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Thread: India should act to lessen impact of global warming: Ramesh

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    Default India should act to lessen impact of global warming: Ramesh

    Sharing this news item with you all. Look forward to your thoughts.
    Sabyasachi

    India should act to lessen impact of global warming: Ramesh
    PTI 5 November 2009, 05:42pm IST

    NEW DELHI: India needs to play a leadership role to adapt and mitigate the adverse impact of global warming as it is the most "vulnerable" country to climate change, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said.

    "We cannot afford to ignore the threats of climate change as four areas of vulnerabilities exist only in India and nowhere in the world. For instance, if monsoon fails our economy will come to a standstill," Ramesh said at a function to launch the "Climate Change Agenda for Delhi 2009-2012."

    Similarly, he said the vast stretch of coastal lines, himalayan glaciers in the Northern regions and thick forests in Central India were under threat.

    "Without being told by the world what we should do, we have to be very proactive and take a leadership role and show the global communities how to adapt and mitigate the adverse impact of climate change," the minister added.

    Appreciating the Delhi Government's effort in becoming the first State to prepare the domestic action plan to tackle global warming caused by green house gas emissions, he said, it is in keeping with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call all the States to come out with such points.

    He also appreciated the government's 'green initiatives' such as taking solar energy in the households through power tariffs, preparing a map for carbon footprints of the city and greening the capital by setting up urban forests across the city.

    The link to the original source is here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/5200089.cms

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    Several developing nations are putting forth a claim that "let the west reduce their impact on global warming before advising us".

    This stand does not look good. There need to be no 'ego' in this aspect. If the west fails to initiate measures to reduce carbon burning, it is shame on thier part. Why can't the developing nations take a lead in this aspect. Is there any unwritten rule that the rest of the nations should emulate only what the developed nations do ?? Why can't these nations act sagaciously.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, all the tropical forests (rain forests or evergreen forests) are in 'so called' developing nations. The tropical humid forests are the lungs of our earth. Rainforests sequester carbon.There is no option left for these countries but to reduce deforestation and to sustain forest cover, if earth needs to survive.

    The political ego should be shed.

    Our minister Jairam Ramesh's stand on this issue has been very good so far.

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    I think it is more than an ego issue. Developed countries outsource all production activities to third world countries and after that expect third world countries to cut pollution levels. Not that it is not an issue to be addressed, but there should be more cooperation and participation for the cause from developed countries. Rather than making it a cause that individual nations take up catering only to their geographies, it should be more of a global issue that needs to be tackled.
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    Lets not look at it as a developed world vis-a-vis developing world issue. It is going to hit us hard. Please read the following news item regarding the impact of climate change on increasing diseases and increased child mortality.
    Sabyasachi

    Climate change to have deadly effect on children
    Save the Children predicted that 175 million children a year will be hit as natural disasters will increase over the next decade

    Published on 11/5/2009 12:16:33 PM

    New Delhi: About a quarter million children could die of climate change and nearly 175 million children will be hit by disasters like floods, cyclones and droughts along with malnutrition and disease.

    Launching a new report, "Feeling the Heat — Child Survival in a Changing Climate", at the UN Climate Change talks in Barcelona Wednesday, Save the Children predicted that 175 million children a year will be hit as natural disasters will increase over the next decade.

    According to the report, climate changes will more than treble the number of people caught up in natural disasters in the next 20 years. Natural disasters will also become more frequent and severe due to climate change, reports IANS.

    "Disasters such as floods, cyclones and droughts will hit children hardest as they get worse with climate change. These disasters will combine with an increase in malnutrition and disease, already the biggest killers of children," Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said.

    The report warned that climate change will exacerbate the leading causes of death of children, including malnutrition and malaria.

    "Nearly two million children die every year in India before their fifth birthdays from simple causes like diarrhoea and pneumonia. Climate change will make these threats worse."

    Diarrhoea, the killer of one million children every year, is set to increase by as much as 10 per cent by 2020 due to climate change. Malnutrition, which today affects 178 million children and causes 3.2 million child deaths each year, will affect 25 million more children by 2050.

    And malaria, responsible for one million child deaths per year, will affect up to 320 million more people by 2080.

    The organisation also called on world leaders to sign an ambitious climate change agreement at the Copenhagen summit in December to help the world's poorest children cope with the effects of global warming

    "Children in developing countries are not responsible for climate change. Yet, they are the hardest hit by it. It is the responsibility of rich nation that have been emitting greenhouse gases for centuries to help poor communities in developing nations to adapt to the effects of climate change," Chandy said

    The link to the news source:
    http://www.igovernment.in/site/Clima...t-on-children/

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    Development is always energy intensive. As nations develop so do their aspirations and energy needs.

    Till 18th century we had two primary energy sources - wind and muscle power (animal, human). These sources had their limits; hence there was an equilibrium between man's aspiration and nature. That changed with the invention of the fossil fuel based engines. For the first time humans could control their energy production, thus giving wings to their ambitions.

    I guess Man's discovery of the fossil fuel would have been akin to a child discovering a secret piggy bank full of treasures. The piggy bank - fossil fuel like coal, wood, petroleum would have seemed rather boundless to the 19th century Man. Since then, the seemingly boundless energy source has been exploited indiscriminately by the West (and now developing nations) to fuel developmental agendas. Today western countries have literally "graduated" to the developed status. The developing countries are still in their high schools.

    In that period the human population has exploded to 6 billion today from 900 million. North America and Europe (graduates) constitute for 16% of world population, while the Asian + Latin Americans (high schoolers) account for 69% of the population. But these 16% graduates account for more than 60% or more of the total carbon emission. The biggest sources of carbon emission are coal and fossil fuel burning to generate electricity. Today the US produces about 9.5 tons of CO2 per person per year, compared to 2.4 tons per person per year in China, 0.6 in India, and 0.1 in Brazil. The average per capita emission from electricity and heat production in the E.U. is 3.3 tons per year. But even the High schoolers are graduating. For example, China’s CO2 emissions have increased by 120% since the beginning of the decade. China now exceeds the United States as the single largest GHG emitter, and accounts for more than a fifth of global GHG emissions.

    Looks like the only certainty in future is a more accelerated upward spike in carbon emission. We can safely conclude that the price of human development is the health of Earth.

    On a different note, somehow I feel India's rather obstinate stand on climate is justified in a weird way. It’s not ego, but rather practicality. Access to cheap energy is the key to rapid human development. And with a billion people India has to allocate its limited capital in the right places. After all, the first priority for a government is welfare for its citizens. Hence, India is justified in asking for subsidized access to green technology.

    What Next?

    West (Graduates) - The graduates still emit monstrous amount of GHG to sustain their decadent lifestyles. The per capita electricity consumption of an American is a whopping 1500 units compared to 50 by an Indian and 250 by the Chinese. A gargantuan, massive, immense investment has to be made to rationalize consumption, transition to greener technology and invest on efficient energy distribution models.

    India, China, LATAM (high schoolers) - We are still at the cusp of the growth curve. Adopting greener technologies NOW would be cheaper and more impactful than say after 20 years. It’s imperative that the governments of the developing countries sensitize their citizens of rational use of energy and not commit the same mistakes as the developed nations.

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    Ranbir has nicely explained the issue. The question is whether we should be obstinate and try to stall accepting or implementing emission reduction targets or whether we actively work towards emission targets and a means to achieve it.

    There was a news item that Al Gore - the former Vice President of US and one of the most vocal campaigners of curbing green house gas emissions - is the first green billionaire. Please refer to the news item below. He has said that he is placing his money where his mouth is. We should learn a lesson from him and instead of trying to be obstinate, we should aggressively work towards emission reduction and invest in creating green technologies. That will help us in becoming leaders as well as saving the earth and in turn saving ourselves.

    Sabyasachi

    Al Gore could become world's first carbon billionaire
    Al Gore, the former US vice president, could become the world's first carbon billionaire after investing heavily in green energy companies.
    Published: 7:00AM GMT 03 Nov 2009

    Last year Mr Gore's venture capital firm loaned a small California firm $75m to develop energy-saving technology.
    The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient.

    The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants, the New York Times reports. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts.

    The move means that venture capital company Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

    Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy as Mr Gore. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes.
    Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming sceptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world's first "carbon billionaire," profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.

    Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, has claimed that Mr Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.

    Mr Gore had said that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.
    "Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?" Mr. Gore said. "I am proud of it. I am proud of it."

    The source article can be found here:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/ene...llionaire.html

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    Default Tribal, Dalit women bear brunt of climate change

    Read this article, about the effect of Climate change affecting Tribals-

    NEW DELHI: Marginalised groups, especially women, who are heavily dependent on natural resources for their livelihood are bearing the brunt of
    climate change that hardly affects those staying in cities, it was evident at a public hearing organised here Wednesday.

    Rural households, that are most affected by climate change, are also learning to slowly adapt to the changes in their lifestyle and agricultural practices, women and NGOs members said.

    Civil society groups Oxfam India and Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (Dont break your promise movement) have been organising public hearings across the country - the last leg of which began in Delhi Wednesday - where people from marginalised communities and rural areas come together to speak about changes their lives have been seeing in recent times.

    The first of the three-day hearing at the Constitution Club was dedicated to a women's tribunal in which more than 200 rural women from across the country came together to speak about the drastic changes in their lives because of delayed monsoons, drought and other effects of climate change.

    Kamlawati Devi, 52, for instance said that a number of people from her village near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh have left the main livelihood of agriculture because of poor harvest.

    "The livelihood of around 80-85% people depend on agriculture in my village. But because the seasons - the summer, monsoons and winters - have lost their balance and their timings, the cultivation has been badly affected. Thus most people have migrated from the village in search of different jobs," Devi said.

    Dalki Rawat of the Narmada valley similarly said: "The water table has drastically come down and this has seriously impacted the yield of our crops and forest produce".

    While changes in the climatic pattern have affected the society in large, women are the worst sufferers, Sandhya Venkateswaran of the Wada Na Todo Abhiyan said.

    "If a pond disappears, its the women who have to walk longer for water. They are the ones looking for fire wood. Whatever be the calamity it's the women who bear the brunt," Venkateswaran said.

    Talking about the elevated impact of climate change on marginalised communities, Venkateswaran said: "Climate change does not impact the typical urban woman's livelihood as badly as those rural and marginalised women whose lives are dependent on the forests, agriculture and natural resources".

    "Take an Adivasi woman for instance. Her life depends on the forests and climate change affecting the flora will impact her household economy immediately," she added.

    However, in the face of all these challenges, people are evolving new techniques to adapt to the changes.

    Devi said that in the face of drought, they have changed their agricultural practices.

    "We now sow corn, groundnut, arhar and other vegetables together so that even if one or two crops get destroyed for heavy or no rainfall, atleast the others survive. This is called mixed cultivation," she said.

    Venkateswaran said the voices of the people and their recommendations will be put together and submitted to the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the end of the three-day hearing.

    "We want the government to put the people's voices into focus when they discuss climate change at Copenhagen. As of now, even the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) doesn't focus on the people's voices," she said.

    Link - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/5220082.cms
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Default Climate change in our backyard

    The following article by A. Srinivas in Hindu Businessline says that India need not resort to technology transfer from the developed world or compromise on its rate of growth by implementing emission reduction targets.
    Sabyasachi


    Climate change in our backyard


    There are a number of areas where India can clean up its act without relying on technology transfer from the developed world or compromising its rate of growth.

    Emission reductions would require people to make intelligent lifestyle choices.
    A. Srinivas


    A lot has been said on why India should not commit to emission reduction targets. It is correctly argued that the primary responsibility for cleaning up the atmosphere lies with the developed world, since it accounts for an overwhelming proportion of the stock of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Does this mean that developing countries such as India should focus only on “growth” and forget about rising emission levels?

    Climate change hits India hard in terms of costs and livelihoods disrupted, even though India accounts for about 4 per cent of the world’s GHG emissions. Even as scientists — from the Indian Institute of Science, the IITs, Indian Space Research Organisation and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology — have documented climate change over the last five decades, some policymakers continue to believe that climate change is a bogey created by the West. It is time we woke up to the seriousness of the issue.

    INDIA IMPACTED

    Research has virtually established climate change in central India — the region from Uttar Pradesh in the north to Maharashtra in the south and from Gujarat in the west to Orissa in the east. A study by B. N. Goswami, V Venugopal, D. Sengupta, M. S. Madhusoodanan and P. K. Xavier, published in the journal Science in 2006, says there has been an increase in extreme rainfall events over 50 years in this region.

    M. Rajeevan of the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory goes further and relates this to the rise in surface-level sea temperatures, pointing out that extreme events were fewer in this region in the decade 1940-50, coinciding with subdued sea temperatures. In the process, he comes closer to establishing a link between the warming of the earth and the altered climate in central India.

    A reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2009, by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Prithviraj Chavan, makes a more cautious observation in this respect: “Although some recent studies hint at an increasing frequency and intensity of extremes in rainfall during the last 40-50 years, their attribution to global warming is yet to be established... our country’s own assessment using regional climate models indicates that extreme rainfall events are likely to be more frequent in the later part of the 21st century in the world including India.”

    Extreme trends observed

    A paper by S. K. Dash, Makarand A. Kulkarni, U. C. Mohanty and K. Prasad, published in theJournal of Geophysical Research (Vol 114, 2009) observes that “in the last half century, the numbers of moderate rain days averaged over the whole of India have significantly decreased during the summer monsoon season. Similar decrease is noticed in the number of low rain days…On the other hand, the number of heavy rain days considered over the entire country shows some indications of increase, though the trend is not statistically significant…Significant decrease in the numbers of moderate and low rain days have been observed in the hilly region and the west central India. On the other hand, the numbers of heavy rain days have increased significantly only in the north-east.”
    It also says: “Significant decrease in the number of…long-spell rain events and simultaneous increase in the short and dry spells over India at large may suggest monsoonal systems have weakened.”

    Scientists say that the rise in extreme trends implies that if there is a major flood in a region in a particular year, the chances of the same region experiencing a searing drought the following year are high.

    These swings call for higher levels of preparedness at various levels — from disaster management to cropping patterns. It will no longer do to wish away destruction caused by extreme floods and drought as an aberration.

    The Indian Council for Agricultural Research is working on varieties of rice that can cope with both floods and drought, but that might take time coming.

    Smart technology, which includes using surface-level sprinklers in fields and promoting rice varieties that require little water, is all very well, but one needs to go further and transform not just farming techniques but also the way we live. A research paper that gives a disaggregated picture of GHG emissions, provides some insights into where corrective action is possible.

    THE WAY AHEAD
    The paper, Greenhouse gas emissions from India: a perspective, by Subodh Sharma, Sumana Bhattacharya and Amit Garg (Current Science, Vol 90, No 3, February 10, 2006) points out that “carbon dioxide emissions were dominated by emissions due to fuel combustion in the energy and transformation activities, road transport, cement and steel production…at a sectoral level, energy sector contributed 61 per cent of the total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (of 1,485 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2000), with agriculture contributing about 28 per cent…”

    The paper points out that the maximum growth rate in emissions in the 1990s was in the industrial processes sector, which accounted for a little over 10 per cent of India’s total emissions in 2000.
    While emissions from industrial processes rose by 21.3 per cent annually, the energy sector’s increased by 4.4 per cent annually, while emissions from agriculture were unchanged.

    There are a number of areas where India can clean up its act without relying on technology transfer from the developed world or compromising its rate of growth.
    Persuading the industrialised countries to relax their IPR regime for transfer of clean technologies is no mean task. Instead of losing time here, India can commit itself to certain new approaches.

    The promotion of mass public transport systems, particularly rail, over private road transport can help curb emissions. ‘Food miles’ — transporting food products over long distances — can be slashed by encouraging consumption of local produce.

    Urbanisation is not an environment-friendly process. The movement towards cities can be checked through the promotion of labour-intensive industry, notably textiles, in rural areas.

    Above all, emission reductions would require people to make intelligent lifestyle choices. A rapidly growing economy need not be one that produces things of dubious worth. In the babble and din over climate change, this has been forgotten.

    The source article can be found here:
    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...1150290700.htm

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    Default Climate change impacts the Cities as well

    Climate change impacts the poor as well as the rich, the rural folks as well as the urban areas, the glaciers in the himalayas as well as the coastal areas. No one is spared. It is an all pervasive problem. Lets wake up to its reality. I am sharing an article that details the impact on Kolkata a metro in India.

    Sabyasachi

    Kolkata facing brutal future in warmer world

    IANS 12 November 2009, 04:49pm IST
    NEW DELHI: Dhaka, Manila, Jakarta and Kolkata are topping a new list of major Asian cities vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Kolkata is the fourth most vulnerable Asian city but number three among those least prepared to adapt.

    According to Mega-Stress For Mega-Cities, a new report by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), many of these cities are highly exposed to threats such as storms and flooding while lacking the capacity to protect themselves at a time when their severity and frequency are rising due to global warming.

    "Climate change is already shattering cities across developing Asia and will be even more brutal in the future," said Kim Carstensen, leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

    "These cities are vulnerable and need urgent help to adapt, in order to protect the lives of millions of citizens, a massive amount of assets, and their large contributions to the national GDP."

    The WWF report covers 11 large cities across Asia, all located in coastal areas or river deltas. Following Dhaka (9 out of 10 possible vulnerability points), other cities at high risk are Manila and Jakarta (8 each), Kolkata and Phnom Penh (7 each), Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai (6 each), Bangkok (5), and Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore (4 each).

    "Kolkata is within the Ganga delta and thus only metres above current sea level, making it prone to salt-water intrusion and sea-level rise effects. Being eastern India's main centre for business and commerce, it has expanded to accommodate the swelling population by reclaiming significant amounts of surrounding wetland, compounding the problem of flooding," says Anurag Danda, head of the Climate Adaptation and Sundarbans Programme, WWF-India.

    Allowing climate change to go unchecked will cost more lives and more money in the future, but damage can be averted if action is taken now.

    "There are a number of no-regret adaptation options that can be implemented now to minimise future costs," Danda said.

    "To sustain Kolkata's development, the city's adaptive capacity needs to be significantly shored up, the lack of which was acutely felt this May when cyclone Aila passed over West Bengal."

    The report includes rankings for sub-categories such as environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Poorer cities often lack sufficient adaptive capacity and generally rank higher in terms of their overall vulnerability.

    The source article can be found here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/5223335.cms

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    Default China's Climate Pledge a 'Wake up Call to India'

    Dear All,
    China has announced that it would cut down emissions by 40% of 2005 levels. Our Environement minister has been quoted as saying that it is a wake up call for India. I do agree with it. Sharing the article that appeared in Times of India.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

    China's climate pledge a 'wake up call to India': Jairam Ramesh
    PTI 27 November 2009, 12:35pm IST

    NEW DELHI: Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in an interview published on Friday that China's decision to unveil a carbon emissions target had put pressure on India to follow suit.

    "China has given a wake-up call to India," the minister told in an interview. "We've to think hard about our climate strategy now and look for flexibility, as I've been saying for the past two months, to avoid being isolated at Copenhagen.

    "The flexibility can be achieved without taking binding emission cuts."

    China unveiled on Thursday what it called an ambitious plan to boost energy efficiency and curb its carbon footprint in the most detailed indication yet of its stance heading into the world climate summit in Copenhagen next month.

    The world's most populous country pledged to cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product in 2020 by between 40 and 45%, based on 2005 levels.

    India has consistently said it will not accept binding carbon emissions cuts which would affect its economic growth and reduce its capacity to fight poverty.

    Ramesh said in September that India would be prepared to set itself a non-binding emissions target that could be "shared with the rest of the world", but no announcement has been made since.

    India has argued that rich nations are responsible for global warming and should bear the burden of binding emissions cuts and transfer billions of dollars to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change.

    More than 190 nations are to meet for UN talks in Copenhagen from December 7-18, aiming for a post-2012 accord to slash emissions from fossil fuels that trap solar heat and drive global warming.

    The source article can be found here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...ow/5274828.cms

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