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Tag Archives: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Who is VVIP – the Planet or a President? Why Trump Must Go!


As an Indian citizen, who would never immigrate to any other Country come what may, it makes no difference who becomes the next President or Prime Minister of another country.

Global governance expert decries ‘snub’ of Patricia Espinosa as Trump administration considers whether to pull out of Paris climate deal

Global governance expert decries ‘snub’ of Patricia Espinosa as Trump administration considers whether to pull out of Paris climate deal. Patricia Espinosa has been unable to obtain a meeting with the US state department. Photograph: Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images

But, when an Executive decision made by a man could endanger the lives of my family & friends due to that man’s personal belief that Climate Change is a Chinese Hoax! Then it becomes a cause for worry!

If the article in the Guardian – UN climate chief unable to secure meeting with US state department is true then the World is in grave danger and while there is nothing a foreign Nation can do to intervene in their Constitution I guess the member countries of UNFCCC should show some spine and do what Uncle SAM has been doing since long!

IMPOSE TRADE SANCTIONS!

I’m sure the Capitalists around the world would snort at this, and some may even think of the choicest abuse! For, the USA is the single largest market in the world which makes economies move….

They should pause for a while and ask not as some Banker or Financial Analyst, but as a simple Human …..

Is it the Planet they live in gives them their next meal Or It is the economic and foreign policy of Nations?

It took more than 20 years, to just arrive at some concessions that the Planet is first! And in less than 20 months we are going to see all that has been achieved unravel? Because, some man who has been given some imaginary powers by some group of citizens written is a piece of paper, which is called the Constitution?

That paper, ink and even the hands that wrote and signed on it are but the product of this Planet.

Just how far are we to sink before sanity returns? Are we willing to let the Small Island Nations drown under the sea while shedding crocodile tears at the UNGA podium?

Let War ravage Nations, as it did in Syria?  Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War, Study Says – National Geographic

Would at least the British, the closest ally of the USA come forward and put some sense, will their King to be, who believes it to be so?  Is the Syrian conflict linked to climate change? -CNN interview, set sail to America and knock some sense into the erstwhile subject?

To those who fear that all will be lost, if we do not side with this President of the USA! I would within my humble limits point to a few things he has already said and done. He wants America First. That means what is indigenous to America, should be made and consumed in America first. This makes an excellent case for all other Nations around the World to follow suit. And if one looks closely it would actually HELP in saving the Planet.

Say for example Mangoes. This fruit is not indigenous to the USA. Therefore it should not be sold there at all. Likewise, all fruits and vegetables & allied goods and services should not reach the shores of the USA, as the first option. And before economists and government officials throw a fit, here is the argument.

For too long, Politicians and Economists have stood somberly at various forums including Davos and spoken about how to uplift the poor and the downtrodden. Here is the golden chance to be triumphantly victorious at that.When we start to sell our home grown produce first to our own citizens, the cost will go down. There will be less waste due to transportation and it would also reduce the GHG emissions. It would spur growth and prosperity and also create jobs. Is this not what all the pundit profess? Prosperity for all.

But then the argument would be looking at the SENSEX. But why should I? Why should something cost me a 100 when it can be produced at 10 and sold at 30? Do we really need to follow the laws of Economics as it has been taught to us? That we are following a failed model can be best explained by the expert in the video below. And I would request all readers to listen to it.

The Third Curve by Mansoor Khan.

Economics as we know it has helped destroy this planet. And as has been so eloquently explained in the talk that nature follows a bell curve, let’s there for rest assure us that the idiocy which we see unfolding in the USA foreign policy with regards to climate change will end when the correct measures are taken by the World at large.

 

 

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Green Business Idea – It’s time we sell oxygen to Nations!


COP19 or CMP9 was held in Warsaw, Poland from 11 to 23 November 2013. Typhoon Haiyan hit Philippines from November 2 to 11 2013. .

CoP20 or CMP10 is being held in Lima, Peru from the 1 to 12 December 2014. Typhoon Hagupit is currently ongoing….

The reason for this repeat disaster is simple…

the World simply can’t agree to pay a price for Carbon !

It is a fact.No person on Earth would willingly want to pay for something, if it could be had for free.

But every Nation loves to sell !!

We have been quite successful in selling “Carbon”. The use of the word “Success” here implies that the concept of selling “thin air” which CO2 is; is possible. Not the success or failure of the Kyoto Protocol.

This proves beyond doubt that anything sells…all that is need is proper persuasion and packaging !

But, it is also true that the end result must be profitable. And the business plan must be sustainable. Neither is true in the case of selling Carbon. Simply because, almost all of us are hard-wired to accept Oxygen as the breadth of life. And Carbon is associate with “waste” which we discharge when exhaling! Rest of  the gases are a little less understood by the common person.

And what can’t be appreciated can’t be sold ! Even with a UN mandate and regulation in place.

This is an angle the Climate Change Negotiators must factor into their thinking ! Therefore if we wish to truly bring in a paradigm shift in the thinking of the common person. Who is also a Voter. One must change track.

By selling Oxygen to a World plagued by Carbon we may just turn the tide to the less than 2°C goal.

Let’s argue this concept and lay the ground work for the idea to find acceptance by stating some facts as under.

World’s Worst Air Pollution By Cities 2010.

There is Global agreement to the fact that Pollution reduces the life-span of persons by about 5 years. Add to that the regular loss of business due to erratic attendance of the work-force which gets plagued by various ailments. Which finally adds up to loss of National per capita earning and wealth generation.

When we bring into the forefront the devastation which Global Warming brings, not many can understand. It is not because they do not understand the text or visual media. It is because human brain is conditioned to make one feel that s/he is immortal and also blessed.

Misfortune usually happens to others. It is to be appreciated for what it is, but rarely does one feel the actual pain of others. And those who do, are termed as Saints, by the lesser mortals.

Therefore a person living in Philippines, which is facing the treat of flood and rain once more in 13 months can not comprehend the hardships faced by the people in the severest drought California is facing in 1200 years. 

The resultant effect is scarcity of water, which the residents are facing and somewhere the society has started to respond to the crisis by relearning to live sustainably.The California State Govt has in its official web-page come up with various ideas and advisories for the California Drought.

And unprecedented demand to have it all within the shortest possible time has also scarred India.

The Flood Ravaged Kashmir Valley

Sustainable living which people in India still know by default, is sadly fast fading as we in our attitude to “arrive” become more Occidental than Oriental.

And the greatest tragedy is that the devastation of Kashmir would be felt at Kanyakumari. In manners yet to be flagged as urgent.

For when any modern City faces such devastation, the effect is not limited to the personal tragedy of that region. Neither is it limited to the Economic loss of the Nation. For lurking in the background is the long term effect it has on the ecosystem.

And as we all know the Ecosystem has the potential to nurture Life. And its poisoning due to the folly of human can only invite disaster. What guarantee do we have that the super poisonous water, as any flood water must turn into [ when mixed with the carcases of the dead and laced with the leaching of substances like plastic, chlorides, barium, cadmium, lead & arsenic; all that can be found in many a electrical, electronic appliances, building materials and furniture & furnishings.] will not be reaching the ground water and rivers which irrigate the fertile soil which grow a Nations food ?

And such is not the case with the poisonous waters of River Jhelum reaching Punjab through Kashmir ? Can any of the SAARC Nations therefore guarantee that the food products which it would be trading would not therefore be poisoned to some degree? And can the World therefore not wake up to the risk that produce from this region could be harmful to their National Health?

The potential turmoil such thoughts such as above can create must be nipped at the bud. Simply by pointing to the above as a plausible theory.

When death becomes personal, it becomes urgent.

Thus the idea of selling Oxygen the Life giver would find relevance in the lethargic Climate Negotiations.

What one must not confuse with this recommendation, is that it is not asking for any contextual change in the way Climate Change Negotiations have been drafted. It would be self-defeating to undo a single comma or phrase our World Leaders in their wisdom have accepted. So no one is seeking the removal of the term “Carbon Sequestration”  or “Carbon Abatement” or “Carbon Offset“. So which ever method of Carbon Capture and Storage is accepted by the World all that the UNFCCC requires to do is create an Supplementary page on which the Nations agree to sell the above concept as “Selling Oxygen”.

The idea of Life is so powerful that it inspires prose & poetry. There can be no form of advertisement more powerful to sell an idea than having them being told by people who can breathe life to words..literally !

Corporates therefore would have a wonderful tool to take up the tasks of cleaning up their Carbon Emission mess either due to mandatory laws crafted by the Nations or as CSR.

It would be much easy to explain to the common person, that with every bit of Carbon-di-Oxide rise into the atmosphere, the Oxygen gets diminished as the CO2 takes away the O2 from the Air.  And with diminished Oxygen, it is that much harder to breathe. The only salvation therefore is to clean up the air. The encouragement it would receive could revive a lot many industries engaged in this task.

While there may not at present be any scientific data to explain the theory, Nature is about balance of system. In school the classical experiment of burning  a candle under the bell jar produces no change in weight, even post the last wax melts away gives some credence to the idea some are talking about in the annals of Climate Change conferences.

 
 

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Why Climate Talks are mostly just that….


  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for October, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average of 9.3°C (48.7°F)—the fifth highest for October on record.
  • For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.9°C (60.6°F) and the highest for October on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–October period (year-to-date) was 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F). The first ten months of 2014 were the warmest such period on record.

International talks to deal with a particularly potent greenhouse gas took a cautious step forward on Wednesday, as India and a host of other countries agreed to “informal discussions.”…Under contention are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — gases that, pound for pound, can trap up to a thousand times more heat than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere..

Indian Environment Minister

Prakash Javadekar, the environmental minister for India — the country that lead the previous opposition — laid out the issues that would have to be addressed to reach a final agreement. These include the way patents, intellectual property law, and other confidentiality agreements prevent India and other developed countries from making full use of new technology, as well as the fact that developed countries like the United States are historically responsible for the vast majority of HFC emissions. The talks, according to Javadekar, would need to be based “on the principle of grace period — that is differentiated responsibility, financial assistance, including that for research and development, technology transfer without the clause of confidentiality.(THINKPROGRESS Posted on November 21, 2014 at 11:08 am).

The above paragraph underscores the classical problem Modern Civilization, based on a flawed capitalistic idea faces. It is impossible for any Nation, to remove from the mindset of the populace  whence from, the elected representative are ultimately chosen to govern; not put profit before people. Our present day Economist along with Social Scientists have a lot of work to do. Undo the mind-set which is attuned to reward and recognize  “Crony Capitalism” as achievements.

No Nation is bereft from it…it’s the hangover from the British Empire. While every Empire be it Roman, Chinese, Mayan or Magadha Empire while expanding and consolidating must have wreaked havoc. The Modern European Empires had the Industrial revolution to help it wound the Earth very dangerously, in the process of acquiring riches. Thus the plunder of Earth resources reached its zenith.The resulting fallout is now known as Climate Change.

While the present Civilization no more address a modern day Business Conglomerate C.E.O as “Emperor”; that Presidents and Prime Ministers of Nations are made and unmade by them are no state secret. And unless the Emperors of today are made aware that they would lose all they have conquered..and also have the possibility of dying a horrible death caused by Ebola, little will change at the negotiating tables of the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change 2015 in Paris.

In 2009 at Denmark the UNFCCC’s COP-15 rode on similar hopes. There was a new President of the USA. An African American and the World Environmentalist hoped spectacular achievements. But…..

On Friday 18 December, the final day of the conference, international media reported that the climate talks were “in disarray” Media also reported that in lieu of a summit collapse, only a “weak political statement” was anticipated at the conclusion of the conference. The Copenhagen Accord was drafted by the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa on 18 December, and judged a “meaningful agreement” by the United States government. It was “taken note of”, but not “adopted”, in a debate of all the participating countries the next day, and it was not passed unanimously. The document recognised that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the present day and that actions should be taken to keep any temperature increases to below 2 °C. The document is not legally binding and does not contain any legally binding commitments for reducing CO2 emissions.

In January 2014, documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by Dagbladet Information revealed that the US government negotiators were in receipt of information during the conference that was being obtained by spying against other conference delegations. The US National Security Agency provided US delegates with advance details other delegations’ positions, including the Danish plan to “rescue” the talks should they flounder. Members of the Danish negotiating team said that both the US and Chinese delegations were “peculiarly well-informed” about closed-door discussions: “They simply sat back, just as we had feared they would if they knew about our document.” (Wikipedia2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference )

The Paris UNFCCC’s COP-21 meeting will mark a decisive stage in negotiations on the future international agreement on a post-2020 regime, and will, as agreed in Durban, adopt the major outlines of that regime. By the end of the meeting, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be bound by a universal agreement on climate. In order for the agreement to come into effect in 2020, at the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, subsequent COP meetings will work on finalizing its details.

On 26 May 2014, Narendra Modi was sworn in as 15th Prime Minister of India.In 2009 the World was enamored by the superb oration of President Barack Obama of the USA. The World today fetes PM Narendra Modi as the Messiah of the economic woe’s that faces India and in the process of transforming India perhaps he would be able to help the World in general.

As an Indian it would make one proud. But, as an ENVIRONMENTALIST one is not so sure. Because much like President Obama, the pressure to perform and uplift the economy quickly, makes Prime Minister Modi to walk the same beaten track. A track trail blazed by Crony Capitalism ! with scant regard other than lip service to Climate Change abatement. And hiding behind cleverly worded text that pass legal scrutiny. Not because of it being legally sound but more so because the legal itself was crafted to suit the escapists.

 A President and a Prime Minister understands Realpolitik !

The term Realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian. Something that has become norm is the past century

BUT…

it is politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.

We already know the way, what is needed is the political will. And to give strength to the political will It is also the duty of the citizens of the Nations which are today poised to impact what text would be written at the end of CoP21 to help their Head of State –

One is to show the way,

Yes! Trillions.For insects and plankton however tiny have life.
Summer flower blooms in hot, sultry November
Nov 30 2014 : The Times of India (Mumbai) Richa Pinto Mumbai:
Greens Worried As Unusual Weather Seems To Have Confused Nature.A Nerul (Navi Mumbai) resident was recently surprised to see a flower that generally blooms in the month of March in his backyard a few days ago. With the October heat phenomenon stretching till the last few days of November this year, it looks like even nature seems to have got confused.

But, to make people notice the change we have to make it into a Financial Change issue. Lets see how it has impacted the finance or if we use the politically sensitive word “budget” of the common man.To understand this we must understand the average Indian mind.

While Mumbai has been witness to a peculiar warm October, which meteorologist consider as “normal”; November sees temperature with in the 20’s. A high of 29°C to a low of 24°C can be experienced. This is more or less the temperature which allows the budget concious middle class to shut down & cover up their Air-Conditioners as the ambient temperature required for a good-night sleep is naturally available. However this November the hum of AC’s can be heard around the city at night.

This has an immediate impact on their monthly budget, which leaves them confused and angry while trying to make ends meet. At the same time the power companies have to cope with prolonged power shortages due to peaking of demand, thus their is more planned “load-shedding” in the rural areas to compensate for the same. Which leaves the already short-changed rural folks more disenchanted from the system and government of the day.

Should such climate anomalies continue…elected governments may fall. And the opposition would also not want to put their head into the chopping block.

This last piece of information hopefully would help change the mindset and manner of those who choose to “dedicate their lives in the service of the people.”…be that India or the USA !

 

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Green Business Ideas – Less known inventions may have answers to CDM


Once in a lifetime, the World sees a sea-change and the Civilization as we know it takes a quantum leap. Historians mark it later as an ‘age’. We are familiar of the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Atomic Age and presently

The Climate Change & Economic Meltdown Age.

Both can be averted, should the Pundits of KP2 understand what should be considered as a true clean development project and allow for financial support.There has been amazing inventions which cut across all sectors – Housing, Transport, Food, Clothing, Energy Efficiency.

We must herald in the Renewable Energy Age.

While most of them can be found under the search term “future”; what is most important is that there were some which once could have been termed as future but now been relegated to the failed past. Now that they have failed during their launch does not necessarily make the invention a failure. It was more of an marketing and economic failure than the failure of the invention itself.

Segway

It 2009 Segway the inventor of the battery operated 2 wheel transport system came up with the P.U.M.A. along with GM and it was supposed to be launched in 2012. With hardly a fortnight left in the year, it is obvious that success did not kiss the feet of this invention. Just as the Segway is more of a tourist attraction than a serious alternate Urban transport even in India and other Asian countries where if popularised (By adding a bicycle seat and more ergonomics. Once past the novelty factor, one seriously looks for a little comfort)  and given a  rebate in price many would definitely opt for, albeit with a little nudge from the Government as mandatory, at least in the seriously congested Burroughs of our Mega Cities. We could begin especially in the High-street market areas, where parking becomes a serious problem and can be avoided to a great extent, yet help commuters negotiate the distances which they otherwise would want a transport too.

Piezo Electric tiles

The next which allures me is the Piezoelectric tiles. Till date we have only six locations where it has been effectively used. Where as the potential of this is so huge. Especially again in India and Asia as a whole where density of population is immense. In my article Green Business Ideas :Bombay can produce 2MW / day of Electricity by just adding Piezoelectric tiles on railway stations.would indeed be a great CDM idea, and I’m sure Indian scientist could definitely indigenize what the UK, US, Hong Kong and Japan are using at their walk ways and metro rail stations.

Combining this with the piezoelectric parking lot, which the west is seriously looking into we in India could solve a great extent of our electricity problems. As in the megalopolis of India, the density of population which is a bane for most Urban development project would become a boon. In my limited understanding, the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) would greatly benefit should we allow the piezoelectricity to be harnessed in the same manner as in JNNSM. A public-private partnership where the energy generated by the populace is given back to them for common good. It would also help reduce the enormous load the existing power plant have in its effort to supply to the City at the cost of a village. As an egalitarian society we must not just strive for  equality but also seen to be doing so,

Moreover, it makes perfect business sense and CIICESD, which is in the front-line for sustainability in business must make it their case and make aware the opportunities in piezoelectricity to the enterprises under its membership.

Moving onwards we have extremely superb potential in Felix-Solar panels. While it is true that a wide application is happening with it, what I don’t see as an Energy Efficient Building designer the application of it in India’s swank and energy guzzling glass buildings.

The most innovative Green Business idea for it was to build a curtain with it. Which MIT did. But if we want efficiency we need to design it as we would do with a standard SPV installation, giving it the same inclination while facing south. To be exact louvred blinds and place it inside the glass wall. It would not only act as a shading device but also capture the sunlight and convert it into energy much more efficiently than the concepts presently available. In fact almost all the prime business districts of Nehru place in New Delhi, Nariman Point in Mumbai and the new centres of Gurgoan and Bandra-Kurla complex in these cities can avail the advantage. And it is most suited for south facing windows. And in-fact in some cases it is the only solution because the roof area is usually taken up by host of plant and machinery required for a modern building. Those with large East-West facing glass buildings need not despair as solution for them too are available, which by far would be the most innovative if implemented.

This concept would also be most useful for Hospital and Hospitality which have many windows which can be put on good use. Imagine the south wall of major hospital having solar louvres ? It is already being done in the west. The power generated can directly of-set the cost of cooking food for the in-patients. Which also consumes CNG. While one can always argue the RoI of piped gas to that of Solar, but we are talking of Climate change mitigation not a business proposition. And for business proposition we already have the RESCO’s offering Solar PV solution in OPEX format.

 

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The BASIC need to build Resource Efficient & Climate Responsive Cities to avail GCF


When I wrote the article Bangkok floods – Next, New Delhi ? and followed it many moons later with Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon” we had skirted from UNFCCC – Cancun and were preparing to wipe out Doha with the same intensity as Typhoon Bopha,which tore through Philippines leaving 902 dead and 80,000 homeless.

Should the BASIC, LDC & Small Island Nations believe that things would be built on the outcomes of the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan; post Doha they need to do some serious review and approach the issue with innovation.  The idea of enhancing the collective ability to discuss climate change under the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in facing the adverse effects of climate change should be re-written.

If one understands the internal compulsions of EU & USA, it would be clear that “Enhancing the ability of developing countries to undertake nationally appropriate mitigation actions that are supported and enabled by financial resources and technology transfer from developed countries pursuant to the Convention”; – would remain a very clever draft on paper till another clever draft takes its place. After all which superpower wants to create another superpower, that too at its own expense ?

The only way for removal of barriers to technology support and transfer to be provided to developing countries pursuant to the Convention would come when at least in the BASIC countries, which have the most wherewithal and therefore the least chance of being clubbed with the LDC’s and Island Nations; swiftly put in place a loss and damage measurement mechanism along with enhancing operational action on capacity building  with smarter trade treaties with the Developed World. The concept of which I will expand in the later paragraphs.

While China along with India too is unhappy with the lack of commitment and silence from developed nations especially on the question of finances, intellectually property rights and technology transfer and equity. Together they are the next rising stars of the world economy. And everyone including the BASIC members themselves know that. This very reason would limit any serious commitment from the financially troubled EU and the USA.

Add to that the recent comment by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday – “For Russia to be sovereign and strong, there should be more of us,..I am sure that a family with three children should be the norm for Russia. But much needs to be done to make this happen.” Putin said in his annual speech to the Federal Assembly of both houses of parliament.

By the time the UNFCCC meets for CoP 19 in Eastern Europe, the USA and others would have calculated how much GHG the expected population rise would produce and factor that with the India + China population and throw up their hands in despair. But, if one must be fair, there is truth in this. One of the biggest challenges to Climate change mitigation would be the huge population we India + China possess.

And while we await an innovative idea about how we make a few million Russians out of Indians & Chinese and thus solve the Russian population problem and ours too; we need to seriously prove that our burgeoning population does not harm or come in harms way due to the vagaries of Climate Change.

Almost all Asian and South East Asian Countries have high density population in very small land-mass. So much so that Historical cities, which were built near the confluence of rivers and sea and the deltas have encroached the flood-planes. In the Island city of Mumbai, one would find shanties perched precariously just above the high-tide. Therefore in an unfortunate event of Tsunami or Cyclone loss of life and property is colossal.

How then it be possible to make a difference to the Climate Abatement and solve the crisis of the Cities ?

For that let us look as an example the city of Mumbai. To de-congest it we need to create business centres away form the main city. And to make the business centre successful we need to create residential townships. This is already been set into motion at Ulwe village area of Navi Mumbai, where the  Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City complex in Navi Mumbai spread across 135 acre is also earmarked. In an unusual diversification, the Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group will build integrated townships, residences, hotels and commercial spaces through a joint venture with Chinese giant Dalian Wanda Group.

This is a classic example of Sino-India business relationship which would have great bargaining power across the oceans to have technology transfer happen. Should it be developed in the lines of a climate resilient city, which it must, the EU and the USA would be looking to do business with it and would thereby transfer the technology they posses to make it a 100% Green township.

With more such projects encouraged, albeit in less Eco-sensitive zones and with proper diligence to Bio-diversity, none of the issues of technology transfer and related matter especially – …nationally appropriate mitigation actions that are supported and enabled by financial resources and technology transfer from developed countries pursuant to the Convention would matter. Because with each import of the technology transfer done to the developing world, the technology provider would need to discount the price of the plant & machinery or consultancy sought,  to avert climate change. This could be one of the smart trade treaty. Let the BASIC block allow entry of those goods which factor the “rebate” of climate related loss the developing nations have faced and is in line with the – loss and damage measurement doing the rounds at Climate meets.

There is a difference between begging for alms and negotiating the price of a technology which the west anyway need to sell to boost its sagging economy. The position across the table completely changes. There is a lesson which the LDC’s and Island Nations can learn. If they come as a group and provide business opportunities to the BASIC block; by virtue of it’s negotiating power the BASIC would make the west pay their way out of the mess they have created, even in those countries who are to weak too do anything today.

 

 

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Green Business Idea: Finding CDM opportunity in the Dumps.


Sustainable Development Goals. Sitting in front of my computer I was thinking about how would I be able to express my inner most feeling. As to why we must live sustainably.

Why is it that the UNEP – SBCI trying so hard to popularise the concept of sustainable growth and climate responsive cities. And why is it that we as the inhabitants of this Planet not able to tune into the cause and effect our “way of life” creates for this planet. What more can we do to create the mass hysteria required before the end of UNFCCCDoha to achieve all that every environment conscious person, whether standing alone or in group want. The 4°Centigrade warning by the World Bank has not really affected many.

Looking at the screen saver, my conscious mind wavering and disturbed slowly became tranquil. Just like the tranquillity of the waterfall, which although in continuous motion is unperturbed and in peace with itself and the surrounding it nourishes with life-giving water. And I thought of – Garbage !

Tons and tons of rubbish. So much garbage that the mind becomes numb, as opposed to tranquil. But why is it so ? After all it is we, who create the garbage not nature. Then why are we not at peace with it. Why is it that we cringe at the site of this man-made collection ?

The answer if we seek is simple. It is not natural. And what is not natural, Humans who after all are part of Nature can not co-relate to it. Garbage creation is unique to Human, no other animal species in its quest for daily existence creates garbage. There is a lesson to re-learn from this piece of information. A lesson Human, as it became more “advanced” forgot. We continue to destroy vast tracts of green scape. Whatever we touch ultimately turns into an ugly unholy mess. While we claim to be made as an image of the most holy, God himself.

Why do Humans generate waste ? And other animal species don’t? To understand this we must in simple terms understand the basics of Human nature. An intelligent social  ANIMAL. Somewhere deep in our genetic code, there could be an unconscious response mechanism which gravitates us towards the Lush Green Forests. The most primeval thought would be surely be that we co-relate forest with plentiful food and shelter ( as in our earlier avatar as Chimpanzee) within the tall shady trees.

And then our “intelligence” takes over and we build Concrete shelters and Plastic bowls to aid us in living and eating in comfort. And in the process we end up surrounding us with Garbage. Especially non Bio-degradable waste. If I be the judge of it, I would hand it over to the “Developed Nations” jointly in teaching all Nations around the World how to live a waste-full life .”Presentation” is everything. From decorating a food-plate to decorating oneself, the capacity to create waste is mind-boggling. And the “ambassadors” of wasteful living the “Fashionistas” & their followers need some lesson in frugality. And perhaps if they can be converted to consider frugality as a “trend”. The World would surely survive.

Go to any Fashion Event or Product Launch and see what I mean by waste. It is pure GHG. While the likes of us can never rub shoulders with the Who- is -Who (idiot) list; we are made part of the wasteful living too –

Garbage Island

Garbage Island

Just unpack your latest Mobile phone or Laptop. When was the last time we returned the packaging of our Super costly Pen or Watch back to the Company ? Did one really need the packet of the Pen which we would ultimately put in our shirt pocket or would stay in the pen stand on the writing desk. Rarely used in the era of Tablets ? And please see if you can find the package your tablet came in for that matter. There is a difference between “functional packing” for shipment and “decorative” packing. I point at the later. Our capacity to generate waste has become so huge that not only are we successfully able to deface pristine landscape we have even managed to pollute the mighty ocean. In fact I proudly add to it while unpacking my new Cell phone. First the cellophane, then the cardboard carton, which has highly toxic printed image of the phone within. And No ! I would not want the store to give me an unpacked one and neither would the store ask for the package to be shipped back; to be sent to the manufacturer for reuse. That dirty word. How can a rich upwardly mobile south Mumbai living personality like me do anything with “reuse”. It’s so offensive. In fact we laugh at people who refuse to send us enormous boutique of flowers, wrapped in cellophane and other decorative tit-bits, on any of our celebrations. That we promptly trash it post party and don’t have any clue what happens to it is another matter. After all I am a responsible Citizen minding my business!

https://i2.wp.com/envacapstone.wiki.usfca.edu/file/view/gpgpbackground.gif/66763595/gpgpbackground.gifWe have actually created an Island of waste The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage. And if things continue as usual probably the United Nation would have to declare a new Island state with the usual suspects laying sovereignty claims on it ! If one wants to enjoy the horror of it just tap the You Tube link in this blog’s video section – Grabage Island. And another link here. We also have added more Garbage into the ocean when the Tsunami struck Japan. And with the likes of Hurricane Sandy  & Nilam visiting America and Asia alike, we will only be adding to this garbage. That it is leading to toxicity of the sea to a dangerous level and affecting marine life is obvious. But what is not so evident is that what would be the long-term effect of this to the Climate Change ? Water currents and waves, wind and rain all form a complex chain of events initiated by the Sun. What is the change in reflective or absorption pattern of the Sun over the Ocean, polluted to such a vast area by filth? Will it be changing patterns in the weather ? Will the filth be sucked up in some giant Hurricane and carried within the vortex of the mega storm and dumped over some fine city ? The chances I would say are very likely. Just as likely is the breaking down of this enormous filth through chemical reaction into harmless and some very harmful toxics which would be and perhaps is causing some air & water-borne problem, which the powers that be are already aware of but not willing to discuss. Because, it’s the job of academicians to find the truth and hand it over to the politicians who by the default of who they are, add the spin & gloss to serve their narrow interest ( all politicians have ever wanted from the days of Pharaohs is to have a memorial in public land with public money when they die, civilization be dammed). It has always been true and will perhaps be till we as a civilization find the way to make Logic a religion and Politicians extinct.

But as my wishful thinking may not happen in my life-time, I would do what is available with me, suggest another simple Green Business Idea. My request to the academicians, climate scientists, NGO’s and the Peoples who love to live in this beautiful and Only Living Planet is to shake their respective governments and municipal agencies to adopt PYROLYSIS and this must happen in the UNFCCC Doha COP18. Although a very common process in the Chemical Industry and many large fully continuous pyrolysis plant are functioning, mostly recycling tyre, the potential which catches my eye are –

1. Biochar is also being considered for carbon sequestration, with the aim of mitigation of global warming.The solid, carbon-containing char produced can be sequestered in the ground, where it will remain for several hundred to a few thousand years.

2. Anhydrous pyrolysis can also be used to produce liquid fuel similar to diesel from plastic waste.

The ongoing Climate change negotiations at COP18 Doha, has the opportunity to change the tide towards sustainable living should the stake holders want. Of the many wonderful suggestions which get presented by many, my appeal to those who CAN make the difference on how we use our WORLD RESOURCES is to convince governments all over to encourage Pyrolysis plants as Micro,Small & Medium scale Industry. With especial emphasis on the Micro of the MSME basket.

The beauty of a Micro industry is that it would hire the rag-pickers, the scavengers. The most vulnerable and the economically weaker section of the Indian society. People with the most flexible back, as opposed to my stiff one which does not allow me to bend while walking the filthy streets of Mumbai and pick-up the rubbish strewn around my posh home and imported shiny car. Perhaps the recent comment – “While it may look inappropriate for me to be saying this, Mumbai should do something about the filth and squalour around,” said mayor of London Boris Johnson. Would shake up the Municipal corporations in doing something about the filth in earnest. While bio-degradable waste, is a menace too, barring the chance of causing Bubonic plague. Perhaps a good thing, as the city of Surat in Gujarat which suffered this last, is cleaner today. However, the root of the plague is recorded to have come form Wadwani tahsil, Beed district, Maharastra .

But the real change will come when we would add “value” to the filth especially plastic waste. There is evidence of this in Navsari near the city of Surat itself. A young girl had been able to create a small system spending hardly a few thousand rupee, which could convert 3kg of plastic waste to around 2 litre of liquid fuel. As per the girls claims, she had done this as a school project. If considered true, then it is one of the most fitting example of Women Empowerment and Climate Change abatement wrapped into one. And if supported by the GEF, a true CDM which actually benefits the Planet and the People as opposed to the what has happened in the 1st crediting period of the Kyoto Protocol.

PryolisisConsider, the vast possibilities, shop-keepers of Mumbai & rest of India, who think nothing of allowing their employees or clients from throwing the plastic wrapping and packaging right into the streets; Pan masala or “gutka” (tobacco) chewer ; would no more carelessly throw away the packets & sachet leading to clogged drain but hoard them to be sold to the pyrolysis industry. And the best part, with the tonnes of already stashed plastic the municipal corporations already own, they are almost sitting on an Oil Bank. And that is not the only thing that is produced via PYROLYSIS as is shown in the table above.

The Mumbai Municipal corporations can lead by example and clean-up the stench emanating local railway lines and city streets and in the process solve the humongous problem of fast depleting garbage dumping areas.

On 12th Nov DNA Newspaper an article by Eknath Makne readsEven as the city struggles to dispose 6,500 metric tonnes of waste generated daily, the civic body seems to be in no hurry to upgrade the dumping yards. Violation of municipal solid waste rules, 2000, has added to the stink. It’s high time the BMC pulled up its socks and citizens played an active role in ensuring a litter-free city….The MSW rules (management and handling), 2000, make it mandatory to segregate waste at source. The rules stress dumping of waste in stages like collection, transportation, processing and disposal. The rules were framed based on recommendations made by a panel appointed after a Supreme Court order in connection with 1994 plague epidemic in Surat…..In its 2012-13 budget tabled in March, the corporation had proposed to install 20,000 litter bins of 6.5 litre capacity each across 10,000 locations in city. But the plan will take a few more months to materialise…The municipal corporation’s apathy is seen in the piling garbage in parts of the city. The civic body is supposed to pick up waste from collection points thrice a day. The lack of adequate number of vehicles and compactors has posed hurdles, allowing garbage to accumulate. “Garbage is being picked up after every two days in our area only because we pursue it regularly,” said Nikhil Desai, a resident of King’s Circle. “If we don’t, it rots on the street for 15 days.”….The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has 650 vehicles to collect garbage and requires 300 more compactors. It has invited tenders for dumpers/vehicles to collect garbage from administrative wards. It expects to get the vehicles by June next year. Kanjurmarg yard is not the only example of mismanagement of solid waste in a city, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Lack of processing units waste has added to the poor management of the city’s solid waste. The promised bio-methanisation unit at Mulund dumping ground and composting plant at Deonar site was put it place. But without they being operational, it has added to the city’s garbage woes…..Activist Harischandra Pandey, a resident of Borivli, asserted that participation of the citizens was needed to attain the clean-city tag. “You can’t blame the BMC if you yourself are not adhering to norms,” he said.  Rajkumar Sharma, president of a Chembur-based Advanced Locality Management (ALM), too feels social audits are necessary for a proper execution of the clean-up plan.

While it is evident that Activists and the Municipal corporation are aware of the problem, the solution can not come unless it is converted into a tangible economic benefit for the Citizens. Once we add value to the garbage, it would be rare indeed, to see it going “waste”. In fact some enterprising Indian would find a way to collect all the rubbish out there in the The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage, by building a floating rig and starting producing “off-shore” PYROLYSIS oil ! And as for the bio-degradable waste ? Well we surely can be producing enough methane gas to pipe it for good use somewhere.

It is not enough for us to think in terms of Business as Usual and scale things up. What is important is to find proven technology and scale them down so that the 6 Billion become direct users. Now to me that is large-scale.

 

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Sustainable Mining should be The BASICs agenda at UNFCCC-Doha.


One of the most vexing questions which need to be tackled in the run-up to UNFCCC -Doha is the agenda of discussion here. The issue of Economically Sustainable Development vs Ecologically Sustainable Development, and how to really boost the RET’s. And how the people must manoeuvre the thought of the leaders towards concrete results.

BRASILIA, BrazilBrazil, South Africa, India and China are urging developed countries to adopt more ambitious goals to reduce global warming.The four countries form the bloc known as BASIC and representatives on Friday ended a two-day meeting to define a common position ahead of November’s United Nations’ climate change conference in Doha. BASIC acts jointly in international climate change meetings.They say developed nations must assume stronger emission reduction commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that is aimed at stemming pollution and global warming. It has been opposed by the United States. (The Associated Press Published: Friday, Sep. 21, 2012)

Was this ambition to do more about Global Warming anything to do with the report below ? For Politicians too can be affected by death and disease ? Will the world leaders finally wake up to doing something concrete at the grass root level or still devise methods of corporate enrichment, using the bogey of Climate change abatement?

Global warming may be spurring the spread of Cyanobacteria, one of the most primitive of bugs, while causing them to produce greater amounts of toxins, which may affect liver, nervous system and eyes, according to a study. “These toxins may affect the liver and other organs (hepatotoxins), the nervous system (neurotoxins), different cells (cytotoxins), the eyes and mucous membranes, as well as causing dermatitis and allergies,” explains Francisca F. del Campo, study co-author and researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid. (IANS : Jul 4, 2012,)

MUMBAI: Global warming is expected to intensify extreme precipitation, but the rate at which it does so in the tropics has remained unclear. Now an MIT study has given an estimate based on model simulations and observations: With every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature, the study finds, tropical regions will see 10 percent heavier rainfall extremes, with possible impacts for flooding in populous regions.”The study includes some populous countries that are vulnerable to climate change,” says Paul O’Gorman, the Victor P. Starr Career Development Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, “and impacts of changes in rainfall could be important there.” ( read rest if of article in Global warming to affect rainfall)

But, when one reads it again, one tends to wonder as to why India which is an equal partner in the fight for Climate change hardly takes centre stage in innovating any movement. That Dr. R.K.Pachauri sits at the top in the UNFCCC, seems to be the only achievement way back in the past when India mattered. Even when the TOI report states below that Mumbai would surely see another flood, sooner than later not a ripple is created in the Media or social circle. Should one read the C40 program, one would understand why such a thing is important. Although India was not the innovator of this program, both Mumbai and New Delhi are signatories. Yet I can bet my last inflation effected Rupee that not many a Citizen in both the Megalopolis know about it. Forget C40 program, I would not know how many in the administration know that you don’t cross the Zebra line, when you stop at a traffic signal. Or for that matter drive in lane.

As alien a concept to the leaders as to the public, the simple fact of driving in lane, can cut a better percentage of fuel consumption in a vehicle, simply because if one can cruise at a standard speed, instead of snaking between vehicles and pedestrians; the clutch and gears are less used. Which saves fuel.  It saves – Money! It also allows for less wear & tear of the roads and the citizens, who having more energy to work and not negotiate roads give that much more to Nation building. And as we well know by nowmoney does not grow on trees“. the dialogue made famous by our head of Government. It was only during the first Iraq conflict – The Desert Storm; that the PCRA had come up with sustained campaign to save fuel. But now our leaders are happy by simply increasing the fossil fuel cost, without an attempt to innovation. Forget innovation, our leaders do not even have the gumption to in-force the laws as simple as road discipline which can save so much of the exchequer. It is a telling commentary on their “ability to govern”.

The reason is simple. While the World is moving towards creating The CEO as statesman; some are more focussed in creating Politicians as CEO’s,  which in the process would be harmful to the Ecosystem as personal profit would become more supreme than National good. In the Essay by Ethical Corporation; The CEO as statesman  – The reach and impacts of today’s global corporations mean that, like it or loathe it, business leaders cannot ignore international relations, and global issues such as sustainable development.

Frankly, I would prefer a Politician to be a CEO, should s/he be able to rise above partisan thinking and innovate methods & laws to develop both business and the ecosystem in a balanced way. I do concede it’s a utopian thought, but wishful thinking is not yet a crime.

Therefore the CEO it would seem, is moving towards actual sensible approach to the problems vexing the planet. Or rather, to do plane speak; that would be the ideal solution. Because, all said and done; barring a very few, most are still applying the same hackneyed idea of business and hoping to succeed in fooling the people all over again. Any business is being sold by using the adage, green without actually understanding the core meaning in it.  By just using the adage, Green to everything that they are doing both the Politician and the CEO is playing with fire.

Reading another report in the DNA newspaper on the recent coal scam; a cold sweat broke when I thought how even this could be turned into a Green agenda! How long would it take for the spin-doctors to say, that the inquiry which has led to de-allocation of coal blocks, has saved huge tracts of virgin forest, while at the same time make a windfall profit by importing Coal ? From whichever Nation it be imported; most presumably another of the BASIC Nation or perhaps Australia. But how does this abate GHG ? It is just transfer of one’s dirt to another country. The faulty basis on which the Koyto Protocol began in the first place; even though the intent behind is was, and still is greater good. So, why not change the datum on the approach to CDM ?

For example,a report suggest; the energy derived from coal in India is about twice that of energy derived from oil, as against the world, where energy derived from coal is about 30% lower than energy derived from oil.

Thus Coal would always stay in the near future as India’s most important energy source. Therefore what must be done to balance the requirement of legitimate human developmental needs, against the odds stacked heavily against use of high GHG producing energy source ? The Green idea I propose here is simple. Declare Coal as the most lucrative CDM revenue earner and open the purse strings of the GCF on this regard. But only one rider must stay. Limit the destructions of life-forms. And have a MRV in place. Be it a rodent, a bird or a tree, document the destruction and make it public.

It is time that the BASIC countries, especially India while raising the issue at UNFCCC- Doha its right to develop; also propose the idea to ban open-cast mining! So, what is the option as opposed to open-cast mining ? The traditional methods off-course! BUT with a difference. Let most of the mining done be robotic. Not only it would save life & limb of humans it would also limit the other collateral destruction related to mining.

The technology is already there to go deep underground,without disturbing what is above. Be it creating the tunnel for the Higgs-Boson experiment in the Large Hadron Collider;  creating underground experiment to find Dark matter or the English Channel Tunnel which not only vindicates my argument but also shows how Public-Private partnership works; extraction of Coal with limited destruction to the ecosystem above must become mandatory. Until we do find the solution to endless clean energy. The balanced approach which India did take  while constructing India-based Neutrino Observatory, which looked into the various aspect of Environment; must also become norm for mining of minerals including coal via underground shafts only. Therefore, I repeat that we know the technology, we have the funds to conduct experiment which are extremely costly; the same approach must be adopted with creating innovative clauses in the existing CDM mandate; and let the balance between Economy Vs Ecology for future growth be the focus agenda at UNFCCC – Doha.

And what could be the real icing on the cake is, the energy which would be required to power these machines can come from CSP installed in close vicinity. Thus large amount of diesel which is required to fire the generators to turn the conveyors would be limited. And the site-offices can easily work with day-time solar power. This would not only encourage responsible eco-system management, but also boots various business opportunities in the nascent RET industry. Adding some more comments I had mentioned in my previous article Green Business Ideas – Abandoned coalfields can boost RE and save forest in India. We the environmentally concious can really make a case to the business viability of the suggestions.

For, without business interest, none would be interested. Even the die-hard activist needs money to buy bread, and for that there has to be a source of income. Let’s not become rebels without a cause, but rebel for the cause of Nature and change the datum of development.

In-fact, it is my direct appeal to WRI, Greenpeace -International; CAN – International and UNEP / UNDP that they support such an initiative. It is time humans start respecting life especially at the UNFCC level. In my article Killing is not a crime,only Murder is; The difficulty of preaching Sustainable Living.; I’ve tried to show how we narrow our focus, while talking of right to live. Unless this changes, real progress towards sustainable economy will  take longer time than we presently have. To save this planet from climate change due to human intervention.

 

 

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Sustainable Development Goals – the grassroot barriers


With all the talk we do about environment protection, safe deposing of toxic substance and circular economy, this recent advertisement actually shows us how shallow the words on environment protection are and how the Corporate world would still love teach the “developing” countries and the “third world” countries what it knows best – Destruction.

This Kohler-Co-Boom-Crash-Bang advertisement makes me cry out in despair. And another by the scooter manufacturer Hero, in their latest product Hero Maestro, proudly displays the IQ of the advertisement company, whose creative could think of the story board  where a parody is made out of a rare bird watching (connecting to nature) and bringing it down to the frivolous. While the former advert is a complete anti-thesis to all  talk about austerity and balanced consumption. It is a slap on the face of the  authors and followers of the Sustainable Development, Millennium Development and the Inclusive Wealth Report. While a free world has a right to express itself and  individuals should live a life-style of their own choosing; the time for vulgar extravagance which directly impacts nature must be curbed.

That such large companies who should know better the impact of visual medium on the minds of the audience is a telling report on the rot of the human race and the failure of us collectively to educate our children and ourselves on the dangers of Climate Change and the impact of Global Warming. Before the Rio+20 summit of the UNFCCC, I had made an appeal in form on an article that the United Nations, CAN International, Green Peace International and other Climate change forums like the CIICESD, WBCSD should create advertisements to create awareness. –UNFCCC – A Little Advertisement can help save Earth.

In three days time I would be using my printer for the last time. The reason is that Lexmark the company could not create a mark of its own in India. An absolutely perfect, 5-in-one printer is junk for want of ink cartridges!  The manufacturers do not have a mechanism in place to take back goods for recycle. And with all the hype on  the mechanism for Reuse – Recycle – Renew  is just as nascent as it was when the concept dawned. No company likes to standardize products such as ink of a printer, because they want only to sell their own goods. And the government too is a mute spectator to this tamasha!

Being the LEED / GRIHA  consultant, I believe in walking the talk. Using energy-efficient products, using public transport as far as possible. In effect the Reuse – Renew – Recycle is our core practice. So I went to the store from where I had purchased it and asked if there is any exchange offer, or would they at-least take it for proper recycling. The answer was a resounding No!

Next, I went to Lamington Road, the famous electronic bazaar of Mumbai. It is from here all electronic trade for India happen. ” My friend, if you wish you can leave the printer with me”, said my friend; an electronic goods trader and repair shop owner. ” Every month I sell junk I will sell this too.” he said. However he warned me that he was doing this as a favour and I should not expect any money on it. I know he was telling the truth, I tried selling a few cellular phones I own. Having bought them at an average price of Rupees 18,000 each, the total price offered by a second sale shop was Rupees 500 ! And I bought them in the year 2010 AD!!

As you can see from my personal experience stated above, and I’m sure there would be similar resonance from like minded individuals; there is absolutely no incentive in recycling. And the rich ( who consume most) would rather destroy a perfect home to build another, rather than even pause for a minute to think about the homeless, the needy or the poor. And that is exactly why the larger corporations and the advertisement companies should all the more take the responsibility and initiative to educate the masses on the merits of recycling. And initiate actions through business forums to standardize products which is needlessly complicated.

For, example I can insert my SIM card into a tablet, a 4-G cell phone or even the 1st generation cell phone and it would work. But when it comes to brand I still choose one over the other. That perception will always stay. All said and done there is a Brand loyalty. Ask Apple or Google or Microsoft.

If Kohler is listening then here is what I would have done the advertisement –  a perfect home being dismantled and being given away to the homeless or an orphanage, while building a new one around a tap.

Yes! it’s just a tap, when one turns it provides water, and for those living in the suburbs of some of the famous megalopolis in India; foul and dirty municipal water – Not Milk and Honey. So please grow up.

And  as a LEED/ GRIHA consultant, after watching this advertisement it would be difficult to recommend the product for any Green Building project.

 

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Millennium Development Goals – towards Sustainable Living


The UNFCCC Rio+20; is over. We all must look towards the next one. And while we do, it is our duty to make the common person understand in as simple term as possible the agenda of the Millennium Development and how it is related to their every day life.

English: A 2005 photograph of James Lovelock, ...

English: A 2005 photograph of James Lovelock, scientist and author best known for the Gaia hypothesis. Photograph taken by Bruno Comby of Association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy. Original at http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license versions 2.5, 2.0, and 1.0. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The eminent British scientist James Lovelock, back in the 1970s, formulated his theory of Gaia, which held that the Earth was a kind of super organism. It had a self-regulating quality that would keep everything within that narrow band that made life possible. If things got too warm or too cold—if sunlight varied, or volcanoes caused a fall in temperatures, and so forth—Gaia would eventually compensate.This was a comforting notion to many. Later, he said he was wrong, “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization are in grave danger,” he wrote in the Independent in 2006. .

The world has warmed since those heady days of Gaia, and scientists have grown gloomier in their assessment of the state of the world’s climate. NASA climate scientist James Hanson has warned of a Venus effect,” in which runaway warming turns Earth into an uninhabitable desert, with a surface temperature high enough to melt lead, sometime in the next few centuries.

pleistocene extinction

pleistocene extinction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a provocative, gripping book, Scientific American editor Fred Guterl says – The sixth “mass extinction event” in the history of planet Earth is currently under way, with over two hundred species dying off every day. The cause of this seismic event is also the source of the single biggest threat to human life: our own inventions. But for all our talk about sea levels and biotechnology, do we really know what our future will actually look like? Will our immune systems be attacked by so-called super bugs, always evolving, and more easily spread than ever? Will the disappearance of numerous species cripple the biosphere? And if it does, what happens then? We find ourselves in a trap: Technology got us into this mess, and it’s also the only thing that can help us survive it.

So, what must be done ? Elinor Ostrom winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics says –  The good news is that evolutionary policymaking is already happening organically. In the absence of effective national and international legislation to curb greenhouse gases, a growing number of city leaders are acting to protect their citizens and economies.

pleistocene extinction

This is hardly surprising – indeed, it should be encouraged. This grassroots diversity in ‘green policy making’ makes economic sense. ‘Sustainable cities’ attract the creative, educated people who want to live in a pollution-free, modern, urban environment that suits their lifestyles. This is where future growth lies. Like upgrading a mobile phone, when people see the benefits, they will discard old models in a flash. Most major cities sit on coasts, straddle rivers, or lie on vulnerable deltas, putting them on the front line of rising sea levels and flooding in the coming decades. Adaptation is a necessity. But, with cities responsible for 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation is better. Of course, true sustainability goes further than pollution control. City planners must look beyond municipal limits and analyse flows of resources – energy, food, water, and people – into and out of their cities. Setting goals can overcome inertia, but everyone must have a stake in establishing them: countries, states, cities, organisations, companies, and people everywhere. Success will hinge on developing many overlapping policies to achieve the goals.

If one reads into the Euro Zone crisis, all that is being debated is whether there should be austerity or business as usual. And in this whatever the European Union has gained and trying to gain in the area of Climate Change abatement, would be the first casualty. Because those who advocate austerity would find sustainable development “costly” to implement and those who oppose it would consider sustainable development as barrier to growth, the high carbon growth which did bring the Nations to their prime but at the cost of the environment; which would be glossed over by impassioned speech more or less with the justification that they are doing this for the benefit of the people. And Peoples and Sheep from time of Anthony when he buried Cesar, get easily swayed in not recognizing the actual ambition of the Orator. And Europe is not alone in this, there are already grumblings on the Bunker fuel tax, Euro Zone has levied from January 2012; with even India along with China and Russia of the BRICS  group opposing it.

Capitalism, the form which is practiced today, measures profit by monetary gain only. It has so dis-oriented  the “experts” and “leaders” that it is difficult for them to come out of it. The system has trained Law & Business Graduates to distrust, mistrust, lie and intimidate at every turn. And when this is topped with greed and avarice, the heady mix is a dangerous concoction of disastrous results, which at times just needs a small nudge from Nature to implode/explode into a catastrophe – the most recent example is Fukushima, Lehman Brother episode. The Indian list is endless, so I best leave it for now by just saying; it is being mentioned that, should we be able to repatriate the money parked in off-shore accounts, India can have the 5 year plan of  Sustainable Growth covered in one go.

Although among climate experts, there’s an extraordinary level of agreement with 97 out of 100 climate scientists agreeing that humans are causing global warming. Action taken on the ground are far from satisfactory.

English: Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the ...

English: Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate in Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is this happening? It is because the mandarins in power are straight jacketed in their thoughts vis-a-vis international commerce & trade as well as Geo-politics. Habits die hard and the more seasoned the diplomat, the more suspicious s/he would be of every proposal; even if it were for Climate change abatement and Sustainable Development. It came to as no surprise, when just post the failure of Copenhagen UNFCCC COP15 summit, a very high up in the Indian delegation said that, the failure is not because no one understood the grim reality of climate change; but inherently all consider it just another gathering of World Economic Forum in disguise. So each Nation / Group look at maximizing their economic benefit.

It is therefore imperative for the common person to understand the reasons and patterns behind the hardships they are facing and what their children would face; they need to understand that many are out of work because the corporates did not factor in the climate risks when polluting the earth endlessly, and being part of the employee pool we to have our fair share in it. This has to led to food crises in many Nations, drought & famine in other. This  desperate atmosphere at times creates situation for war & piracy at high-seas. It also encourages impressionable minds to dream of “paradise” when they willingly explode having nothing to lose.

When all the chips are down the only thing a human needs is -FOOD & SHELTER just like all other animals in this eco-system and Climate change is leading the world towards that disaster. The evidence of impending Armageddon is all around us to see, the trick is to abate it in time. Adaptation is a stop-gap option not the solution. Sustainable practice is all encompassing. It can not be seen in isolation. This I could learn over time through experience. From looking at sustainability through the narrow prism of Energy Efficient Building Design, it slowly dawned unto me that the buildings I think of designing and the Renewable Energy I love to promote can not exist in vacuum. They are but an infrastructure service for betterment of Humanity, and if modern Civilization gets devoid of mankind due to Climate change  what purpose would the buildings serve?

As the 8 Millennium Development Goals suggests – 1. Eradication of Extreme Poverty & Hunger. – talk to a hungry person of not cutting down a tree for sale as fire-wood so that s/he can feed the family, it just won’t work.

2. Achieve Universal Primary Education.-how else would the citizens understand and adapt to the various programs for betterment of the under privileged, who are fooled at every turn by the unscrupulous and thus face the brunt of any natural or man-made calamity.

3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. – it is a fact that women have better intuition, more caring, perceive more colors  , can identify more through  smell, have a better memory power than men and have Emotional intelligence  far better then men. The list is endless. In India as in the rest of the world “Mother Goddess” was supreme. Today in India the worship of the female power as Goddess Shakti is only but a lip service, without understanding why our ancient ancestors put so much currency on the empowerment of women. For without having the Mother teaching a child to nurture how can Nature sustain itself ?

4. Reduce Child Mortality. Although India has the highest “youth capital”; it also has a dismal record of child mortality. A Country prospers on the back of the people – the farmer, the solider, the mason, the weaver; without able body to shoulder the burden, there would neither be food, shelter or clothing and none to protect the Nations wealth. 

5.Improve Maternal Health.- If the wealth of a Nation is its able citizens, then the continuity can only be maintained through sustained efforts to keep the mother of the child, who is the future of the Nation, healthy.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease. –Without education, gender equality and eradication of poverty; the complete physical, physiological and ecological balance suffers leading to disease and destruction.

Only by achieving the desired result in the above six can we complete the other two

7. Ensure Environment Sustainability- Reduction of Green House Gases and other forms of pollution is the only way to stop the Extinction of the modern Civilization.

8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development. – Sustained efforts in global partnership on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which
“serve as a crucial enabler for territorial development, accelerating progress in poverty reduction, while promoting inclusive growth.” By sharing knowledge of sustainable development practice Nations can learn from each other and create better job opportunities while veering away form the disastrous High Carbon Economy of today.

Courtesy:amazon.com/The-Fate-Species; scientific american.com/The Fate of the Species.;  abc.net.au/environment.

 

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Green Business Ideas: India gives a PAT to Inclusive Wealth Report 2012


Whatever said and done; the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh has the best sense of timing when it  comes to providing impetus to the Economy, launching PAT under NMEEE this week, is one such achievement. Let us look at how such green initiatives are going to be one of the best bet in boosting the Green Economy not only in India but world-wide.

A direct link can easily be established between India’s NAPCC agenda (of which PAT is a part) and IWR’s core thought. I had dealt in greater detail on what is NAPCC in – Green Business Ideas : India should promote NSM & NMSH to make NMEEE a success. So I will only bring out the thought which resonates with the IWR in this article. Below are some of the very recent remarks found on the News, post the culmination of UNFCCC‘s summit at Rio and excerpts from the UNU-IHDP’s & UNEP’s  report IWR 2012 .

guardian.co.ukThe bizarre weather of early summer in the US – from heatwave, wildfires, drought to freak storms – is just a sampling of what is to come for 2012 and a window to the future under climate change…..

green-buzz.net – Global warming will mess up with attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, based on a negative new research that predicts that a third of its trees will be wiped out by even small temperature rises. …

guardian.co.uk – Whenever an episode of extreme weather – heat wave, flood, drought, etc – hits the headlines, someone somewhere is sure to point the finger of blame at human-induced climate change….

bbc.co.uk – Leaves are getting narrower on some plant species as a result of changes to the climate, a study has suggested.

In the last decade, almost one million people have been killed by disasters and more than one trillion dollars have been lost. Yet only 1% of international aid is spent to minimise the impact of these disasters : UNDP

The remark of UNDP simply reinforces the scope and depth of opportunity global business has in extracting itself out of the morass of economic slowdown and begin towards a newer and dynamic economic model based on the lines of a B-Corp, a recent and fast catching phenomenon around the western hemisphere.  And presently the slow down of  world economy is partly due to the slowdown in ideas and direction in the EU and lets not forget the Lehman Brothers very soon, lest the USA makes similar mistake again, in its present climb-up the ladder of economic well-being.

“IWI is among a range of potential replacements which world leaders can consider as a way of bringing great precision to assessing wealth generation in order to realize sustainable development and eradicate poverty,”said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, during the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR), a joint initiative launched at Rio+20 by the “International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (UNU-IHDP) hosted by the United Nations University and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Wealth accounting, the concept behind the IWI, draws up a balance sheet for nations and shows countries where their wealth lies. By taking into account a wide array of capital assets a nation has at its disposal to secure society’s well-being, it presents a more comprehensive picture and informs policy makers on the importance of maintaining their nation’s capital base for future generations. The importance of keeping an eye on the full range of a country’s capital assets becomes particularly evident when population growth is factored in.

Key findings from the report are:

  • While 19 out of the 20 countries experienced a decline in natural capital, six also saw a decline in their inclusive wealth, putting them on an unsustainable track, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, South Africa and Nigeria were the nations that failed to grow. The remaining 70 per cent of countries show IWI per-capita growth, indicating sustainability.
  • High population growth with respect to IWI growth created unsustainable conditions in five of the six countries mentioned above. Russia’s lack of growth was due largely to a drop in manufactured capital
  • 25 per cent of countries which showed a positive trend when measured by GDP per capita and HDI were found to have a negative IWI per capita. The primary driver of the difference in performance was the decline in natural capital
  • With the exception of France, Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, all countries surveyed have a higher share of natural capital than manufactured capital, highlighting its importance
  • Human capital has increased in every country and is the prime capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies
  • There are clear signs of trade-off effects between the different forms of capital
  • Technological innovation and/or oil capital gains (due to rising prices) outweigh decline in natural capital and damages from climate change, moving a number of countries – Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – from an unsustainable to a sustainable trajectory
  • Estimates of inclusive wealth can be improved significantly with better data on the stocks of natural, human and social capital and their values for human well-being.

Recommendations

While inclusive wealth has increased for most countries, the report shows that an examination of natural capital is crucial for policy makers.

Even though a reduction in natural capital can be offset by the accumulation of manufactured and human capital, which are reproducible, many natural resources such as oil and minerals cannot be replaced. As a result, a more inclusive definition of wealth that will secure a legacy for future generations is urgently needed in the discussion of sustainable economic and social development.

The report, which will be produced every two years, makes the following specific recommendations:

  • Countries witnessing diminishing returns in natural capital should invest in renewable natural capital to improve their IWI and the well-being of their citizens. Example investments include reforestation and agricultural biodiversity
  • Nations should incorporate the IWI within planning and development ministries to encourage the creation of sustainable policies
  • Countries should speed up the process of moving from an income-based accounting framework to a wealth accounting framework
  • Macroeconomic policies should be evaluated on the basis of IWI rather than GDP per capita
  • Governments and international organizations should establish research programmes to value key components of natural capital, in particular ecosystems.

UN Under-Secretary General and Rector of the United Nations University, Prof. Konrad Osterwalder, concluded that using the IWI would safeguard the interests of many developing nations.

If one reads the document of NAPCC  and compares it with the MDG’s which reads- “The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have functioned as an important tool to focus international attention and action around key pressing global issues,” he said. “As 2015 fast approaches, the deadline for meeting the MDGs, it is clear that the opportunities for many developing countries to achieve their goals may be compromised if the present rates of decline of various crucial ecosystem services continue.”  – one would find a lot of commonalities.

And in the recently launched PAT document India is moving another step in the right direction towards inclusive wealth generation. – Designated Consumers (DCs) account for 25% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and about 45% of commercial energy use in India. In order to further accelerate as well as incentivize energy efficiency, the Government of India is designing a Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme. PAT is a market based mechanism to enhance cost effectiveness of improvements in energy efficiency in energy intensive large industries and facilities, through certification of energy savings that could be traded. The genesis of the PAT mechanism flows out of the provision of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

By this one very act, if implemented properly business all-over the world would get a boost. An an Emerging Economy India needs to develop and for that it has to create capacity in the core fields of – 9 industrial sectors namely Thermal
Power Plants, Fertilizer, Cement, Pulp and Paper, Textiles, Chlor-Alkali, Iron & Steel, Aluminium and Railways.

To bring in energy efficiency in these core sectors Indian Industry would be looking at the West which whatever be the current economic scenario, still lead in R&D in many areas and has off-the shelf solutions for most industrial machinery. They have the state of art product design and solution and a need a wider market which can absorb the supply. The BRIC Nations are the ones which can rise up to the occasion and with PAT, India can attain leadership position by 2015, in this space. NMEEE can be divided into   PAT; MTEE; EEFP & FEED  and together they would not only be able to have a positive impact on the GDP but their implementation shall have a direct positive effect on various service sectors  and  create the much needed jobs all around.

Let us take the most important and controversial sector of Thermal Power Plants – it is one of the greatest concern for Environmentalist all over the planet and if this sector itself has to reduce its SEC, serious thought would be applied to overcome the challenges.  And through PAT it shall be addressed because conventional thermal power fuel is coal, which although a natural capital is also a potential GHG hazard and to extract it we need to deplete the most important wealth of any Nation – the forest cover.

The Indian Industry through the CII is already geared up for this challenge and ground work has already started. The CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre [CII Godrej GBC] is promoting the concept of ‘Make Indian thermal power plants world class’. The main aim is to bring the industry together to exchange views and meet new technologies, facilitate continuous performance improvement in thermal power plants and thereby achieve world  class standards. I am confident that given the stakes, a green economy with long term wealth generation vs  “gone” ecology, the present Thermal Power plants which are coal fired and GHG intensive would take on the new avatar of  CSP driven thermal power plants.

To the common person who associate Thermal power plants to polluting coal and do not want to see them existing any-more, the coal is just a fuel that is used to boil the water to steam, which runs the turbines and generates electricity. In technical terms all that is required is to switch the fuel from the GHG intensive Coal to Concentrated Solar Power or CSP.  The era of Solar Aided Power Generation from Conventional Fossil Fuelled Power Stations has already arrived.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region a great concept towards renewable energy is taking shape The DESERTEC concept which will be an astronomical step towards sustainable supply of green energy at a global dimension. It is estimated that CSP plants in MENA can generate up to 470, 000 MW by 2050. Similarly in the USA, Bright Source Energy’s tower solar collector in the Mojave Desert would supply up to 900 megawatts of clean energy to California in the next decade. The new technology will use several “power towers” at each commercial plant. An array of hundreds of mirrors known as heliostats will reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop each tower, and the resulting steam will power a turbine.

The above illustrates the great changes that are occurring in  the Industry and Economy of the world. And we have in the India context only  touched the first of the 9-DC’s considered under PAT. Rest assured, the green economy model would soon encompass all sectors of industry mentioned. And it would be the best thing than can happen to this planet.

 

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Post Rio+20 – the path towards the actual Green Economy.


English: Graph showing Human Development Index...

English: Graph showing Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint. The “sustainable” criteria of ecological footprint within global capacity, and human development index above 0.8, is shaded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the eve and post Rio+20 UNFCCC meet a lot of things happened which needs to be understood for its far reaching implications in the near future. Highlighted below are a few paragraphs –

The world’s fixation on economic growth ignores a rapid and largely irreversible trend of natural resources depletion that will seriously harm future generations, according to a newly released report that unveils a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability.

On 17 June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the Rio+20 Summit), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and partners launched the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012.(IWR 2012)

The IWI report examined changes in the combined wealth of twenty countries, which together account for almost three quarters of global GDP, from 1990 to 2008. Despite reporting a growth in GDP Brazil, China, South Africa and the United States were shown to have significantly depleted their natural capital including fossil fuels, forests and fisheries.

Around the same time a letter was published at the Rio+20 Summit.The Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by The Climate Group and a range of partners from the public and private sectors that calls for a ‘green growth’ push out of global recession. The letter, says: “By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion. At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The ‘Clean Revolution’ is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.” It will be a new Industrial Revolution – Tony Blair.

The attempt to have subsidies removed all together from fossil fuel was the first  step in the right direction. It was bound to fail, but that itself is a success. Because never before so many groups from such diverse back ground could raise the collective voice against the fossil fuel lobby and be heard.

English: Created in Photoshop, based on "...

English: Created in Photoshop, based on “Sustainable development” diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What must be understood is that to have a resurgent economy, one must have the resources in place. And today, the World has an historic opportunity to remove inequality. Today we do not, other than in theory; have a developed against a developing world. Because once we change the indices which measures development and growth, it is the “least developed” and “emerging economies” which have more Natural wealth than some of the developed Nations who have over exploited their own.

However, the developed Nations like the EU & the USA, Japan, Russia, Australia and others have enormous technological advancement and knowledge base, which should be exchanged in fair-value for equitable distribution of the Earth’s Natural resources. And at the same time efforts must be made to replenish what is possible. It is indeed a fantastic time to do business which by default has to be sustainable because there are no options left. The best part is the large conglomerates and corporations survival depends on continued and constant supply of raw material for production. And they will ensure that Sustainability in all form of modern living is applied. It would be done either with partnership or coercion.

The call for going beyond material wealth to gauge our well-being and make sure that well-being is achievable and sustainable for future generations has long appeared in much of the sustainable development, environmental, and ecological economics literature, significantly less in economics and development literature. The present pre-occupation with the Green Economy, we fear, will not provide the change we seek if we do not address the fundamental problem of what precisely we are measuring and the indicators we need to develop. 

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These words in the IWR 2012, underscores the changing mindsets of the economies which have an impact in this World. And it would be well for all Nations to adapt and adopt measures which lead to an age and era where history will define it as the Golden Age of Mankind, when generating wealth would no more mean accumulation of riches which are intrinsic in nature but have the true resonance of Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals .

 

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The road to Rio+20 – Thoughts to ponder on the way


As the road to Rio+20 nears, there is hope that after 20 long years, may be it is time that the World would listen up and do something about Climate change in a more positive manner than what has been seen in the last UNFCCC meet. By that what we mean is concrete change in the ground, not just resolutions and policies, which doe not get as much ground swell it should get to make an impact.

During the recent World discussion held by Unilever and later the Sustainability 24 on-line conference by Accenture; there are two thing which were the most striking. The first, there are many in this World who have some really meaningful solutions which can be built from ground up to help society make the positive change required and the next; one does not need to travel 1000 miles by Air, rail & road accumulating a massive  Carbon-footprint to talk about Climate Change.

English: Graphic illustrating the percentages ...

English: Graphic illustrating the percentages of public opinions on the likelihood of some scientists falsifying global warming research. Based on Rasmussen polling of 1,000 American adults conducted July 29-30, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If one pauses and looks from the perspective of those who deny climate change, and answer their fundamental question about why they should adapt to a reduced carbon life-style; one would be in loss of words to justify the carbon foot print each UNFCCC and its related meet creates when it is the very thing we want to reduce.

English: The carbon footprint as it is underst...

English: The carbon footprint as it is understood by people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously does the UNFCCC even think of mapping its carbon-footprint every-time the UN conducts these meets? The amount of  energy and water that is required by the host Nation to sustain the hundreds to congregate at those summits ? Add the support staff and the other logistics and it is one huge foot-print. And for the last 20 years we are creating this huge Carbon foot-print, to meet up and talk on how to abate Global Warming, and going by what the lead institutions like CAN International, Green Peace International and many more, there is much to be desired.

Let no one for a minute mistake my intention. I would never deride the stupendous work that has been achieved till date by the effort of hundreds of dedicated people, more knowledgeable and sincere;  I’m sure I have not even learnt, heard or thought of, what they may have already chosen to implement. But having said that, 20 years is a long time for the world to take a quantum leap in the way we communicate. What may not have been possible 10 years ago, such as VoIP, has become easy and inexpensive tool to be used even by children.

But, VoIP ( Voice over Internet Protocol), such as Skype, CISCO systems; is not a child’s play but a serious business which has the potential of reducing many ills in the present form of Urban living and reducing the Carbon foot-print. I had covered this in an earlier article in detail, VoIP – “Skype” the new medium to reduce Global Warming ?  Therefore I would like to move to the next existing business, which we can think of “greening” in our present Urban life-style.

And that is – eliminating THRASH.

New and upcoming Urban spaces can if it wants stop generating thrash, for landfills. What is required are zones where all the garbage disposed, especially bio-degradable waste be turned into gas via installing small gasifier. They may be small units but when one evacuates the energy thus developed directly into the grid, the amount of power received is huge.

For the non bio-degradable waste, what one can do is incentivize  the materials.

Say for example a 1lt  plastic water bottle, when one sells to the local “kabaddi wala” ( rag-picker / thrash collector ) in Mumbai, he gives you a mere 0.50 Paisa. For the international readers, let me translate the sum US$ 1 = INR 55 approximate today. We are talking of half of INR 1.  Don’t try and convert in dollars as it would be a decimal amount so small that it is not worth the mental effort. And that is exactly where I want to arrive. Value of the product. The intrinsic value not the face value.

Why would not a common person, without a second thought throw away a plastic wrapper  on the street, unless s/he is sure of two basic things –

a) He will not be punished, as it is culturally accepted. ( with revulsion of many and with resigned fate, as the governance, both self and administrative is lacking in India )

b) He will not get any money worth the mention, to have it sold for re-cycling.

But, Governments and environmentalist know the true value of a plastic bottle. If one just does a life cycle analysis and map the foot-print of a bottle from its manufacture, to its journey to a bottling plant to the retail unit, the value spent on it is huge. And also equally huge are the sum which are allocated, every year to decongest clogged drains, clean up ocean floors which are turning into desert because of the trash. Add to that the perceived economic loss to the fishing industry.

So what are the things one can do?  Let us explore  some Ideas –

1. Collection van to pick up all things made of metal; let’s assume municipal authorities all over the World and hopefully in India wake up to legislate a simple rule.                                                                                                                                               a) Pay the actual value for the metal.This can be easily derived from the cost it takes to do maintenance and upkeep of the Urban space, in absence of a collection program. Help set up recycle plants wherever the need is and issue diktat to existing plants which are the original manufacturers of the product to show use of recycled materials. For example, The Construction Business in India generates a lot of waste metal and has a more or less a well established method of collection of the same. This is because steel/iron rods have been given a value which is  worth the effort to recycle as re-rolled steel has its own market.

b) Sensitize the masses, through sustained advertisement, this too I have touched in more detail in UNFCCC – A Little Advertisement can help save Earth. Very few among us correlate Plastic bottle to petroleum, but that is a fact. Therefore when we do not add value to a plastic bottle, in its scrap form, we are hurtling towards extinction. There are many products which are derived from petroleum some of which I covered in the article Save Petroleum form Extinction – Save Earth !  which we discard without a second thought. It is important that laws be legislated to offer a minimum value to these when they are  discarded so that a scientific method of collection can be applied.

Once this is done, a new Business avenue can open up for those who are enterprising, by collecting and segregating products and perhaps reselling them to the original product manufacturers who thus get to “green” their supply chain.

I have seen and heard many examples of how difficult it is for asking a common person to segregate Wet and Dry waste / bio-degradable and non bio-degradable waste; but limited success is found. I speak especially of India. To all the “Pundits”( wise men) of the trade I put one simple thought –

Give a common person a bag full of Gold, Silver, Copper and Tin coins. Observe the speed and dexterity s/he uses in segregating it.

The day, the UNFCCC declares that the term waste can not be applied on products and the World Bank issues a diktat that a proper value is attached to the scrap, we shall see a sea change in thoughts. And for those who would be thinking, where would we find the fund to apply this thought. I request them to look into the fundamentals of this idea and the problem “waste” creates. They will have their answers. And the best part is, being the leaders in economics they would find the most economical way to address the situation.

 

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Save Petroleum form Extinction – Save Earth !


Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Petroleum products Nylon zippers, ballet tights,plastic hangers, pantyhose, permanent press clothing, flip flops/thongs, fake fur, polyester clothing, ball point pens ink, computer diskettes, computers copiers, magic markers, telephones, microfilm, cameras, earphones, footballs, knitting needles, tennis racquets, golf balls,  stuffed animals, band aids, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, Pepto-Bismol hair colouring, soap, cough syrup, hair spray, lipstick, denture, adhesives, egg cartons, candles, wax paper, nylon spatulas, Teflon pans, Formica linoleum, garden hoses, plungers,  floor wax, Plexiglas, balloons, CDROMs, check book covers, video cassettes, credit cards, dice, watch bands, Plastic furniture… If I recycle these and don’t use…Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, LPGAnti-freeze, trash bags, shopping bags, spray paint, freezer bags, plastic bottles (Each year, 1.5 million barrels of oil go to making plastic water bottles used in the United States. Less than 25% are recycled)….I get to save Petroleum. I reduce Global Warming and save the petroleum for more productive use than burning it all up or thrashing it to fill up land-fills.

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So will Rio+20 UNFCCC meet think about these? Create awareness? If it needs to convince the World to turn around and reverse the 3.5°C rise in temperature, it needs to think and think from the view point of how to save our most precious resource, petroleum.

The one and only Petroleum, which helped us move away from wearing the Shakespearian tights to the colourful nylon stockings. Thus heralding the modern era, where we no more die of charcoal fumes but coal, petrol, nuclear etc a whole mix of deadly fumes as it helped in quantum jump of the Industrial revolution. If that is not progress, what is ?

On a more sombre note; More than six billion men, women and children will inhabit urban areas around the world in 2050 when the global population would have surged to nine billion, putting stress on the natural resources that supply energy and food. The Earth resources are finite, be it Land, Potable water or Forest cover and the minerals which are trapped under the forest cover. And it does not take a genius to understand that per capita profit is directly related to the amount of product and produce you have for trade.

Therefore, in the Rio+20 summit, let us not talk about Global Warming and Climate change and how important it is to abate it to ensure survival of civilization. But how profits world over would dip, if resource management is not taken up on an urgent basis.

It would be wise for the OPEC countries to stop selling crude to the Gasoline manufacturers but demand a long-term business relation with Plastic furniture manufacturer, Nylon makers and other petroleum by-product manufacturers and demand a premium. (and a hefty sum from all the air-borne paratroopers who need a plastic cloth to bail them out during emergencies or when they drop down on foreign soil to create an emergency for the ruling dispensation).

OPEC kind of controls the fate of Dell, Apple, Nokia, Victoria Secrets,Vaseline et all; if OPEC does not offer them the plastic they so need how can they profit? Therefore if OPEC ask for guarantees that their crude would not be burnt up into thin smoke but used to create the various by products they would profit more. Once the datum of the raw material changes, its value proposition at source would increase. So it can obviously make more profit and at the same time the OPEC Nations can bask in the glory of creating the Messiah solution for saving Earth from GHG induced Climate change. At least a major part.

And this would automatically give a fillip to renewable energy and bio-fuel industry too; which can finally take up its rightful place as the real energy providers in terms of electrical generation and transportation fuel.

Therefore it is not necessary for climate supporters to fight the coal and petroleum lobby but make popular through sustained information the by-products of petroleum and coal which very few people give a thought to and ask them what they prefer most. To burn up this precious substance or make maximum use of the by-products; many of which have a fair chance of recycle and reuse.

It would be prudent for all to understand that the modern life-style we are so comfortable with would vanish with the depletion of Coal & Petroleum. Products we take for granted would not come by cheap and plenty. It is therefore the need of the hour for the Citizens of every Nation to understand the challenges. Lastly this article only covers just two products which with their finite limit, can cause so much discomfort. We are yet to find out how to feed 9 Billion with food and water and then find them shelter!

All religion says 9 times God came to earth…. will we make it to 10 Billion? Or Extinction stares at the face.

Save Petroleum from Extinction – Save your Business with a Green Idea (oyeta936.wordpress.com)

 

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Killing is not a crime,only Murder is;The difficulty of preaching Sustainable Living.


Ants originated 145 million years ago and were witness to the extinction of dinosaurs.………….

I killed my first Ant when I was five years old. I was called a brave lad and explained that I should not be afraid of Ants, Mosquitoes, Cockroaches; on the 10th year, I learnt not to be afraid of Mouse,stray Cats, stray Dogs, Crow, Pigeon and by year 12 I was pretty much unafraid of any bird or animal be it snakes which we always saw being stoned to death, or Lions and Crocodiles we saw people pelting with stones and sticks in the Indian zoos.

But I was always warned to stay away from strangers, meaning unknown Humans. And be very afraid of them. As a inquisitive child I asked our man-servant,(who was slicing the throat of a few chickens and dropping their head-less body into a big tin box so that they death throes need not bother me) about this being afraid of strangers, he was not able to explain so he asked me to talk to the Gardner who was burning and slashing away wild plants and trees at the edge of our sprawling home to create an English lawn, which my grand-father wanted, as my cousin sister would be married that year and the guests needed to be entertained by the small pond nearby that patch of land. He also had ordered the local fishermen to come and clean up the pond and take away any turtles and  other small fish etc and seed it with a particular type of fish which is very popular among us, from the state Bengal and its a must during weddings.

I’m sure, that many of the readers of this article would find similar tales to tell. The society we live in sadly does not consider the destruction of any other living being other than Man as crime.

Whatever the modern man has touched, it has insured its doom – Terrestrial & Marine life even the Water and Air. It can not manage its food, its either wasted on the table or rots in the ware-house (Indian wheat story is the prime example), Saints die unsung to save the river Ganga, which is the very identity of the concept of being a Hindu. As without its waters no Hindu sacrifice can be considered complete. Man has managed to chop down trees to such an extent that once lush green meadows have become arid or semi -arid regions where the final bell already tolls for man himself, as stories of farmer suicide becomes more of a norm than exception. Yet the modern man refuses to learn. While I do not advocate vegetarianism or any “ism”; totally apolitical in my views, I do believe we must stop being wasteful. We must let go the concept of hoarding and over-producing thus creating a cycle of market forces which makes us destroy more. We must stop the concept of “buy 2 and take 1 free”. Nothing is FREE!! Its ripple effect is felt somewhere along the supply chain.

It is time for the United Nation‘s  condemn and make punitive laws to stop the destruction of the Ecosystem by the actions of Man, especially when through proper review and scientific conclusion, it be proved beyond doubt that the destruction was wilful and for aggrandisement of an individual or a Corporation.

Is it not the failure of the collective intelligence of the most intelligent living being on this planet? Perhaps the self declared ‘most intelligent’ animal Man bestowed upon itself ages back, was nothing but pompous Ego which is getting deflated by each evidence of utter failure in managing its life-style?

Studio Earth - Severn Cullis-Suzuki

Studio Earth – Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Photo credit: JuliannaYY)

Will he then be able to prove his intelligence during the UNFCCC summit. Will after 20 long years the prayers of Severn Suzuki be finally be heard ? Let the collective gauntlet from all the environmentalist be thrown at Rio+20 to make laws which are Earth positive. Its win would be the win for Humankind and Man would survive.

Ants originated 145 million years ago and were witness to the extinction of dinosaurs…..and will survive Man too!

 

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UNFCCC – A Little Advertisement can help save Earth.


Every time the Television Set is switched-on a few advertisements catches ones attention :-  Bodilicious women hovering all over the Man who uses a Deodorant. A toy that keeps on running, while all other cell batteries fail. Insects drop dead when a cannister sprays the deadly liquid and the home is cockroach free for a fortnight.

The target audience are testosterone active youths; bright and active kids and the smart and aware house-wives.  All potential game changers if targeted to understand and support the cause of Climate Change. Yet all the division combine of the UN which are fighting to keep their nose up form sinking under the 3.5°C temperature rise, strangely find it difficult to gather the resources required to create interesting advertisement which can turn the tide towards a cleaner planet. If we count only the TV audience in India, it is a respectable number by any standards to bring in any change they desire.

With all due respect, it seems the various arms of the UN have cocooned themselves with the thought that all teenagers watch TV programs similar to the CNNGoing Green or sit up with popcorn in hand to understand the documentaries beamed by the Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel and the likes on environment. I am sure they are that not naïve to even think that the children and the house-wives watch NEWS channels. At least 90% of young Indians don’t.

Even if they did, the plethora of Indian News channels are too busy breaking each others TRP’s  with silly ‘breaking news’  (most of the time) to bother much about the Earth breaking apart in the meanwhile. There was not even a whisper about the UNFCCC -Durban, in many such ‘News’ channels. I can not speak for any other Nation but in my country, News channel doing a regular feature on Environment ?no chance ! At least 90% won’t. The 10% who do, only a couple are completely home grown and don’t carry a hyphenated India to their logo.

While it is true that various companies in Europe have created laudable advertisement on recycling, you can find the links to them in my blog’s -must watch video; India sadly does not create or beam any, barring the  superbly popular Noika’s – Shahrukh Khan Phone Recycle Ad. Which strangely is not shown any-more. Moreover, there is a chance that if left to the product manufacturers to create advertisement on environment awareness, the view might turn out to be myopic.

So how long can the Severn Suzuki‘s of this world grow up from 12 to 32 years and yet not see the changes she asked for at the Rio’92 UNFCCC summit ? Save the standing ovation of  World Leaders, long done with leading the world towards the 3.5°C Global Warming ?

So what if, say between the typical “Saas – Bahu” ( Mother-in-law versus Wife ) tele-dramas which are hugely popular in India , advert similar to the Nokia Ad be formulated by the Climate NGOs and supported by the Government of India or better still UNFCCC  (so that it can have a world resonance), be telecast ? The advertisement can be very simple, just explaining the what- why-how of every product the people use and how to make them climate responsive. In the process of using and discarding a product.

Let us take an example based on the  advertisement I mentioned in my opening note.

Battery:  The most commonly know cell is the ‘pencil battery’ or the alkaline/ lithium -ion battery. The variation includes galvanic cells, electrolytic cells, fuel cells, flow cells and voltaic piles. Many battery chemicals are corrosive, poisonous, or both. If leakage occurs, either spontaneously or through accident, the chemicals released may be dangerous. Recycling or proper disposal prevents dangerous elements (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) found in some types of batteries from entering the environment. In the United States, Americans purchase nearly three billion batteries annually, and about 179,000 tons of those end up in landfills across the country.

In Mumbai, India, however much as I wanted, I could find no one to take the discharged cell batteries for proper recycling. They are usually collected by the poor scrap scavengers you find hovering over all land-fills in India, and selling it to scrap dealers who use the poor people similar to the scavengers to dismantle it. Which is done in an equally dangerous manner. Same is the story for pressurised canisters. Be it medical, deodorant, insect repellent. No buyers for the cans. They end up in land -fills and reach scrap-dealers who are ill-trained and use manual labour without any safety feature for the man or environment. It would be sometime before the NEC and its Organic Radical Battery is capable of super-fast (30-second) charging and can be embedded into smart-cards and intelligent paper. And then there are batteries that can be powered by a breakfast item and are completely eco-friendly. They are not yet available to the common person.

Till such time it must become the solemn duty of the body like the UN and its various arms to create advertisements, which speak about the various hazards of irresponsible discarding as well as show the business opportunities in recycling responsibly.

This is more so because there are no practical implementable laws or actions in place which can make the common person aware of the dangers in most of the Countries. Long drawn conferences, in the hallowed corridors of power, where impassioned speeches are given are neither heard nor understood by the common person. While these meetings must be held in such a fashion is understood and appreciated, but it is difficult to fathom why it can not be made more people friendly.

The result of the UNFCCC CoP-15 meet in Copenhagen is a great example of how  the electronic media can create the awareness. Millions, all over the world for the first time ever, heard about Climate change and the acronym – UNFCCC. All that is needed is, that each time the UNFCCC meets, the people World over are aware of it and can participate instantly.

Perhaps it could suggest the ad-makers to make ads which show ‘its cool to be a responsible recycler’ with more bodilicious women hovering over the recycle guy, than the one using the deodorant! For the youth image matters. Its time the once youthful leaders think like them. As they would be inheriting the mess we  have created in our care-free years !

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Global Warming & Climate Change

 

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Sustainable Business will lead to Sustainable Earth, effortlessly.


Cover for Sustainable Business Wikibook.

The Corporate world as we all know  is a place where people are over worked and under paid with little or no place for personal life. It’s a pressure cooker for the mind & soul! The only product which every company produces, irrespective of what its Article of Association or Company charter states – is STRESS!

This trend needs to be arrested and already many are whispering solutions to this endemic  problem.  Stress brings into play various emotions, and the worst of them is Ego. The false idea that ones contribution in aggrandizement  of untold wealth for the Company  absolves him/her from the moral path of Sustainable Business practice, especially in the context of saving the Environment from Human induced Climate Change.

‘Production targets’;  ‘achievement of goal’ for promotion of self up the ladder of corporate hierarchy by making a ‘killing’; in the marketing and having a ‘fat bottom-line’ in the corporate graph can be only achieved by destruction of sustainability of self-morals in most cases and harm to the Environment always.

But do the people who are doing such “nasty things” (as the radicals would say  who  you find gathered outside every UNFCCC summit, shouting slogans and waving flags – without actually writing down anything meaningful  in terms of solution in those placards)  really doing this because they have some vengeful reason against Mother Earth?  Are  they really at fault ? My opinion is a resounding NO !

Cover for the Sustainable Business Booklet.

Let’s understand why I say this;  For example – Who decides the production target ? Could it be the managers who are mostly if not all, are  MBA graduates and Chartered  Accountants  along with a few Lawyers? People who have been conditioned through their student years to represent everything as numbers and take the help of lawyers to bulldoze any form of resistance which may assume a life-form? Can they really understand what it means to stand still for a minute among pristine and lush green forest, atop a hill – without thinking how much money they could make by selling the wood of the trees, ripping the heart out of the hill to extract its ore, etcetera ?

And if not why ? It’s because, the very things which is being condemned today, were laudable achievements worthy of high-status and prestige in the immediate past before Climate Change started to threaten the very existence of Homo Sapiens.   Somewhere from Generation Jones of the 50’s  as we crossed  by  the Flower Power Generation of the 1960 to  zip into the Generation X then Y and now Z or M ( for multi-tasking ) Peoples lost the Art of Living…. To stop by the side of the road and smell the flowers swaying in the meadows or just dropping by for tea unannounced in a friends house. Getting up on Monday mornings and diving back into the bed …to reach office 15 min late…yet being greeted by a smile. In the post Y2K era, the more aggressive you were, the more cunning;  better were the chance to climb up the corporate ladder. And this trend was stoked into a roaring flame for generations to come…until it consumed itself in form of the Lehmann Brothers saga. And then Fukushima happened.

Ego is harmful to the Ecosystem .  It is the system which needs a serious revamp. And one of the immediate solutions could be that all stream of education must have mandatory the subject of Environment, Health & Safety;  which one needs to pass with distinction, to qualify for any job. Especially managerial, which has the potential of putting a person as the key decision maker in the future. But what is even far more important than this, is to create a sustainable work environment. While its true that the rhythm of life in the 1960’s and now is vastly different, what is important is to recognize the rhythm – of LIFE  and not that of the V-8 engine of the new fast car bought with a fistful of Dollars.

The disconnect  between  Crony Capitalism  and  Sustainable Capitalism must be surgically clean cut, if we want to see Earth survive into the next century without  injury.  For the wounds of the Earth would heal in a millennia or two but for the Human, it would mean Extinction. And to save ourselves we must  sit back and reflect on what we do. And to reflect on thoughts, one needs time.  Time means,  a break from the daily skullduggery of high-pressure work. It is only then sensible decisions in all sphere can be taken.  It’s time the Human which is a resource understand that  it gets all its life giving resource from Mother Earth which needs to be nurtured.

And for that radical thoughts need to be applied –  I’m ever amazed by the fact that every country has a graph which shows unemployment yet strangely we have also many vacancies in both corporate and public sector which can not find employees ? This is where I find the solution or perhaps a way forward to an Idea which with collective help from all those who can influence  Governance in Nations must pause to reflect upon. In India, for example if we just take the Police force, one would find that every state is woe-fully short of manpower. Starting from the Top job to the Beat Constable position. And those who are in the job are mostly over worked and disillusioned. This leads to corruption in various forms of which, one can point to the shortage of man-power to police the reserve forests leading to poaching and illegal logging.  Turning focus to the corporate sector one again finds over-worked professionals who although have fat pay packets but  no personal time to enjoy. Partying hard in the night -club does not count as having a sustainable life-style.

In both the cases, should one ask the top most management the reason – various half truths come out. But the answer is very simple. If they employ and fill up every vacant position within the Government sector, where would they be able to find the money to pay salaries? Same goes for the corporate sector.  Thus the grind of life continues as is.

Now when this grind enters the infrastructure and service sectors in a big way, pseudo development takes precedence. Wrong decisions which would  harm the Ecosystem either in the short-term or in the long-term  gets decided. As is the case of new Indian Nuclear power plants or Large Hydro dams in case of China.

Cover for Sustainable Business Booklet.

May be its time the member Nations of the UN come together and draft a resolution that for every task there should be 3 shifts and in each shift a new person. With the age of Computers with Artificial intelligence already there, the argument of how to have 3 CEO’s take a singular decision can be easily solved. Program the main-frame server with an Environment safety regulation program and let the collective decisions of the CEO’s best approach considered as the company agenda.

Imagine having one’s Father/Mother come back from work every day on time to share a bed-time story with the children or taking the family out for dinner. What a Sustainable family that would be. And on growing up the children, responsible and sustainability practising  professionals.

As a result we would have a Sustainable Earth!

 

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Insurance Agencies will be the best Advocates for Climate Change Abatement in near Future.


 

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green in...

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green indicates countries that have ratified the treaty; Dark green are Annex I and II countries that have ratified the treaty; Grey is not yet decided; Brown is no intention of ratifying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The effect of Climate Risk on Business would perhaps be an important agenda for  discussions by Nations at the UNFCCC’s Rio+20 summit. As more and more damage to property, once predicted becomes reality the seriousness of addressing the issue would perhaps be more stronger in this CoP 17. But we all know of Nations which are still reluctant to be a part of the KP2 ( Kyoto Protocol ) or any other sensible treaty. Under this scenario, although it might sound a little unconventional, I think the champions for sustainable living would be the Insurance companies. For they have the most to lose when disaster strikes.

And for insurance companies in India, it would be worse. Let us understand this in perspective.

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis (Wikipedia)

In Japan post Fukushima people are learning to become Sustainable as reported in this article from WRI. The “Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST)” is a smart choice, which I hope will be followed by others around the World. That a disaster of this magnitude was needed for Japan to think differently is sad. Natural calamity no one can predict with absolute accuracy, but one can always learn from the collateral damages and not repeat the same mistakes. Japan, the only country which  has experienced the horrors of Nuclear Bomb, to have chosen Nuclear Energy   which nearly brought back the potential of a similar scale of disaster;  reminds me of a Quote which was under the entry arch of my School, which said in  old English  –

He who knows, that he knows not; is a Child – Teach him

He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him

He who knows not, that he knows not; is a fool – Shun him

He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him

I will put Japan under  my quote above – He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him. And I thank the Japanese people from all sane Humankind for having woken up from its slumber. (hopefully TEPCO too).

But today my story is not about Japan, neither about Germany which post Fukushima has closed down their Nuclear plants to be part of my quote above which says – He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him.

This article is purely focused on India and its brethren who fall under the quote – He who knows, that he knows not; is a child -Teach him.

Before I carry this forward – I would make it very clear that I am proud to be an Indian. But not proud of its present political class. Under which general administration and ordinary living has suffered to such an extent that corruption has become norm. Corruption does not have to be financial all the time. Not adhering to simple traffic rules is also corruption. Having political arrogance where saner and cautious advise are not heeded to is also corruption. Every-time I see the video on Fukushima disaster, I watch with wonder the fantastic discipline the Japanese people had, even at the face of the disaster. That speaks volumes for the quality of administrative discipline and strength of character.

I live in Mumbai and within the second high risk zone of 75 KM. If one looks at this map  from Green Peace, which points to each Nuclear Plant on this planet, zooming in on India and clicking on the yellow dot will make ones mouth go dry.  Should disaster strike, we do not even have an exit route from Mumbai. Just one bridge connects the island of Mumbai close to the suburb of Chembur, called the Vashi bridge. No hovercraft, no steamers – no ferry service. God forbid if disaster strikes the isle of Mumbai, the mass exodus which would be more of a mob, will kill more than the disaster itself in the first 24 hours. And we have many more Nuclear plant sites. And unplanned growth all around.

I am not against Nuclear Power, I am against the possibility of facing the havoc of Nuclear disaster, should climate change creates situations where storms and tsunami become more and more prevalent. It is one thing to have death and destruction of a generation due to natural calamities, while it is completely different to suffer for generations from Nuclear fallout, which may happen due to damaged caused to a Nuclear facility in an earthquake / tsunami.

While I have pointed out the possible danger of a Nuclear accident, this article is about all the calamities and its resultant effect India shall face, due to effects of Climate change. While it is true, that India has come up with some super positive steps like NAPCC. We have much to accomplish, along with the whole World, while the time is running out. The Stern Review predicts that unless the World changes into low-carbon development from the high-carbon economic model we all currently follow, climate related disasters would increase and its mitigation could cost 20% of the World GDP, year on year post 2020. For densely populated India, which is also a growing economy, many new insurance instruments hereto not applicable are becoming norm. From simple insurance of remembering your important numbers to more complex health, property and corporate ones. Climate induced calamities would bring in untold economic loss.

This naturally brings into fore the insurance companies which need to compensate for losses which would occur. The year 2011 disasters, which occurred  world over,  is covered in this video and it gives one an idea of the scale of economic loss and the compensation which needed to be doled out. If such occurrence happen again and again as is the forecast, it would leave may Insurers penniless, which they would naturally not let happen. Therefore they would do what some have already done – CDP signatories are the banks, pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and foundations. With USD 78 trillion, it has and will have lot of influence as time progresses to steer Nations into more sensible Sustainable life style. In time regional groups and sub-groups would be formed amongst local insurance players, all with the agenda of abating climate change and this would reach to the very grass-roots of society.

In my opinion, once again Ecology would be rescued by Economy, which ironically has been one of the principal cause for the human induced disasters we face today.

 

 

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Green Business Ideas : Virtual World Design can save the real world losses.


In today’s News paper I read that a project conceived in 2003 in Mumbai has not been able to take off till date. The funding from World Bank has been suspended. The reasons are several, design issues, red-tape, encroachment etcetera. Going through the archives, I found several similar problems over diverse types of projects. I also recollected that there has been a few projects which we were supposed to do but the developer got cold feet due to lack of credible data, as to whether the project would be a success and what would work in the era post A.D 2008.

Could there be a hidden Green Business Idea in this ? Can one’s problem, be another’s opportunity? Rather could the opportunity of the other solve the problem of the former ? Its time our capitalistic opportunism mentality move towards, what I said in my previous article – Benefit Corporation. Presenting a very radical idea; which if polished to its potential would definitely create a green revolution, warming the hearts of UNFCCC honchos.

Large infrastructural projects, in India typically face problems. From conception to implementation, the variable being so many, the scope for “information asymmetry ” or ” leakage” ( plain speak – scope for corruption and wasteful expenditure ) is very high. To arrest these problems and prevent the situation from arising in the first place, a few diverse tools already existing could perhaps be combined.

Virtual world is nothing new to gamers and professionals using computer simulation as design tool.  And “Second Life”; “SIM City” are iconic. But it is the IT-industry which enabled its creation. What if they all were to combined ? What would be the benefits, lets discuss in brief-

Say for example in SIM city there is a game simulation called;  – Rio de Janeiro, 2047 – Coastal flooding resulted from global warming rages through the city. The mayor must control the problem and rebuild. …  With Climate change a reality, if this becomes the basic tool on which the Builders have to submit their plans for permissions to build; they along with the architects would have a near first hand experience of what  should not be attempted.   Thereby should lets hypothetically say – “Bangkok  floods”  again, the combined economic and human loss will be negligible.

Although, no person in her/his right senses would like to invite any disaster, be it the Tsunami that hit coastal India or Japan…that it will happen again because we are on the path to 3.5° C  global temperature rise, is almost certain; if you go by what the experts say.  Therefore the faster we bring all the ‘stake-holder’ into the  ‘game’ the better it would be for the World at large.

Using AI ( artificial intelligence ) based on data collected on the demography of a place, behaviour of the populace over time on Urban planning can be mapped. While having a 100% accuracy would take time, even with a 40% predictability of how the  populace of certain culture / social background would behave over say a 5 year period, could help immensely both Public and Private entities to take measures. Such measures can reduce the impact to the economy and create better infrastructure which is more able to meet up to the challenges of the future, which could not have been predicted otherwise.

Sure there are many institution and think tanks doing exactly the same. But if we still are facing the problems which they are predicting, what good does that do? By bringing the tool to the desktop of common persons – architects, developers and local administration. Taking their inputs form the data they create, a more inclusive people to people development program can be mooted which over time would be successful.

Now having understood through simulation of what should not be done, to conform with the overall Sustainable Town-planning, the Developer and his architect would face the question on ‘ what would work ‘.  Architects are by class – service providers. And more often than not, they need to depend on the commission they would get from investors – ie; home owners, builders or industrialist who have the money to have something built for them. Therefore it is much easier for them to design what their client want rather than impose her / his ideas. And with huge sums of money riding on the project, investors don’t really like to take chances. Therefore good designs most of the time gets sacrificed to popular perception. This overtime leads to wrong Urban planning.

This can be arrested by applying the “second life” concept. Say the architect creates a design and does a 3-D rendering. Then gives it to some company like Second Life, which has mapped the exact town / location  in virtual reality before-hand and allows it to be ‘built’ there ? The builder /developer pays for it off-course. Then he could pay to the advertisers both electronic and print to ask prospective customers to visit the ‘town and live in the residential building, built there’. A virtual assistant could walk along with the “avatar” of the client within the virtual world and explain all the features. Once the client likes a particular property, booking can be made and legal terms set. And once the real building comes up, everything is exactly like it was experienced in the Virtual World.

Changes to the design, remodelling a particular flat post finishing to suit the taste of a discerning client, who wants something different, all could be done within the walls of virtual reality, at nominal cost and without waste of precious materials in the process. Moreover the developer/ architect can ‘exhibit’ any modern thought,  different from the mundane and check for real response with minimal risk.

Authorities too can maintain a vigil by visiting many a ‘site’ to see if the designs are adhering to norms and guidelines. Imagine the building inspectors – civil, fire and safety, structural and the municipal architect together sitting in municipal  office  which is equipped with simulators. There they all sit in front of a console with wrap-around 3-D simulator glasses and then join up with ‘avatar’ clients or other experts to inspect a ‘site’. The details are loaded up into the computer by the developer who carries them on a portable hard-drive. Every detail from the PHE / MEP to the design norms can be discussed and recorded. Changes suggested and a revisit organised to see that the building has come as per the sanctioned norms.

All this without a single ‘make & break’ routine the building industry routinely follows. Sometime due to changes in market dynamics which necessitates changes to the built space mid-way or due to misinterpretation of certain by-laws enshrined in the building code of the state. One must remember that 40% of GHG is building related and 60% of waste too comes from building related activities. So when almost all parameters of the building is completely understood before hand, chances of error could be minimized to a great extent. Thus creating an Environment which truly aims to be zero-emission.

Before I end, one may ask why I mentioned the IT industry in the beginning of the article.That  is because, all the tools mentioned are already existing but not all common persons / builders can afford or operate such hi-tech solutions.The Indian IT is the best place for out-sourcing. Cheaper and more efficient than most, our boys would never be out of jobs, which ever way the market plays. All that is needed is to adapt and adopt Sustainable living.

 

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Solar,Wind & Geothermal Energy can bring World Peace


My Evening which I thought would be relaxing, after a hectic inspection on LEED norms being followed in four small-sized projects, I am currently providing consultation on and not succeeding in breaking down the mental barrier of the site engineers & contractors much; was shattered by listening to News about  the West going vitriolic over a West Asian Nuclear program.

Some News channels were also talking of an impending war! I had just spent the afternoon showing my favorite Power point slide of the burning oil field of Kuwait  (The link on Kuwait shows how it could be seen from space.) & Iraq post Operation Desert Storm. Explaining how burning fossil fuel Causes Global WarmingIt always make them sit up and listen. I explain that all that fuel and much more has been burnt any ways. Only we just don’t see them in such dramatic settings, while emitting it out of our fancy cars, yacht &  airplanes.

 I also quote extensively from an article I read on 28th October 2011“NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner and Director of Global Strategy & Advocacy Jacob Scherr joined UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at the United Nations today to declare victory in the decades-long campaign to eliminate leaded gasoline worldwide At the event, Dr. Thomas Hatfield of California State University, Northridge, released an independent, peer-reviewed study, which found that eliminating leaded gasoline worldwide will avoid 1.2 million premature deaths and $2.4 trillion in health and economic costs every year. This is huge news for children and families worldwide. The dangers of airborne lead are well-known, especially with respect to lead’s impacts on brain and other development in children.”

Moreover I can not fail to recognize the irony which I also read in an article around the same year 25th July 2011, – Germany, which has taken over the presidency of the UNSC, sought a discussion on climate change and security. It also attempted to get a Presidential statement passed, suggesting that the UNSC could play a more pro-active role in climate change talks. Though China and Russia initially opposed the move, they later fell in line. But, like India, both these nations opposed the bid to reduce the role of UNFCCC in climate talks. “Politicians, diplomats and security experts across the board — not only in the Western world — share the assessment that climate change might have a serious impact on international peace and security”, – In an op-ed piece in The Huffington Post, Peter Wettig, Germany’s ambassador to the UN argued.

While the UNSC members are aware of Climate change and willing to discuss measures to prevent Climate refugees I can not fathom the reason as to why the same UNSC can not see another telling aspect on Climate Change?

In my article Will UNEP lose to UNSC to avert Global warming? I had asked a simple question to the powers that be in the Global Warming arena – “I wonder if the upcoming UNFCCC report would contain the effect of War on the Global Climate! All those bunker – busting bombs in Tora-bora mountain in the Afghanistan – Pakistan region, or the burning of oil fields in Kuwait during the Desert storm and later the devastation of Iraq, Libya and …hope there is no more, PLEASE!”

This article is a supplication to all those Organizations and people who do have some influence in World affairs to promote the use of RE much more vigorously than before, for these are unprecedented times. As Countries are grappling for a solution for economic stability which  also comes through having a sustained supply of Energy, the choice of the source has become most important.

As Nuclear and Fossil fuel are the most controversial, now is the time to promote the extensive use of Geothermal instead of Nuclear and supplement it with Solar & Wind.

For what could be more foolish than waging war when Green Business Ideas can solve the issues once and for all ?

Will all due respect to the original photographers, I hope they do understand that the images I have used by them is for a greater cause. I would remove it should they object. I also thankfully acknowledge the published Articles those have been taken from various sources, mentioned as ‘Source’ for reference. I do not claim any Copyright on them  and collected here for Non-Commercial purpose and to generate awareness.

 

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Green Business Ideas – CDM methods for Steel Production.


The last Sunday I sat down to clear some “junk” which had accumulated over the years; books, old clocks, plastic pen holders, rusted paper-clips and tacks and most importantly PENS. Lots of pens. Plastic pens, Steel jacketed pens, dried out pen-refills and some steel jotter refills. Most of these I had been using during my school and college days. I don’t have much use of a pen today but buying that odd Parker or Mont Blanc can not be resisted. I hope those who would be reading this article may find some resonance in this.

High Schools are the reasons why many a Pen company not only survive but have flourished over time. Its usually their “pert” line which earn them the revenue. The most popular pen are either the very cheap use and throw types or the ones which a girl/boyfriend gifts during valentine. They are usually made of metal and have steel”jotter”refills. Even in the plastic bodied pens the plastic refill “nib” is made of steel.

English: Gold and Silver Parker Jotter Pencil

For example, The Parker Jotter is the Parker Pen Company‘s first and bestselling retracting refillable ballpoint pen. Later they added a fountain pen, mechanical pencil and rollerball pen that match its design. As with many other ballpoint pens, it can be turned into gel pen if its cartridge is changed. Since 1954, over 750 million have been sold worldwide.

A single company Parker has sold 750 million Jotter pens.  Assuming all the parts are steel, some tiny parts are not, but is negligible in comparative weight. So if it were to be all stainless steel, what would be the weight in steel? Lets calculate –

A Parker Jotter Pen, Stainless Steel, Medium Point, Black Ink (PAR13333) weighs 1.6 ounces**.

 1.6 ounces x 750000000 = 1200000000 ounces.

1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams. So the weight of 750 million pen = 34019427600 grams ie; 34019427.6 kg  = 34019. 43 metric ton.

That is a lot of Steel. And any one who would care to read what steel production entails and the amount of GHG it produces would at least appreciate that part of the process be reduced. Even though recycling steel may not in the present technology available to small industry be very useful both in economy and effectiveness in terms of GHG abatement, a start towards this can be done. http://www.epa.gov/climateleaders/documents/resources/ironsteel.pdf 

Now I’m sure there are many more Pen manufacturers big and small, who consume steel. And there must be many pens lying in dusty drawers or tossed away without a thought that the Earth is being plundered every minute to extract Iron ore, the raw material for manufacturing steel.

On the run-up to Rio+20 the UNFCCC  event, Green Business Ideas  are being sought by various organization. The simple collection and recycling of metallic Pens could provide an avenue for SME industry to contribute towards abatement of Climate change.  The tremendous benefit of reduced mining activity can not be highlighted enough.

The Micro -Small and Medium Enterprise is best suited for this task because an individual entrepreneur can take upon him/herself to collect discarded or unused metal pens from local schools & colleges and in the process even get to collect from the big corporate firms where the parents of the children work and discard their pens too. Re-rolled Steel or smelters are already a mature market.

The UNICEF which requires a lot of aid can find this as an interesting program and with the help of UNEP and UNFCCC  be able to generate a movement. What’s more, some pens which gather dust in the rich mans drawer may even be the first pen an under privileged child might cherish forever.

Note:** (as found in a website, http://www.amazon.com/Parker-Jotter-Stainless-Medium-PAR13333/dp/B001603YXI any error may kindly be excused, this article is not about any particular company or brand of pen and the above example is only to illustrate a point. )

 

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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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