Environment


Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a Distinguished Fellow at TERI, writes a sensible op-ed in Business Standard on India and Climate Change.

Climate change is not a big issue in India at this point in time. The sheer size of the poverty issue overrides any other program. Combine that with the economic development policies, foreign policy (e.g. Kashmir issue), internal terrorism (e.g. the Maoists) and it is clear that climate change is not on the top of the agenda. This is rightly so.

In this op-ed, Dasgupta outlines the issue of climate change, the IPCC report, effect on India and possible policy actions.

He points out that “the wealthy, industrialised countries are responsible for causing climate change, the main victims will be the world’s poor. Developing countries are more vulnerable because they lack the financial and technological resources needed to cope with and adapt successfully to climate change”.

In this scenario, the first task of the government is adaptation and this can only be based on rapid, sustained development and poverty eradication.

Adaptation will require a wide range of responses, including a shift to drought resistant plant varieties, economical use of water resources, water conservation measures, watershed management, protection of coastlines and disaster management. Low-income countries will be unable to implement these measures on an adequate scale.

The second goal is to moderate the use of greenhouse gases through measures which will be economically beneficial and the funds are not diverted from poverty reduction and economic development needs. This is important because funds for development are scarce in India.

There are many areas where such possibilities exist. Cost-effective energy saving and energy efficiency programmes serve our development goals and also result in lowering emissions. Policies designed primarily to reduce local environmental pollution (such as the substitution of diesel by cleaner fuel in some of our major cities) can also lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The promotion of nuclear, wind and solar power not only serves our energy security interests but also results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. In all these cases, measures designed primarily to promote our developmental objectives also yield important co-benefits for climate change mitigation.

Additional programs can be achieved through the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation.

According to Dasgupta, the third leg of the strategy should concentrate on managing the rising expectations of industrialized nations to force India to cut down on its emissions.

If the demands of these developed countries are conceded, funds will be diverted from our national priority goals of development, poverty eradication and progress on local environmental issues like air and water quality. The rate of growth of the economy will be slowed down, with the result that India will remain highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

To counter the argument of high greenhouse gases emitted by India due to its population he suggests a analogy based on food consumption.

This is like arguing that India should restrict its food consumption because its total calorie consumption is very large, even though the per capita intake is inadequate! India’s per capita carbon emissions are only one-eighth that of the EU and one-twentieth that of the US. The total figure is high only because India is a very large and populous country, with a population exceeding the combined total of the US, the European community, Russia and Japan.

As with everything in India, population exacerbates the climate change issue.

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 Here’s what happened in Mutiny this week.

Jo started off the week with the tragic news of Laurie Baker’s death. He also blogged about how Google played an April Fool prank and the ABCs of audio/music blogging
 
Nita wrote about some students who have moderate views on reservations. She is concerned that couples can no longer enjoy sunsets on sea fronts without looking over their shoulders and is worried about wild Life in India which is under grave threat
 
Swetha takes a sneak peek at Sivaji – Rajnikant’s Next Blockbuster
 
Jerry blogged prolifically about Eragon, Mid-Night Hot and The New Detectives  CPM. He rants about why the M6A1 is being deployed overseas.
 
Guru tells us about Network Computers and provided some very informative links in HowTo: Startups
 
Chacko writes about  a league for cricket and  gives his opinion on the BJP. He also shows us a very  interesting piece of Indian art in a restaurant in Smash Menu.
 
Cakerfare informs us about ATM Access in Bihar
 
Maltesh writes about Logan and opines that we should not give a reservation to folks who don’t want to stay in India
 
Gentledude writes about the ubiquitous hand pump
 
Sridhar ended the week informing us that Musharraf is deliberately letting Talibanization creep into main cities
 
 Keep coming back for more at the Mutiny !
 
 

Sixteen Asiatic lions were killed in Gir Forest Sanctuary in the first three months of this year. Shockingly, these killings happened in ten separate incidents. Apparently, the culprits have been found, a gang which killed the lions with poison, traps and sharpened bamboo sticks. Its shocking that these kind of incidents are allowed to happen. It simply cannot, not without the connivance of forest guards. The guards are believed to be undergoing lie detector tests now.

But the government is not tackling this issue on a war footing. Inspite of these incidents being reported widely in the media, the weekly cabinet meeting on on Wednesday (4th) did not discuss the issue.

Our tigers are suffering the same fate. All India statistics show that while there were 40,000 tigers at the beginning of the 20th century, today the exact number could be barely over a thousand! However, official figures tell a different story, and say that there are about 3000 plus tigers, but conservationists do not believe these figures.
Everyone knows what happened in Sariska Game Reserve in Rajasthan. There is not a single tiger left there. In fact, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in a 2006 report blamed the Rajasthan Government squarely for its “complete failure” in controlling poaching and encroachment on forest land.

All in all, its clear that our government is not serious about protecting Wildlife. Here we are, heading towards being the number two economy by 2050, but Wildlife can go take a back seat.

(Photos sourced from birdsart.com and the bbc

Laurie Baker
Lawrence W. Baker (Laurie Baker), the legendary architect and a great humanitarian passed away today in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The Baker method of building low-cost houses that co-exists well with nature and environment has made an architectural revolution in Kerala.

Low cost is only one of the many aspects of his buildings that set them apart from the monsters other architects impose on us. His buildings merge with nature and do not stand apart like a sore thumb, are environmentally inexpensive, make best use of the space available, are designed with the needs of the client, and not just the external appearance or some design trend, in mind, makes best use of available sunlight and winds, thus reducing the need for artificial lighting and fans, just to mention a few. This in a society which discusses environmental issues in large rooms with tall windows, all of them shut tight with thick curtains, artificial lighting and air conditioning, with tea and snacks served in disposable plastic cups and plates. Come to think of it, it is no wonder that we don’t take Bakerji seriously! [Via Random Thoughts]

From the Blogosphere:
Lest we Forget
Laurie Baker – Living for a cause
More o Laurie Baker – Prabhu Karthik

From the media:
Laurie Baker’s creative journey – The Hindu
Of architectural truth and lies – The Hindu

In a major discovery, scientists find 3.8 billion year old rocks that were part of the Earth’s early crust on the Isua Greenstone Belt in Greenland.

The area in Greenland, also called the Isua Supracrustal Belt, is an Archean greenstone belt located in southwestern Greenland. (Archean is a geologic eon, occurring before the Proterozoic eon, which ended about 2.5 billion years ago.) The area contains, now, the oldest rock ever discovered, along with other 3.7 to 3.8 billion year old, well preserved metavolcanic, metasedimentary, and sedimentary rocks.

Metavolcanic rock is produced by volcanoes and later buried beneath other rock and subjected to extremely high pressures and temperatures until it eventually recrystallizes. Metasedimentary rock is sedimentary rock that has been subjected to metamorphism (the re-crystallization of rock due to extreme temperatures and pressures).

The rocks were found within something called sheeted dikes, which are vertical layers of previously molten rock that is compressed between other sheeted dikes, which are then trapped between pillow lavas (above them: lavas formed from underwater eruptions and shaped like pillows) and hard crystalline rocks (below them). The whole combination of rock is called ophiolite, which includes rocks from the oceanic crust and the upper mantle that have been lifted and is observable along with continental crustal rocks.

What is exciting for scientists about this find it the ability, now, to move back the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates to an earlier time. With the Earth being formed about 4.5 billion years ago, scientists were not really sure whether plate tectonics occurred early in the first half of this history or later in the second half.

Plate tectonics is the geological theory that explains the large scale movements of the Earth’s crust.

This Greenland discovery, because these rocks seemed to have formed due to the processes that occur due to plate tectonics, shows clear indication that plate tectonics was occurring 3.8 billion years ago—thus, in the first half of the evolution of the Earth.

When market goes up everything goes up irrespective of their valuations and fundamentals. Investors chase every new IPO that comes to the market and they chase with expectations that it will go up multifold in short term. No body talks of fundamentals or valuations when markets inch up everyday. Indian markets were on mad run for very long time.
Most of the time only positive stories emerge and no one cares about negative sentiment at all.
You will not be called smart, if you make money when the market goes up. You will also be not called looser, if the market goes down. However, you are definetly smarter, if you make money when most of them out their loose money. I am not pointing or advising shorting the stocks here.
Investing is an art and every investor should have his own investing style. Please don’t go and pick up every stock that is going up or don’t pay attention to message boards where people pump up the stocks and also, don’t pay attention to Technical analysts in a downtrend market.
I would advise these steps to safe guard yourself from losses.
1) Pick up a sector or two and learn about it thoroughly. Look at it from national and international point of view.
2) Pay attention to Fundamental analysts and then Technical analysts. Technical analysis by itself is very dangerous, if you ignore fundamentals of the company.
3) Before you zero in on a company, look at the management which is running the show. See, if they have good track record in giving good returns to their shareholders in the past.
4) Don’t have lofty expectations on the stocks you invest in. Be reasonable and expect only reasonable returns (15%).
5) Monitor closely where the government is spending most of its tax money. Invest in those companies who will get these government orders.
6) Avoid companies with unreasonable PE’s.
When markets go down all stocks go down including good stocks. This is an oppurtunity for value picks.
I strongly recommend companies who do business in India and generate their revenues from Indian consumers. Why?
Indian currency is going to appreciate in coming years which increases the purchasing power of Indians. Foreign currencies mainly US dollar will be on a downward trend and Indian companies which are heavily dependent on Dollar revenue will be loosing their earnings due to currency rate fluctuations. Companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS etc will be loosers, becuase their earnings are dollar denominated and are also facing pressure on their margins due to heavy competition from US companies and also Indian companies.
I recommand Hotel stocks, Paper companies (like bilt), Infrastructure companies, cement companies etc.
Avoid Sugar companies for few more quarters. The only scope for short term increase in their valuations may come from Ethanol story or if the sugarcrane crop in Brazil suffers due to unfavorable weather conditions or if the crude oil per barrel jumps to $100 in 2008. Invest in companies who offer Insurance services and also in companies like Apollo hospitals.
Note: I have invested in Hotel sector and planning to take more exposure in this sector due upcomming commonwealth games in 2010 and increased tourism prospects in India. Also with real estate value increasing, there is a huge entry barrier for new companies.

India, cricket, World Cup, New Species, Mutiny, Defense, Treaty

Hindumommy started off the week with an aptly modified Gita , tailored to the lifestyle of the modern working individual.
She also commented on Master Blaster, a comic book series about a superhero swinging into the Indian scene and loosely based on Indian cricketeer Sachin Tendulkar.

Nita noticed that Bihar, more aware of its unusually high illiteracy rate, began using police to enforce education for the multitude of children that do not attend school in this state. Later, she wrote about the relative stability of mutual funds and their value as an investment – but warned that returns are not as high as other arenas of the stock market. She brought to our attention the sad plight of buildings neglecting to properly maintain their elevators, and discussed India’s role in a crucial security arrangement in the Asia-Pacific region.

Jo alerted us to a novel “Ahimsa” method for creating silk textiles, then turned the spotlight to Saudabi, a Kerlatile who is now an employee at global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Angelspace showed us the heartwrenching cases of Tsunami victims selling their kidneys for daily subsistence.

PoliteIndian wrote an interesting article on the government’s insufficient compensation to residents for purchasing their land, then researched violence in Nandigram.

Cakerfare reflected on some popular Indian festivals, and reviewed books A House on the Edge of Tears and The Space between Us.
Guru examined tensions in the pharmaceutical industry and the patent sphere, then discussed the phenomenon of Brain Drain. He also mentioned the lack of bipartisanship in the Indian government.

Swetha demonstrated that beggars sometimes make a decent salary and questioned the true potential and value of an IIT/IIM graduate.

Chacko wished the Indian cricket team luck in their match up against Bangladesh.

Vishal compiled a list of favorite blogger pastimes, and noted that a new species of leopard has been discovered in Sumatra and Borneo .

Ujj wrote an insightful piece on the prevalence of fallacious resumes, and later reviewed the book Hitchhiker by Vinod George Joseph.

Jerry introduced us to future space tourist George Kulangara.

Maltesh gave us a glimpse into the Geneva Auto Show, then presented us with an environmentally friendly liquor.

Thanks for stopping by, and catch us again next week for more from the Mutiny team!

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