India Extreme Weather Event

Extreme Flash Flooding in the Himalaya Region

An extreme climatic event in India that had a very devastating effect on the country was the Uttarakhand Flash Floods in the Himalayan region that occurred in June 2013. The floods had a huge impact on the environment and thousands of people were killed and property worth millions was destroyed.
As a result of these flash floods, Uttarakhand faced an unprecedented tragedy. It is feared that many thousands were killed and missing and that the state could take years to get back to normalcy. The root causes that increased the human tragedy include unchecked and unplanned infrastructure development along the rivers and development of hundreds of hydro projects in this fragile zone. The flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand of June 2013 decisively proved the absence of any preventive and mitigation measures. The post disaster relief response was equally poor—more than 70,000 people are reported missing.

An early warning system, effective evacuation plans, and a responsive disaster management system would have prevented a massive loss of precious life. But they weren’t in place. Relatively inexpensive radar-based cloudburst forecasting technology would have given a three-hour warning. Now, the Government of India has constituted an Committee for Eco restoration and climate change initiatives for the Fragile Himalayas.

The goals of the Committee are to:

– Minimize construction of Hydro power plants and dams
– Stop illegal construction of tunnels and hotels
– Curtail the Char Dham yatra (Spiritual Tourism) for three years so that repair and restoration can be carried out
– Reduce the rate of deforestation

Print Media

The Hindi is one of the oldest English newspapers in India. It has been published since 1889 and is the most influential English Daily that is appreciated by its readers throughout India. It is known for its language and style of delivering news keeping minute details.

Content Sample:
“Urbanization has not led to hotter summer days for Many Indian Cities”  http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/Urbanisation-has-not-led-to-hotter-summer-days
An editorial warning that the Paris Agreement may be too late can be found at http://www.thehindu.com/specials/in-depth/paris-summit-2015-tackling-climate-change/article7932769.ece

Contact: Main Publisher- N Ram and Editor is Mukund Padmanabhan Address-No- 859 and 860, Kasturi& Sons Building, Anna Salai, Mount Road, Chennai-600002 Ph- +91-04428576300, 04428415325
Website-  www.thehindu.com,  thehindu@thehindu.co.in.

Online Media

Channel Mountain Communications (CMC) is an internet URL as well as Broadcast channel for Uttarakhand, India. The prime motto of CMC is to restore, preserve and document land, people, ecology and the environment, addressing climate change, mitigation measures, carbon sequestration, history, and culture in the digital age. Since its establishment, CMC has been engaged in audio-visual and print production for public entertainment, education and mass awareness. It has provided its services to a number of government agencies of Uttarakhand, the Ministry of Environment, forest programs, non-governmental organizations, private institutions, and individuals at the state and national levels. CMC supports the Paris Agreement and feels that the Government of India should be more proactive in dealing with climate change issues.

Content Sample:
CMC Blog – www.channelmountain.blogspot.in

Contact: CMC JP PLAZA, Kargi Chowk
Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India; Mobile. – 09411530755
Email – cmcjp@rediffmail.comWebsite – www.channelmountain.com

India Subnational Best Practices

Regions/Provinces/States

Gujarat State Gandhinagar District—In the Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, an initiative has been taken by the Gujarat Ecology Commission, and the Forest Department to reduce greenhouse gases through the development of mangroves. Gujarat has introduced the Community Based Mangrove Management model. More than 15,000 ha of Mangrove plantation were carried out through the active involvement of local communities. In addition, Gujarat promoted a mangrove conservation plan. By keeping more mangroves intact, approximately 13 million metric tonnes, of carbon dioxide has been prevented from being released into the atmosphere. This is almost the equivalent to taking 344,000 vehicles off the road each year.

Contact
Dr. H.A. Solanki, Professor, Gujarat University
Telephone:  9898119766
Email: husolanji@yahoo.com
Arunachal Pradesh State—Arunachal Pradesh ranks among the lowest GHG emitting states of India. Less infrastructure development, low carbonization levels, high utilization of bio mass for energy and power generation from renewable sources (hydro), and the absence of industries are the major factors contributing to their low levels of GHG emissions. About 59 % of GHG emissions come from the energy category. The State is undertaking carbon sink enhancement projects that will cover 1.747 million hectares with an intention to increase forest cover and eco-restoration of degraded forests. The annual incremental carbon sink enhancement potential is estimated to be 20.6 million tonnes of carbon or about 75 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020.

Contact
Sri Bilatee Pertin, IAS- Secretary, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh
Mail:  Secretary to Governor / Secretary (Planning), Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Raj Bhawan, Itanagar-791111
Telephone: 2006201, or, 9436271271
Email: cs-arunachal@nic.in

Cities

Madurai, Tamil Nadu—Madurai is also one of the five cities declared to be the least polluted in India by the World Health Organization (WHO). Although vehicular emissions have increased, coping strategies are also improving.

Bengaluru—Bengaluru stands in the 43rd position in the same ranking with a RSPM count of 71mg/cubic meter. The city has also topped the charts for becoming one of the safest places for patients with respiratory problems due to the commendable quality of their air.

Agartala, Tripura—Agartala lies in the North-east as the capital of Tripura. The city is lush green with a good amount of carbon dioxide absorbing agents. Its pollution free air is one of the reasons that it attracts tourists from big cities.

India Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
Jairam Ramesh
Former Environmental Minister
Jairam Ramesh believes the “cult” of unfettered economic growth has been ruinous for India’s environment. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his vision of “green growth,” which he says is essential for his nation’s future. He is highly qualified holding a B.Tech., M.S. and Graduate Study Educated at I.I.T., Bombay, Carnegie Mellon University, U.S.A. and M.I.T., U.S.A.
Mr. Ramesh was influential in developing and is also now the biggest critic of Governmental policies. Today, Ramesh is one of the most outspoken critics of India’s environmental policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, despite his support of major investments in renewable energy, is otherwise widely criticized by conservationists for putting economic growth ahead of environmental preservation.

According to Ramesh, the average Indian is producing 2 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The U.S. is at 16.6 tons per capita today. It’s a reality now that CO2 reductions will happen within the responsibility of each country, instead of being determined and governed by a legally binding agreement. But what needs to be top-down is monitoring. If you leave monitoring to the individual states alone, then nothing is guaranteed. That would be a disaster.

Contact:  Jairam Ramesh C-1/9, Lodhi Garden, Rajesh Pilot Marg, New Delhi – 110003
Telephone : 24638111, 24632288, Mobile: 9868181402

Climate Program Advocate
Sunita Narain
Director General, The Center for Science and the Environment

Sunita Narain is director general of the India-based research institute the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), treasurer of the Society for Environmental Communications, and editor of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth. Over the years, CSE has been doing cutting-edge theoretical research with practical application, and has substantially contributed to many successful cases of environmental victories in the country. As head of this organizations, Ms. Narain has the decision-making and supervisory powers to decide on the course of activities of the organization.

Contact:  sunita@cseindia.org

Climate Program Opponent
Mr. Sutirtha Bhattacharya
Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India Limited.

Mr. Bhattacharya served in the Indian Administrative Service in different high-level positions. Coal India Limited—a state-owned coal mining corporate—is the world’s largest coal mine. It has a track record of repeated violations of environmental legislation in India. Mr. Bhattacharya led the company to influence the Indian government’s plans to increase coal production to 1,000 million tonnes in the next four years. This regulation will most likely prevent India from reducing environmental pollution.

Contact: Corporate Headquarters of Coal Bhawan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700156, India. Phone: 91- 33 2324 6526

 

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma

India Emissions Reduction Policy

India: National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) and The National Electricity Policy (NEP)

The central government in India predominantly holds legal authority to develop and implement national GHG mitigation policies and programs, but states also play a significant role.

One of the key regulations with implications for GHG mitigation is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) released on 30th June 2008. The NAPCC attempts to build a single framework for the policies and programs, which existed when it came into force as well as  future ones, which are directed at climate change mitigation, adaptation and knowledge management. The plan identifies 8  “national missions” that forms its core.

These are:
a) National Solar Mission
b) National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
c) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
d) National Water Mission, National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
e) National Mission for a “Green India”
f) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and
g) National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

As for NAPCC’s practical execution, in 2009 the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change called upon all the states in the country to prepare State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs) consistent with the strategy outlined in NPACC. The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, (MoEF&CC) was assigned as the Nodal Ministry for Climate Change in India and undertook the assignment of providing guidance and technical assistance to the state governments in this endeavour.

The NAPCC’s seven missions have achieved significant results in their respective domains, which in-turn has lead to positive contributions being made towards GHG mitigation. For example: the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which was launched under the NAPCC in 2010 with the objective of achieving grid parity by the year 2022,  produced 2,970 MW of grid-connected solar generation capacity, 364 MW of off-grid solar generation capacity, and 8.42 million sq. meters of solar thermal collectors has been installed till date. The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture has brought about the development of 11,000 hectares of degraded land. One million hectares have been brought under micro-irrigation to promote water efficiency.

Apart from the NAPCC there is in place the National Electricity Policy (NEP) that the Government of India put out in 2005. It has also achieved considerable impact on reducing GHG in the country. The policy came about as a result of the Electricity Act of 2003, which requires state electricity boards to facilitate the supply and distribution of renewable energy, along with traditional electricity. The policy is administered by the Ministry of Power (MoP) and envisions a progressive increase in the share of electricity from nonconventional sources.

The NEP outlines a plan for rural electrification with increased generation capacity. It states “maximum emphasis” for the development of hydro power, stipulates for clean use of thermal power by using low-ash coal, improving lignite mining, and increased use of natural gas and nuclear power. It lays out recommendations for improving efficiency of the power grid in the country with better transmission and distribution of power. It also calls for the use of the most efficient technologies and more funding for R&D.
As a result, the long-term decline in the ratio of CO2 to GDP appears to have slowed or halted recently. This is important because India’s voluntary international commitments for emissions are couched in terms of a long-term decline in the ratio of emissions to GDP.

The aforesaid policies that India has implemented, although relatively successful, however have not tuned out as silver bullets for reigning over the problem of increasing GHG emissions in the country. These policies basically have been experiments on the part of the India’s central government authorities to continue with the economic development of the country while simultaneously treading on the path of climate change mitigation in the future. Change needs to be divested among all stake-holding actors in the country.

Learn More
http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/press-releases/Indian_Country_Paper_Low_Res.pdf
https://www.giz.de/en/downloads/giz2014-en-cca-rai-state-action-plan-india.pdf
http://www.iasscore.in/ias-pt-preparation-details-264.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2822162/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2822162/
http://newclimateeconomy.report/2014/india/
https://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/wri_workingpaper_india_final.pdf
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/will-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-to-a-third-by-2030-india-promises/

 

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma

India Energy Production Trends

How India’s Energy System Is Structured

India’s energy policy-making is highly fragmented and decentralized, which is reflective of a tradition of federalism. The country’s energy laws can be broadly placed under two categories, one dealing with laws relating to coal, petrol and gas, which are derived from minerals, and the other with laws relating to electricity. The federal government has control over mineral and oil resources, nuclear energy, and some taxes. States have jurisdiction over water and land rights, natural gas infrastructure, taxation of mineral rights, and the consumption and sale of electricity. In some of the other areas, such as electricity, forestry, and economic planning, the federal government and state governments share decision-making powers. There is no institutional body that has complete authority over a national energy policy.

Several ministries share power over various aspects of energy policy and energy infrastructure, which can result in fragmented decision-making.  Similarly, the power sector in the country is placed under the dual responsibility of the states and the federal government. Power produced and sold in the same state is subject to the oversight of the State Electricity Board and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, whereas power sold between states is subject to federal oversight and regulation. This division of decision making powers in the broad energy sector has at times been beneficial in certain ways, like the promotion of locally available energy sources, manpower expertise, local participation by state governments, etc., whereas at times this has also led to many problems, like overlap and contest in decision formulation, etc.

All of the major energy producers in India are primarily into fossil business, i.e. oil, gas and coal. The top seven among them are: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India, Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp, NTPC, GAIL, Bharat Petroleum Corp, and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (which also stand among the top 250 global energy companies). Six out of the seven are state-owned or state-supported oil companies, which clearly implies that the state acts as the predominant actor in driving the energy dynamics in the country. Moreover, there are a number of local as well as international private players that are actively involved in the energy production sector, like Reliance Industries, which was ranked eighth among the top global oil companies in the survey ‘Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings 2016’. The number of private players entering this sector is on a rapid rise.

Coal, which is one of the dirtiest of all energy sources, contributes to almost 58% of the power generation in India, and will continue to be a major source in its energy basket in the future as the government is promoting the harnessing of locally available coal. It recently allotted 16 coal blocks to state companies for commercial mining.  On the whole, fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil, and gas) together contribute 70% of India’s electricity generation.

The current Indian government has rolled out a number of initiatives to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the annual budget for financial year 2016-17, the country’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the clean energy tax on coal mined and imported in the country has been increased from Rs 200 ($2.94) to Rs 400 ($5.88) per ton. The minister also stated that the revenue collected from this tax shall be put into the renamed Clean Environment Fund. Furthermore, India signed a series of bilateral clean energy and climate change agreements with the US when Prime Minister Modi visited the US in June this year.

There have also been non-governmental initiatives for measuring and scaling down levels of greenhouse gases, like India Greenhouse Gas Program (India GHG Program). It was a voluntary initiative launched in 2013 by World Resources Institute—India, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that aims to standardize measurement and management of GHG emissions in India. The India GHG Program provides businesses with the wherewithal and technical knowhow to measure their emissions, identify reduction opportunities, establish short and long-term reduction goals. It also tracks their progress based on the GHG Protocol, the most widely used emissions accounting and reporting standard in the world.

Energy efficient activities are not the only emissions reduction measures that Indian companies are putting into action. However, in the last few years Indian companies have made emission saving of over 70% that are from energy efficient activities.  Also, there are emission cuts happening through other activities like replacing traditional biomass with off-grid standalone systems, community solar programs, etc.

But the problem still remains as developing countries like India will need between USD 70 and USD 100 billion per year through 2050 to meet current and future climate adaptation needs as calculated by the World Bank. However, India is currently spending approximately USD 4.4 billion annually, which is far below the stipulated benchmark for realistic greenhouse gas mitigation activities.

Energy Sources

The country’s energy basket has a mix of all the resources available including renewable, but is heavily tilted towards fossils. In the total energy basket mix, the share of oil and gas constitutes around 40%. The country is a net importer of crude oil, however it has become a net exporter of petroleum products by investing in refineries designed for export.

India has huge potential for renewable energy, with 45 GW of hydropower and 23 GW of wind power capacity, among other renewable sources. However, it has not yet been able to tap into its potential energy reserve. The present government is aiming high in this area, with a target to reach 175 GW of installed renewables capacity by 2022 (excluding large hydropower), which is a steep increase from today’s level of 37 GW. Solar power, and to an extent wind, are key elements in driving the government’s expansion plans.

Profiles of Leading Energy Companies

Coal India: Coal India Limited (CIL), a 90% state-owned enterprise, stands as the sixth-largest mining company in the world. The company produces 81% of the country’s coal requirements from its 430 mines, of which 227 are underground mines, 175 opencast mines, and 28 mixed mines. Its target is a total output of 100 mt during 2020, which is up from 60 mt this year. This will be likely achieved by opening of 25 new mines, which entails a total investment outlay of 20,000 crore.

Companies Investing in Renewable Energy: Today, India’s biggest energy companies are moving beyond their roots in fossil fuels to invest in renewables, backing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of finding alternatives to fossil energy and promoting clean energy. Indian Oil Corp., a prominent refiner, along with Oil India Ltd., are working to build a 1-gigawatt solar farm in Madhya Pradesh. Tata Power, one of the country’s large private power producers with 7.3 gigawatts of capacity, signed the biggest renewables agreement in India last month, acquiring 1.1 gigawatts of clean-energy capacity valued at USD 1.4 billion from Welspun Renewables Energy Pvt Ltd. Government-owned NTPC, India’s largest power generator with a coal-based installed capacity of 35 gigawatts, intends to transform itself into the largest green power producer in coming years. Hence, at present the largest oil companies in the country are trying to join hands with the largest conventional electricity generators, like NTPC Ltd. and Tata Power Co., that are emerging as the biggest players in the country’s clean energy sector.

Natural Energy Processing Company (NEPC), a public limited company, has been a pioneer in harnessing wind energy in India. The Khemka Group owns and promotes the company with the primary goal of promoting wind energy. The group has a multibillion turnover from diversified activities in the field of power generation from wind energy and manufacture and marketing of wind turbine generator (a renewable energy device). The company has so far installed over 1,600 WTGs of different capacities totaling to more than 450 MW in various states of India. It has also supplied more than 4,000 wind turbines across India, and has also setup demonstration wind farms in various wind-prone states in the country. Now, the company has diversified into manufacturing solar technology compatible power systems—Inverters/UPS of various capacities available with or without solar panels.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma

India Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Rising consumer and/or industrial demand for energy-intensive products and services; (b) Dependence on fossil fuels for economic growth combined with a strong fossil fuel lobby; (c) Deforestation; (d) High energy-use encouraged by government policies and programs

 

Emission Reduction Challenges

Following are the three pertinent points that threaten India’s ability to fully commit to the Paris Agreement and get control over its greenhouse gas emissions.

First, preponderance of the fossil fuel lobby in the country. This means the broad quarters involved in the fossil business, which includes energy producers and distributors as well as the large consumers, have a strong influence in determining the polices of the country. As of now, this powerful lobby is disregarding the environmental issues for its own business or political interests, which is contributing to delays in effective execution of environmental polices—including the Paris Agreement.

Second, the present BJP government’s development policies that are, in-principle, high energy consuming. Since the BJP government came to power in early 2015, it has been attempting to make India the fastest growing country in the world—which it has already become in 2016. The government, in pursuit of its goal, has initiated a ‘Make-In-India’ campaign to attract, encourage and invite foreign investors to manufacture on their own or partner with local manufactures to increase their produce. This in a way is encouraging some of the ‘dirty-industries’, i.e. more environmental polluting industries from the West or even China and other Asian countries to set up their manufacturing bases in the country. The ‘Make-In-India’ campaign is meant to galvanize the economic activity and help alleviate poverty in the country. However, it also is causing environmental damage in the process. Now the government is facing a dilemma whether to accept the Paris Agreement that calls for stringent check on environmental pollution or let this policy continue unhindered.

Third, India is on a ‘locked-in trajectory’ for use of fossil fuels. This means the country’s energy system is primarily dependent on fossil fuels for its smooth functioning. Further, the existing design of most of the public-service infrastructures, like roadways, electricity grid, etc., are meant for optimizing fossil energy use. So, an energy transition from fossils to renewables can only happen in a gradual and progressive manner. Any niche technological development may bring about complete disruption. The limited scope for systemic-level change in the energy model of the country is affecting the society to dedicatedly pursue climate change mitigation actions right away.

Following are some additional points on the topic that Prof. Raghavendra Gidadhubli, Professor of Economics and International Relations from Mumbai University, shares as his personal opinion:

First, India is facing the ever-growing problem of climate change because of large-scale deforestsation that is widely happening in many parts of the country. The government agencies have not been able to keep tab on these illegal activities due to limited resources and the geographic vastness of the country.

Second, many mining and industrial enterprises do not adhere to rules for emission of gas and pollution. Some of these have good contacts with local government bodies that have enabled them to continue their activities.

Third, in urban areas automobiles have increased in number during the last 3-4 decades contributing to climate change that affects urban populations.  Now we are facing a dilemma of whether to continue on the development trajectory or immediately start caring for our environment that will likely put the brakes on our economic development.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma

India Ratification Status

Possibility of Ratification: High

On 22nd April, India signed the Paris Agreement along with more than 170 nations. Then there was much hype surrounding India’s willingness to become a global leader in climate change mitigation actions, unlike the spoilsport role it played during Copenhagen summit in 2009. However, from the end of the Paris summit till now, the country has been constantly changing its position regarding how it plans to tackle the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at its domestic front and contribute in this regard at the global level.

For long, India has been treading a dual path for dealing with climate change mitigation actions. On the one hand, it has tried to present itself as a leader of the developing world seeking for its right to pursue economic development for its vast majority of people who still survive on meager energy consumption, which falls well short of 4 tons of oil equivalent needed to achieve a Human Development Index (HDI). From this standpoint, India squarely puts the blame of presently deteriorating global climate conditions on the Developed World, which in the past carelessly exploited the climate for its selfish development interests. The INDC, which it has submitted to UNFCC, insinuates it seeks monetary assistance from the international community in order to diminish the costs it would incur for the implementation of climate-change mitigation plans.
While on the other hand, the country has tried to present itself as a responsible state player caring to take voluntary actions that are needed for addressing the global climate change issues. Its actions of being signatory to all major climate treaties, like Copenhagen Protocol etc, and taking practical actions to improve the share of clean energy in the country’s energy basket, like running the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world that aims to increase renewable energy production capacity to 175 GW by the end of 2022.

There is no specified procedure for ratification of international treaties under India’s municipal laws. Even the constitution of the country falls short of clarifying the status of international laws and their application within its sovereign territories. In the past, certain international treaties have been put to vote in the Parliament for securing majority consensus, like Land Border Agreement with Bangladesh, etc. However, the national executive (Central government) is under no obligation to have parliament’s approval at the stage of entering into an international treaty or with any foreign power. (See Article 73 of Indian Constitution)

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with the US President Barrack Obama said that the domestic legal procedures for accession relating to the agreement should be duly followed. However, he did not mention any specific time period by when the legalities in this regard will get completed. It is most likely the major fossil energy consuming industries, like cement, still, etc. will lobby to gain certain relaxation on the Agreement. While civil society organizations, especially those working in environment sector, and certain central government ministries, like Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as well as certain other government agencies, will try to push for ratification of the agreement without much delay. This dialectic will be further prevailed by some of the strategic considerations and interests of the Prime Minister’s office and the government’s core agenda, both political and economic.

Regardless of India’s reluctance to immediately accede to the Paris Agreement, it is most likely that the country will ratify it in the near-future for its own good and necessities.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma

Learn more:

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2460802/india-aims-to-ratify-paris-agreement-in-2016

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/us-at-the-bali-climate-change-conference-the-american-gap-between-words-and-deeds-a-523027.html

http://m.townhall.com/columnists/vijayjayaraj/2016/06/16/indias-uturn-on-paris-climate-change-agreement-and-why-it-is-right-n2178949

http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Law/2006/treaty-making.html

http://www.legalindia.com/the-status-of-international-law-under-the-constitution-of-india/