Archive for the month “May, 2015”

Shankar Sharma: Letter to concerned ministers on fossil fuel subsidies

To

Sri. Piyush Goyal
Union Minister for Coal, Power and Renewable Energy
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Copy with complements:
Sri. Prakash Javadekar
Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Sri. Arun Jaitely
Union Minister for Finance
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Sri Naredra Modi
Prime Minister
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Dated 22nd  May, 2015

Dear Sri. Goyal,

Greetings from Mysore, Karnataka.

This has reference to the large number of coal power projects being planned, along with the large number of coal mines being auctioned in the country.

Whereas the civil society organizations in the country have been expressing their serious concerns on social and environmental impacts of relying on coal power, even the economic issues of coal power has come to the fore in recent years.  A hugely authoritative report by IMF few days ago has focused on the unbelievably large subsidies being provided to fossil fuel companies. It says that the fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year. A related article in The Guardian of UK is as in the link below. Read more…

Sustainable Development: Stories from those making it possible

A publication by FLEDGE, Chennai

From the Preface:
While a large amount of time and energy is spent on deciding the future of sustainability using the Rio+20 outcome document ‘The Future We Want’, limited space is available for local communities to tell their stories on how simple, on-the-ground initiatives are being pursued enabling them to secure their livelihoods. In the absence of our ability to listen to the experiences from the ground, informed policy making and setting the agendas related to SDGs would be weakened.

In the process of looking out for the case studies and experiences on how community based interventions could provide long-term solutions for sustainable development, we came across a number of inspirational stories that range from simple interventions to secure income for local people though value-addition to biodiversity to house-hold actions to secure food and nutrition.

In this publication, we have made an attempt to collate the experiences of a range of communities in using biological resources as basis for securing livelihoods and moving towards the path of local level development, supported by a number of spirited Non-Governmental Organizations in India. One important undercurrent to the compilation is that for development to happen one need to innovate but innovate according to the needs of the local people. Read more…

News update

Heatwave to worsen over the years: Study
Times of India
Hyderabad suffers a maximum of five heatwave days in a year. According to experts, this number will go up to as many as 40 days per year in the future. This prediction has been made in a paper titled Climate change scenarios for Hyderabad: Integrating uncertainties and consolidation by Matthias K B Ludeke, Martin Budde, Oleksandr Kit, Diana Reckien of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. (Also read: 61% Rise In Heat-Stroke Deaths Over Decade)

Most glaciers in Mount Everest area will disappear with climate change – study
The Guardian UK
Most of the glaciers in the Mount Everest region will disappear or drastically retreat as temperatures increase with climate change over the next century, according to a group of international researchers. The estimated 5,500 glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region – site of Mount Everest and many of the world’s tallest peaks – could reduce their volume by 70%-99% by 2100, with dire consequences for farming and hydropower generation downstream, they said.

As Seas Exchange Heat, the Indian Ocean is Becoming a Marine Hothouse
Vasudevan Mukunth, The Wire
Since about 1998, the rate at which the Earth’s surface temperature has been becoming hotter due to anthropogenic global warming has slowed. In this period, the subsurface Pacific Ocean was found to have absorbed a significant amount of heat. As it turns out, the Pacific has been leaking it into the Indian Ocean for the last decade, via currents running along the Indonesian archipelago. A team of researchers from France and the US found that the upper 700 m of the Indian Ocean accounted for more than 70% of the global heat gain in 2003-2012.

The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit
David Roberts, Vox.com
There has always been an odd tenor to discussions among climate scientists, policy wonks, and politicians, a passive-aggressive quality, and I think it can be traced to the fact that everyone involved has to dance around the obvious truth, at risk of losing their status and influence. The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit.

Modi’s push for domestic oil production could aggravate border conflicts
Kabir Taneja, Scroll.in
In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at an event in Delhi, set an extremely difficult challenge for the country’s oil and gas companies and the people who devise policies for them. The challenge was to cut down India’s oil imports by 10% from the current figure of 77% before the years 2022, and to bridge this gap with an increase in domestic production. The prime minister’s advertised goal left industry experts confounded particularly since the ground realities of crude oil in India don’t augur well.

Why India is captured by carbon
David Rose, The Guardian UK
India’s leaders are determined to restore economic growth and lift the country’s 1.3 billion citizens out of poverty. But rapid development will require India to double or triple its production of coal – and make it the world’s second largest carbon emitter. Is there any alternative?

Million Renewable-Energy Jobs Predicted for India 2022
Chaitanya Mallapur, IndiaSpend.com
As India–the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases but 127th in terms of per capita emissions–ponders an energy-future balancing growth, jobs and environment, there is encouraging news from a new report. The renewable energy sector, has generated 400,000 jobs till 2014, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The sector could generate a million jobs by 2022, if the government reaches its goal of 100 giga watts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy and 60 GW of wind energy.

Foregoing $1 Billion Payout, Tribe Rejects LNG Project
Common Dreams
Placing the well-being of the Earth above monetary interests, the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations tribe in Canadas British Columbia has rejected a $1 billion offer and voted against a proposed liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal. Our elders remind us that money is like so much dust that is quickly blown away in the wind, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told the Globe and Mail, but the land is forever.

Global social inequality hits new record
World Socialist Web Site
Income inequality in many developed countries has reached an all-time high, according to a report released Thursday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report also notes that growth of social inequality has been accompanied by the growth of part-time and contingent labor, particularly for younger workers.

More video interviews by Mansoor Khan

Here are some more additions to Peak Oil India member Mansoor Khans ongoing series of  video interviews with experts in various fields from ecology to energy to economics. The interviews take off from the themes covered in Mansoors book, The Third Curve: The End of Growth. As We Know It!.

View more videos at: The Third Curve YouTube channel 

Claude Alvarez
Claude Alvares is an environmentalist based in Goa, India. He is the editor of the Other India Press publication based in India and the Director of the Goa Foundation, an environmental monitoring action group. He is a member of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). and the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Wastes constituted by the Supreme Court of India.
Read more…

Bhamy Shenoy: Do we really know where oil prices will go?

(This article was first published in Industrial Economist)

Brent crude oil price after reaching a high of $110 per barrel in June of 2014, seems to have reached a floor price of $45/b this January. It has gone above $60/b. Despite earlier failure to predict oil prices, oil experts are again at it to predict where oil prices will go. Common person may get the impression that the oil experts can really forecast how the oil prices will behave.

When Brent was above $100/b at the end of 2013, most experts predicted only a small drop of $2 to $5 from the 2013 price of $109/b. There were some experts though very few- predicted more than $10 to $20 per barrel. Not more than very few had anticipated a drop like the one in 2009 when brent had fallen below $50. Industrial Economist was one exception, and the article of March, 2014 had discussed the possibility of why it can fall below $50.

bhamy graph Read more…

News update

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
The Guardian UK
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The IMF Tells a Half-Truth
Richard Heinberg
It’s certainly helpful to have an accounting of the externalities of our collective fossil fuel consumption. But the choice of the word “subsidies” over the more precise “externalities” makes a difference: governments can cancel subsidies in the forms of tax breaks and gifts, but they can’t so easily cancel fossil fuel externalities without curtailing fossil fuel consumption—and that’s a big job, if they’re to do it in a way that doesn’t entail the rapid, uncontrolled collapse of society.

Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
In terms of reducing global poverty capitalism has been a success, but this growth has put pressure on the planet. The question, therefore, is whether it is possible to marry two seemingly contradictory objectives. Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline? The answer is that it will be hellishly difficult, but it is just about feasible if we make the right choices – and start making them now.

Seven Surprising Realities Behind The Great Transition to Renewable Energy
Earth Policy Institute
The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossils is well under way, with remarkable developments happening every day. The Great Transition by Lester Brown, Janet Larsen, Matt Roney, and Emily Adams lays out a tremendous range of these developments – here are seven that may surprise you.

How Sustainable is PV Solar Power?
Low Tech Magazine
Its generally assumed that it only takes a few years before solar panels have generated as much energy as it took to make them, resulting in very low greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional grid electricity. A more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the industry is negative, meaning that solar PV has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them.

The Counterfeit Shale Revolution (pdf)
Arthur Berman
The shale revolution is counterfeit. Tight oil and shale gas are imitations of something valuable and shale promoters intentionally deceive the public about their true value. It is counterfeit because the cost of produc4on is more than the global economy can bear. Producers and analysts deceive the public with misleading and incorrect break-even prices that exclude important costs or are based on exaggerated reserves. There is no shale revolution: it is a final, desperate effort to squeeze the last remaining petroleum from the worst possible rock.

Are we approaching peak population growth?
Max Roser
Since the 18th century, the world population has seen a rapid increase; between 1900 and 2000 the increase in world population was three times as great as the increase during the entire previous history of humankind – in just 100 years the world population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion. But this development is now coming to an end, and we will not experience a similarly rapid increase in population growth over the course of this century.

Book Review of Overshoot by William R. Catton Jr.
Craig Straub, The Social Contract
Catton concludes that the human community is condemned to bet on an uncertain future. Misperception of the human situation will motivate efforts to pursue solutions which make matters worse. An ecological understanding of the human predicament will help avoid constructing the road to hell paved with good intentions.

Peak Oil: A Graphic Story

Peak Oil comic by Stuart McMillen. Title page. Rollercoaster by Red House Painters. Black and white drawing of roller coaster car at abandoned amusement park.

Australian artist Stuart McMillan has spent over 700 hours creating this amazing cartoon of the life and work of M.King Hubbert. McMillan writes on his blog about what he aimed to do with this cartoon:

I knew that I couldn’t produce the definitive account of Peak Oil, through the medium ofcomics. I could simply never include every fact, figure and nuance of the topic.

Instead, I decided to write the definitive Peak Oil primer which would give readers a 20 minute crash-course into the topic.

I aimed for my comic to take a person from zero knowledge of Peak Oil, to a reasonable understanding within the duration of 20 minutes.

View the graphic story: Peak Oil
Read McMillens blog entry: The Making of Peak Oil

Why Greenpeace is first on the chopping block

Sajai Jose

620gre

As Greenpeace India struggles to stay afloat, the real reason why the government wants to shut down the global environmental NGO hasn’t got much attention: Coal, the single biggest source of primary energy in India, is at the heart of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plans to ramp up industrial production in the country.

A total of 1,199 new coal-based thermal power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 1.4 million MW proposed worldwide, the lion’s share—455 plants—are in India, according to data from the World Resources Institute. Read more…

News update

Its Official: Global Carbon Levels Surpassed 400 ppm for Entire Month
Common Dreams
Marking yet another grim milestone for an ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed that, for the first time in recorded history, global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged over 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month—in March 2015. This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a press statement. Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.

Climate Change – Too Late To Halt?
Sanjeev Ghotge, Countercurrents.org
Since the CO2 concentration reached 400 ppm last year (2014), this means that the earths atmosphere will eventually heat up by 2 deg C, since we have no proven and tested technologies for decarbonizing the atmosphere. The time is now well and truly past for holding the line at 2 deg C. Roughly speaking, we are on course to reach 2 deg C by 2050, 4 deg C by 2100 and 6 deg C by 2150. A few years this way or that will hardly matter or disprove the basic science.

Beyond petroleum frackings collapse heralds the arrival of peak oil
Paul Mobbs, The Ecologist
The death of peak oil has been much exaggerated. Take out high-cost unconventional oil and production peaked ten years ago, and even North Americas fracking and tar sands boom has failed to open up new resources both big enough to make good the shortfall, and cheap enough to reward investors. We really do need to be thinking beyond petroleum.

Peak Russia + Peak USA means Peak World
Ron Patterson
World oil production jumped in 2011, hardly moved at all in 2013 but it was up by more than 1.5 million barrels per day in 2014. And after such a huge gain everyone and their brother were singing “peak oil is dead’. But if you scroll down through the 37 major world oil producers it becomes obvious that a majority of nations have peaked and most of them are in steep decline.

Why the World’s Appetite for Oil Will Peak Soon
Amy Myers Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal
The world’s economy is experiencing transformational changes that, I believe, will dramatically alter patterns of energy use over the next 20 years. Exponential gains in industrial productivity, software-assisted logistics, rapid urbanization, increased political turmoil in key regions of the developing world, and large bets on renewable energy are among the many factors that will combine to slow the previous breakneck growth for oil. The result, in my opinion, is as startling as it is world-changing: Global oil demand will peak within the next two decades.

How Much Longer Can The Oil Age Last?
Gaurav Agnihotri, Oilprice.com
Are the dynamics of global energy changing with current improvements in renewable energy sources and affordable new storage technologies? Can the oil age end in the near future? Will we ever stop feverishly analyzing the rise and fall of oil prices? Or, will oil remain irreplaceable in our life time?

Solving Soil Loss is Simple, But Requires a Mindset Change
Patrick M. Lydon, FinalStraw.org
By accounts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, we have less than 60 years of farming left if we continue our modern chemical-industrial based farming processes. Natural farming, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, agroecology – there are many versions of sustainable agriculture, but the common thread they all tackle is the need to take better care of our soil and the environments in which we grow food. Why is this the least bit important to most people?

Food Security: The Urban Food Hubs Solution
Sabine OHara, Solutions Journal
Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/reuse. The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four key components.

A Community Resilience Take on The Great Transition
Richard Heinberg
We can learn from crisis; cultural anthropology shows that. But, in this instance, we need to learn fast, and perhaps some organized effort to aid that process would be well spent. Planetary boundaries discourse could help explain to frightened masses why the world seems to be falling apart around them, while community resilience-building could help them adapt to changed conditions.

Destroying vs altering nature, the fragile vs the resilient Earth
Kurt Cobb
When we put nature in one category and humans in another, we make humans an outside and preeminent force over nature. We (falsely) imbue ourselves with god-like power to control nature. In this case, control means we get what we want without self-annihilating effects. For who could say that they are in control of a plummeting airliner headed for a crash just because they still have the ability to move the throttle.

Video: Why New Coal

Switch ON India

Coal today meets 54.5% of India’s energy needs and 61.5% of the installed power generation capacity, and plays a key role in industries like steel and cement. India is set to more than double its coal consumption by 2035 and become the worlds largest coal importer by around 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. The cheapest of fossil fuels, coal is also the dirtiest in terms of carbon emissions and public health. Coal-burning power plants are the single biggest cause of climate change, way ahead of the burning of petroleum in transportation.

Perplexed by the inter-related problems India faces as it develops at the cost of 2/3 rd of its population living outside the economy, two young activists from Switch ON , rode their cycles across India, through the coal belt to question Indias growth based on fossil fuel, and to seek and highlight alternatives for a sustainable and equitable development.

Why New Coal gives a new perspective to Coal in India Addressing Indias growing energy needs, problems of energy security and Climate Change Vulnerabilities from Energy Experts from across the country including S.P. Sethi (Planning commission), Dunu Roy (Hazard Centre), Vandana Shiva (Navdanya), Chandra Bhusan (CSE) Siddharth Pathak (Green Peace), S.K.Chand (TERI), Shirish Sinha (WWF) Ashok Agarwal (Jharia Bachao Sangharsh Samiti), Girish Sant (Prayas), Dr. Gonchowdhury (WBREDA), Sanjeev Ghotge (WISE), Nitin Desai (United Nations), Ambuj Sagar (IIT), Dr. M P Narayanan (Coal India)

Switch ON is a grassroot climate action project committed to climate action
Visit Switch ONs YouTube Channel

 

Post Navigation