Ladakh: Vanishing glaciers and water crisis at 11,000 feet

Newsletter - August 9, 2018

Not for much longer: Even the artificial glaciers in Ladakh can't work if the region loses all its freshwater

Ground Report

Ladakh: Vanishing glaciers and water crisis at 11,000 feet

Climate change and “booming tourism”, have triggered water crisis in the high-altitude (11,000 feet) Ladakh. “Earlier, water from the glaciers would be enough, but with warmer summers, some of the glaciers have vanished altogether”. Meanwhile, Centre has officially acknowledged demand for potable water will outstrip supply by 2030.

Uttarakhand: State power firm forced to abandon hearing

Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) residents forced the state power firm to abandon a public hearing over a hydroelectricity project proposed next to a wildlife reserve after it “failed to provide” copies of the environment impact assessment in the local language: Hindi. Activists say “not even a single dam in Uttarakhand” has fully followed norms, or rehabilitated the displaced.

Better step back: Sea levels are now at unprecedented highs – something climate denial will only accelerate

Sea level at record high

2017 was the third warmest, ‘record high sea level’

2017 was the “warmest-ever” year, that didn’t feature El Niño (periodic warming of the Pacific). The year was third warmest, after 2016 and 2015. Sea level was at record high, coral bleaching was at its worst. Meanwhile, this 2018 heat report assesses the impact of heat wave on climate denial.

Earth may turn into unlivable “hothouse”

A group of scientists has warned that “domino effect” of climate events may tip the world towards a “hothouse” that is “4C warmer than pre-industrial times.”. “Passing such a point would make efforts to reduce emissions increasingly futile” as the temperatures would not be able sustain human life.

Heat wave deaths to rise by 2000%

New research says if countries fail to mitigate, heat wave deaths in 20 countries near equator would increase 2000% by 2080. They will “last longer, be more intense and frequent”. Meanwhile, in France, heat wave forces shutdown of 4 nuclear power plants over fears of a reactor meltdown.

‘Must protect ports from climate change’

Researches have warned that Indian ports must fortify themselves to prevent the impact of climate change. The study predicts that altered wind and wave conditions will increase erosion along the Paradip Port in east coast of India. Experts say the study should inform port management strategies.

Australia’s “worst drought in living memory”

Eastern Australia is witnessing “the worst drought in living memory”, its second-warmest summer (Dec-Feb) on record, and driest and warmest autumns (March-May) on record. Over 95% of New South Wales in drought, “has no end in sight.”

Boiling over: Opposition to the Rampal project is getting stronger, with even the UN now deriding the plant

Sundarbans at risk; India’s 2030 emission intensity; Pakistan’s 100 billion trees plan

Sundarbans at risk: India-Bangladesh listening?

The upcoming India-Bangladesh coal plant along Sundarbans is facing fierce opposition as a “disaster” to the fragile ecosystem. Experts have warned Rampal Coal-Plant could prove to be major financial risk. UN has directed Bangladesh to drop the project near the world heritage mangroves. Others have recommended “better, cheaper” alternatives like solar electrification.

India emissions “will double by 2030, but be below today’s global average”

What would be emission intensity of India over the next decade? Recent study says, based on current energy policy, despite renewables growth, India’s CO2 energy-related emissions from 2012 levels would most likely double by 2030. By 2030, India’s per capita emissions will be below today’s global average.

Paris “rulebook”: Time running out?

Will the negotiators writing the “rulebook” for the Paris accord meet the December deadline? Negotiators last week published “tools” to help streamline the conflicting proposals; co-chairs said they need to “crank up the pace” as there’s only one more technical session in Bangkok next month before the main UN climate summit of the year in Katowice, Poland, where ministers would finalize the rulebook.

Climate Chief pushes to solve Climate Fund crisis

UN climate chief sought political intervention to save UN’s Green Climate Fund, month after the board meeting meltdown. Campaigners say, the recent EU-China joint statement has been a much needed boost, post the USA pulling out.

Blame Fossil Fuel industry, not “Human Nature”

Why we haven’t solved climate change yet? The latest NYT Magazine issue, analyzing early days of climate politics, blamed “human nature”. Critics say it’s the fossil fuel interests that killed the climate momentum, not “human nature”.

Climate finally part of India’s poll discourse?

Will climate issues be part of India’s 2019 election discourse? This article argues it’s just the time, as media and citizens have been forcing parties to come clean on their stand on pollution and climate issues.

Imran Khan: Will plant 10 billion trees

The newly elected Pakistan PM Imran Khan plans to plant 10 billion trees in 5 years, to combat climate change, expanding his party’s “billion tree tsunami” initiative in Khyber province. Imran had mocked previous government’s climate budget as a joke. However, domestic coal will continue to grow with the help of Chinese investment.

Promising, again: It remains to be seen if the upcoming NCAP spurs any effective action on the ground

After China, India to announce clean air plan

National Clean Air Pollution plan likely by August 15

Centre plans to announce National Clean Air Programme to curb air pollution in 102 cities by August 15. The plan will have three timelines to cut pollution by 35% in next 3 years, 50% in next 5 years and 80% in next 10 years. Centre is waiting for the World Bank to finalize its assistance.

Toxic Air To Blame For Lung Cancer; No Longer Just A Smoker’s Disease

In “a strong evidence” that links air pollution with lung cancer, a new study conducted in Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has found that nearly 50% lung cancer patients had never smoked: smokers and non-smokers “represent equal number of lung-cancer patients”. “The obvious reason that comes to mind is air pollution, which contains smoke and PM 2.5,” doctor said.

Lancet study: Air pollution causes diabetes as well

Lancet Planetary Health research says air pollution also causes diabetes. The study shows even “safe” air quality levels, can cause diabetes. 1 out of 7 people developed diabetes because of air pollution. In 2016, 14% (3.2 million) new diabetes cases were reported because of air pollution.

Heart, lung disease deaths linked to indoor pollution

According to a new report, 2.5 billon billion, one in three households globally, are exposed to deadly indoor air pollution. “Growing evidence links indoor pollution to 2.6 million deaths from heart, lung, and other Diseases.”

Punjab’s Rs. 1,700 cr anti-pollution target

Punjab has launched Rs 1,700-crore plan to kill pollution: convert coal-based rolling mills to PNG, upgrade brick-kiln chimneys, dust collectors for poultry farms and grain markets, e-waste and bio-medical waste facilities, retro-fitting autos with gas kits and cutting water usage by textile industry.

It's come a long way: Renewables are surging ahead, with the next trillion watts perhaps coming within a decade

Solar, wind touch first trillion watts;

Safeguard duty: confusion continues

The safeguard duty saga continues: the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has urged the finance ministry to exempt already awarded solar projects from 25% duty imposed on Chinese and Malaysian solar imports. Hero, Vikram, ACME moved Orissa High Court against the import duty. Last week, Centre imposed the duty despite a High Court stay.

Renewables Just reached first trillion watts

It took 40 years to install a trillion watts wind and solar capacity globally, but the next trillion may be done in 5 years, says the BNEF study. The industry reached the 1-Terrawatt milestone early 2018 ($2.3 trillion spent to set up wind and solar farms). “The next Terrawatt of capacity will cost about half as much – $1.23 trillion – by 2023.”

SECI cancels 2,000 MW wind tender over infra issues

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) cancelled a recent 2,000 MW wind power tender, which was undersubscribed, over lack of sufficient transmission infrastructure. Power developers have been complaining about lack of power evacuation infrastructure.

Lowest bidder kept, others cancelled

Centre’s Solar Energy Corporation of India, (SECI) cancelled all but the lowest priced projectallotted in its mega 3000 MW July 13 auction. 2,400 MW (of 3,000 MW) was cancelled because “the projects were too expensive”. Only ACME’s 600 MW project with the lowest Rs. 2.44 per unit tariff wasn’t cancelled.

More love on the way: FAME 2.0's subsidies are reportedly earmarked – inexplicably – only for govt. run e-buses

Subsidy backs e-buses over e-cars

Government plans new policy to promote electric vehicles

Centre may announce new EV policy at global e-mobility summit on Sep 7. With minimal subsidy the government wants to ensure smoother transition to EVs, by first creating favourable ecosystems in nine polluted cities with a population of over four million, then move to cities with populations of one million-plus.

World’s first thermal battery unveiled in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh launched world’s first-ever thermal battery facility manufactured by Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST). Based on alternative sources of energy production, batteries will reduce dependence on fossil fuels. They can power telecommunications, EVs, as well as charging systems.

FAME 2.0’s 3,500 cr subsidy only for govt. run e-buses

Benefits only for electric buses, not other EVs. That’s the FAME 2.0 plan of Rs 3,500 crore subsidy for EVs over next 5 years. The support will be only limited to government-run buses. Private electric cars, cab aggregators, two-wheelers, hybrids are all out of incentive package.

Delhi Metro launches electric vehicles to boost last mile connectivity for metro stations

Delhi Metro with SmartE, India’s largest EV fleet operator, launched EV service to boost the last mile connectivity in Delhi, Dwarka, Gurgaon and Faridabad. SmartE is aiming for over 1 lakh EVs by 2021.

IEA on record EV sales, Cobalt scarcity

The IEA report revealed record sales for electric cars around the world. Electric cars and plug-in hybrids rose 54% in 2017, half of which sold in China. Cobalt supply is “subject to risks” as 60% cobalt is concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while China controls 90% of cobalt refining, the IEA said.

Nissan will sell U.S., UK battery ops to China’s Envision

Japanese firm Nissan will sell its electric car battery unit to Chinese renewable energy firm Envision. Nissan will retain 25% share. The deal, which covers battery plants in Tennessee in the U.S. and in Sunderland, England, is expected to close in March next year.

Are they coming back? Bringing back gas-guzzlers could derail any hope of climate action by the Trump administration

US states to fight clean car standards rollback;

Villagers desperately short on safe drinking water blame Adani-operated coal mine

Residents of Parsa (Chhattisgarh) have blamed Adani Mining for completely depleting the village’s groundwater reserves – to supply water to its neighboring coal mine. They also say the firm now supplies them with drinking water that is too contaminated for consumption.

The mine lies in the Parsa East & Kenta Basen (PEKB) block, which was opened for mining in 2013 despite specific recommendations not to do so.

US states vow to fight rollback of fuel efficiency standards

19 US states – including California – have vowed to fight the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of US automotive fuel efficiency standards. The standards were set by the Obama administration to reduce vehicular emissions and fight climate change. The rollback is intended to help US automakers make cheaper, less fuel-efficient vehicles and earn more profits.

Fossil fuel funding remains strong despite growing abandonment of coal

new report shows fossil fuel projects in Africa are receiving up to 60% in funding from developed nations. Renewables on the other hand attracted just 18% of the funds. Several Chinese banks are also actively financing coal-fired power in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

However UK based Lloyds Banking Group has announced it will stop financing any new coal-fired power or thermal coal mining. The bank now joins Swiss RE (Switzerland), Allianz(Germany), Axa (France), Lloyd’s of London (UK) and Dai-Ichi & Nippon Life Insurance (Japan) in terminating coal-related financing. Each entity has cited its commitment to climate action for its decisions.