india green newsAvinash Kar, Staff Attorney, San Francisco

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

Compiled by Ariel Cooper

Week of August 25th-29th

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is real and happening in India

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the UN climate summit which is to be organized in New York on September 23 to give a political push to future negotiations, Indian scientists on Friday emphasized the need to take urgent steps to address the issue of climate change that has potential to adversely affect the country.

Taking stock of climate change and its implications for India, scientists from JNU, IIT Delhi, IARI and UCAS Bangalore highlighted country-specific points in the recent IPCC reports covering agriculture production, increase in sea-level, floods, droughts and cyclones, carbon dioxide content in air, temperature change and associated heat wave and melting of Himalayan glaciers.

"Climate change is real and happening in India. These issues have a direct impact on our daily lives and it is necessary that we start taking measures to address the issue," said V Rajamani of School of Environmental Science, JNU.

(Times of India, Aug. 23rd, 2014)

Modi, UK Deputy PM discuss WTO, climate change

New Delhi, August 25:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated India’s commitment to the understanding reached at the WTO meet in Bali, including on trade facilitation. In his meeting with Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg here Modi expressed support for trade facilitation measures.

Modi, however, emphasized the need to move forward simultaneously on all the agreements reached in Bali, including on food security, to address the interests of all sections of society, particularly the poor people. Clegg, who heads a 40-member delegation comprising representatives from companies inaerospace, retail and higher education sectors, kicked off his three-day trade mission in New Delhi, with an aim to strengthen economic ties.

(Hindu Business Line, Aug. 25th, 2014)

ENERGY

Renewable energy a win-win solution for India’s Energy Security Challenge

New Delhi, Aug 25 (IBNS): Former Union Minister Suresh P Prabhu on Monday released a series of reports on 'Renewable Energy Jobs and Finance' published by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

These reports are the first independent, external analysis of the employment opportunities for India solar energy and wind energy markets and draw from extensive discussions with stakeholders, and research and analysis of national, state and international programs.

They also include an assessment of domestic and international opportunities to fund clean energy in India.

 As per the reports, India’s solar and wind programs have catalysed rapid growth providing much needed energy access, creating employment opportunities for India’s workforce, and yet facing the challenges of financing.

(India Blooms News Service, Aug. 25th, 2014)

India set to quintuple wind output

India's new government is advising wind turbine manufacturers to lift production, as the country seeks to lift annual wind capacity additions from 2-3GW to 10GW, Clean Technica reports, citing an unnamed "leading Indian newspaper".

According to the website, the government restored accelerated depreciation tax benefits in this year's budget which will be complemented by existing generation-based incentives for the sector, which currently has an installed capacity of 21.2GW and represents 67 per cent of India's renewables capacity.

(Business Spectator, Aug. 26th, 2014)

Indian Renewable Energy Company Welspun Plans $2.5 Billion Investment Over Next Three Years

Indian renewable energy companies are preparing for long-term investments as the new government gets ready to introduce favorable regulatory initiatives to expand renewable energy infrastructure.

One of India’s leading renewable energy companies, Welspun Group, has announced plans to invest Rs 15,000 crore –  or $2.5 billion US – to develop wind and solar power capacity over the next three years. The group hopes to have an installed renewable energy capacity of 1.75 GW by the end of the next three years. So far, the group has installed 330 MW capacity, while 750 MW capacity is under development.

The group will continue to invest heavily in the development of solar power capacity; it also expected to install about 120 MW of wind energy capacity by March of next year. The company will invest in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan to develop solar power

(Clean Technica, Aug. 25th, 2014)

AIIMS Challenge for Solar Expert

KOLKATA: Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has approached solar expert SP Gon Chowdhury to make the half-century-old All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) campus in Delhi climate-responsive. In addition, Gon Chowdhury is also advising the ministry to ensure that the new AIIMS units proposed in different states — including West Bengal — become 'green buildings'.

Speaking to TOI, Gon Chowdhury—a pioneer in solar energy use in India—said he was delighted to head the unique initiative. "AIIMS is a centre of excellence in medical science. When the premier institute was set up in 1956, priorities were very different when constructing a building. Practices in ancient Indian architecture that encouraged use of natural light, wind and water had been lost. Buildings had become extremely functional with no real thought on energy efficiency. But the situation has changed now. The minister has asked me to prepare a plan to make the 100-acre campus more climate responsive," Gon Chowdhury said.

(Times of India, Aug. 26th, 2014)

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND GOVERNANCE

India's Coal Crunch - a chance to revamp, reallocate and revive

NewDehli/Mumbai- A Supreme Court ruling this week that India's decades-old method of granting coal mining concessions is illegal could herald much-needed reforms in a sector long dogged by the inability of state-run Coal India(COAL.NS) to raise output fast enough.

In declaring scores of coal block allocations made since 1993 unlawful and arbitrary, the Supreme Court has put investments worth billions of dollars at risk.

If it goes the next step and cancels the concessions after a further hearing due to start on Monday, India may have to import vast amounts of coal to keep the lights on.

In the long run, however, the decision could bring clearer rules to a sector that has failed to provide India with enough power because it has been so hamstrung by confusion and scandals over concessions allegedly handed to government cronies.

-By Krishna N Das and Abhishek Vishnoi

(Reuters, Aug. 27th, 2014)

PM Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech: Seven key takeaways

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech spoke on a wide range of issues, from financial inclusion schemes to stressing on need to enhance manufacturing.

Modi said that for India to make its presence felt on the global stage, there was immediate need to channelise the talent of the youth. He spoke of promoting Brand India and ensuring a better developed rural India. We take a look at the key takeaways from his speech:

(…..)  6) Planning Commission to be replaced: Modi said that he would replace the Planning Commission that for decades guided the country's economy with a more modern institution.

"The times have changed since the Planning Commission was created. In a short span of time we will initiative a new institution that will work in place of the Planning Commission," Modi said. "We need creative thinking on the Planning Commission's role."

(…..)7) Clean India: The government plans to launch the Swacch Bharat plan in October. "Let us pledge that we will not make surroundings dirty. Pledge to develop a clean India," Modi said. "Mahatma Gandhi's 150th anniversary is coming in a few years. How should we celebrate it? He respected cleanliness. We should pledge for clean India," he added.

"We have to stress on cleanliness, sanitation. By 2019 we must ensure a Swacch Bharat. Modi went on to say, "Dignity of women is our responsibility. We have to ensure that we provide toilets for all."

(The Economic Times, Aug. 15th, 2014)

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