India Green News: Climate; Energy; Environmental Health

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

From June 28 – July, 8 2016
Compiled by Jessica Korsh

Climate Change

Study: Climate Change Warming Asian Waters, Altering Monsoon

Each year as temperatures rise across India, farmers look to the sky and pray for rain. The all-important monsoon forecast becomes a national priority, with more than 70 percent of India's 1.25 billion citizens engaged in agriculture and relying on weather predictions to decide when they will sow their seeds and harvest their crops. But getting the forecast right remains a challenge, thanks to the complex—and still poorly understood—ways in which South Asia's monsoon rains are influenced by everything from atmospheric and ocean temperatures to air quality and global climate trends. Even the amount of ice in Antarctica is suspected to have an impact. And it's only getting harder to figure out, scientists say, as the monsoon becomes increasingly erratic.

A new study released Friday in the journal Science Advances helps clear up a bit of the mystery, by showing that man-made climate change is responsible for most of the change seen in ocean surface temperatures near the equator across Asia, which in turn affect regional rainfall patterns including the Indian monsoon.
(ABC News - July 1, 2016)

Frequency Of Cloudburst Like Incidents Rising, Says Prakash Javadekar

NEW DELHI: Expressing grief over the loss of lives in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts, Prakash Javadekar said the government is working on a plan of action to tackle such natural eventualities. "Due to heavy rains, there was loss of lives (in Uttarakhand). This is very unfortunate. The frequency of such incidents is increasing because of climate change. The government has been making preparations to tackle such natural eventualities," Mr Javadekar said. He said that at present around 27 researches have been initiated on the Himalayan mountain range and a plan of action is also being prepared.
(NDTV – July 2, 2016)

India rolls out process to ratify Paris Agreement for tackling climate change

NEW DELHI: India said that it has initiated the domestic process for ratifying the Paris Agreement, the global treaty to tackle climate change adopted by 195 countries in December.

Addressing the seventh edition of the informal ministerial meet, Petersberg Dialogue, co-hosted by Germany and Morocco, the chair of the 22nd round of the UN-sponsored climate negotiations, India's environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, "As far as the Ratification is concerned, India has already started the process. Recently when our Prime Minister was in Washington, in a meeting with President Obama, he also emphasized that the process has to be at the earliest and we have already started working in the direction."
(Economic Times – July 4, 2016)

Pre-2020 Climate Actions Needed To Curb Emissions, Says Prakash Javadekar

BERLIN: India today underlined the need for countries to take pre-2020 climate actions to curb emissions and sought cooperation among countries in finance and technology sectors to tackle climate change. "Cooperation is the key for taking (climate) actions. Every country is at a different stage of development. We need cooperation. We have the will to act," said Prakash Javadekar. He said that India has already started the process of ratification of Paris Climate agreement and even during the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, both emphasized that the process should be completed at the earliest.

Since 2010, the annual dialogue has provided the opportunity for countries to engage in an informal exchange of experiences on international climate policy. "What we have achieved in New York, we signed it (agreement). Now we have to implement it. So pre-2020 actions are also important and will also be discussed here in St Petersburg," Mr Javadekar said adding that he was hopeful of the outcome at this dialogue.
(NDTV – July 4, 2016)


India to get over $1 billion from World Bank for Modi's solar goals

The World Bank said on Thursday it would lend India more than $1 billion for its huge solar energy programme, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought climate change funds from its visiting head.

Modi is banking on India's 300 days a year of sunshine to generate power and help fight climate change rather than committing to emission cuts like China. The World Bank loan is the global lender's biggest solar aid for any country and comes as India has set a goal of raising its solar capacity nearly 30 times to 100 gigawatts by 2020 and is attracting mega investment proposals from top companies and institutions.

"Prime Minister Modi's personal commitment toward renewable energy, particularly solar, is the driving force behind these investments," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement released after he met Modi. "The World Bank Group will do all it can to help India meet its ambitious targets, especially around scaling up solar energy."
(Reuters - June 30, 2016)

Modi’s $200 Billion Renewable Push to Fuel Green Bond Bonanza

A $200 billion spending push by India to boost renewable power output will help drive a surge in issuance of green bonds, according to a unit of Citigroup Inc., the country’s largest arranger of offshore note transactions in 2016.

With governments around the world last year agreeing to a new global climate accord, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has pledged to foster economic production in the world’s second-most populous nation that is less carbon intensive. It plans to boost renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 from a current level of just 37 gigawatts, and is aiming to source at least 40 percent of its energy mix from clean sources such as wind and solar by 2030.

Bond buyers are eager to capitalize on climate-related initiatives and Moody’s Investors Service predicted in April that global green note issuance could climb to almost $70 billion this year from $42.4 billion in 2015. An increase in sales from Indian issuers could also help spur the dollar-bond market as a whole, which has been weighed down this year by borrowers’ preference for the cheaper funding available through loans.
(Bloomberg – July 3, 2016)

10 Indian blue chip firms, including Infosys and Tata Motors, ready to take green pledge

Some of India's top-listed companies are set to take the 'green' pledge by committing to source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy.

At least 10 Indian blue chip firms, spanning a wide range of sectors, are in talks with The Climate Group to join its ambitious RE100—a global collaborative initiative of the world's most influential companies committed to clean energy.
(Economic Times – July 2, 2016)

India to add 4,300 MW wind power capacity in 2016-17

India’s wind power capacity is set to grow 30% or 4,300 MW in 2016-17, helped by capacity addition in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, among others, Suzlon Group Chairman Tulsi Tanti said. At present, the total wind power installed capacity in the country is around 27 GW, accounting for about 9% of India’s total installed capacity.

“India is a very promising and demanding market. It is set to grow by 30% annually. In 2016-17, the country will add about 4,300 MW of wind power,” Tanti told reporters here.
(Financial Express – July 5, 2016)

New Standards for Ramping up Solar Skills in India

In a far-reaching move, the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently published draft National Occupational Standards and Qualifications Packs on Solar Skill Development Courses. Effective implementation of these standards has the potential to ramp up the skills required to achieve India’s renewable energy goals and help power its rapid economic growth while building a sustainable future.

The standards developed by the MNRE, and other nodal organizations - the Skill Council for Green Jobs and the National Skill Development Corporation, describe functions, performance levels, and skills required for various tasks in solar power jobs. A set of standards aligned to a particular job role, together with minimum educational qualifications, are compiled in a comprehensive package called the ‘Qualification Pack’. For example, the qualifications pack for the occupation ‘solar rooftop installers’ includes performance standards for key job functions such as site survey, installation of electrical components, and testing and commissioning the system.
(NRDC - July 7, 2016)

India Set to Have First Power Surplus in at Least Eight Years

India forecast an electricity surplus for the first time in at least eight years because of transmission improvements and more generation. The country may have 1.1% excess electricity supplies in the year ending March 2017, according to the power ministry’s Central Electricity Authority. A 2.6% surplus for the period is forecast for peak periods, when daily demand is highest. India’s power deficit shrank to below 1 percent in May.

The narrowing gap masks unfulfilled demand in a country where one in five citizens don’t have access to electricity and a market for back-up power thrives because of unreliable supplies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to light up every household by 2019 and boost manufacturing in the country are expected to help lift electricity demand.
(Bloomberg – July 4, 2016)

Environmental Health and Governance

Air Pollution Kills 6.5 Million People Every Year, And It Could Get Worse Unless We Act Now

Exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of about 6.5 million people every year, according to new International Energy Agency cautionary report this week. That makes it the fourth-largest threat to human health after high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking.

And the number of deaths attributed to poor air quality is set to only rise in the coming decades, said the Paris-based energy security group—unless swift international action is taken to tackle this crisis. “Clean air is vital for good health. Yet despite growing recognition of this imperative, the problem of air pollution is far from solved in many countries, and the global health impacts risk intensifying in the decades to come,” the report said.

The IEA warned that while premature deaths due to household air pollution should fall to 2.9 million a year from 3.5 million by 2040, outdoor air pollution-related deaths could rise from 3 million to 4.5 million annually in that time.
(Huffington Post – July 1, 2016)

Timely action could bring PM emissions down 35%

NEW DELHI: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that Delhi's particle pollution could fall by 35% over the next 15 years if it manages to reduce emissions from the power sector, vehicles and biomass burning, including cooking with solid fuels in slums.

IEA's World Energy Outlook 2016 report, which was released on Monday, has referred to an ongoing study commissioned by the ministry of environment to the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

If these actions are not taken, Delhi's PM emissions will increase by 25% by 2030.

"Traditional use of biomass for cooking and two coal-fired plants (Badarpur and Rajghat) are the two main sources of PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi," the report states. Rajghat is likely to be shut down soon.
(TOI - June 28, 2016)

NASA Data Shows Toxic Air Threat Choking Indian Subcontinent

The mega-city of New Delhi has tried everything from banning diesel guzzling SUVs to taking about half the city’s cars off the streets in a fight against air pollution. Officials may yet have to do much, much more, based on National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite research.

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—stretching across northern India from eastern Pakistan on one side to Bangladesh on the other—suffer some of the planet’s worst haze in October through January after monsoon rains end in September.

New Delhi has tried banning cars with big diesel engines and experimented with periodic curbs on when vehicles can be used based on their number plates. India and Pakistan are also pursuing ambitious renewable-energy agendas to cut reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

"Much more needs to be done by government, business and society to achieve clean air," said New Delhi-based Bhaskar Deol, founder of Mynergy Renewables Pvt. "While northern India’s unique topography is a challenge, international experience shows that comprehensive programs tackling a wide range of pollutants can successfully solve the problem without sacrificing economic growth."
(Bloomberg – July 6, 2016)

Javedekar out, Dave in as India’s Environment Minister

Anil Madhav Dave takes over the climate change brief from Prakash Javadekar, who has been promoted to human resource development, a cabinet position. Assuming the role on Wednesday, Dave promised to continue his predecessor’s work in promoting cleaner forms of energy in the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Development and environment go together. They are not against each other,” he said in remarks widely reported by national media. As environment minister, Dave will lead negotiations at the next UN climate summit in Marrakech. India is expected to seek more assurances of financial and technology support before formally joining the Paris climate deal agreed last December.
(Climate Home – July 7, 2016)

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