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Why Greenpeace is first on the chopping block

Sajai Jose


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…

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 world’s 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 India’s 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 India’s 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 ON’s YouTube Channel


Video: Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog

Abby Zimet, Common Dreams

Giving new breadth to the term “viral,” last weekend up to 200 million people in China watched “Under the Dome,” a new, deeply personal, meticulously researched, self-funded for just $160,000 documentary about China’s calamitous pollution problem, which on its worst “airpocalypse” days is said to resemble an airport smoking lounge. The film by former news anchor and environmental journalist Chai Jing has been called “one of the most important pieces of public awareness of all time” for China, and in its potential impact has been compared to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in this country and, later, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” It was released on the eve of China’s annual meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, which will set government policies on a range of issues.

Jing, 39, began working on the film for personal reasons: She was pregnant with her first child, who was found to have a tumor. Though she had never before been afraid of the pollution around her in smog-blanketed Beijing or her native coal-choked region, she says, “when you carry a life in you, you feel the fear.” She went on to do extensive research, assembling statistics on the estimated 600 million people suffering from asthma, heart disease, strokes and other ailments likely caused by environmental factors, travelling around the country to interview experts, workers, doctors – filming, at one point, the removal of a cancerous lung – and visiting particularly polluted sites like the northeastern city of Harbin, with pollutant levels many times those considered hazardous. Jing found, and hopes to capitalize on what she calls a basic “social consensus” – that we all need air. “This,” she says hopefully, “is how history will be made.” To date, China’s famously restrictive state media has been startlingly supportive of her message; experts say their openness may or may not last. You can watch the film in Mandarin with English sub-titles here, or watch its dramatic start and final call to action, with middle portions summarized, here.

Read the article      Watch the film

News update

Madhya Pradesh to get world’s largest solar power plant
Times of India
Next year on Independence Day, India will have the world’s largest 750MW solar power plant in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, which will pip America’s much-vaunted 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar project in California, commissioned four days ago. The state government is setting up the plant in a joint venture with Solar Energy Corporation of India.

As coal auctions begin in Delhi, a splendid forest in Chhattisgarh awaits slow death
Raksha Kumar,
Hasdeo Arand, is spread over 1,200 square kilometres in north Chhattisgarh. It is one of India’s last remaining biodiversity rich forests with an unbroken canopy that acts as an important wildlife corridor. Ignoring its own categorisation, however, the UPA government gave clearances to three coal mines in Hasdeo Arand. The BJP government has put one of those blocks for auction in the first phase itself.

World’s public health leaders call for an end to coal
At the close of their international conference in Kolkata, as part of a broad “Call to Action for Public Health,” the world’s public health associations advocated “a rapid phase-out of coal” to limit further global warming and prevent illnesses and deaths associated with air pollution. The Call to Action points to the “contribution of fossil fuels and coal in particular to climate change as well as to detrimental impacts on the health and well being of local communities.”

The contested story of India’s green shoots (Review of Jairam Ramesh’s book)
Siddharth Singh, Livemint
Jairam Ramesh was one of independent India’s most successful heads of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). Activists loved him (they still do) while those worried about economic growth considered him a Luddite. This member of the Manmohan Singh government has now penned his record of the 25 months when he was at the helm of the MoEF. Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India (Oxford University Press) is the story of a contemporary conflict.

Climate change hampering world food production, say scientists
Yahoo News
The acceleration in climate change and its impact on agricultural production means that profound societal changes will be needed in coming decades to feed the world’s growing population, researchers at an annual science conference said. According to scientists, food production will have to be doubled over the next 35 years to feed a global population of nine billion people in 2050, compared with seven billion today.

Climate researcher says CIA fears hostile nations are “manipulating the world’s weather”
The Daily Mail, UK
CIA chiefs fear hostile nations are trying to manipulate the world’s weather. Professor Alan Robock, a climate researcher from Rutgers University in New Jersey, has told of mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding. CIA is believed to have helped fund a major report into geoengineering.

Imagining the Future History of Climate Change
New York Times
Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science at Harvard, but she is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future, written with Erik M. Conway, takes the point of view of a historian in 2393 explaining how “the Great Collapse of 2093” occurred. The 104-page book was listed last week as the No. 1 environmental best-seller on Amazon.

Trees as repositories of climate history
Most of us know that a tree’s age can be determined by counting its rings. But three scientists at the University of Minnesota say that’s just the beginning. Those rings also bear witness to floods, drought and other milestones, making it possible to track climate, weather and natural disaster trends spanning centuries.

News update

Ebola: Uncharted territory for a system in overshoot
Mary Odum,
We are in uncharted territory with the Ebola virus disease (EVD). This pandemic signifies a turning point for society in response to peak oil, highlighting the problem of globalization for a planet of 7 billion people. We have lost control of a deadly outbreak, and our responses to its exponential growth are linear at best, ensuring that this plague will most likely spread further.

Peak Oil: Are We In The Eye Of The Storm?
A temporary surge in what was heretofore a little-known source of oil in the U.S. is masking the larger story of what is taking place in the global oil situation. The simple answer is that except for the U.S. shale oil surge, almost no increase in oil production is taking place around the world.

WSJ Gets It Wrong: Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True
Gail Tverberg
On September 29, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a story called “Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True.” The story is written as if there are only two possible outcomes: 1) The Peak Oil version of what to expect from oil limits is correct, or 2) Diminishing Returns can and are being put off by technological progress–the view of the WSJ. It seems to me, though, that a third outcome is not only possible, but is what is actually happening. (Here’s another refutation of the WSJ article by Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones: “Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil“)

Why the People’s Climate March Fails As a Strategy
Zaid Hassan, Caravan Magazine
The People’s Climate March was organized in cooperation with the New York Police—who formally issued a permit for it. It had pre-arranged start and end times. It had a pre-agreed route that ended a mile away from the UN building (not that global leaders were there on a Sunday). There were no closing speeches. No laws were broken. No arrests were made.

Scientists speed up analysis of human link to wild weather
Yahoo News
Climate scientists hope to be able to tell the world almost in real-time whether global warming has a hand in extreme weather thanks to an initiative they plan to launch by the end of 2018.

Wildlife populations down drastically
Daily Mail, UK
Populations of about 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have plummeted far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world’s biggest environmental groups. The study from the Swiss-based WWF largely blamed human threats to nature for a 52-percent decline in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010.

World’s Population Unlikely To Stabilize This Century
Contrary to previous projections, it now appears that the world’s population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There’s at least an 80% chance that between 9.6 and 12.3 billion humans will inhabit the Earth by 2100 — and much of this increase will happen in Africa. It’s the first U.N. population report to use Bayesian methods — a modern form of statistics that combines all available information to generate more accurate predictions.

Can Narendra Modi bring the solar power revolution to India?
The Guardian, UK
As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi spurred companies to build more than 900MW of solar plant across the state in just a couple of years. Now, as prime minister, the question is whether he can repeat the feat across India, which receives more sunlight than any other country in the G20.

Irony alert: Yergin gets award named after peak oil realist Schlesinger
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
It is a supreme irony that cornucopian oil industry mouthpiece and consultant Daniel Yergin should receive America’s first medal for energy security named after James Schlesinger, the first U.S. energy secretary, who was a peak oil realist.

Old Age and Peak Oil

By T. Vijayendra, POI Founder-Member

“Old age is a tiredness that does not disappear the next morning, as we ingenuously expected upon going to bed”.
– Baldomero Fernández Moreno, Argentinean poet


People above sixty years are considered old or senior citizens. It is the percentage of old people in the total population that is important and not the total number, and especially in relation to those in the 0-15 age group in the population. As the population of the old approaches that of the 0-15 group, the working population shrinks in proportion and the burden of taking care of the old and the young becomes very heavy. In such cases, societies experience a shortfall in its working population.

Read more…

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