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Tag Archives: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Air – The Fourth ( Deadly) Element


“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”
John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Flag of the World Meteorological Organization

Flag of the World Meteorological Organization (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The International Meteorological Organization (1873–1951) was the first organization formed with the purpose of exchanging weather information among the countries of the world. It was born from the realization that weather systems move across country boundaries and knowledge of pressure, temperature, precipitations, etc. upstream and downstream is needed for weather forecasting.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.

The WMO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is also directly responsible for the creation of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW).

Now that we have established that talking about weather is not UN-fashionable but elitist ! We are still a long way of from being as élite as our ancestors who helped define and set up such an organization.

Could it be perhaps because they were a few generations closer to John Muir than the present batch ? After-all one seriously can’t feel the taste of nectar, with the polluted air being circulated through a treated fresh air or  TFA system.  And would perhaps relate 23rd March as Chaka Khans birthday. Rather than celebrate the weather. (World Meteorological Day). Although she too would find it hard to breath through the smoke of annual forest fire, to sign her famous song!

Air….the element of Nature can be equally deadly as the other four !

It is air without which a single breath of life can’t be possible.

For it is air, which moves the clouds and creates the weather patterns…. a suitable weather (atmosphere) sustains life.

Monsoon Forecast Remains Under a Cloud

Aug 21 2014 : The Economic Times (Mumbai) by Madhvi Sally.

Erratic monsoon triggers reassessment of new `normal’, which could have significant implications for water management, food production & prices.The monsoon has become so erratic over the years that the weather office is reassessing what the `normal’ would be for the vital weather system, an exercise that has sweeping implications for water management, food production and prices, apart from the historic nature of such an endeavor. Over the past decades, India’s agricultural practices have been tied to the June-September monsoon and the rainfall pattern during the four-month season. Any review of the `normal’ would thus have a direct impact on the food security of 1.25 billion people.

Meteorologists say such a reassessment may be warranted. In the last six decades, the number of rainy days in the season has been falling, deserts are getting shockingly heavy rain, extreme rainfall incidents such as the one that devastated Mumbai in 2005 are rising, and monsoon showers have continued a month after the normal withdrawal date for the past 7-8 years.

Experts say the trend can upset crop cycles, create water shortages in some regions and force farmers and policy makers to think of productivity in terms of output per unit of water, not per acre as the monsoon is getting weaker and more erratic. (read more)

Lapse in rainfall across highly productive north will have impact on farm output, prices There has been no rain at all in Haryana, Punjab and W Rajasthan for the past couple of days

The monsoon has almost vanished from the grain bowls of northern, western and central India, where some regions received no rainfall in recent days while many got barely 2-10% of normal, reviving risk to farm output and prices. Rainfall had revived significantly in the middle of last month, bouncing back from an alarming 43% seasonal deficit to barely 16% after a few weeks of heavy showers. But with rainfall dipping in the past two weeks, deficit has again widened again to 18% for the entire country. It is much higher in crucial cropping zones in northern and central India but the country’s average looks better because of heavy rain in parts of south and northeast, which are agriculturally less significant. In Punjab and Haryana, shortfall is more than 60%, having an impact on productivity even though these regions have irrigation facilities. Some states have received no rainfall in the past few days.(Read more)

That the topic was carried in the prestigious Economic Times in itself underscores the importance of the subject. But as the main article is carried on page # 17 instead of with the banner in the front page also underscores that the deadly impact of food crisis is not understood by those with a full belly !

And this very complacency gives credence to the those who discount evidence of Climate Change, and perhaps having  their coffers being filled by the producers of GM – Crops for the effort !

Advocates of  GM Crops ( Genetically Modified ) Companies, do not seem to understand why there is resistance to their seemingly Messianic  quest to be able to produce more food. Perhaps better crop than what we have through natural selection.

The point is not the GM Crops, but Nature has a law – survival of the fittest ! Thus when over time the GM crops would completely destroy every naturally grown crop.

Then Man, who essentially is a wolf in sheep’s clothing ! Would without lifting a single finger in act of war subjugate Countries! While citizens in a Democracy are also slaves, even without actually knowing it; this fact  has not really affected Nature.

But when the very Natural System would come under threat from the insatiable greed of Man, who would as evidence has always proved ( Palm Oil production ) denude the last of the natural ecosystem, for want of profit !

The Natural Disasters would exacerbate !

So having understood what can be the situation, should we not try and abate Climate Change, which has a direct bearing on the way the water  and air currents would behave in the future ? Any change in the way the air moves, as proven above has a direct bearing on rainfall.

Just as Water so is Air. ….. a principle life giver !

Thus a deadly element.

 

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Thypoon Haiyan – the teardrop of an Angry Earth.


With Haiyan….the pain of understanding what is to further unfold has gripped me as it would have those who have spent countless hours in convincing and making aware the world on the dangers of Climate Change and have seen too little happening on the ground.

When I wrote the article Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”., a year has passed on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and the World has experienced Planet Earth’s invite – Danse Macabre,

Worldwide Natural Disasters List – has grown manifold. To create the desired impact, I have listed each and every disaster which hit India. From January to September 2013. The list contains countries listed from A to Z and all have a similar story. Readers are free to horrify themselves and I hope at the end of it start doing something about it.

The Planet is running out on time.

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

The chairman of the United Nations’ climate panel has warned the world to act on global warming to avoid passing “on a lousy, spoilt and defiled planet” to future generations.Rajendra K Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), spoke out as typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines causing hundreds of deaths and widespread destruction. While Pachauri said it was not possible to blame any single disaster on the steep rise in carbon emissions, the increased frequency of extreme weather events was consistent with scientific predictions.

And yet we have a World which considers itself smart with “leaders” expert in “Realpolitik”.

Ah! the shame and the futility of intellect can never be more stark….

MOSCOW, Oct 3

Arctic Oil Production Could Begin Later This Year As Russia’s Gazprom Prepares To Tap Reserves: Gazprom has announced that it is on track to begin oil production this year at the Prirazlomnoye Arctic oil project that has ignited protests from environmental groups over the dangers of possible oil spills.

“As was envisaged, production is expected to start by the year-end,” Gazprom Neft Shelf, a unit of Gazprom, said in an email to Reuters – the first public remarks by the company since Greenpeace activists tried to scale the production platform at Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil project last month.

On Wednesday Russia charged Greenpeace activists with piracy for their demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, which the Kremlin sees as a key to Russia’s future prosperity.

Arctic offshore oil and gas development is crucial for Russia, which relies on hydrocarbon sales for more than half its budget revenue. The Ministry of Natural Resources puts the offshore oil resources at 100 billion tonnes, which would be enough to satisfy global demand for 25 years at current consumption levels……..

WASHINGTON,June 25, 2013

President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan, which calls for an end to public financing for new coal plants overseas, has raised our hopes for a cleaner and safer future … We believe the best way to ensure development is through low carbon growth — not new lignite fired power plants … We therefore ask the U.S. state department to lead a new U.S. Government effort to identify clean alternatives to a proposed coal fired power plant in the country that can be supported by the World Bank Group…..(more)

BANGKOK, 14 October 2013

A National Resilience Award to inspire local leadership to build safer communities launched last week in the Philippines……..UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Senator Loren Legarda unveiled the initiative on the same weekend in which Typhoon Nari left at least 13 people dead in the northern provinces of the Philippines; a reminder of the urgent need to strengthen resilience in the Philippines….At least 750,000 people were affected before the typhoon made its way out into the South China Sea towards China and Viet Nam.(more)

Firefox_Screenshot_2013-11-10T10-02-34.172ZWarming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased….

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971……..

Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system. – Excerpts from SREX report by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);the leading international body for the assessment of climate change endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Typhoon Haiyan: More than 10,000 feared dead in Philippines; 600,000 evacuated in Vietnam

TACLOBAN/HANOI: A super typhoon that destroyed entire towns across the Philippines is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, authorities said on Sunday, which would make it the country’s deadliest recorded natural disaster…..The scenes in Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, and other coastal towns were reminiscent of a tsunami aftermath, with concrete slabs the only part of many homes remaining, vehicles flipped over and power lines destroyed……The Philippines endures a seemingly never-ending pattern of deadly typhoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and other natural disasters….

It is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Dear Friends and Colleagues, in this session we shall try to find areas of synergy for society in its quest for living in a sustainable environment. I will not preach about Global Warming. Experts on Climate change have already spoken on them and Mother Nature has been politely ( Yes! Hurricane Sandy & Katrina, Cyclone Phailin and Typhoon Haiyan are but a polite nudge; if one understands the tremendous force Earth holds in its bosom)  reminding the Human Civilization on how fragile and pompous is its claim to be the most intelligent and mighty animal on Earth.Civilization is battered, but is yet to come to its senses.Society was always in synergy with Nature it has always been sustainable and one with the Environment. Until the time when we thought it more prudent to follow a culture and life-style alien to our very ethos. When we started considering, without proper thought to design and build, to trade and commerce, to act and think what someone else considered fashionable. While the intelligence lies in following what is good; irrespective of region or nation from where it might have originated. in the past 100 odd years we have behaved like college kids, who would wear any dress which would be trending at the time, irrespective of it suiting or not.We in our pursuit of narrow self-interest forget that with every new technology we adopt, without indigenization it could be detrimental to Sustainable practice, when looked at from the perspective of the Millennium & Sustainable  Development Goals, (as it does not factor at times, of creating jobs or preserve the ecosystem but, deny that opportunity altogether.)

The rate at which we are destroying greener pastures without stopping to think how we can improve the very cities we live in will eventually lead us to situations which almost all of us are very familiar with.

And it is not just the greed of the people directly involved in that event but perhaps all of us sitting in far away plush offices and homes. If we look into ourselves we all have the self-righteous belief that it is only the elected representatives and the administration which is responsible for all things that is required to run a civilization.

Honesty and discipline can’t be selective.

From following simple traffic rules and building by-laws to complex environmental issues; the so called innocent common man is rarely honest when it comes upon himself to follow those rules.

There could be many of us who must know a neighbour who has an endangered turtle in his/her fish tank but don’t even bother?

Tigers are killed because some humans believe that eating parts of them would be beneficial. Trees in tropical and rain-forest are chopped because some in south Asian cities  believe that having a golf course could help turn their brown skin a bit more white and western  (albeit a little brown).

Tree logs are smuggled because without a polished Burma Teak floor, a style statement can’t be made about how rich the man is.

The Panda is near extinct because without fine paper to write upon the CEO can’t work. Without having a printed email, she/he can’t decide coherently.

The fashion conscious can’t be seen wearing the same dress & accessories twice.

But to arrest that we must delve deep into ourselves to find a solution. Unless we understand that each individual reading  this and those outside, whizzing past their window, without any knowledge or interest of what is transpiring within; come together,  we would be facing a calamity so terrible that World War-II would pale by comparison.

The onus is on us to change our life-style. While not one climate scientist or environmentalist suggest that we go back and live in caves; if there would be no irrational demand, exploitation beyond rationale can’t happen.

Even the choice of a petrol/diesel guzzling Car, the fetish of using every cosmetic which boast of all the fruits and vegetables which a hungry third world Nations never gets to eat creates the vicious circle where armed guards swoop down from helicopters to arrest those who were in their own way trying to arrest the slide to climate chaos!

History has always proven that Civilization takes a turn when there is mass movement. But that mass movement finds legitimacy when the elite partake to make the change; therefore it is for those who understand the dangers of unsustainable living create opportunity and solutions which the mass can relate to.

We must nudge the common man in relating every-day events to the Climate Change and how we can adapt if not mitigate the consequence of global warming, the threats of which is already manifest – the drama of Danse Macabre which Mother earth has started playing with regular shows, each more intense or frequent than the last.

A bigger disastrous calamity may befall if steps are not taken; every day, every moment, by all at the micro-level which is catalysed by sound policy at the macro level by the Nation, thus help in making those micro level changes easier for people to adopt and benefit from.

We must understand that Food-Clothing-Shelter will always come in the same order of precedence as it has from time immemorial.

The first necessity after any disaster is Food & Water; Clothing and Shelter….it must be remembered.. always!


 

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Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”.


In the video section of my blog you will find a time lapse video of Hurricane Sandy. Around 2:14 minutes into the video, the lights of New York go out. Till then it is business as usual. Single mindedly producing GHG by consuming humongous amount of electricity produced by coal / oil fired thermal plants.

An Article by Ryan Patterson, USCAN Operations Director says –Both Presidential campaigns were put on pause this week as Hurricane Sandy converged with extraneous weather patterns and battered the East Coast with unprecedented force, prompting National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt to describe the effects of climate change as akin to ‘putting hurricanes on steroids.’ This fatal event contributes even more evidence to the annals of climate change data, and some media have connected the storm to climate disruption, such as Bloomberg Businessweek, which ran a front page article titled It’s Global Warming, Stupid and CNN, which ran a story called Experts Warn of Superstorm Era to Come. Unfortunately, top politicians have not followed suit and have failed to publically connect the dots to climate change, which is dispiriting at best and unethical at worst.

With less than a week to Election Day, it is important to think about how we found ourselves in the position where key decision-makers are not substantially addressing climate, despite broad efforts by climate change activists. I will argue here that a band of carbon billionaires have effectively influenced public opinion and national and state legislation on climate change using a three-pronged strategy that funds think tanks, Astroturf campaigns, and legislative outreach…..(Source: Climate Action Network).

In 1988, UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) came together to create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has become the pre-eminent global source for scientific information relating to climate change.  The main international instrument on this subject, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992.  And its Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was adopted in 1997. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002, to take stock of achievements, challenges and new issues arising since the 1992 Earth Summit. It was an “implementation” Summit, designed to turn the goals, promises and commitments of Agenda 21 into concrete, tangible actions. 2005 – 2014 is  the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development  and Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

In 2012 with only 1 year 2 months to 2014, my Blog article What is Agenda 21 written to help propagate the great UN vision got a sum total of 5 HITS between 12th November 2011 to 6th March 2012.

Not that I did not try pasting the link to the article in my other blogs, especially the ones I title as Green Business Ideas. I doubt if even the kith and kin of CM Sheila Dikshit of New Delhi and Ex Mayor Shraddha Yadav of Mumbai, who were the signatories of the C40 Cities ( Urban Development Rules: How C40 -City rules can make a difference for India.) have even heard of these wonderful United Nations driven goals, leave alone the common people in my Country.

I have a decent 99 HITS to the C40 article, taking my efforts to spread sensible living to a mere 104 persons in total of 6 Billion people in this planet. I hope the UNFCCC has been doing better. Given it has been at it since 1988.

While Noble Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote – Jodi tor dak sune ….( A superb poem which tells you to walk alone towards the path of truth, irrespective of the following you get ). Unfortunately the time of the Mahathma Gandhi; who did walk alone; has changed.

Truth is what the Corporates tell you, through their selected mouth piece Politicians and media Barons. But Mother Nature has this silly habit of knocking down the tall claims made by tiny self-centred human. Every time. So when both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama chose not to mention the “C” word, Hurricane Sandy felt offended and came visiting and sent cousin Hurricane Nilam to India, to remind the Annex II countries not to feel to smug about the disaster hitting the most uncooperative Annex I country in the Kyoto Protocol.

In my (4 HITS received till date, clearly underscores how unimportant a news it is compared to Hollywood / Bollywood actors affairs, which get a media frenzy) article Sustainable Development is urgent : IPCC’s special report on Climate risks I presented the SEREX report a few points I would highlight below –

EXPOSURE AND VULNERABILITY

1.Exposure and vulnerability are dynamic, varying across temporal and spatial scales, and depend on economic, social, geographic, demographic, cultural, institutional, governance, and environmental factors (high confidence).

2.Settlement patterns, urbanization, and changes in socio-economic conditions have all influenced observed trends in exposure and vulnerability to climate extremes (high confidence).

DISASTER LOSSES
1.Economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have increased, but with large spatial and inter-annual variability (high confidence, based on high agreement, medium evidence).

2.Economic, including insured, disaster losses associated with weather, climate, and geophysical events are higher in developed countries. Fatality rates and economic losses expressed as a proportion of GDP are higher in developing countries (high confidence).

3.Increasing exposure of people and economic assets has been the major cause of the long-term increases in economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters (high confidence).

4.Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and
population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded (medium evidence, high agreement).

The report touches on many aspects in great detail and was published as the 4th Assessment Report of IPCC last year. I would want people to pause at the digit 4th. The 5th report is on its way.

Wonder how much that would help the common persons who are lead as sheep to the slaughter house by the willy Politician – Corporate out to make a quick buck. After all disasters do help in the business of rebuilding. What fun! Too bad, loss of life and limb happens. But statistics show far greater people die in their sleep don’t they?

Exposure and Vulnerability; Disaster losses. one can almost feel the despair and frustration of all those who have burnt the proverbial mid-night oil to compile a Report, detailed and accurate as humanly possible to help the Leaders of this World to address Climate change with Vision and Statesmanship.

$1 trillion in infra at any cost, Singh tells his 77: Prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday told the 77 ministers in his cabinet the government’s target of $1 trillion investments in infrastructure over the next five years “must be met at any cost”.That translates into Rs53.71 lakh crore, or more than Rs10 lakh crore a year, over the 12th Plan period of 2012-17…….“To do so, we will have to overcome the constraints that currently deter or slow down this investment.” The prime minister listed fuel supply arrangements, security and environmental clearances and financing difficulties among the constraints and said the growing gap between demand and supply of energy had emerged as a major roadblock to development.
I can almost hear the chain saws gnawing at the last remaining forest cover, to reach for the coal beneath. “Development at any cost” the new Indian Mantra.

The Stern Review states that climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, presenting a unique challenge for economics.The Review provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimise the economic and social disruptions. The Stern Review’s main conclusion is that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting.The Review points to the potential impacts of climate change on water resources, food production, health, and the environment. According to the Review, without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more. The Review proposes that one percent of global GDP per annum is required to be invested in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In June 2008, Stern increased the estimate for the annual cost of achieving stabilisation between 500 and 550 ppm CO2e to 2% of GDP to account for faster than expected climate change.

It is said that unless we stop and reverse the Global temperature rise by 2017, we shall be locked into a high carbon growth for the next 50 years with Climate related disasters and its related abatement cost dogging the civilization, with millions in life and property is lost.

Yet, the World Leaders blinded by myopic vision, site economic gurus who unfortunately are born of a flawed economic system, who go back to the time when that flawed system was in its nascent stage and showed false growth and prosperity. By this I mean the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The vast untapped resources were not yet exploited and thus the impact of “pollution” an unknown term then. And it had not manifested itself with the terrible consequences which we see now. While the Revolution is singularly responsible for the growth of Human understanding in every field, including the impacts of human induced climate change, applying the same economic measures and datum now is nothing short of foolhardy in the present circumstances.

Now is the time for us to search for leaders who would be able to stand tall and proud as Gandhi. Leaders not afraid to walk the path away from the beaten track. And should that be a problem then we still can walk the path  the Mahatma showed in his concept of a Sustainable Village or Gram Swaraj.

Visionaries are not born every day and civilization which forget the thoughts of visionaries do so at their own peril. While it is easy to catalogue the devastation of a Katrina or a Sandy or a Nilam, what is of profound importance now is that the United Nations must through its good offices bring around the USA, Canada, Japan and others who talk of not ratifying the KP-2 or any similar or better economic idea which might just be able to hold off the cousins of Sandy & Katrina from visiting too soon.

Perhaps UNFCCC-Doha may after all see the birth of a new Economic order born out of respect for the Ecology.

 

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Small Cars Must Rule ! Curb on diesel cars need implementation


In a recent leading News Paper I happened to read that the automobile companies in India have requested the Government to re-think on putting an extra excise tax on Diesel passenger vehicles, namely SUV‘s and other high to very high-end Cars using diesel. Their argument is its going to affect their economy, and moreover its just a tiny 1.56% of the total diesel driven automobiles!
 

I confess at the start that I am no Ivy league MBA and can’t crunch statistics like the big corporate boys do. But in my dim-wit brain I need someone to explain me that if the diesel cars construed only 1.5%  of the total, why the petition? And I start to think what is this argument of 1.5% ? A trillion can also have 1.5% of it and a million can also have a 1.5% but the formers tiny percent can be the whole of 100% + of the latter! So as someone had said long ago – ‘statistics is the best way to lie and win an argument’ holds true. The brilliant and well meaning automobile manufacturing managers  perhaps have the well-being of the poor employees in their mind when they attempt to  protect the assembly line from closing down. So I will not hold it against them. But by increasing the demand of passenger cars which would be belching fossil fuel fumes especially more carbon–Di–oxide  is causing a disservice to the Nation. (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Diesel_vs_Petrol.)

However, I must  advocate for Clean technologies as it is the only way to abate Climate Change. I would also ask the big diesel car advocates to read the Stern Review and the SREX report of IPCC.  It is time that corporates and governments but most importantly the Citizens of the country start to understand that we have a very limited time to turn the tide against climate change. For we enter the Orange line for danger from 2017!

Diesel is understood to give more mileage and more efficient that petrol. But in India all may not be using the high-end diesel which is taking care of NOx which is a cause of concern from the pollution angle. Moreover once the public see that the price of fuel is cheaper the demand for diesel cars would shoot up. The price of diesel is cheaper in India because the Government offers a bigger subsidy on it than Petrol. As long as the public keep on demanding for “cheaper fuel” for their very big and costly cars, the automakers can not be put to fault. And as long as the Government of the day continues to buy the corporates argument, the public can not be held responsible. It is a wonder how easily in any argument we create demarcations – Government – Public – Automakers and forget that all are at the end citizens of a responsible Nation which should be at the fore-front to abate climate change.

All nations are facing the problem of balancing between the centuries old “industrial revolution” life-style which hyper-jumped on the back of fossil fuel to device a cleaner and more sustainable life-style without compromising on the creäture comfort we all have grown up with.  This can only happen if for once  these very best of India, the brilliant Corporate minds along with learned Citizens from various fields come together and devise a solution. Each in his/her personal capacity must break free from the chains of the company’s profit graph and attempt to create a level playing field in which bio-fuel driven or solar-driven or hybrid cars can create a viable alternative to the popular and practical cars of today.

And having done that, they should learn from the real experiences on the city roads of India and devise a plan to create superb SMALL passenger cars! And through their glib marketing and advertisement pamper the ego of the feudal minded ‘upper class’ that small is the new ‘BIG’!

Moreover, the super rich who buy big cars & suv’s with the argument that their large family would travel in comfort when they holiday usually have cars for each individual member or when holidaying they fly to Europe or other exotic destinations, leaving their large cars behind.

Let us see how is the Developed nations fairing in this – the EU’s voluntary agreements with motor manufacturers and the introduction of colour-coded CO2 labels in showrooms, the UK Government has introduced financial measures to favour cars with lower CO2 emissions.

Since March 2001 the annual Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rate for new cars has been determined by their CO2 emission figure and the type of fuel used. This banding is linked to the voluntary colour coded CO2 A – G labelling scheme. Band ‘G’ was recently introduced but only applies to new cars registered on or after 23 March 2006. VED discounts are available for alternatively fuelled cars, e.g. hybrids, gas and biofuels.

Since 2002 company car drivers have been taxed according to their vehicle’s CO2 emissions and fuel type, again with diesel vehicles paying a tax penalty over petrol vehicles with similar CO2 emissions. Tax discounts are available for drivers choosing bio-fuel and hybrid electric vehicles.

On the fuels side, a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation has been introduced which requires 5% of road fuels to come from a renewable source by 2010. This may be sold as a separate fuel (e.g. ‘E85’) or blended into normal diesel and petrol at low percentages (5% or less).

The European Union has now agreed a mandatory CO2 target for car manufactures. Under this legislation the average emissions of a manufacture’s vehicles sold in Europe will have to be below 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015.

In my opinion Small cars must rule ! Because –

It is easier to engineer a smaller and lighter vehicle to run at a decent  speed through alternate Eco-friendly fuel. And even petrol driven small cars can be more economical mileage wise, so demand for diesel car would reduce.

Almost 60% of the commuters are lone passengers who drive or are driven around on a daily basis so large cars belching diesel fumes are not really required.

Moreover although the diesel cars would be a percentage of the above 60% , a small statistical number but a HUGE difference in the abatement of Co2e. Because that small number of cars need to fill gas, read diesel – which need not be that small in measure.

Lastly, big SUV’s and large passenger cars  are not only big in size, they are heavier too. As any one who has plied on roads frequented by heavy vehicles would know – the roads wear out faster !

And what do we lay our roads with – Bitumen! A derivative of the most feared substance in terms of Climate Change –  A black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation!

The articles that started the arguments (http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epapermain.aspx?pgNo=15&edcode=820009&eddate=2012-01-20) ( http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?279625 )

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Green House Gas, My Thoughts

 

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Trade & Climate Change: Clean Development Mechanism in SME Sector can reduce exposure and vulnerability to weather and climate events.


The Small & Medium Enterprise and Business in many Countries play a vital role in the growth of the Nation. It is a fountain of creative ideas of which many have made it big over time, World over. It is one of the most dynamic part of a countries growth as it more often than not linked directly at the grass root level.

As per the Small & Medium Business Development Chamber of India;

The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role for the growth of Indian economy by contributing 45% of industrial output, 40% of exports, employing 60 million people, create 1.3 million jobs every year and produce more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets. SME’s Contribution towards GDP in 2011 was 17% which is expected to increase to 22% by 2012. There are approximately 30 million MSME Units in India and 12 million persons are expected to join the workforce in the next 3 years. SMEs are the fountain head of several innovations in manufacturing and service sectors, the major link in the supply chain to corporate and the PSUs. The Indian market is growing rapidly and Indian entrepreneurs are making remarkable progress in various Industries like Manufacturing, Precision Engineering Design, Food Processing, Pharmaceutical, Textile & Garments, Retail, IT and ITES, Agro and Service sector.

Greenhouse Effect

If one just looks at the scale, it could be well understood the potential it has in terms of creating a sea-change in the quest for reduction of GHG and thereby reduce the Green House Effect, provided it is given the support and attention it deserves.

The UNFCCC COP-17 meet at Durban has underscored the need to move at a faster pace in the Worlds effort to abate Global Warming & Climate. The IPCC‘s  report examines how disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change can reduce exposure and vulnerability to weather and climate events and thus reduce disaster risk, as well as increase resilience to the risks that cannot be eliminated.

The IPCC’s special report states under DISASTER LOSSES which would come about due to extreme weather events caused by Global Warming,  four major points;

1.Economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have increased, but with large spatial and inter-annual variability (high confidence, based on high agreement, medium evidence).

2.Economic, including insured, disaster losses associated with weather, climate, and geophysical events 4 are higher in developed countries. Fatality rates and economic losses expressed as a proportion of GDP are higher in developing countries (high confidence).

3.Increasing exposure of people and economic assets has been the major cause of the long-term increases in economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters (high confidence).

4.Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and

population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded (medium evidence, high agreement).

Although it is argued that large corporations have a greater responsibility to respond to the challenges of Global warming it must be noted that they are in many cases moving positively in that direction. It can be safely argued that for large corporations, changing the process is time consuming principally due to its size and no quick turn around is possible. Further they require much more assistance both technically and financially to do so viably.

But the problem of Climate Change being of humongous proportion, the effort on ground as of now need more participation. This is where, I would like to point the direction towards SME’s. Typically in India, the SME sector can be further subdivided as:

Manufacturing Enterprises – Investment in Plant & Machinery

Description                                                                       USD($)

Micro Enterprises                                                upto $ 62,500

Small Enterprises                                         $ 62,500 & upto $ 1.25 million

Medium Enterprises                  above $ 1.25 million & upto $ 2.5 million

Service Enterprises – Investment in Equipments

Description                                                                      USD($)

Micro Enterprises                                                  upto $ 25,000

Small Enterprises                            above $ 25,000 & upto $ 0.5 million

Medium Enterprises                   above $ 0.5 million & upto $ 1.5 million

In India, the SMEs are spread thin. Wherever clustering approach has been developed, and organizations like UNIDO have brought technology transfer and support to clusters, they have seen to embark on an improved profitability and competitiveness route. There are more than 8 million SMEs in India today – small companies that churn out auto components or electronic parts, garments, etc. – making manufacturing the biggest engine for job creation in our economy, and contribute to 60 per cent of India’s exports. About 40 million workers are employed by the manufacturing sector, as per the National Sample Survey 2000.

 These are big numbers, with the latent potential to grow bigger, and signify one thing clearly: the SME sector can play a crucial role in the economic growth of India. Conversely it also means that it has the potential to spew enormous amount of GHG( Green House Gas). Moreover the SME sector, which by default is set up in the fringe districts of any city, faces acute electricity and water shortages. Sometimes both and at times mostly electricity. This hampers productivity. And also creates space for using diesel power generating system which are a prime source for GHG emission. This, in the present Global concern towards Climate change, would act as an impediment for favorable negotiations for India post 2012. These negotiations would begin for framing the new convention which would take over form the present Climate Change Treaty, the world follows – the Kyoto Protocol.  The second crediting period of the KP would be over by 2015 and as the world is teetering towards Global Warming of enormous proportions, the rewards and punishment for helping or not helping in its mitigation would be huge. In the last meet of the 194 member states of the UN at Durban, a $ 100 Billion per year Green Climate Fund by  A.D 2020 has been agreed upon.

 As globalization is increasing and competition is becoming more vigorous there is increased  awareness amongst all stake holders that Climate Change is a potential risk to business and its mitigation is an absolute necessity. The risks have already been mentioned in the paragraphs above. Now to succeed in a competitive environment, which is also in the midst of a Global Economic slowdown, the manufacturing sector has to adopt some best practices and embrace some new age tools. One of the key differentiators can be Sustainable Design & Renewable Energy Technology and its wide adoption by Indian SMEs, which can play a significant part in enhancing their competitiveness on the world stage.

 Further India is one of the emerging economy on whom the world is focusing along with other BASIC Nations (Brazil; South Africa; India; China) to support the climate change initiative taken up in the recently concluded UNFCCC’s  COP-17 at Durban South Africa; it is imperative for the Nation to look into and address the GHG abatement potential across the SME sector. Else it would be put into disadvantage in future negotiations set to take place for a new framework convention beyond 2015, when the Kyoto Protocol part -II is set to end. These negotiations are set to take place from 2012 onwards and culminate towards Rio+20, the UNFCCC’s COP 18, scheduled in Brazil this year. India has however the National Action Plan for Climate Change( NAPCC) in place which has Eight Mission programs, and some of them are operational as of now. Amongst them the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency(NMEEE) covering Nine  industrial sectors must be adopted by the SME sector too and its scope increased to include more sectors.

 Now what would be the process and advantage for the SME to look at the Energy Efficient Building & Renewable Energy Technology, otherwise known as Green of Clean technology? For starters, one must adopt the guidelines given under the two Green Building rating system prevalent in India. The National GRIHA (Green Rating  for Integrated Habitat Assessment) and the IGBC ( Indian Green Building Council ). These are guided by the prestigious The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) and the later by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). Under the IGBC we have guidelines both for retro-fit as well as new industries , namely the ” Green Co” and the “Green Factory” rating system.  As to the advantages, primer companies such as Wipro, Godrej, Larsen & Toubro, GE, JSW and many others industrial sectors  have adopted the systems across its various rating system and have found favorable variations in there CAPEX & OPEX, but what is most important in this discussion is that there is a significant reduction to the GHG, as much as 20%.

 Having said that, to make the SME sector adapt to new age technology, the various associations for SME should petition both State & Central Government to create favorable Credit policy for them.  The SME sector mostly does not seek any grant or subsidy and industrious enough to pull through with its own resources, however Credit for expansion or setting up a new venture for this sector is hard to come by, principally because most do not have the wherewithal to afford big consultation or credit rating companies, which could facilitate and guide them to become Credit worthy in terms of banking rules. There needs to be some thought on this.

Courtesy: For data on SME’s – Rajiv Sodhi in http://www.i4donline.net  & the SME Chamber of India www.smechamberofindia.com

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Renewable Energy – Empowering Women & Saving Forests.(Redux)


During the recently concluded UNFCCC , COP 17 at Durban, that Climate change is a clear and present danger with Humankind pushing the limits of the Earth’s ability to cope with man-made pollution, was well documented by each Nation which spoke at the Plenary. And it was underscored with a grim report by the IPCC -4th assessment draft.

English: Adapted from a portion of Figure 1 in...

The year 2017 from where Human Economic progress will be trapped into a high carbon growth, which would compound and complicate the situation into a series of worst case situations year on year, each year causing great socio-economic suffering. The Stern Review details it for those who want to know more.

It is also mentioned, the worst of Climate change, caused due to unprecedented pollution the Human race produced in its quest to find a “safe – healthy – prosperous” life style; would affect those who neither had/has the means nor the thought process to live such life-styles; the indigenous people in the Brazilian rain-forest, the ethnic groups in wild and still  beautiful  and untouched Africa and the “poor” Nations and  economically weaker class of the societies.

While it is true that when one measures “development”  through the all-pervasive Capitalist Economic theory the World follows in its trade; the definition of poor would be a Man or Nation with no “money”, “cash” or whatever the experts like to call it. However today, one must pause and think on the terms “Rich” & “Poor” in the Climate change context.

Fresh Air, Clean & Sparkling Rivers, Beautiful Blue Sky, Lush Green Meadows, rich and varied Flora & Fauna are (strangely! – they don’t have the money to pay for such nice things, one might say ) with the POOR and UNDEVELOPED or UNDERDEVELOPED Nations, States, Provinces.

And what is most striking is that the RICH just don’t have it around them anymore. They need “treated & bottled”  Water, “filtered and air-conditioned” Air;  Zoos, which one needs to drive down ( provided one is in town/ else a planed tour itinerary during holiday season ) and an “all expenses paid” incentive ticket  to fly to these very underdeveloped/undeveloped  provinces & Countries to have a glimpse of the Blue Sky. Even virgin snow is hard to come by as by morning layer of sooth from Car exhaust ruins its colour.

It’s perhaps time that the UN & IMF, World Bank and those snooty Credit rating Companies, redefine which are the Bankable and Rich Nations.

Having said that, let the present so-called “Rich & Developed Nations“, be pressured by the right thinking citizens of those countries to save the very things they all want – Safe, Healthy & Prosperous life-style. And we just have SIX years  left to move the clock back-wards to meet that.

So what is it, in my opinion that needed to be done ? Simple, help the poor with their livelihood . Each day thousands of Women & Girl Child walk miles to fetch potable water & fire-wood. This happens in almost all South Asian & African Countries. It perhaps true for parts of South America too.

Many sea /river societies in Africa find sustenance through trade in Fish. The big and fresh catch is usually traded with the agents of Multi Nationals for pittance. The smaller catch is then sold in the local market, where it’s “smoked”  over burning wood. This practice over the years has decimated the forest around these societies. And many such examples have been documented across nations. Soon even these Least Developed Nations and societies would have no tree cover, being poor and economically weak finding the right solution would not be  easy. It would be next to impossible and the first of Climate Change Refugees would be getting ready for exodus, creating further aggravation.

But among all these gloom, there is hope. A ray of hope and a whiff of opportunity – Renewable Energy; namely Solar & Wind.

With the Green Climate Fund, a nascent reality; the LDC’s must create Program of Activities which is similar to what is now on going in India. TERI the think- tank institute headed by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri himself, has a program called “lighting a billion lives”. Here Solar powered lanterns are given to villages across India.

Gaushala, Goshala run in Nabha and its attache...

Earlier on India has/had a program under which Bio-gas which is produced from cattle manure ( Gobar -gas ) and piped  into homes for cooking. Now this is a finite resource because it is quantity dependent. It is therefore successfully implemented in villages which have cattle rearing as their primary business. In the State of Gujrat, India; its a great success, as AMUL created a business revolution around dairy and animal husbandry is a roaring business there.  However not every village can have cattle which would be producing to fulfill the requirements of energy for the entire village. Therefore the use of RE mostly Solar, or a Wind + Solar Hybrid could be the solution for each and every village. Not only in India but in Africa &  other countries too. By devising a Solar Tree ( roof top if applicable or possible  ) and drawing cables to each and every house hold in the village, electricity could be provided. Add cheap yet sturdy induction stoves and you are giving these societies a chance.

Why induction stove one may ask. Simple, as per the report from the Department of Energy United States, an induction stove is nearly 90% efficient in sending the heat where it is required the most – to cook the food. Whereas in a butane / propane , the gas we find in LPG cylinders, only 40% is efficiently used for the purpose of cooking. The rest heats up the stove, pan and the air around the flame.

Now considering that 1 kiloliter of LPG = 7.4 KWHr ( kilo watt hour) of energy and 1 kilogram of LPG = 12.68KWHr. And BTU ( British Thermal Unit ) a measure to calculate heat. Lets look at an example given below to support my idea of a “Solar Stove”.

Domestic gas in India contains – 14.2 kilogram = 180.05 KWh of energy

BTU/Hr = 180.05 x 3412= 614330.60 BTU/Hr

Gas heating efficiency is 40% only. Therefore 40% of 614330.60  =  245732 BTU/hr is actual usage from one LPG cylinder.

Induction heating efficiency is 90%.

Say  a SPV of 2kWp x 5 solar hour  = 10kWh, of energy. ( In India we have an average of  5 hour of good Sun-shine ) which can be stored.

Now if we use an induction stove of 2.2Kw rating and draw the solar energy

Induction of 2.2 kW= to a gas burner rated at almost 16,000 BTU/hour; ( Refer:Induction Cooking:Selecting a Unit )

Therefore total energy received per hour = 10 /2.2 = 4.5455 x 16000 = 72,728 BTU / Hour is actual usage.

Now any expert would tell you 72,7288 BTU is a lot of cooking heat with a very nominal drawing of energy.

a 30-inch four-element induction unitThe rule of thumb from gas-energy values: induction-element kW times 7185 equals gas in BTU/hour.

This is just with a 2.2 Kw induction stove, naturally a higher rated induction hob would provide far more energy.

The least-expensive 30-inch (four-element) induction cooktop has:

  • a 1.3-kW small element (between 9,000 and 9,500 BTU/hour),
  • two elements of 1.85 kW each (well over 13,000 BTU/hour), and
  • one element of 2.4 kW (over 17,000 BTU/hour).

The least-expensive 36-inch (five-element) induction cooktop has:

  • a 1.2-kW small element (8,500 BTU/hour),
  • a medium element of 1.8 kW (13,000 BTU/hour),
  • a larger element of 2.2 kW (16,000 BTU/hour),
  • and two elements of 2.4 kW (over 17,000 BTU/hour).

The very highest-power gas burner to be found in the residential market is 22,000 BTU/hour, and that’s a sort of freak monster, whereas a 3.6-kW and 3.7-kW element–which is around 26,000 BTU/hour of gas!–is found in many induction cooktops.

From the above calculation one can see that at village level where food is only cooked for sustenance, the energy used by each house hold would be at a minimum. If the Solar panel & stove is sized properly as per the societal needs in each society  across Nations, two most important changes would perhaps take place.

1. The Girl child & Woman would no more need to chop down trees for fire-wood, thus help heal the immediate environment.

2. No smoke from fossil fuel would be emitted into the atmosphere.

So this concept if implemented rightly, might just begin to turn the tide as Worldwide some 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and 1.4 billion have no access to electricity.

So what’s with the electricity? Well if the 1.4 Billion were never introduced to the  oil and coal based electricity we would to Earth that much good. And now that we know the effective use of a new kind of Solar Stove; with cooking time reduced and need a minimum, may be some of that Solar power from the solar tree could light up a LED lamp in the village home.

And if we bring it to the cities, with the price of commercial LPG at Rupees 1600 / cylinder of 19kg. We may find some economics in this too, while reducing the subsidy burden for the Government.

Are the signatory of Kyoto  Protocol listening?

 

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Green Purchasing – The New Mantra


 

Green Purchasing, also known as Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) has gained more importance with the publishing of interim report by IPCC on Climate Change and its negative effects; which has more or less ratified the already known scientific findings that Climate Change is for real and it presents a Clear & Present Danger.

To abate the incoming disaster, every sector must act now ! Because the dateline for getting trapped unto high carbon economy forever, leading to untold misery is – 2017. That is just 6 years.

To put it simply, it would not be possible for business to shift into newer low carbon technology and getting used to it unless we start now. Just as a baby needs to be at least 5-6 years old to be able to walk & talk fluent, so does any nascent business. Mindset needs to be firmed & directions gets clearer over passage of time.

If say in 2012 we put up a Cement / Steel Plant with low -efficiency technology, it would still be spewing noxious GHG for the next 40 years before one can look at it as old and think of renovation. Now magnify that into 100’s of industries of all shape and size and a trap leading to disaster is not to difficult to imagine.

Of the many urgent Do’s we have – lets deal with “Green Purchasing”. Although it ideally defines purchases by the Governments & Corporates, I like to see the “Governments ” & ” Corporates” as men and women working as a collective. This  collective when broken down into individuals become “citizen” of a Nation or putting it simply part of another collective – “the common man”.

Therefore when the Government & Corporates buy green, the common man too starts buying green.

So what is green purchasing? Simply put it’s one of the three cornerstones of sustainable purchasing, where the other two cornerstones are sound social policy and economic soundness. However, whereas economic soundness insures that the overall decision is sound from a life-cycle cost and corporate sustainability perspective, and whereas social policy addresses your need to be a responsible corporate citizen when it comes to human rights and welfare, green purchasing addresses the environmental impact of our buying decision.

One might think that buying green is the easiest criterion but it is, in fact, the most challenging criterion! An organic local food product or an energy-efficient appliance may get the label of green, but only when its supply chain, storage and other criteria of actual usage are taken into account. A cold-stored food which is made available in the off-season, however locally produced has already consumed ton of energy to stay fresh! Similarly an energy-efficient appliance if left on continuously even when not required, does consume energy. Which in effect is getting wasted.

Environment Preferable Purchasing – green purchasing – is quite simple if the three R’s- Renew, Recycle & Reuse; are applied to each and every purchase. Its difficult at first, just as a baby trying to walk for the first time…but eventually every human gets a hang of it.

 

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