Sunday, November 23, 2014

WIO Update: Jaundice takes epidemic proportion in Sambalpur!

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) Update on Jaundice Epidemic in Sambalpur – 23rd November 2014

Jaundice is taking epidemic proportion in Sambalpur!

About 30 people are said to have died of jaundice in the city during the last six months; hundreds admitted in different hospitals at the moment…

Saving Mahanadi from pollution, correcting drinking water supply systems, initiating proper garbage and sewerage management, regulating unhygienic food and augmenting health facilities are urgently needed…

Sambalpur Municipality, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OPCB), Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) and Health Department have to share equal responsibility for this…

Jaundice, in the form of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E, is spreading in epidemic proportion in the Sambalpur city and peripheral areas.  While the health department officials are blaming contaminated water for this, the PHED is not taking the responsibility.  Reports from field sources point that hundreds of jaundice affected people are admitted in various hospitals and nursing homes at the moment.  Media reports are coming in claiming that at least 30 people have died due to jaundice in six months. 

Contaminated food and water are the main reasons for such forms of jaundice.  Industrial pollution may be another cause. 

Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted by the faecal-oral route that is when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. It can be food borne or waterborne.  Outbreaks of this disease, that directly affects the liver, is usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.  The Hepatitis E too is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water. It is usually a self-limiting infection and resolves within 4–6 weeks. Occasionally, a fulminant form of hepatitis develops (acute liver failure), which can lead to death. 

Drinking contaminated water and bathing in such water can lead to jaundice caused by these viruses.  Sambalpur has very old pipelines and many vulnerable points where the drain water – containing faecal sludge – can enter into the pipelines, making it the perfect grooming place for jaundice epidemic.

In June last year, our campaign’s citizen survey had revealed the disastrous state of our water bodies, Mahanadi and the sewerage management system.  It is time to remind what we had found out last year, as published in our factsheet:

A factsheet that was prepared based on the citizen’s survey of Mahanadi pollution revealed that Mahanadi is a heavily polluted stretch from Hirakud to Sambalpur.  Untreated polluted water gets drained into Mahanadi through at least 14 points between these two cities, that’s about a 15 kilometer stretch.  These drains bring in about 40 Million Litre of Sewage into the river besides about 100 Metric Tonne of solid waste that find way to Mahanadi in different ways.  While about 40 per cent of the Sambalpur city defecates in open, at least 10 thousand people defecate on the bank of the river itself.  This is a daily health disaster as about 30 thousand people take bath in the 50 odd ghats from Hirakud to Sambalpur. 

Despite of our regular warning the Sambalpur Municipality has miserably failed in managing the wastes and in creating sufficient public facilities to stop open defecation.  Similarly, the Pollution Control Board has also failed in in its job of controlling such contamination and pollution.  This can be termed criminal negligence.

There are also forms of jaundice that take place due to heavy industrial pollution from aluminium smelters and coal fired power plants which discharge their wastes directly into Mahanadi and other water bodies. There is an urgent need of taking up a detailed study of all the jaundice cases and find out the real reasons so that the menace can be controlled.  We have been urging upon the state government in this regard but it believes in the OPCB which is known for its lenience towards industrial houses of the state.  The pollution control board’s claims that industries are not discharging wasters into Mahanadi is completely false and ridden with vested interest.  What we need is independent investigations.

At this moment, all the above mentioned departments should step up their actions to control the jaundice from taking an epidemic proportion.  Strict regulations for street food vendors, cleaning of all contaminated water sources, arresting leakages in water supply pipelines and initiation of replacement of the old ones, proper treatment of the water being supplied, augmentation of the medical facilities in the city, increase in the public toilet facilities, monitoring of existing toilets including individual toilets, etc. are some of the steps the administration must initiate without further delay.

For further information, please contact:

Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)

Mobile: +91-9437050103

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coal is too dangerous for pregnant women: an EHN story from India!

Coal's black wind: Pregnant women in parts of India advised to stay away

Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Much of India's coal comes from Jharia, in eastern India, where fires from opencast coal mines constantly smolder.
  Staff Writer
  Environmental Health News
Nov. 20, 2014
In some regions of India, a married woman will return to her mother’s house for the last trimester of pregnancy and the birth of her child. But in Mettur, pregnant women are advised by their doctors to stay away.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Children walk among smoldering coal fires in Jharia, India.
“Black wind” from a coal yard wafts constantly across poor neighborhoods, settling on rooftops, walking paths and even indoor furniture. People complain of asthma, wheezing and frequent colds.
In its bid to industrialize, India relies heavily on energy from coal. Accounting for 71 percent of India’s electricity, coal will remain a key player over the next decade, with 455 new plants proposed, according to energy experts.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Coal plants produce 71 percent of India's electricity.
The poor pay the highest cost of India’s dependence on coal, said Jennifer Wang of the nonprofit group Health Care Without Harm. Already burdened by chronic disease, poor nutrition and inadequate health care, they also are highly exposed to air and water pollution, she said.
Mettur and other industrial cities throughout India are now mobilizing to document coal's health impacts on their own residents in an effort to wring environmental protections from local politicians and world leaders.
Coal poses health risks in India at all stages – mining, transportation, storage and use:
♦ In Jharia, famous for its rich coal resources, 700,000 people are exposed to toxic smoke that seeps from the ground as fires from opencast coalmines burn around the clock. Residents suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis and skin problems.
♦ In Gujarat, on the west coast, fish catches plummeted after the construction of a massive 4,800-megawatt coal plant destroyed mangrove and creek ecosystems by discharging polluted water in the sensitive ecosystem.
♦ Mercury-laced ash from five mega power plants in the Singrauli district in central India is stored in piles five feet thick, polluting air, water and soil.
♦ In Mettur, in southern India, a coal yard where fuel is shipped in by rail and stored for a power plant and factories stands just 100 feet from some homes. Coal dust blows from the yard into neighboring communities. Air pollution levels are high.
Women in Mettur, a city of about 50,000 with a variety of heavy industries, are hit particularly hard. Doctors often recommend that pregnant women leave.
Gonur West Agriculturist Development Union
In Mettur, coal trains unload next to a low-income neighborhood.
About 1,500 mostly low-income households are within reach of the coal yard dust, said Shweta Narayan of Community Environmental Monitoring, an environmental justice group in India.
“Women are told not to have their babies here. The pollution affects not only their daily lives, but their culture,” Narayan said.
“Women are told not to have their babies here. The pollution affects not only their daily lives, but their culture.” Shweta Narayan, Community Environmental Monitoring, India  A 2010 analysis by Narayan's group found that airborne particles in Mettur were three to four times higher than the World Health Organization’s pollution guidelines. Worldwide, these tiny particles have been linked to increased deaths from lung and cardiovascular disease. Air quality measurements also suggest that Mettur’s air contains metal particles, such as manganese and nickel, which could harm child brain development.
Parents complain that their children are always sick. Kids often miss school due to wheezing. But complaints about sickness are largely anecdotal. Scientific analysis of the health impacts of coal pollution is lacking in Mettur and other communities.
“The health aspect has been largely ignored in India’s energy policy framing,” Narayan said.
Much of the evidence of health effects from coal pollution comes from the United States or Western Europe, which are much cleaner.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Coal plants have contaminated water and fish in some parts of India.
“There’s a lack of research regarding long-term exposure to air pollution in some of the world’s most polluted places, including India,” said Aaron Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Health Effects Institute in Boston.
“There’s a lack of research regarding long-term exposure to air pollution in some of the world’s most polluted places, including India.” Aaron Cohen, Health Effects Institute, Boston   An estimated 627,000 Indians die prematurely each year from outdoor air pollution, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease project. A 2012 Greenpeace India report estimated that about 20 percent of premature deaths and more than 20 million asthma cases each year could be attributed to coal pollution.
Next year, the nonprofit Community Environmental Monitoring will begin to screen people near the coal yard for asthma and other lung problems. They’ll also look for other effects in the women because “pollution manifests itself in different forms, including stress and anxiety,” Narayan said.
“Do we need more research to act? No. We know the immediate health effects from generating energy this way and the long-term effects from climate change,” said Dr. Peter Orris, director of the Global Toxics Policy Program at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. “But how do you convince local policy makers to take action? People need to feel a connection.”
Many of India's coal plants and mines are government-run.
In some ways, energy regulations to curtail fossil fuel burning may be an easier sell in developing countries than in the United States, said Rachel Cleetus, senior economist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Carbon reduction efforts, such the landmark deal struck this week between the United States and China, are viewed largely as climate-change policies.
Growing concern over polluted air and water in China and India is more immediate. “Air and water pollution may be of concern to us, but to them it’s becoming a public health crisis,” Cleetus said.
The health costs associated with coal-fired power stations cost the European Union about 53 billion U.S. dollars each year, according to a report by the Health and Environment Alliance. No such economic analysis exists for India.
“Coal tends to look cheap when health and environmental costs aren’t taken into account. There is a huge need for monetizing the public health costs, especially in developing countries,” Cleetus said.
Looking to China, Cohen said, “it’s hard to argue that economic development there, in which coal has certainly played a role, hasn’t had significant beneficial effects on poverty reduction and population health. But it’s becoming evident that high levels of air pollution from coal burning and other sources is having an adverse effect on population health and life expectancy and is now an obstacle to continued development.”
Nevertheless, the energy landscape is beginning to change. China and India are the fastest growing markets in the world for wind and solar, Cleetus said.
“It’s not that old static picture anymore that coal is king,” she said. “We see that being challenged both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Coal Ministry seeks Public Comments on Draft of rules under Coal Mines Special Provision Ordinance 2014!


Thanks and regards,


Coal Ministry Places in Public Domain Draft Rules for Auction or Allocation of 204 Coal Blocks Cancelled by Hon’ble Supreme Court

Comments & Suggestions can be Sent by Email Till 24th November

           In order to implement provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 promulgated on 21.10.2014 , the Ministry of Coal has today placed in public domain the draft Rules namely Coal Mines (Special Provisions)Rules, 2014 . 

Public can send in their comments to the following email by 9 AM on 24th November 2014.


Please links to relevant documents.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 20th November 2014!

Sharing others' pain increases your own strength against life's challenges...

Good Morning!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thought on World Toilet Day 2014!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings on World Toilet Day 2015!

India’s real toilet story neither starts with a toilet, nor ends with it.  Millions are mere statistical owners of toilets and don’t actually use it, while millions who use don’t know they are adding to more filth.  Faecal sludge discharged from most of our toilets end up polluting our Rivers and Water Bodies and thus add up to the already poor sanitation condition of India.

India has rightly geared up for a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) but it should move beyond sweeping streets and creating photo-ops for people.  The opportunity should now be created for the ‘real sanitation’ to take place. 

This World Toilet Day, I would once again like to share with you an article (pasted below) that was written last year on this day.  The message is still relevant.

Look forward to your support in saving our Rivers and Water Bodies and make India truly a ‘Swachh Bharat’…

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Waterkeeper Alliance)
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India

Cell: +91-9470-50103

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader
Tweet @ranjanpanda


BLOG : Sanitation Is Not About Toilets Alone

World Toilet Day is approaching and we already see a lot of action, starting from the local to the global level, asking people to build and use toilets. It is commonly believed that the more the number of persons with toilets, the more the sanitised a habitation is.
This is not only a very narrow approach to sanitation but also leaves a lot of scope for the organisations responsible to ensure sanitation to shirk their other important duties that include management of various forms of wastes, including septage and garbage. Urban areas, which supposedly have more toilets than the rural areas, need to seriously ponder around ‘integrated sanitation’ rather than just toilets.
India should be ashamed of the sanitation situation prevailing in the country. The Census 2011 figures pointed out that half the households in the country do not have toilets as yet. Other independent estimates put the figure at as high as two thirds. Urban slums, in particular, have very limited or no access to sanitation services.
One in six urban Indians is a slum dweller and most of them do not have any sanitation facilities. What is important to note is that urban India is simply not capable of managing the wastes it generates. Conservative estimates suggest that over eighty per cent of municipal solid waste across five thousand plus towns (approximately 42 million tonnes per annum) is currently disposed of in a haphazard manner without following the rules of the land.
Urban Odisha, floating on wastes
Odisha is no different. Though the share of urban dwellers in the state’s population is still only about 16.68 per cent, the wastes these habitations generate are becoming a huge problem for rivers, water bodies, farm fields and the ecology at large. It’s not merely because we don’t have toilets, but also because we have failed miserably in managing sanitation. While the poor don’t have toilets, others are in need of proper drainage, garbage and sewerage management systems
A little more than 35% of urban households in the state do not have toilets, Census 2011 reveals. This is the second highest in the nation. It is estimated that at least one third of the urban people in the state defecates in the open. This, however, does not mean that the rest are sanitised households. Toilets connected to sewer lines would not constitute even 10 per cent of the total number of toilets in urban Odisha. Forty five per cent of households apparently have septic tanks.
Ranjan Panda
Ranjan Panda
However, field visits to cities suggest that not even half of these are proper septic tanks. None of the municipalities and NACs in the state is sufficiently equipped to clean septic tanks. As such, the sludge cleaned is disposed of at just about any place that the vehicles find convenient. It could be the side of a road, surface water bodies, rivers, farm fields and so on. Urban waste has also started encroaching into the nearby rural areas.
Our policy planners and the educated urban population believe that ‘open defecation’ is a shame and mars the aesthetics of the city. However, they never question where the sludge from their toilets goes. Each city of the state still has manual scavengers. Surprisingly, that is still not considered a shame.
Sanitation also means clean rivers and water bodies
Besides open defecation on river banks and surface water bodies, drain and sewer water also pollutes our rivers and water bodies. In turn, they create unhygienic conditions for city dwellers and the local environment. This is a silent killer.
Consider the capital city, which does not have an adequate drainage system. Closed drains cover a 103 sq. km area running through a little over 37 km. The majority of the system consists of open and natural drains. All natural streams and waterways have been converted into drains. The city has no proper sewerage treatment plant. The collected sewage is treated in three oxidation ponds and three aerated lagoons at different locations. However, these systems are in a shambles and are mostly non-functional. They merely function as flow through systems. Even if they were functional, they could treat less than half the total sewage generated in the city.
Bhubaneswar at present generates more than 200 MLD of sewage per day and almost all of it finds its way into the Gangua Nullah, Daya River and Mahanadi.
Cuttack, the other major city, is infamous as the city of drains. The city generates about 172 MLD of sewage, most of which goes to pollute Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers.
We conducted a citizen’s survey in Sambalpur city and found that untreated polluted water gets drained into Mahanadi through at least 14 points between Hirakud and Sambalpur which is about a 15 kilometre stretch. These drains bring in about 40 Million litres of sewage into the river, besides about 100 tonnes of solid waste that find their way to Mahanadi in different ways.
While about 40 per cent of the Sambalpur city population defecates in the open, at least 10 thousand people defecate on the bank of the river itself. This is a daily health disaster as about 30 thousand people take bath in the 50 odd ghats from Hirakud to Sambalpur. The situation is the same in almost all the cities of the state.
The time has come to look into sanitation beyond just toilets. Toilets are necessary; but more than that, we need responsible and accountable municipalities and governments that plan integrated sanitation systems.
* The author, popularly known as Water Man of Odisha, is a leading water expert of the nation. He convenes a network called ‘Water Initiatives Odisha’ and can be contacted at

Good Morning Thought - 19th November 2014!

We are a landscape of what we have gone through...

Good Morning!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

India's 10 famous bird habitats in serious threat: Do only humans have the right to survive!

India's 10 famous bird habitats in serious danger, says study
Sunday, 16 November 2014 - 4:46pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

    Unsustainable developmental policies and rising insensitivity towards nature have put "in serious danger" at least 10 of the country's famous bird habitats including Gujarat's Flamingo City, a new study says.
    Conservation society Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said that its recent findings clearly show that at least 10 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) - as they are now called globally – are in serious danger of being lost forever.
    BNHS studies and monitoring across the country have shown that the IBAs including Kutch's famous Flamingo City, Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Solapur-Ahmednagar of Maharashtra and Sewri-Mahul Creek in Mumbai are among the most threatened habitats in the country. Flamingo City is possibly the only breeding ground of the migratory bird in a great magnitude in Asia.
    The scattered grassland plots of the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary are home to the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. Their population at the sanctuary has plummeted from 27 birds in 2006 to 12 in 2012 and a mere three birds in 2013.
    The other bird habitats which are in grave danger of losing tree cover include Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh; Tillangchong in Andaman-Nicobar; Dihaila Jheel and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh; Basai in Gurgaon, Haryana; Sardarpur Florican Sanctuary in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh and Ranebennur in Haveri, Karnataka. "Many other IBAs, although not on this list, are also threatened by various types of unsustainable human interference," says the new research titled "IBAs in Danger" by BNHS and its global partner BirdLife International.
    According to it, destruction or disturbance due to infrastructure development, wrong anti-people conservation policies, indiscriminate livestock grazing, industrial and sewage pollution, indiscriminate agricultural expansion including use of pesticides, rapid urbanisation and poaching are some of the major reasons behind the loss of biodiversity and habitat in these and other areas.
    "Unfortunately in India, nearly 50 per cent of the IBAs are not getting any sort of official recognition from the government agencies," said Raju Kasambe, Project Manager of BNHS' IBA Programme.
    "Our future generations will never pardon us for destroying the important habitats of birds in such a callous manner," he said.

    Good Morning Thought - 17th November 2014!

    Most of the days are to be judged by the seeds we sow. Problem starts when we want to evaluate each day by the harvests we reap...

    Good Morning!

    Good Morning Thought - 16th November 2014!

    Parenting is all about love, affection and care; not merely carrying out a DNA maintenance service...

    Good Morning! 

    Have a Happy Sunday!!

    Good Morning Thought - 15th November 2014!

    A friend is a relative gifted by nature...

    Good Morning!
    Have a Great Weekend!!

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    World's oceans are the hottest they have ever been: valuable marine life threatened!

    Record-breaking ocean temperatures wreak havoc

    Warm water in the North Pacific could be cancelling out an El Niño event and is expected to threaten valuable marine life
    THE world's oceans are the hottest they've ever been in the modern record. An analysis shared exclusively with New Scientist suggests that the global slowdown in the rise of air temperatures is probably over, and we are entering another period of rapid warming.
    Since the last big El Niño event in 1998, when ocean temperatures last peaked, they have remained relatively stable. Such periods are not unexpected, but research is increasingly indicating that the recent slowdown in global surface air temperature rise is down to heat being absorbed by the world's deep oceans, leaving the surface, and therefore also the air, cool.
    But when Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu analysed the most recent publicly available monthly data from the UK Met Office, he found that the ocean surfaces are now the hottest they have been since records began. In July this year, ocean surfaces were 0.55 °C above the average since 1890, just beating the previous record of 0.51 °C in 1998. In the North Pacific, the temperatures were about 0.8 °C above average, which is 0.25 °C warmer than the 1998 peak.
    "It's a remarkable situation and I've never seen warming of the North Pacific like that," Timmermann says. The sea surface temperatures could drop back to what they've been recently, he says, but unless there is a dramatic drop soon, it will mean the end of the current hiatus in warming. "This will bias the trends over the next two or three years," says Timmermann.
    Land surface temperatures are much more variable than ocean temperatures. The ability of the world's oceans to absorb extra heat is believed by many to be behind the recent pause in global warming. Now some researchers say the increased ocean surface temperatures are a strong sign that this hiatus could be coming to an end.
    "In the North Pacific, the hiatus is definitely finished," says Wenju Cai from the CSIRO, Australia's national research agency in Melbourne. He says that while the global surface temperatures – which include land temperature too – aren't at record highs yet, the slowdown in warming is more-or-less over: "In our mind the hiatus is already finished, because oceans are 70 per cent of the surface."
    But some are cautious about linking the peak to an upward trend. "Beware of single peaks," says David Checkley of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. He doesn't interpret the data as showing a return to consistent warming.
    Warmer seas are expected to affect marine ecosystems, including commercially valuable fish. "Many marine species have a strong association with specific temperature ranges, so if there is warm water, they move with it," says Nate Mantua at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Santa Cruz, California. Subtropical fish species like tuna have already moved further north. On the other hand, fish that do well in colder water, like Pacific salmon, typically grow more slowly and are less likely to survive in warmer waters, says Mantua.
    Coral reefs could be hit too. When corals are stressed, they expel their symbiotic algae, turn white and die. When ocean temperatures were last at their highest, coral bleaching happened around the world. Although fewer coral reefs fall within the warmest regions this time, Timmermann says many corals are already being bleached in Hawaii.
    Most climate scientists had expected the slowdown in global warming to be brought to an end by a large El Niño. These events happen when warm waters deep in the Pacific burst to the surface and raise global air temperatures.
    But although a large El Niño was predicted for this year, we haven't had even a small one yet.

    False forecast?

    "For an El Niño to develop you need the atmosphere to play ball," says David Jones at the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne. Temperature differences across the Pacific Ocean are needed before an El Niño can kick in, so the consistently warm temperatures this year could be why the event forecasted for 2014 doesn't seem to be happening.
    The warmer oceans make El Niño forecasts difficult, because they rely on looking at past events. "This is a flawed strategy when the climate is changing," says Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
    Even though a large El Niño is yet to materialise, the warm Pacific temperatures mean some El Niño-like effects are occurring, says Trenberth. This includes more hurricanes in the Pacific, as well as more storms curling over into mainland US. Meanwhile, there have been fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic, just as happens during El Niño. Elsewhere, dry conditions have occurred across Australia, and the Indian monsoon was delayed – effects all arising from warm oceans, despite the lack of an El Nino event.
    Cai compared recent temperature maps (see map) with historical patterns forNew Scientist to see what to expect over the coming months. He found a correlation with rainfall changes that roughly matches those seen during El Niño, and so predicts that there may be increased rainfall over drought-stricken California. But unlike during El Niño, he says there should be drier than usual conditions in western Canada.
    This article appeared in print under the headline "Oceans get into hot water"

    Thought on Children's Day - 14th November 2014!

    To be able to understand the feelings of a child even to the very minimum extent, you have to keep the child in you alive...

    Happy Children's Day 2014!

    Good Morning Thought - 14th November 2014!

    It is inhuman to sell one's conscience in the name of trading talents...

    Good Morning!

    Climate change to increase lightning strikes: 1C of warming means 12% more lightning!

    Lightning strikes will increase due to climate change

    For every 1C of global warming lightning strikes will increase by about 12%, new research shows, but scientists don’t yet know where increases will occur

    storm chaser Roger Hill of an amazing lightning storm
    A lightning storm in Denver, Colorado. New research has found global warming could result in 50% more lightning strikes by the end of the century. Photograph: Roger Hill/Barcroft USA
    Lightning will strike far more frequently in a world under climate change – but researchers can still not predict exactly where or when those strikes will occur.
    New research from the University of California, Berkeley, published on Thursday in the journal Science, found warming conditions would result in 50% more lightning strikes by the end of the century.
    “For every two lightning strikes you had at the beginning of the century, we will have three at the end of the century,” said David Romps, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
    Researchers have known for some time that climate change was producing more lightning strikes, and fatalities in developing countries have been rising in recent years. But the latest findings put a number on that rate of increase, using data from federal government scientific agencies.
    The scientists found lightning strikes would increase by about 12% for every 1C of warming, resulting in about 50% more strikes by 2100.
    At this point, however, the scientists are unable to predict where or when those strikes will occur. In the continental US, lightning strikes are especially common in the mid-west and the Tampa Bay area of Florida, so-called lightning alley.
    “What we don’t know is where those increases will occur in the future,” Romps said. “It could be regions that get a lot of lightning strikes today will get even more in the future, or it could be that parts of the country that get very little lightning could get much in the future. We just don’t know at this point.”
    The findings provide further evidence that climate change is having far greater effects on weather patterns than initially anticipated.
    A few dozen people are killed in the US each year because of lightning strikes, with 25 so far this year, according to the National Weather Service.
    Lightning strikes are also a leading cause of wildfires – and have been responsible in the past for some of the most devastating blazes in the south-west. The deadliest wildfire in 20 years, which killed 19 hotshot firefighters near Yarnell, Arizona, was caused by a lightning strike last year.
    The researchers used data from federal government agencies to establish the connection between warming temperatures, more energetic storms, and increased lightning strikes, and combined the findings with 11 climate models.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Good Morning Thought - 13th November 2014!

    Blind faith in your leaders is the first blank cheque you give them to be corrupt & ruined...

    Good Morning!

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Good Morning Thought - 12th November 2014!

    Speak the truth and you spare yourself the trouble of remembering whole lot of unnecessary evils that keep accompanying the lies...

    Good Morning!

    China and US strike deal on carbon cuts: Will Australia and India follow?

    China and US strike deal on carbon cuts in push for global climate pact

    Barack Obama aims for reduction of a quarter or more by 2025, while Xi Jinping sets goal for emissions to fall after 2030
    US President Barack Obama looks on as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
    US President Barack Obama looks on as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photograph: GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images
    The United States and China have unveiled a secretly negotiated deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output, with China agreeing to cap emissions for the first time and the US committing to deep reductions by 2025.
    The pledges in an agreement struck between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping, provide an important boost to international efforts to reach a global deal on reducing emissions beyond 2020 at a United Nations meeting in Paris next year.
    China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, has agreed to cap its output by 2030 or earlier if possible. Previously China had only ever pledged to reduce the rapid rate of growth in its emissions. Now it has also promised to increase its use of energy from zero-emission sources to 20% by 2030.
    The United States has pledged to cut its emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
    The European Union has already endorsed a binding 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030.
    Speaking at a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People, Obama said: “As the world’s largest economies and greatest emitters of greenhouse gases we have special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change. I am proud we can announce a historic agreement. I commend President Xi, his team and the Chinese government for their making to slow, peak and then reverse China’s carbon emissions.”
    He said the US emissions reductions goal was “ambitious but achievable” and would double the pace at which it is reducing carbon emissions.
    “This is a major milestone in US-China relations and shows what is possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge.”
    He added that they hoped “to encourage all major economies to be ambitious and all developed and developing countries to work across divides” so that an agreement could be reached at the climate change talks in Paris in December next year.
    China’s target to expand energy from zero-emission sources to around 20% by 2030 was “notable”, a White House statement said. “It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.”
    The new US goal will double the pace of carbon pollution reduction, although the Republican-controlled Congress is likely to oppose Obama’s climate change efforts, though administration officials argue the new target is achievable under existing laws.
    Emissions of G20 countries.
    Emissions of G20 countries. Photograph: Nick Evershed/Guardian Australia
    Frances Beinecke, president of US-based environmental group the Natural Resources Defence Council, said: “These landmark commitments to curtail carbon pollution are a necessary, critical step forward in the global fight against climate change. We look forward to working with both governments to strengthen their efforts because we are confident that both can achieve even greater reductions.”
    Senior US administration officials said the commitments, the result of months of dialogue between the world’s top two carbon emitters, would encourage other nations to make pledges and deliver “a shot of momentum” into negotiations for a new global agreement set to go into force in 2020.
    Tao Wang, climate scholar at the Tsinghua-Carnegie Center for Global Policy in Beijing, said: “It is a very good sign for both countries and injects strong momentum [into negotiations] but the targets are not ambitious enough and there is room for both countries to negotiate an improvement.
    “That figure isn’t high because China aims to reach about 15% by 2020, so it is only a five percentage point increase in 10 years, and given the huge growth in renewables it should be higher.”
    Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, which promotes sustainable resource management, said the announcements would “inject a jolt of momentum in the lead up to a global climate agreement in Paris”.
    “It’s a new day to have the leaders of the US and China stand shoulder to shoulder and make significant commitments to curb their country’s emissions,” he said.
    Li Shuo, of Greenpeace East Asia, said the announcement showed that the world’s “two biggest emitters have come to the realisation that they are bound together and have to take actions together”.
    At the Warsaw climate talks in 2013 nations were encouraged to draw up post-2020 climate plans by the first quarter of 2015, ahead of the final negotiations for a post-2020 global pact late in the year.
    The White House statement said: “Together the US and China account for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s joint announcement, the culmination of months of bilateral dialogue, highlights the critical role the two countries must play in addressing climate change.
    “The actions they announced are part of the longer range effort to achieve the deep decarbonisation of the global economy over time. These actions will also inject momentum into the global climate negotiations on the road to reaching a successful new climate agreement next year in Paris.”