A criminal feat: Latest NCRB records show that environmental crime in India has jumped 790% between 2016 and 2017 however experts have cast doubts on the data | Photo: Mongabay

790% rise in environmental crimes in India between 2016 and 2017: NCRB data

Environmental crimes in India shot up 790% between 2016 and 2017 – from 4,732 to 42,143, according to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)’s Crime Statistics Report for 2017 released this month. Tamil Nadu led the list of states – 20,914, which is 49.6% of all the crimes committed followed by Rajasthan (16%) and Kerala (16%). The hike has been attributed to the inclusion of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, to the list of environment offences, which has, on its own, added 30% more offenses to the total.

The NCRB’s data for 2017 was released after a delay of more than a year. Experts pointed to ‘fundamental flaws’ in the way environmental crime data is collected in India.

India’s power sector hit by bad loans worth Rs1 lakh crore

The position of India’s power sector has gone from bad to worse. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) reported that around 1 lakh crore worth of loans given to thermal power companies have gone bad. These loans make up 18% of the sector’s total outstanding debt. TERI has blamed the ‘imprudent capacity expansion’ between 2010 and 2015, the demand growth slowdown after 2012, among other reasons for the bad debts.

According to a recent RBI report, the total debt burden of India’s states is on the rise – Rs52.58 lakh by FY20 – and one of the major reasons being cited for this is the indebtedness of power distribution companies or discoms. Union power minister RK Singh has said major structural reforms are on the cards of the sector.  

Trump administration to begin process to pull out US from Paris agreement

It’s finally happening – the Trump administration is preparing to formally withdraw the US from the Paris agreement. Once the process has begun, the withdrawal could take up to a year, according to the rules of the Paris accord. US president Donald Trump confirmed the pull-out saying the accord would have shut down domestic producers with excessive restrictions while giving a free hand to ‘foreign producers’. “What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” he said, adding: “I’m proud to say it, it’s called America First.”

Justin Trudeau re-election paves way for net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s party was re-elected by a narrow margin this fortnight, putting the spotlight on the leader’s primary campaign promise – the country achieving net zero emissions by 2050. “Canadians have voted in favour of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change,” he said. Experts said Canada will not how to set out a clear agenda to achieve this target, adding an increase of Canada’s 2030 target in the next year is “inevitable”.

Australia’s land-clearing practice wiping out billions spent to control carbon emissions

The Australian government has committed a huge chunk of taxpayer money to climate change projects, and spent nearly $62 million on a policy to plant 20 million trees. But all that effort is getting massively cancelled because of the significant stepping up of land clearing programmes in several states, mostly for agriculture. If this continues, two years of land clearing will completely eradicate all the money spent on controlling carbon emissions. The number is alarming. Using government figures, the Wilderness Society estimates a Melbourne Cricket Ground-sized area of forest and bushland was cleared every two minutes in 2017.

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