Time to pay: The National Green Tribunal upheld a polluting fine against NTPC days after a flash flood washed away its under-construction Tapovan-Vishnugad hydropower project in Uttarakhand | Photo: Business Standard

NGT upholds ₹57.96 lakh penalty imposed on NTPC for damaging environment

NTPC’s plea seeking a review of a ₹57.96 lakh pollution fine imposed on it by the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board (PCB) was scrapped by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The state PCB ordered the penalty under the ‘polluter pays’ principle after finding the NTPC in violation of muck disposal site maintenance rules at its Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site, thereby damaging the environment. 

India vital towards success of COP26: Alok Sharma

COP26 president Alok Sharma said India would be vital in ensuring the success of the 2021 climate talks. Sharma, who is also a UK minister, made the comments on his visit to the country, nine months ahead of the crucial talks to be held in the UK. On his two-day visit, Sharma met Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with various other political leaders and think-tanks. He also praised India’s efforts to move towards a greener transition. 

EU members split over green reforms in energy investment treaty

EU member states are divided over green reforms for the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). While France and Spain are pushing for drastic reforms of the treaty, which allows fossil fuel companies to sue countries where climate policies are eating into their profits, eastern European countries are against any changes. According to think-tank Open Exp, if companies were to sue – German utility RWE has already sued the Dutch government for €1.4 billion in damages over its coal phaseout plan – it could cost taxpayers globally around €1.3 trillion by 2050. Half of these costs would be borne by the EU. 

EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund allows ‘limited exceptions’ for gas projects

Even though the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund is aiming to exclude projects that drive climate change, it does leave some room for investment in gas projects. While Brussels is planning to use the fun to become climate neutral by 2050, Germany and Poland are looking to use natural gas as a ‘bridge’ between the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Concerns have been raised previously about how methane leaks from gas infrastructure cancel out any benefits from its use. But the fund allows ‘in some circumstances’ for gas investments, for example where it may help reduce carbon emissions quickly by replacing coal. 

World Bank, IMF consider factoring in climate change in debt reduction talks

The World Bank (WB) announced it would work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on ways to include climate change as a factor during negotiations on reducing the debt burden on poorer countries. Ethiopia. Chad and Zambia are already negotiating with creditors to reduce their debt burden. The WB expects more countries to request a restructuring post the COVID-19 pandemic. According to experts, factoring in climate change while writing of some parts of their debt will help poorer countries progress towards their sustainable development and climate goals.  

Facebook to start trial in UK that targets climate misinformation 

Social media giant Facebook announced plans to start labelling misinformation on climate change. It will begin doing this in a small trial that will be limited to the UK. Posts deemed to be carrying incorrect information will be attached with labels that will direct users to Facebook’s Climate Science Information Centre, which will include fact-checked claims about the environment. While the process to assess misinformation in posts remains unclear, it will be similar to the one used during the recently held US elections, where Facebook used algorithms to determine such harmful posts.

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