Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!

Bye Bye 2013! - Good Morning Thought - 31st December 2013

Living with trash has become an inherent character of the modern day society.  We just resort to new buying and don't want to recycle.  Let's dump this habit with 2013.  Let's renovate life, let's recycle as much as we can...

Bye Bye 2013!

Monday, December 2, 2013

NTPC to add 14000 MW coal fired power by 2016-2017!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

For today's pick section I am posting a latest news release from the Ministry of Power, Govt. of India which shows how India's largest power producer is going to add its killer coal power  generation capacity by a whooping 14,000 MW in about three years. And it has plans to add much more in coming years.  

High time we work for green energy sources and shun coal!

Thanks and regards,


NTPC will add 14,000 MW to its total capacity by 2016-17 
NTPC emerges as dominant power producer accounting for more than 27% per cent of total power produced. 
NTPC will add another 14,000 MW to its total capacity by the end of 2016-17. The installed capacity of NTPC at present is 42,500 MW which includes the capacity addition of 10,000 MW in the last three years, chairman and managing director of the power producer, Dr Arup Roychowdhury said today during a press conference in Delhi. Dr Roychowdhury said the company aims to become 1,28,000 MW utility in coming years. 

The power company has registered a growth of 4.49 per cent of power in this fiscal year in comparison to the last fiscal. The power production last year through the NTPC run power plants was 222.068 billion units which increased to 232.028 billion units. 

The coal stations of the company also registered a growth of 6.67 per cent. In the last fiscal the production from coal station was 199.054 units which has reached 212.39 units this fiscal. On the front of plant load factor, NTPC has scored over other power producers. The plant load factor at the coal station run by NTPC on an average was 87.63 per cent while the national average of PLF was 69.93 per cent. 

Country's largest power producer NTPC also said its bond issue to raise up to Rs 1,750 crore will open on Tuesday. This is the state-run company's first bond issue after a gap of over 20 years. 

"The issue will open on December 3, 2013, and is scheduled to close on December 16, 2013," Choudhury told reporters here at a company's conference. Under the scheme, the company will issue tax-free secured redeemable non-convertible bonds. 

"The base issue size aggregates to Rs 1,000 crore with an option to retain over-subscription up to Rs 750 crore for issuance of additional bonds, aggregating to up to Rs 1,750 crore," the company said. The company says the money raised through the bonds will be utilized towards funding of capital expenditure and refinancing for meeting the debt requirement in ongoing projects. 

The company continues to command dominant share in the power production with 27.37 per cent of total power produced. The installed capacity of the company is 18.44 per cent of the total in the country. For consecutive three years, the company has been performing at the peak capacity in power production scenario. The company added 4170 MW in the year 2012-13 while in 2011-12 the company added 2820 MW of power and in 2010-11 the power addition by NTPC was 2490 MW. 

The chairman said that currently 19,500 MW of projects are under execution and the state run company will soon place orders to procure power equipment for 5000 MW. The new projects that the company plans include Tanda (1320 MW), Daripalli (1600 MW) and North Karanpura (1980 MW). 

Source: Ministry of Power, Govt. of India. 2nd December 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

China rejects 60 thousand tons of GM corn from US and Monsanto confronts devilish public image problem

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

For today's pick section, I am posting below two reports that may interest you.

Thanks and regards,



China rejects 60,000 tons of genetically modified U.S. corn

China rejected 60,000 tons of U.S. corn because the crops had been genetically modified in violation of regulations, Beijing's quality watchdog said Friday.

Authorities in the southern port city of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, found a variety of insect-resistant transgenic corn within more than 60,000 metric tons of maize imported from the United States, a spokesman for China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

The agency is in charge of entry-exit commodity inspection and import-export food safety certification and accreditation.

The insect-resistant MIR 162 transgenic corn was developed by Syngenta AG to provide growers with maize hybrids that are resistant to feeding damage caused by moths, butterflies and other lepidopteran insects.

MIR 162 is not authorized by China's agricultural department, spokesman Chen Xitong said.

The agency notified U.S. authorities of the event, seeking Washington to order the responsible U.S. corn exporters to strengthen inspection and quarantine of corn exports to China to conform with Chinese law and regulations, Chen said.

The official Xinhua News Agency, which reported the rejection, did not say which authorities the agency notified or from where the corn came.

Syngenta Corp. in Washington told United Press International MIR 162 corn, which it markets as Agrisure Viptera, was "one of a number of technologies from multiple manufacturers that continues to await approval from Chinese regulatory authorities."

"Lagging importation approvals can cause market disruption for growers and grain traders alike, and can deprive importers of high-quality, readily available grain," the company said in a statement. "The issue has to be addressed at a global level or nations that want to access crops from where technology is legally approved and broadly adopted will continue to face this problem."

The U.S. Commerce Department in Washington did not immediately respond when UPI contacted it by email and phone for a comment on Beijing's action.

Syngenta AG is a global Swiss specialized-chemicals company that also markets pesticides.

Monsanto confronts devilish public image problem

Monsanto is the agriculture world’s prince of darkness, spreading its demonic genetically modified seeds on fields all over the earth. Or at least that’s the case if you believe the likes of HBO talk-show host Bill Maher, the hazmat suit-wearing activists in Occupy Monsanto or any of a growing number of biotechnology haters.

For years the St. Louis-based company has ignored such critics. But now the biotech giant is attempting a public relations makeover.

In recent months the company has shaken up its senior public relations staff, upped its relationship with one of the nation’s largest public relations firms and helped launch a website designed to combat the fallacies surrounding genetically modified organisms.

And, most importantly, it is recognizing biotechnology has a public image problem.

Monsanto has “been absolutely riveted and focused on giving technology and tools to farmers to improve their productivity and yield and we haven’t spent nearly the time we have needed to on talking to consumers and talking to social media and really intercepting this” opposition to biotechnology, Robert Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer for the company, conceded recently.

He was paying a visit to the offices of POLITICO and other D.C.-area journals as part of what many in public relations would call a “charm offensive.”

Monsanto’s top scientist, a recent winner of the World Food Prize, remains hopeful, however.

“There are loud voices on one end that don’t like the technology and there are people like myself on the other side that are advocates, and fortunately most of the people are in the middle,” Fraley said. “If you talk to the average consumer, biotech is not on the top 10 list of food safety issues, once you get through sugar and salt and all of those other issues. So I think there is an opportunity to reframe that conversation.”

Sources familiar with the company have taken notice of the changes, observing that key officials in the previous Monsanto regime were better known “for keeping their heads in the sand” and not engaging on challenges to the company and biotechnology.

Focusing on serving the agriculture industry with high-yield crops, feeding the world and making a steady profit for its shareholders has served Monsanto well in recent times. But the ostrich approach to public relations has not yielded dividends for the company’s image.

Monsanto was declared “the most evil corporation of the year” in early 2011 by NaturalNews.com. Earlier this year the company confronted an international “March on Monsanto” Facebook campaign.

Such negative attention, the company observes in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission report, could influence future policy decisions: “The degree of public acceptance or perceived public acceptance of our biotechnology products can affect our sales and results of operations by affecting planting approvals, regulatory requirements and customer purchase decisions,” Monsanto says.

For evidence of what’s at stake, consider the 26 states that considered legislation in 2013 that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. Many are expected to look at the issue again in 2014. The ballot initiatives have been close: California voters rejected a GMO labeling measure in 2012 by a margin of just 2.82 percent; and Washingtonians did the same in November in a vote that came down to just a 2.16 percent difference.

Monsanto has fought these attempts to create labeling regulations every step of the way.

Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association — one of the many groups that attacks Monsanto’s reputation on a regular basis — remains skeptical that any new public relations strategy can make a difference.
“Monsanto patents seeds and enforces those patents by suing farmers; we support farmers’ right to save seeds,” she says. “Monsanto sells agricultural chemicals and genetically engineered seeds designed to increase the use of pesticides; we support pesticide- and GMO-free organic farming. Monsanto has focused on the seeds that are primarily used to grow animal feed for factory farms; we support farms that raise grass-fed animals on pasture.

“We know, as many experts have proven, that organic and pasture-based agriculture is the only way to feed the world and turn back climate change, so, we aren’t optimistic about the promises Monsanto has made about the potential benefits of GMOs.”

But Aaron Perlut, a founder and managing partner of Elasticity, a St. Louis-based consulting firm specializing in reputation management, still thinks Monsanto’s shift toward engaging in the conversation is an important development.

“Typically when I counsel large companies in crisis I would suggest having a reasonable discussion because public opinion tends to side with reasonable parties even in a challenging argument,” Perlut says.

“I think that if Monsanto is willing to have an open and more transparent conversation about their business they can only improve in the eyes of many of their detractors. There are no doubt questions over the risks of doing that…but by not engaging in an open conversation, you simply allow your detractors to own the conversation about your brand and take it where they would like.”

Monsanto spokesman Lee Quarles declined to expand on the company’s specific public relations efforts. However, he confirmed that Gerald Steiner, the long-time executive vice president of sustainability and corporate affairs, retired earlier this fall after more than 30-years with the company, and has been replaced by Jesus Madrazo, the former head of Monsanto’s international corporate affairs shop.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Einstein predicted it right...The day has arrived!

I have always been telling how technology is taking over human conversations and interactions. Today, received a mail from a contact with the following photographs. Making it into an album with a request to all my friends to please find more human ways of interacting and communicating before we turn out to be a civilization of machines...

Having coffee with friends

A day at the beach

Cheering on your team

Having dinner with your friends

Out on an intimate date

Having a conversation with your best friend

A visit to the museum

Enjoying the sights

ADB suggesting Bangladesh to go for more coal?

I have just come across this document ‘Energy Policy Options for Sustainable Development in Bangladesh’ published by ADB.  This document, an ‘ADB Economics Working Paper Series’ paper makes right noises about the emerging energy challenges of Bangladesh but tactfully recommends more use of coal, besides talking of reforms in natural gas allocation and pricing that means the people of the Bangladesh have to pay a lot for their energy consumption.

Pasted below please find the conclusion part of this document which is self-explanatory.   You can find the complete document at the following link: http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2013/ewp-359.pdf

Friends in Bangladesh are requested to look into this further and devise a suitable strategy to counter coal and work for alternative and green energies.

Conclusion Section of the above referred document:

Bangladesh today faces a different future than it did decades ago when relatively abundant natural gas seemed to be the key to prosperity. Known reserves are not expected to last more than 2 decades on current use trends, energy price policies appear to seriously undermine energy security and economic efficiency, and the fiscal costs of those policies pose serious questions. To support more evidence-based dialogue on energy development, allocation, and pricing reform, this study uses a detailed economic forecasting model to evaluate leading energy issues facing Bangladesh. This study uses this model to evaluate a variety of policy options that are under active discussion and consideration by public and private stakeholders. In particular, we consider reforms that would make gas prices more market determined and uniform across private uses, as well as energy efficiency potential, the special nature of the fertilizer sector to receive subsidized gas, coal substitution for electric power generation, and the prospect of exporting part of the country’s natural gas reserves at more competitive international prices, and investing augment gas revenues for infrastructure development.

The relatively small negative growth impact of increased energy price can be easily counteracted by economy-wide increase in energy efficiency. Quite contrary to the general expectation, the gas price increase without supplementary policies of energy efficiency or fertilizer subsidy does not increase inflation. This is due to the contractionary effect of gas price increase. Subsidized gas for fertilizer production more than compensates the negative economic impact of high gas price through its productivity impact in agriculture. Diversification of power sector fuel mix by introducing coal provides good macroeconomic indicators, but result to higher carbon emissions. Investing the gas revenue in infrastructure provides the best macroeconomic indicators. This best policy option, however, further increases carbon emissions. The impacts of these different policies in terms of increased household income are more or less equally distributed among different groups.

Polices considered in this study are quite diverse, but all have important implications for the country’s energy sector, particularly in terms of economy-wide efficiency, equity, and sustainability. Our results suggest that, although its energy future is more challenging than in the early days of gas abundance, Bangladesh has many options for energy policy reform for a sustainable future. To realize the vast human and economic potential of this country, more balanced consideration of political and economic criteria will be essential. Because most of the attractive policy options have the drawback of higher carbon emissions, supplementary policies and suitable technology adoption should play a balancing role.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Protocol on Water and Health - IISD Reporting

25 NOVEMBER 2013
The third session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 3) to the Protocol on Water and Health to the UN Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) took place from 25-27 November 2013, in Oslo, Norway, organized by the UNECE and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.
The meeting, which brought together representatives and observers from government, civil society, academia and international and regional organizations, addressed: the status of implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health; review of past activities and discussion of future activities in the different areas of work, including target setting and reporting, surveillance and early warning systems, project facilitation mechanism, compliance procedure, promotion of the Protocol and advocacy, public awareness, equitable access, and capacity building and sharing of experience; the Protocol and relevant global processes and initiatives; the Programme of Work for 2014-2016, terms of reference bodies established to implement it and resources needed for its implementation; partners in cooperation; and other business. The high-level segment included the Special Session on Equitable Access to Drinking Water and Sanitation, which took place on 25 November, the subject of this short briefing note.


The Special Session on Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation convened on the theme “Fair and Smart Ways to Reach Universal Access.” Moderator Harsha Ratnaweera, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, opened the session stressing the recognition by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) of water as a human right, while underscoring that in the pan-European region 19 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 67 million lack access to improved sanitation and highlighting disparities between high and low income countries, and urban and rural areas. He said the challenging financial environment calls for being smart and smarter in delivering access to water supply and sanitation.

In opening remarks, Benoit Vallet, General Director for Health, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, France, presenting on behalf of Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, France, said France has undertaken many activities since the first MOP to the Protocol on Water and Health, presenting specific efforts including: the housing solidarity fund; pilot studies on water poverty; and measures to provide isolated populations with access to water and sanitation. He noted the role of integrated management, in part to address increasing conflicts among needs, stressing that regulations must prioritize uses.
Vallet welcomed the publication of the “Equitable Access Score-Card: Supporting Policy Processes to Achieve the Human Right to Water” guide, saying it translates the five key themes synthesized in the report “No One Left Behind: Good Practices to Ensure Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation in the Pan-European Region” into a framework governments and organizations can use to understand gaps in equitable access.

In a keynote speech, Graham Alabaster, UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), emphasized that an understanding of how the world is changing is critical to addressing issues related to access to water supply and sanitation, noting trends including global population growth, urbanization, and changing age structures, in addition to pressures caused by climate change and conflict. He highlighted that urbanization will occur in secondary urban settlements, where there is less capacity to provide basic urban services.
Alabaster underscored that information is frequently aggregated in ways that masks service gaps, saying information and data must be disaggregated to highlight inequities. He called for increasing community participation and addressing gaps in the poorest communities first, in particular low-income peri-urban and rural areas. He noted implications for the post-2015 development agenda, highlighting the need to effectively combine the streams of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), water resources management (WRM) and wastewater management and water quality (WWMWQ) into a holistic and universal goal.

In a keynote speech, Manuel Thurnhofer, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), addressed water and sanitation challenges in the perspective of the post-2015 development agenda. He presented a Swiss proposal for a sustainable development goal (SDG), “a water-secure world for all,” building on the outcomes of the thematic consultations on water held under the post-2015 development agenda process. He highlighted the role of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water supply and sanitation in catalyzing progress on this issue, while saying it failed to address wider water-related challenges and calling for ensuring the ambitions for post-2015 are different.

Thurnhofer said fighting inequality requires addressing the unfinished business of the MDGs in order to translate the human right to water and sanitation into reality. He emphasized a holistic approach saying targets on WASH cannot be achieved without equitable water resource targets, and that only sustainable and equitable water management can reconcile competing demands with priorities for basic needs, noting the importance of governance reforms together with investment in physical and natural infrastructure.
On the importance of international cooperation to secure equitable access to water globally, Carola Bjørklund, Ambassador to the Council of Europe Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, emphasized Europe is the only continent where progress on access to adequate sanitation is stagnating, saying this is unacceptable. She called for establishing cooperation between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and countries needing financial assistance, and emphasized the important role that cooperation between the UNECE, WHO and EBRD plays in ensuring the affordability of water access.
Chyngysbek Uzakbaev, Minister of Agriculture and Melioration, Kyrgyzstan, noted their dedication to the provisions of the Protocol. He said they recognize the importance of addressing issues related to access to water and sanitation and have undertaken the process of developing targets and indicators under the Protocol. He welcomed the chance to take part in international dialogues on these issues.

Ermina Salkičević-Dizdarević, Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that the large number of signatories reflects the importance of access to water and sanitation. Saying water is a key aspect of human existence, she said while Bosnia and Herzegovina is rich in water resources, it is not limitless and requires conservation and protection. Stressing possible accession to the EU, she noted their main focus is implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), noting this will move them towards achieving the objectives of the Protocol as well.

On challenges and success stories as a way forward, Svetlana Cotelea, Deputy Minister of Health, Moldova, noted their progressive strengthening of national capacity to provide water and sanitation, giving attention to equity and access for the most vulnerable. She highlighted geographic and social inequalities, noting a focused approach to implementation is reflected in the targets and indicators developed under the Protocol. She highlighted progress on improving access to adequate water supplies in rural areas and addressing access to water supply and sanitation in schools. She said work under the Protocol set an operational platform for cooperation across sectors, in particular health.

Milan Simurdić, Ambassador to Norway, Serbia, noted that Serbia is devoted to responding to the obligation to publish targets and data under the Protocol. He highlighted their strong willingness to cooperate with other Parties to eliminate disparities in access to water and sanitation.

On successful participatory approaches for sustainability and relevance, Ionut-Ciprian Iuga, State Secretary, Department for Waters, Forests and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Romania, emphasized the importance of stakeholder involvement in Protocol implementation, highlighting the publication of the “Guide to Public Participation under the Protocol to the Convention.” He stressed the Guide provides Parties with a tool to increase and improve public participation, outlining elements in Romanian national law which promote participation in decision-making processes related to water supply and sanitation.

Alabaster reflected on the statements, highlighting points on finance, information sharing, planning and stakeholder engagement, noting the need for: innovative involvement of development banks in increasing service coverage levels; increased exchange of experiences and best practices; future-oriented planning even in countries with “limitless resources”; and engagement of local authorities and stakeholders in Protocol implementation.

Thurnhofer emphasized that the MDGs were an impressive means to mobilize additional resources from countries, the international community, the private sector and civil society, saying the need is to make sure the priorities are right. He noted that the MDGs developed aligned and shared objectives, which partially overcame the challenge of limited budgets. He said priority setting is critical in tackling the challenges ahead, emphasizing the Protocol is a key element in prioritizing WASH outside the water community.
A panel then discussed: how to introduce the human rights dimension into policy processes; how to create smart targets to ensure universal access, outcomes of the Budapest Water Summit; how to progress towards equitable access through projects on the ground; and the practical implications of achieving universal access for service providers and regulators.

On the status of equitable access in Portugal and main challenges, Paulo Lemos, Secretary of State for Environment, Portugal, supported the definition of water access and sanitation as a human right and the development of a water-specific SDG under the post-2015 development agenda process. He highlighted the evolution and achievements of water policy in Portugal to control waterborne communicable diseases from 1980 to 2012. He noted the challenge of maintaining the sustainability of systems to provide water and sanitation services.

On the outcomes of the Budapest Water Summit, Zsuzsanna Steindl-Kerekes, Ministry of Rural Development, Hungary, highlighted that the Declaration called for both a water-specific SDG under the post-2015 development agenda process and establishment of an intergovernmental process to assess the implementation of future goals. She described a special session on striving towards universal access to water and sanitation, saying it noted the importance of access to water and sanitation for households, schools, health centers and refugee camps.

Presenting a statement on behalf of all NGOs present, Anna Tsvietkova, NGO EcoForum and MAMA-86, Ukraine, said the Protocol provides a sound framework for progressively achieving universal access to water supply and sanitation. She identified challenges including lack of reliable data on access of the vulnerable to safe water and sanitation, the degradation of water supply and sanitation infrastructure, that geographic disparities remain a common problem, the continued outbreak of intestinal infections in a number of countries, and that children are among the most vulnerable in the region and frequently lack access to safe water at schools and home. She underscored the health and social risks of water privatization. She called on Parties to: prioritize access to safe water and sanitation in national actions and allocate adequate financial resources; incorporate rights-based targets into river basin management plans; and proclaim water rights issues a priority in river basin management plans.

Providing the practitioners perspective, Tom Williams, International Water Association (IWA), highlighted three challenges faced by practitioners in implementing the human right to water and sanitation. First, he identified a misconception in language, noting the need to develop a glossary of common language on the human right to water and sanitation. Second, he underscored the need to reconcile the long-term affordability for customers and full cost recovery. Third, he stressed that the capacity to collect and report on data must be expanded, saying the Protocol is a great platform to support monitoring frameworks.
In closing, Lemos said one remaining challenge is conserving the affordability of installed systems. He identified, inter alia: prioritizing investments in areas facing affordability issues; limiting or eliminating connection charges; and establishing social tariffs for households that struggle with cost. The special session concluded at 5:37pm.

Source: IISD

Monday, November 25, 2013

UN Climate Talks at Warsaw: a compromise formula reached, not a success!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

The UN climate talks in Poland have come to an end with delegates reaching a compromise on how to fight global warming; which leaves many unhappy.

In fact, I can call it a failure with UN officials admitting that the current efforts were not adequate to halt the pace of global warming. The rich and polluting countries did not show any legal and moral commitment.  Even financial commitment was too less. 

I am pasting below links to some of the news reports for your information. 

Thanks and regards,


Last-minute deal saves fractious UN climate talks with delegates reaching a compromise on how to fight global warming.

After 30 hours of deadlock, they approved a pathway to a new global climate treaty in Paris in 2015.

The agreement was achieved after a series of last minute compromises often involving single words in draft texts.

Negotiators also made progress on the contentious issue of loss and damage that developing countries are expected to suffer in a warming world.

South Scores 11th-Hour Win on Climate Loss and Damage

The U.N. climate talks in Warsaw ended in dramatic fashion Saturday evening in what looked like a schoolyard fight with a mob of dark-suited supporters packed around the weary combatants, Todd Stern of the United States and Sai Navoti of Fiji representing G77 nations.

It took two weeks and 36 straight hours of negotiations to get to this point.
"We need those promises to add up to enough real action to keep us below the internationally agreed two-degree temperature rise.” -- U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

At issue in this classic North versus South battle was the creation of a third pillar of a new climate treaty to be finalised in 2015. Countries of the South, with 80 percent of the world’s people, finally won, creating a loss and damage pillar to go with the mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation pillars.

US and China must act on climate change rhetoric, says German minister

The US and China need to put their rhetoric on climate change into practice, the German environment minister, Peter Altmaier, said on Monday after United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw failed to reach agreement in key areas.

Disappointed by the lack of significant breakthroughs, Altmaier demanded concrete action on climate change from bigger industrialised nations ahead of a crunch meeting in Paris in 2015.

"China and the US will have to take a position at some point. Both President Obama and the new Chinese leadership have said they will prioritise climate protection, but that has to become visible in practice," he said, and demanded both nations set binding national climate targets as soon as possible.

"It's there [in the US and China] where the largest C02 emissions are produced, it's there where we have to achieve something in the coming months," added Altmaier, who briefly attended the talks last week.

"If we look at the hopes of millions of young people who ask when are you going to finally take climate protection seriously, when is something going to change, then it has to be said we've probably fallen short of the expectations," the minister told German radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk.

During the conference, regional German environment ministers wrote a letter appealing to chancellor, Angela Merkel, to push for an EU-wide C02 reduction target of 55% by 2030 as an impulse for key nations such as China to make their "own essential contributions" to global climate negotiations.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Disaster Response: Is all well with global civil society networks?

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,


For the “today's pick” section in my blog, I paste below an article that lists out ten countries where climate change kills the most people.  India stands at number five in this list that has been prepared by siliconindia website based on an India TV report. 

I am not sure about the authenticity of the ranking as there seem to be many gaps in the information.  Nevertheless, the information is important to be shared.

This is also important because governments as well as civil society organisations, including those who are at forefront of advocacy in the global climate change related negotiations, get often swayed by the ‘death’ figures in disasters.

Interestingly, this website does not feature Philippines among the top ten countries where ‘climate change kills most people’.  But, the Yolanda typhoon that affected the country just at the time the CoP 19 was to begin, remained in centre of discussion – both by government and civil society - during the Warsaw negotiations.

Ironically, the news of PHAILIN that affected the Bay of Bengal just about a month ago, subsided. PHAILIN did no less devastation.  Our memories are too short, this confirmed.  It also proved that civil society has started to think in the same line as governments.  Attention goes to a disaster where more people are killed?

Or is it simply a knee jerk response as an ‘advocacy strategy’?  If I believe this then one would have expected ‘calls of support’, ‘calls of solidarity’ etc. for both the recent disasters.  However, experience has proven otherwise.

At least my own experience being in some global networks gives me a different learning.  While a lot of efforts seem to have happened by the leadership of these networks to raise support and solidarity for Yoganda victims, I have not seen even one for PHAILIN victims.  Well, there have been mails in solidarity, but not any effort by such groups to work for victims of other disasters than those of the recent one.

Even in lobbying with International Financial Institutions(IFIs) or Multilateral Development Banks(MDBs) against conditions of loans for reconstruction, they chose to talk about Yoganda alone!

I may be wrong.  I sincerely want to be.  However, these are points to be reflected upon by international advocacy and civil society groups who claim to be working for the globe and/or particular regions.

Their behaviour cannot be like the governments; their memories cannot be too short; and their perspective of disasters should not just be limited to ‘human death tolls’.

Looking forward to your comments/feedback.

Thanks and regards,



10 Countries Where Climate Change Kills The Most People

Bangalore: It seems that the world is slowly moving towards destruction, mainly due to climate changes. Man-made wars are no longer the only threat to the masses but natural disasters are uncontrollably taking away the lives of millions. Here are the 10 nations where climate change is affecting the lives of the masses, as listed by India TV-

1. Bangladesh:

The geographic location makes Bangladesh vulnerable to natural disasters like floods, drought and cyclones. To a large extent, communities have adapted and developed resilience to changes caused by normal floods. According to National Geographic, this country tops the list of the nation with the most vulnerable impacts by the climate change.

However, severe floods of high magnitude have been creating an adverse impact on the economy and even loss of life. Major floods had occurred in Bangladesh in 1987, 1988, 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2012. During each flood, hundreds of people were killed and many crops were damaged. In 2012, at least 100 people were killed and 250,000 people were left stranded by flash floods and landslides in Sylhet, Bangladesh.

2. Sudan:

Sudan, a North African nation is one of the most disaster prone countries. In this country, temperatures are increasing and rainfall is decreasing. Arid and semi-arid areas are expanding as more water is lost because of the climate change. As such, the land quality is reduced where more of it turns into a desert, and crop yields to fall. As water becomes scarcer, people can no longer be self-sufficient in crop cultivation and livestock husbandry. So, it is an emergency operation for Sudan to responds to the continuing complex humanitarian and food security situation, characterized by localized conflicts, extended displacement and a deteriorating economy. The main effect of climate change is a reduction in rainfall, which also means a reduction in food security and clean water resources.

3. Caribbean:

Caribbean, the island nations, is today at risk for their freshwater supplies, thanks to the frequent climate change. Changing rainfall patterns not only replenish the countries’ underground water reservoirs but also contaminating fresh water supplies with salt water. As per some experts, rising sea and changing climate patterns could result in less rain supply to reservoirs in the coming decades. Not just this, the island nation has also come across a Hurricane Katrina that swept through New Orleans in 2005, taking away the lives of 1,600 people, which further caused an estimated $40 billion of damages. On top of this, many Caribbean nations rely mainly on underground water for their needs, a vulnerable source that would be hit hard by climate change effects.

4. Australia:

Australia’s climate varies extensively because of its large geographical area, but by far, a large part of the country is desert or semi-arid. Due to this, it has always been a hot-spot for natural disasters like forest fires. In Australia, the record high temperatures are increasingly damaging greenery and causing a fall in the water levels in agricultural basins. These are equally hazardous to plants and human life as a whole. An average of 1,100 people loses their lives in Australia due to its varying climatic conditions and this number is expected to increase in the near future.

5. India:

India ranks fifth in the list and the country is undergoing severe drought conditions, having a significant impact on agricultural outputs. Other than drought, the country is prone to natural hazards like earthquakes, floods and landslides. For instance, there were more than 2,00, 000 people whom lost their lives in the earthquake that took place in 2001.  The earthquake reached a magnitude of 7.7 and nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed.

India was also hit by deadly flood in 2009. It had affected various states in India and the most affected were Karnataka, North-Eastern states, Orissa and Gujarat. In 2012, the worst monsoon floods had hit the region of northeast India, which had killed more than 80 people and had forced around 2 million to leave their homes. Even the wildlife was also not spared. Many animals and endangered species were washed away in the floods in Kaziranga National Park, Assam. The most recent disaster that struck the temple town of Uttarakhand too is one of the major effects of climate change.

6. Siberia:

Siberian environment are transforming at a fast pace mainly due to global warming. Evidence shows that carbon cycles are displaying rapid change, with potentially grave consequences for the region’s flora and fauna. Descriptions of energy and water cycles, changes in surface reflectance due to snow, and vegetation coverage are some of the key aspects that indicate the regions’ susceptibility to climatic change. The area is subject to abnormal variations in temperature and precipitation due to the effects of climate change like global warming.

7. Tuvalu:

In Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation where climate change is of major concern, since the average height of the island is less than 2 meters (6.6 ft) above sea level. , It could be one of the first nations to experience the effects of sea level rise. The sea level varies as a consequence of a wide range of atmospheric and oceanographic influences. Studies show that the influence of global warming could be a major factor in heightening the present climate systems.

8. Great Barrier Reef:

The Great Barrier Reef which is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia is the world's largest coral reef system. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is the fast changing climatic change that caused ocean warming and that ultimately increases coral bleaching. Due to elevated ocean temperatures, mass coral bleaching events occurred especially during summer and it is expected to become an annual occurrence. This will eventually lead to increased disease susceptibility, which causes harmful ecological effects for reef communities. Climate change has also implications for other forms of reef life.

9. Alps:

The Alps are an iconic symbol of Europe and one of the continent's prime tourist destination. Of late, the Alps are facing the challenge of change in the climate where its temperatures have risen by just under 2°C over the last 120 years, almost twice as much as the global average. This provides a clear picture of the changes brought by global warming. In the recent decades many Alpine glaciers have shrunk to half their earlier size, and by the end of the century all the glaciers of the Alps, with a few exceptions, may well have melted away. The consequences are rock falls, landslides and more mudslides.

10. Myanmar:

In Myanmar, the problem of environmental changes is compounded by the fact that the polity has been caught up in turmoil and this has resulted in environmental hazards. Climatic changes from the cold to warmer seasons led to the rise in temperature and caused the spread of water borne diseases. The change in weather leads to the growth of parasites in the water which impairs the natural process in marine conditions. Fish seem to be dying due to a lack of oxygen and the proliferation of parasitic organisms.

-          By SiliconIndia  |   Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Scientists urging environmentalists to support nuclear power is a dangerous trend!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

We are really disturbed by this new development.  As you can see from the following link http://www.startribune.com/nation/230401361.html, four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change.

This is really dangerous as nuclear power is no green and clean.  Rather than altering the way we are taking our route to growth, adding up another danger to the world's people and ecology is not acceptable at all.  

We must defeat this motive of the scientists and raise to the occasion and work towards promoting clean and green energy.

Thanks and regards,


Please join WIO's 'Mahanadi River Initiative'. It's on, it's happening...

Ranjan K Panda

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)
Lead, Water Core Group, NGO Forum on ADB, Manila
Mobile:             +919437050103      
You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com
Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader
 Blog: http://www.climatecrusaders.blogspot.com/ 
 Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462
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 Water talks to me, I speak for Water...
Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in India for more than two decades now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

90 companies of the world are the major climate criminals. Time to punish them?

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

For my today's pick section in my blog, I am posting the following link from The Guardian to a very vital news report that shows how the climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age.  


Some Key highlights of the report are as follows:

- The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

- Vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal.

- There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world, but the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.

- Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years.

- Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

- Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

In my opinion, these companies should now cough off all their profit in climate change mitigation programmes.  They should not be given the free ride over our ecological and mineral resources anymore.  And, strong penalties should be imposed upon them for the climate crime they have been freely doing.

Thanks and regards,


India’s carbon dioxide emission shoots up 7.7% in a year: study

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

For my today's pick section, I chose the following news from 'firstpost' that points towards a highly alarming situation.

Thanks and regards,



India’s carbon dioxide emission shoots up 7.7% in a year: study

Nov 19, 2013 Warsaw: India and China are among the world’s biggest contributors to fossil fuel emissions with India’s carbon dioxide discharge increasing by a whopping 7.7 percent last year, a new study said on Tuesday.

“Based on estimates of economic activity in 2013, emissions are set to rise 2.1 percent in 2013 to reach 36 billion tonnes of CO2,” the annual analysis by Global Carbon Project reported.

AFP “The Global Carbon Budget reveals that the biggest contributors to fossil fuel emissions in 2012 were China (27 percent), the United States (14 percent), the European Union (10 percent), and India (6 percent),” the group of European scientists said.

Indian CO2 emissions increased by a whopping 7.7 percent, with those from coal growing 10.2 percent, said the report coinciding with the UN climate talks in Warsaw, the Polish capital.

The study, led by the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said Carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, and fossil fuels -coal, oil and gas – along with cement production account for nearly all its man-made emissions.

China, the world’s number one carbon emitter, accounted for 70 percent of the global increase in 2012. Chinese emissions grew 5.9 percent in 2012, lower than the average of 7.9 percent per year over the past decade.

 Consumption from renewable sources and hydropower in China grew by a quarter in 2012. In the United States, the world’s No. 2 emitter, CO2 emissions fell by 3.7 percent in 2012, with those from coal decreasing by 12 per cent as the country turned to cleaner shale gas.

Emissions by the 28-nation European Union (EU) fell by 1.3 per cent, but emissions from coal grew 3.0 per cent. Per capita emission is one of the biggest issues in the climate-change arena.

Developing countries like India and China have said rich nations should bear most of the burden for warming, as they initiated the problem and their emissions per person are much higher than those of poorer economies.

The US is still the highest emitter per person at 16 tonnes. By comparison an Indian’s carbon footprint is only 1.8 tonnes.

“Emissions must fall substantially and rapidly if we are to limit global climate change to below two degrees,” Corinne Le Qur of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research said.

The targeted emission level rise of 2.1 percent set for 2013 means burning of fossil fuels just 61 percent above the 1990 levels, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol, the study said. Cumulative CO2 emissions since 1870 is set to reach 2015 billion tonnes by 2013 with 70 percent caused by burning fossil fuels and 30 percent from deforestation and other land use changes. PTI

Source: http://www.firstpost.com/india/indias-carbon-dioxide-emmission-shoots-up-7-7-in-a-year-study-1238553.html?utm_source=ref_article