India Green News: India Reaffirms Paris Commitments & More

India reaffirms Paris climate commitments; Solar power tariff falls further to Rs. 2.44 per unit; Union minister Harsh Vardhan launches ‘Safar-Air’ Ahmedabad services

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

May 10 – May 24, 2017


India reaffirms Paris climate commitments

Piyush Goyal told a UN energy forum in Vienna India would pursue clean energy “irrespective of what others do”, in a nod to the US debate.

Uncertainty over continued US participation will not stop India from meeting its goals under the Paris climate accord, the country’s energy minister has said.

Speaking at a UN energy forum in Vienna, Piyush Goyal said: “The road from Paris to today has been somewhat bumpy. We will have to sort that out. But I’d like to reassure each one of you here today that India stands committed to its commitments made at Paris irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world.”

The comment aligns India with statements from leaders around the world in response to the threat of a US withdrawal from the Paris accord….

(Climate Home – May 11, 2017)

China and India Make Big Strides on Climate Change

Until recently, China and India have been cast as obstacles, at the very least reluctant conscripts, in the battle against climate change. That reputation looks very much out-of-date now that both countries have greatly accelerated their investments in cost-effective renewable energy sources—and reduced their reliance on fossil fuels. It’s America—Donald Trump’s America—that now looks like the laggard.

According to research released last week at a United Nations climate meeting in Germany, China and India should easily exceed the targets they set for themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement signed by more than 190 countries. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide appear to have peaked more than 10 years sooner than its government had said they would. And India is now expected to obtain 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2022, eight years ahead of schedule….

(The New York Times – May 22, 2017)

Harsh Vardhan takes charge at Environment Ministry

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday took additional charge as Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Anil Madhav Dave, who had held the post earlier, passed away last Thursday following a massive cardiac arrest.

Vardhan had been Health Minister for five months in 2014, before he was replaced by JP Nadda.

While taking charge as Environment Minister today, Vardhan emphasised on ‘integrating environmental concerns into development policies and programmes and balancing the two for India’s sustained growth and progress’. He is taking dual charge at a time when the Ministry has been facing flak for diluting environmental norms in the name of ‘ease of doing business.’

The Minister also focused on an issue which has consistently kept India in focus—pollution….

(Hindu Business Line – May 22, 2017)


Solar power tariff falls further to Rs2.44 per unit

India’s solar power tariff hit a new low of Rs2.44 per unit on Friday at the auction of 500 megawatt (MW) of capacity at the Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan.

Acme Solar Holdings Pvt. Ltd and SBG Cleantech Ltd placed winning bids of Rs2.44 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and Rs2.45 per kWh, respectively, to win contracts to set up plans in the park being developed by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd, said a person associated with the auction, conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

“This is a historic low tariff for India,” said the person cited above on condition of anonymity.

Acme Solar will develop 200MW, and SBG Cleantech, a joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., India’s Bharti Enterprises Ltd and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd, the balance 300MW….

(LiveMint – May 12, 2017)

Govt. of India launches Energy Efficient Buildings Programme EESL to invest Rs 1,000 crore by 2020 under buildings programme

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (I/C) for Power, New & Renewable Energy, Coal and Mines, Govt. of India launched the Energy Efficient Buildings programme in a function jointly organized by FICCI and EESL. The scheme will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India. EESL also signed a MoU with PWD Maharashtra to retrofit 1500 buildings under PWD in Maharashtra with energy efficient appliances.

Under the Energy Efficient Building's programme EESL intends to bring investment to the tune of Rs 1000 crore covering more than 10,000 large government/private buildings in next 2-3 years. It is estimated that about 1 crore LED lights, 15 lakh energy efficient ceiling fans and 1.5 lakh energy efficient ACs will be retrofitted by EESL in these buildings. Apart from retrofitting, EESL also aims to widen its services in areas like centralized AC system, Energy Audits and New Generation Energy Management System in buildings….

(Business Standard – May 23, 2017)

ADB Issues Green Rupee-Linked Bond to Support Renewable Energy in India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 3 billion Indian Rupees (INR), about $47 million, from a new issue of offshore Indian Rupee-linked bonds to help finance climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in India.

Today's fundraising represents ADB's maiden Indian Rupee green bond and shows the institution's long term commitment to financial market development in India, said ADB Treasurer Pierre Van Peteghem. In today's markets, green bonds are an increasingly important source of financing for climate change projects and given ADB's strong engagement in the capital markets of developing Asia, it is a natural next step for ADB to issue green bonds in local currency.

The bond issue carries a 6.00% interest rate with a 3.75-year maturity, falling due in February 2021….

(Business Standard – May 18, 2017)

India's Revolutionary Plan to Make All Its Cars Electric

Indian auto manufacturers and international oil exporters have been aflutter since India’s government announced plans to make all its cars electric by 2030. “By [that year], not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said at a Confederation of Indian Industry session last month.

India’s need for oil has surged as its economy has grown. It’s now the world’s third-largest oil importer, paying $150 billion annually for the resource. A sizable chunk fuels passenger vehicles acquired by the country’s growing middle class—and the number of cars is only going to increase in coming years. Switching to electric vehicles (EVs) would save the country $60 billion in energy by 2030, according to a report published last week by NITI Aayog, India’s most influential government think tank….

(CityLab – May 15, 2017)


Union minister Harsh Vardhan launches ‘Safar-Air’ Ahmedabad services

The Union ministry of earth sciences on Friday launched "Safar-Air", the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) for Ahmedabad city, fourth city in the country after Delhi, Mumbai and Pune to get Safar.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences launched Safar-Ahmedabad on Friday. Not only will Safar-Ahmedabad be available on the web, but an Android version was also launched.

Safar-Ahmedabad will give day-to-day information about air quality at ten places in the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar area. The app will give daily information for Ahmedabad city as a whole, Navrangpura, Satellite, Bopal, Gift City, the airport, Lekhwada, Chandkheda, Raikhad, Rakhial and Pirana….

(Times of India – May 13, 2017)

Western Indian City Launches Air Quality Monitoring System

The western Indian city of Ahmadabad on Friday launched its first air quality monitoring system that will be used to send out pollution alerts.

The system will also inform city residents of the health risks of high pollution.

For the last few years discussions about India's soaring air pollution levels have focused largely on the abysmal quality of the air in the country's capital, New Delhi. But experts have long warned that other cities aren't likely any better and just don't have monitoring mechanisms to measure how their pollution levels compare.

The new air quality index and pollution alert system in Ahmadabad was set up by the city's municipal corporation with help from several health and environmental advocacy groups. Air quality monitors installed across the city will collect data on pollutants….

(New York Times – May 12, 2017)

Ahmedabad gets air quality monitors to battle pollution

City’s first comprehensive air pollution alert system will focus on health risk communication

To effectively battle increasing air pollution, the Ahmedabad civic body is launching a comprehensive Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Information and Response (AIR) plan that includes an air pollution alert system and health risk communication, based on real-time data.

The initiative by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) focuses on health risk communication with immediate and long term actions to reduce the impact of rising air pollution. Ahmedabad has a population of close to 70 lakh.

The new air quality monitors installed across the city will collect and report data on smog and toxic pollutants as part of the AQI. It will be used to inform residents on when to take precautions and minimise exposure to pollution….

(The Hindu – May 11, 2017)

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.

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