Clean and clear: Environmentalists and global investors are pushing governments to announce green stimulus measures as part of their COVID-19 recovery packages | Photo: Reuters

Govt’s energy efficiency schemes saved India ₹90,000 crore in FY19: Report

The Indian government’s energy efficiency schemes have led to savings worth almost ₹90,000 crore in FY19 – much higher than the previous year’s ₹53,627 crore, according to a report by PWC Limited, which was engaged by the Bureau of Energy efficiency (BEE). The schemes have also helped reduce 151.74 million tonnes (MT) of CO2 emissions, much more than the previous year’s emissions of 108 MT, the report stated.

DISCOMs to get Rs.90,000 crore in liquidity infusion by Indian government

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a liquidity infusion of ₹90,000 crore to power distribution companies (DISCOMs) to tide over financial stress which has been compounded by the demand crunch due to the ongoing lockdown. The move is expected to provide relief to DISCOMs which currently owe power generating companies around ₹94,000 crore. The infusion will be implemented through Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC) and will be linked to specific reforms such as digital payments facility by DISCOMs for consumers, liquidation of outstanding dues of state governments, plans to reduce financial and operational losses according to a presentation shared by the Finance Minister.

WII’s report on Dibang Valley project biased: Peer review

The Wildlife Institute of India’s (WII) report on the 3097MW Etalin Hydropower Project in Arunachal Pradesh is biased and doesn’t reflect a true picture of the biodiversity of the Dibang Valley – this was the conclusion of a peer review of the report.

The review states that the WII report fails to reveal crucial information of the area and the project’s impact on locals and the ecology. The project, which involves clearing at least 2.7 lakh trees and a vital tiger area, was to be given an approval by the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of India’s environment ministry based on the WII report. But the FAC has deferred its decision for now and has sought comments from the power ministry on whether the project, which has been delayed by six years, is still viable

At the same time, wildlife biologists and conservationists, this past fortnight, sent a memorandum with 4,305 signatures to the environment ministry, asking it to deny clearance for the project.

India’s electricity demand to drop by 1% in 2020-21: ICRA

Credit rating agency ICRA believes India’s electricity sector is likely to register a 1% decline in power demand – the first time in 36 years — and a drop in plant load factor (PLF) to 54% in the 2020-21 financial year. This calculation has been made considering the full lockdown until May 3, 2020 and a complete resumption of operations by industrial and commercial establishments by July 2020 as a base case scenario.  

EU’s 2050 climate goals non-negotiable despite Covid-19 pandemic, say European lawmakers

A majority of European lawmakers spoke out in favour of keeping the EU’s 2050 climate goal despite a push for a delay by some because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some lawmakers, however, did call for a ‘beefed up’ fund to help coal-depended regions transition towards a greener economy.

Momentum for green stimulus to combat COVID-19 grows

Global investor groups have urged richer nations to make sure their pandemic recovery plans are in accordance with the Paris accord and are sustainable. Even mayors across the world’s largest cities published a ‘statement of principles’ that warned of a ‘catastrophic climate breakdown’ if countries return to a ‘business as usual’ scenario.

Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is gearing up to lend $1 trillion to governments hit by the virus, said it would be a mistake to hit ‘pause’ on climate change action as a response to the pandemic.Australia, meanwhile, seems to be taking at least one step in the right direction. The country’s energy minister said they have set aside A$300 million ($191 million) to jumpstart hydrogen projects with the help of low-cost financing in a bid to build the industry by 2030. This is a welcome change from the conservative government’s controversial pro-coal stance.

Brazil to send troops into Amazon to curb deforestation

After a surge in destruction of the Amazon jungle since last year, Brazil plans to deploy its armed forces to tackle deforestation and fires. Brazil’s vice-president Hamilton Mourão said the government will set up permanent bases in the rainforest that will house military personnel, federal and state police and environmental agencies.