city officials attribute to better preparation.

(Mailman SPH - June 14, 2016)


Himalayan nations, including India, may face unprecedented food crisis

NEW DELHI: The Himalayan countries, including India, are likely to face an unprecedented food crisis unless they strengthen regional collaboration for the development of inclusive climate resilience in the region, experts have warned.

(Economic Times – June 19, 2016)



India To Add 16.6 GW Of Renewables This Fiscal Year

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in India has come out with its most ambitious capacity addition target yet, for 16,600 MW of renewables added this fiscal year.  According to MNRE, during the current fiscal year, solar capacity is expected to reach its largest-ever capacity addition target of 12,000 MW, followed by wind (4,000 MW), bio-power (400 MW), small hydro (250 MW), and waste-to-power (10 MW).  The announcement by the Ministry is confirmation of the targets mentioned by the Ministry of Finance in the Union Budget for FY2016-17.

(Clean Technica - June 18, 2016)


The Wind Industry celebrates Global Wind Day at India Habitat Centre

On the occasion of Global Wind Day [June 15], the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA), along with Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, the Indian Wind Energy Association (InWEA) and Idam Infrastructure Advisory organized a Wind Discussion Forum at India Habitat Centre in Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Pramod Deo (Former Chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission) and Chief Guest was Varsha Joshi (Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy).

The main focus of the event was IWTMA announcing WINDERGY INDIA 2017, a three-day exhibition and conference scheduled for January 2017 in Delhi.

(IIFL – June 16, 2016)


India-UK strike new solar, nano tech pacts

London, Jun 15 (PTI) India and the UK today clinched two new key agreements on solar energy and nano technology as part of their wider science and technology cooperation.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, met his UK counterpart, Jo Johnson, here for the fifth Indo-UK Science and Innovation Council meeting today to establish the India-UK Networked Centre on Solar Energy.

(India Today - June 15, 2016)


India must ensure energy efficiency in irrigation: Experts

With agriculture’s share of electricity consumption at 18% of total usage, the country [India] must move toward energy efficiency in irrigation to ensure food security and meet demand for water.  “To tackle energy security the European Union [EU] has brought policy and financial experts as well as European business to India, offering concrete solutions in this regard,” Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to India. Mr. Kozlowski added that partnership between India and the EU would facilitate policy dialogue, bring in best practices, business solutions and joint research and innovation, and would help with finding financing models for clean energy and climate change.

(The Hindu - June 14, 2016)


Singapore and Abu Dhabi invest $230 million in Indian renewables

Greenko Energy Holdings, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies, recently announced that it has received a major investment to help it establish a foothold in the country’s energy market. Together, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and an affiliate of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, known as GIC, will invest US $230 million.

Greenko operates a diversified portfolio of over 1,000MW of wind and hydroelectric assets across India. The funds — $80 million of which were provided by GIC with the remainder coming from the ADIA — will contribute to the development of new renewable energy projects, including low-risk expansions of existing wind farms.

The company is also looking to increase its presence in the Indian renewables sector through inorganic growth in its hydropower segment, and will thus be aiming to acquire existing assets in that market.

(Energy Digital - June 14, 2016)


India Secures $2.5 Billion Debt Funding For Rooftop Solar Power Projects

India has received a major funding boost from multilateral and international development banks for its ambitious rooftop solar power program.  The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has announced that India’s rooftop solar power program is expected to receive low-cost debt funding worth $2.5 billion from several international development banks.  The World Bank has committed $620 million, while the Asian Development Bank and BRICS New Development Bank have pledged to provide $500 million and $250 million, respectively.

The German development bank KfW has provided $100 million, and negotiations for $1.14 billion worth of funding are underway. These funds will be made available to retail and commercial banks in India, including the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and Canara Bank. Project developers will be able to secure loans from these Indian banks at low rates.

(Clean Technica – June 13, 2016)


Environmental Health and Governance

To curb air pollution, 15-year-old diesel vehicles banned in Patna

Patna: In a bid to check the increasing air pollution in the Bihar capital, the government has banned 15-year-old diesel vehicles from the roads. "We have banned 15-year-old diesel vehicles from the roads from June 15 as announced by the state government to control air pollution," district transport official Surender Jha said.  Last year, the state government had announced it will ban 15-year-old diesel vehicles in Patna in 2016.

Police have started a lookout operation to identify such vehicles plying despite the ban.

(ZeeNews – June 15, 2016)


Govt forms inter-ministerial panel to develop sustainable living plan

New Delhi: The government has formed an inter-ministerial team to evolve a “healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation” for Indians, more than six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi championed the cause of sustainable consumption at the Paris climate summit.

The team was formed by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) last week. It includes experts from the industry and has been asked to devise a plan in the next three months.

(LiveMint - June 14, 2016)


Dust, vehicle smoke responsible for bad air

Pune: Pollution levels in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar may be among the worst, but Maharashtra is also among the states where the air quality is horrendous and responsible for people's deaths.  Closer home in Pune, experts said dust, vehicular emissions and industrial emissions are mostly responsible for the poor air quality. Pune also features among Maharashtra's worst-polluted cities in a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report.

The report on the air quality of urban areas compares various cities in the world. It said Pune has 92 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10, which is almost 1.5 times higher than the national ambient air quality standard of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. Although Pune's air quality fares better, the dust on the roads and that produced by construction cannot be ignored.

(TOI - June 19, 2016)


Ahmedabad's breathtaking record! Pollution above limit all year

Ahmedabad air pollution
Credit: Abhiyant Tiwari

Over the past six years, the city has been turning into a veritable gas chamber with particulate matter, noxious gases, and other impurities breaching permissible limits.

During peak hour traffic of November 8 last year, a winter evening, one of the busiest traffic stretches in Kankaria experienced a sudden spike in the deadly particulate matter pollution-particles of size 2.5 (PM 2.5) micrometre.  The PM 2.5 value at 8.32 pm was 184 micro gram per cubic metre, almost four times the national acceptable limits, measured by an air monitoring instrument of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) kept atop a single floor building of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

This PM 2.5 value was more than what Beijing — the most polluted city in the world — had recorded on the same day, at the same time. Beijing had recorded 172 microgram per cubic metre.

(TOI - June 20, 2016)


76% Gurgaon Offices, Homes Have Poor Air Quality

At least 76% of the offices and homes in Gurgaon have poor air quality which leads to various respiratory diseases, a survey revealed. According to the survey by Artemis Hopsitals, as the particulate matters of the air indoors were finer then outdoors, the children and women were most prone to respiratory diseases as they remained indoors more in comparison to the men. At least 31% of people suffer from various respiratory diseases due to the unhealthy air quality in this Delhi's suburban city in Haryana. The World Health Organization said low-and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution.

(NDTV – June 20, 2016)

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