Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good Morning Thought - 28th January 2013!

God’s idols have no doubt solaced parched human hearts, but have grossly failed in curbing the mass phenomena of ‘hypocrisy in confession’ business.  Undoubtedly humans’ real mind has outsmarted the idols’ unreal ears…
Good Morning!
Have a Great Week!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thought on Republic Day 2013!

The enviable belief on democracy that still stays alive in the common Indians is the real reason of celebrating Republic Day!
Happy Republic Day!!

Thought on EID-MILAD-UN-NABI - 25th January 2013!

The ‘supreme animal’ tag has put humans under a super illusion of being the source of life themselves. The species with a complex brain often forgets the simple fact that life has only one source, that’s the Mother Earth.  That’s life, that’s God…


Thursday, January 24, 2013

WIO Occasional Update - 24th January 2013: State giving away water to industries blindly...

WIO has been repeatedly asking the state government not to give away scarce water resources to industries blindly; now the CAG says it

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) has just got hold of the letter of the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) to the State Govt. of Odisha’s Department of Steel & Mines, in which it clearly mentions how the government has been blindly signing MoUs with steel and mining companies and committing to give away precious natural resources of the state without following due diligence and without making any proper assessment of the availability of natural resources to be used by these industries. 

MoUs signed, resources not taken into account - In the report dated 11th December 2012 with respect to ‘Performance Audit of ‘Commitments made in the MoUs for setting up of industries in the State and acquisition/allotment of land thereof’, the CAG has slammed the government for ‘signing of  MoUs  making  commitments to  provide  land, water  and minerals without any prescribed  guideline,  feasibility  study  and  inadequate  monitoring thereof’. 
The CAG letter says that, “We observed that out of total 93 MoUs signed by Government, Steel and Mines Department has signed 49 MoUs with different promoters for setting of steel and mines industries in the State and land was allotted in favour of 34 promoters. But, no policy/guidelines for assessing the need as well as other inputs like land, water, minerals etc… attracting entrepreneurs to the State thro-ugh open competitive bidding etc, signing of MOUs with promoter companies for setting up industries in the State was formulated.   Pre-requisites for signing of MOUs was also not prescribed. Besides, monitoring mechanism on implementation of various commitments by both State Government and Private promoter made in these MoUs was also not prescribed”. 

Constitution’s Doctrine of Equality violated - The CAG has raised serious issues with regard to competitive bidding and has pointed out that “ Article 14 of the Constitution of India on ‘Doctrine of Equality’ was violated by entering MoUs based on suo-moto offers instead of on competitive bidding process.”  These are serious allegations and exposes the blind push for industrialization by profiting private companies at any cost.

Water, a source of livelihood for farmers; not merely a raw material for industrial production - WIO would especially like to draw the notice of the State Government on the remarks of the CAG when they say, “Land, water, minerals being finite and scarce resources its need based allotment to different promoters of industries is required to be made keeping in mind requirements for future”.  The CAG have rightly pointed out that, “these natural resources are not factors of production for industrial growth but also   for agricultural production on which the food security of the country rests, and these also had impact on sustainability of the environment and sustenance of livelihood of the citizens”. The CAG letter points out that, “It was noticed from the minutes of 12 HLCA meeting held on 27 January 2010 that, as against availability of 1805.81 MT of total Bauxite in the State, the Department in different MoUs had already committed for supplying 74.61 MT of bauxite per annum for which the entire bauxite reserve of the state would be exhausted in next 24 years.”  This is another serious allegation and shows how the state government is actually planning to exhaust the common property resources of the state for quick profit of the private companies at the cost of the people and the ecology, WIO alleges.

State urged to stop diverting irrigation water to industries with immediate effect; and scrap excessive and illegal MoUs with industries - The CAG letter further says, “It is  also pertinent  to mention  here that  as per executive  instruction  no. 5 of LA Manual it  is  the  duty  of  the  Collector  to  select  the  land for  the  requisitioning department.  Further,  as  per  clause  9.11  of JPR  2007,  ‘all efforts  shall  be  made  to avoid double cropped  agricultural land and minimize R&R  requirement.   It was further noticed that in respect of 49 MoUs signed by the Department, commitment for providing 59333.601 acres of land was made without any exercise to scrutinise the land category(whether Agricultural. Irrigated, double cropped etc.) and even without consulting the RDM Department. Water Resources Department, Agriculture Department and concerned Collectors. This is indicative of the fact that the department has signed MoUs with promoters of industries and made commitments without assessing the actual availability of land, water, minerals.” This explains how the Govt. of Odisha neglects the interests of farmers and irrigation. WIO has been repeatedly asking the government to stop allocating water meant for irrigation to industries’.  Now that the CAG has slammed the government on these aspects, we hope the government will wake up to the allegations and take immediate corrective measures.

Come clean, state the state of affairs - WIO has been asking the government to make public a status report of available water resources in the state considering present and future uses and factors impacting the availability, use and abuse of the resources in times to come.  However, the government has not paid heed to such serious and genuine concerns.  We have also said how Odisha has in fact already become a water stressed state and the blind industrialization through water guzzling industries and mining activities is driving the state to severe water scarcity.  Now that the CAG has slammed the government on these lines, we urge upon the state to take our warnings seriously and consider arresting the blind push for water guzzling industrialisation. 

WIO asks state to promote irrigation and consider ecological restoration of water bodies including rivers - We demand that the state government goes for an immediate assessment of water resources and other natural resources of the state; do an cumulative ecological impact assessment of all the existing industries and then only go for new industries if at all these are needed.  We also once again urge upon the government to stop diverting water from irrigation and other sectors to industries; promote irrigation and consider ecological restoration of water bodies including rivers, ponds, tanks and other water systems of the state, said Panda.

For further information, please contact:
Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)
Cell: +91-9437050103


Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Black Carbon and Global Warming!

Black carbon ranks as second-biggest human cause of global warming

Soot ranks as the second-largest human contributor to climate change, exerting twice as much of an impact as previously  thought, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

The four-year, 232-page study of black carbon, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, shows that short-lived pollution known as soot, such as emissions from diesel engines and wood-fired stoves, has about two-thirds the climate impact of carbon dioxide. The analysis has pushed methane, which comes from landfills and other forces, into third place as a human contributor to global warming.

Black carbon, or soot, accelerates warming because the fine particles absorb heat when they are in the air and when they darken snow and ice. Although some lighter-colored fine particles can have a cooling effect because they block sunlight, other black carbon sources have a warming effect because they absorb it. They also accelerate glacier melting and can disrupt regional weather patterns.

The findings came out on the same day that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year’s global average temperature ranked as the 10th-warmest on record, and NASA found it was the ninth-warmest. The two agencies analyze temperature data differently, but both found that with the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years since 1880 have all occurred since 2000.

Piers Forster, one of the soot study’s authors and a professor at the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, said in a statement that reducing black carbon can help address rising temperatures.

“There are exciting opportunities to cool climate by reducing soot emissions but it is not straightforward,” Forster said, adding that cutting emissions from diesel engines and domestic wood and coal fires is “a no-brainer” because it would improve public health and the climate. Fine particles cause heart and respiratory problems, leading to premature death, as well as asthma and other illnesses.

These emissions cuts would produce an immediate cooling effect, the authors estimated, which would avoid a nearly 1-degree Fahrenheit temperature rise in the near term.

“You save lives, and you produce really fast cooling,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, identified black carbon in 2008 as the second-biggest human contributor to climate change. But many researchers questioned his analysis because it was based on observations rather than computer modeling.

“We seem to have put one major debate behind us, that black carbon is a significant contributor to the planet’s heat,” Ramanathan said in a phone interview.

Although the United States has made major strides in curbing soot — Ramanathan and his colleagues recently found that black carbon concentrations in California have fallen by 50 percent in 25 years, largely because of stricter diesel emissions rules — Southeast Asia and China still suffer major pollution from diesel engines and wood- and coal-burning combustion.

Just this week, Beijing experienced a string of hazardous air days, driven, in part, by soot emissions.
The new study’s authors emphasized that in the long term, major cuts in carbon dioxide would be required to avert dangerous climate impacts.

“Mitigating black carbon is good for curbing short-term climate change, but to really solve the long-term climate problem, carbon dioxide emissions must also be reduced,” said one of the paper’s lead authors, Tami Bond, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign atmospheric scientist.

In describing last year’s temperature record, James E. Hansen, who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, cautioned that just because 2012’s average was in keeping with recent years does not mean global warming has stalled.

“On the decadal time scale, it’s going to get warmer, because we know the planet is out of energy balance,” Hansen told reporters. “This standstill, I think, is a temporary one.”

-          By Juliet Eilperin


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Why scared of floods? Live with them!

Flood occurs when a River vomits.  Damming a River in the name of 'flood control' is like cutting throat of a person to control vomiting...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Burning Coal Releases Killer Mercury into Surroundings

New UN environment studies show rising mercury threat to people in developing countries

10JanCommunities in developing countries are facing increasing health and environmental risks linked to exposure to mercury, according to new studies by the United Nations environmental agency.
Produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the studies note how parts of Africa, Asia and South America could see increasing emissions of mercury into the environment, due mainly to the use of the toxic element in small-scale gold mining, and through the burning of coal for electricity generation.
“Mercury, which exists in various forms, remains a major global, regional and national challenge in terms of threats to human health and the environment,” UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said in a news release on the studies.
Mercury – a naturally-occurring, silvery-white metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures – can be harmful to humans and the environment. When released from industry and other man-made sources, it can circulate in the environment for up to centuries at a time. This, according to UNEP, means that it is likely to be several years or decades before reductions in mercury emissions have a demonstrable effect on mercury levels in nature and the food chain.
One of the UNEP studies, the Global Mercury Assessment 2013 – which provides a comprehensive breakdown of mercury emissions by region and economic sector – reports that emissions of the toxic metal from artisanal gold mining have doubled since 2005, in part due to new and better information, but also due to rising gold prices that are expected to lead to further increases
Due to rapid industrialization, it further notes, Asia is the largest regional emitter of mercury, and accounts for just under half of all global releases.
The UNEP study also assesses, for the first time at a global level, releases of mercury into rivers and lakes. Much human exposure to mercury is through the consumption of contaminated fish, making aquatic environments the critical link to human health.
In the past 100 years, man-made emissions have caused the amount of mercury in the top 100 metres of the world’s oceans to double. Concentrations in deeper waters have increased by up to 25 per cent.
The study highlights significant releases into the environment linked to contaminated sites and deforestation, with an estimated 260 tonnes of mercury – previously held in soils – being released into rivers and lakes.
Along with a parallel UNEP study, Mercury: Time to Act, the new assessment will be formally presented at the International Negotiating Committee on Mercury, to be held in Geneva from 13 to 18 January this year.
According to UNEP, governments attending the conference are aiming to conclude discussions on a global legally binding treaty to minimize risks to people and the environment from exposure to mercury.

The UN agency notes this would reduce cases of neurological and behavioural disorders, and other health problems linked to mercury, as well as the contamination of soils and rivers caused by man-made emissions of the metal.
Governments gave the green light to negotiations towards a global treaty at the UNEP Governing Council held in Nairobi, Kenya, some years ago.
“In 2009, at the UNEP Governing Council, nations agreed to launch negotiations for a legally binding treaty aimed at bringing down releases from sources such as industry and mining, address mercury-containing products, and tackle historical pollution sites—the final negotiations begin in just a few days’ time,” said Mr. Steiner.
“Mercury has been known as a toxin and a hazard for centuries – but today we have many of the alternative technologies and processes needed to reduce the risks for tens of millions of people, including pregnant mothers and their babies,” the UNEP chief added. “A good outcome can also assist in a more sustainable future for generations to come.”
The UNEP studies state the fact that mercury released from man-made sources can circulate for such a long time reinforces the need for swift action by governments, industry and civil society to strengthen efforts to reduce mercury emissions and releases.
Delays in action, according to the reports, will lead to slower recovery of ecosystems and a greater legacy of pollution.
Amongst other findings in the studies, UNEP highlights the rising levels of mercury present in the Arctic, where an estimated 200 tonnes of mercury are deposited each year, generally far from where it originated. Studies have shown a ten-fold increase in levels of mercury in certain Arctic wildlife species in the past 150 years, due mainly, it is thought, to human activity.
The two UNEP studies state that global emissions of mercury have remained relatively stable in the last 20 years, with 2010 emissions from human activities thought to be just under 2,000 tonnes.
However, despite improved availability of data on mercury, the emissions estimate is still subject to uncertainty, and covers a range of 1,010 to 4,070 tonnes.
Coal burning is responsible for some 475 tonnes of mercury emissions annually, or around 24 per cent of the global total. UNEP notes that despite increased coal combustion in certain regions, more stringent regulations on pollution in several countries have contributed to reducing overall mercury emissions from coal burning and off-setting part of the emissions arising from increased industrial activity.
Along with coal burning, the use of mercury to separate metal from ore in small-scale gold mining remains the chief source of emissions worldwide, according to UNEP. Annual emissions from small-scale gold mining are estimated at 727 tonnes, or 35 per cent of the global total.
Greater exposure to mercury poses a direct threat to the health of some 10-15 million people who are directly involved in small-scale gold mining, mainly in Africa, Asia and South America. An estimated three million women and children work in the industry.
Mercury-free methods and other low-cost solutions for reducing emissions during gold extraction are available, UNEP notes, but socio-economic conditions, and low awareness of the risks of mercury, are barriers to adopting safer techniques.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oil Remains King, But Coal and Natural Gas Use Continue to Grow

Highlights of a Worldwatch Institute report

  • Alhough oil remains the world's leading source of energy, the energy landscape is rapidly shifting: global consumption of coal increased 5.4 percent in 2011, while natural gas use grew 2.2 percent.
  • China alone accounted for nearly half of global coal consumption in 2011. In the United States, demand for coal actually declined by 5 percent.
  • Natural gas is growing most significantly in East Asia, led by China and Japan.

Oil remains the world's leading energy source - for now. In recent years, coal and natural gas have proven themselves increasingly important resources across the globe. Global consumption of coal increased 5.4 percent in 2011, to 3.72 billion tons of oil equivalent, while natural gas use grew 2.2 percent, to 2.91 billion tons of oil equivalent. Both are primary fuels for the world’s electricity market, and because they are often used as substitutes for one other, their trends need to be examined together.

The bulk of coal use is for power generation, with smaller amounts being used in steelmaking. Spurred mainly by rising demand in China and India, coal’s share in the global primary energy mix reached 28 percent in 2011—its highest point since the International Energy Agency began keeping statistics in 1971. Although the United States remains one of the world’s largest coal users, just over 70 percent of global demand in 2011 was in countries outside of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including China and India. Consumption in non-OECD countries grew 8 percent in 2011 to 2.63 billion tons of oil equivalent.

China alone accounted for nearly half of all coal use in 2011. India is the second largest contributor to rising coal demand and is the world’s third largest coal consumer, after surpassing the European Union in 2009. The United States remains the second largest coal user, even though U.S. demand decreased by around 5 percent in 2011 and continued to fall in 2012 due to the shale gas boom and the abundance of cheap natural gas. Even with declining demand, the United States still accounts for 45 percent of coal demand within the OECD.

Coal production, like consumption, is concentrated mainly in China. But the United States holds the largest proved coal reserves, with 28 percent of the global total, followed by Russia at 18 percent, China at 13 percent, Australia at 9 percent, and India at 7 percent. Together, these five countries accounted for three-quarters of proved coal reserves as well as three-quarters of global coal production in 2011.

In the case of natural gas, global consumption grew at a slower rate than coal—2.2 percent—to reach 2.91 billion tons of oil equivalent in 2011. Usage grew in all regions except the European Union, which experienced a 9.9 percent decline in natural gas consumption—the largest on record and due mainly to a struggling economy and high natural gas prices.

Natural gas accounted for nearly 23.7 percent of global primary energy consumption in 2011, down slightly from 23.8 percent in 2010. Consumption increased most significantly in East Asia, led by China (21.5 percent) and Japan (11.6 percent).

Natural gas production increased at a higher rate than consumption—3.1 percent—reaching 2.96 billion tons of oil equivalent in 2011. The United States and Russia accounted for nearly 40 percent of the world’s output in 2011, contributing 20 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively, followed by Canada, Iran, and Qatar at 4–5 percent each.
Continued strong growth in the global coal and natural gas sectors depends on numerous factors. Demand for coal could stagnate with the introduction of new technologies in the power sector, or with the adoption of policies to reduce the environmental and health impacts of coal combustion. Increasing global concern about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change could lead to a greater transition from coal to natural gas. Other factors that could change the equation include rising environmental and other concerns about hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) and the possibility that cheap natural gas might undermine growth in renewable energy.

Authors - Matt Lucky & Reese Rogers


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

See how equitable and inclusive is our growth!

The Ultra Rich Got (a Lot) Richer Last Year

The 100 richest billionaires on the planet got even richer in 2012, adding $241 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

This sum is equivalent to 80% of the US $300 billion external debt held by the 47 countries on the African continent. Home to 1 billion people, Africa spends about 16% of the continent’s export earnings on servicing the external debt.

The aggregate net worth of this group of ultra-rich individuals stood at $1.9 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, reports Bloomberg. Together these one hundred persons would be able to pay off all African debt six times, after which they would still have a collective wealth of one hundred billion dollars.

Mahanadi calls for your attention! First post from Regional Dialogue...

Treat Mahanadi as a River, not a commodity….

Urge participants of Regional Dialogue

About 100 representatives of 32 dependent communities, farmers’ organisations and various civil society groups from Odisha and Chhattisgarh gathered in Sambalpur to chalk out a joint strategy to oppose rapid industrial allocation of Mahanadi water.  The Water Initiatives Odisha and Chhattisgah’s Nadi Ghati Morcha hosted the gathering on December 23-24, 2012.

Sambalpur: Dec 24, 2012

In the first of its kind gathering that brought together groups from both the states sharing Mahanadi water, the participants including environmentalists and water dependent communities, demanded that local communities must be involved in management of Mahanadi water, demand.

“Mahanadi should be treated as a river not a commodity for mindless industrialisation,” said Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha, that took the lead in organizing the Dialogue.

About 40 million people depend on Mahanadi for survival in both the states. In the last 50 years, water use from the river has increased by more than seven times. Chhattisgarh has planned 58000 MW thermal power generation using mostly Mahanadi water; Odisha has planned for 75000 MW.

“River is a common resource of people. They should get priority in its water,” says Gautam Bandhopadhya of Nadi Ghati Morcha.

Participants emphasised on joint efforts to counter both the state governments’ aggressive industrial allocation of water. “Water management of the river (Mahanadi) should not be seen in terms of upstream or downstream states. There should be joint movement from both the states to fight rapid industrialisation and its impacts on Mahanadi,” said Prafulla Samantara, leading environmental activist.

The gathering decided to further strengthen people’s movements against privatisation of Mahanadi. “We have been able to slow down government’s water allocation. Movements along Mahanadi in both the states must come together to stop further water allocation to industries,” said Lingaraj, farmer leader.

Representatives of communities affected by industrial pollution of Mahanadi and increasing allocation of water to industries demanded the government should formulate a river policy.

Current water policy has not dealt with rivers in totality, they said.

One of the suggestions is to properly bring out people’s rights over Mahanadi river. “A people’s council of communities directly dependent on river should be formed to manage Mahanadi water,” Durga Prasad Nayak, a retired professor and noted environmentalist.

As activists fighting against Mahanadi water allocation to industries narrated many instances of government giving priority to industrial uses over domestic and irrigation, the non-availability of updated water availability data on Mahanadi came out to be a key issue. “Government uses old data to decide allocation. We are not sure if those allocations are valid,” said Panda.

Water Initiatives Odisha
Email:, Cell: +91-9437050103/9937561700

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

End Development Terrorism from the World

Take a Pledge in 2013 
End Development Terrorism from the world 

Executing any so called development project by forcefully asking people to leave their home lands and livelihoods can be called development terrorism.  Development terrorists, to woo the affected people, can go to the extent of preparing false 'impact assessment reports' and tom-tom about manipulated & exaggerated positive impacts about a project; and if nothing of this works to displace project affected people from their line-line resources, kill them in several ways. 

Let 2013 see a new beginning.  Let the so called civilized and modern society find ways to promote development that is inclusive, equitable and righteous; that does not have to kill one segment of people to benefit another segment.  Let this development model consider and respect both common people and ecology as living entities; and not as mere commodities to be traded for development of the so called mainstream order. 

Lets take this resolution this New Year! Lets counter Development Terrorism!!