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Climate change and bengaluru

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prajagale,

i have recently joined CSM, (csmworld.org) an international org that addresses climate change issues.
under their umberella i am attempting to put together a"climate  festival"  that looks at  climate change and bengaluru. (other cities will follow)

my impression is that not many people in our cities , even among the urban educated,
relate to climate change or can join the dots when it comes to issues of  climate change and india's .
this could be the reason for or because  of the GoI's indifference to climate change so far..and their refusal to come  out with a comprehensive policy domestically and any commitments in the internatioanl fora. earlier this week there was a  round table on climate change in Bangalore, and our scientific community collectively admitted that
"research on CC in india is in its infancy" (hindu, march 24, pg 5).
in fact , in the light of that statement, i wonder on what basis the GoI takes the stand it does !!

i just wanted to throw this subject open to all of you
just to get a feel for what all of you think on:

1. is climate change a "problem" in india yet?
2. is the time right to bring this subjcet closer to home? into the public fora?
3. what should GoI / state /local govts be doing ?
3. what should the scientifcic community in india be doing?
5. what is the role of civil society ?
6. the role of Corporate india?
7. any other thoughts or suggestion....

being a "thinking , doing" community, i thought praja would be the ideal place to start .
any suggestion/comments will be appreciated.
thanks in advance.....

jenny
 

psaram42's picture

Climate change is a global Phenomenon

 

Jenny,

When we breathe we take oxygen and produce CO2 which is added to the atmosphere. Plants do the reverse at day under the sun light. Night they also add CO2 like us. We both plants and other mobile living creatures together thus are sustainable in keeping the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is natural balance which has kept us going for some time. I am trying to explain that climate change is a global phenomenon. So it has already arrived in India from day one.

Al gore (1) “the inconvenient truth” CD and (2) Nobel Peace Prize speech of 2007 are good place to start with I think. The concept of “carbon credit” is the fundamental concept to understand.

It is a very good initiative you have taken. I appreciate and support the effort.

PSA 

 

s_yajaman's picture

Our attitude is

Our attitude is ...US and Europe have had their fun for a century and raised their living standards by burning through millions of tons of coal and oil.  Now that it is our turn in the sun, they are throwing all these issues at us.  We have large populations to feed and employ.  

The usual fight is between per capita emissions and total emissions.  India and China claim that their per capita emissions are very low and so they are not to blame.  The US and Europe say that what matters is total emissions. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

narayan82's picture

Hi Jenny, This is a very

Hi Jenny,

This is a very commendable idea to work on. It is also something that we need to address urgently.

I think this can work wonders if we can get people to understand what climate change is and how each one is directly affected. as you said "relate to climate change" is the key.

Right now, sadly people belive the climate change affects only the North and South Poles and maybe the polar countries. Hence they seem to ignore its consequences.

If we can somehow relate urban problems like Scarcity in Ground Water, Drought, Increasing Respiratory problems and other such, to a larger factor called "Climate Change" i think then people will start getting aware of it.

I think this problem needs to be attacked in multiple tones (to suit each segement.) The govt. needs pressures, force and strikes to get it into thier heads. Public need to be given more efficient, greener and cleaner alternatives and Incentives. Hence promoting CFL bulbs, rain water harvesting etc etc needs to be publicised. Asking the public to cut down on luxuies is a bit hard - but asking them to switch to a better option benefecial to them and the climate works much better.

The govt. meanwhile needs to be pressurized to enforce and implement laws. We have no conservation laws.

lastly the youth in India are very vulnerable. A good campaign, making Climate change be the "in" thing will automatically get a lot of support. Already "go Green" has become a fashion. If we could encourage this in colleges level, then it could be changing the future consumers.

Interesting Ad by greenpeace:

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Naveen's picture

We are going reverse !

Hi All,

Srivathsa says it all - "The usual fight is between per capita emissions and total emissions".

If you look at the policies in europe, particularly germany & scandinavian countries, they are at the forefront on the issues related to restricting emmissions - even America is far behind. However, India's position is that of an infant that has found new toys to play with & indulges with it more than necessary. China & much of the rest of Asia is the same, Japan & singapore being exceptions.

Unfortunately, the powers that be are quite satisfied with catering to whatever the populace demands, & the demands have seen a reckless increase in vehicle populations & road networks, instead of ushering in multinationals with liberalization /globalization only into infrastructure that reduces such damaging effects, such as discouraging cars & encouraging bus use, electric city trains for public transport, solar energy & ground water recharging, to name a few.

It may not be enough to educate school & college going children. Government policies have to be created for all populace, including the majority poorly educated to know about the environment & follow practices that are environment-friendly.

idontspam's picture

Habits

It is easy to cultivate environmentally unsound habits and build your economy around that and then realize you are too dependent on that lifestyle to change. Oh wait that sounds like the US to me.

We are at a phase where we are ramping up our factors of production very rapidly. We have to do this sustainably. Build a clean habit that will make it less painful when we are at the brink. Rich countries have the resources to effect a change if they make an effort but poor and massive countries like India and China will find it hard to pump in resources to change track down the line. Dont we have examples in our traffic sense already? look how hard it is to bring people in line now after years of anarchy on the streets!

When countries change their practices they change it for themselves not for somebody else. So it behooves us to include carbon reducing lifestyle not for anybody but for our own sustainability. At least tomorrow other countries will not say, like we do at US now, look who is talking.

narayan82's picture

Per Captia vs Total

Unfortunately the world is not a co-operative one!

Srivatsa - trying to interpret your post:

So if we say "x" is the maximum emission allowed by a country, then in each the per captia emissions is going to be X divided by population.

So in India - we will be allowed to have x/1,00.000,000 emmission per person

While a country like Britan will have x/50,000,000 (Approx fig) per person

This basically means our emissions per person across the globe will vary. Hence some countries will drive electic cars while the others drive gas guzzlers. This creates a divide and then one aspires to be the other and then one blames the other!

I dont think its fair to measure by total emissions. Per Captia to me looks more practical.

Then comes in the issue of population. Which leads us to a whole new argument!

But in the long run - the more people the more emissions. So Population control too is a key element in Global warming/CC. And I feel in countries like ours we have to have norms for population control too.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
s_yajaman's picture

But economics dictates otherwise

With GDP growth being at the centre of everything, it is hard to think of sustainability.  India will say that it can't afford to think about these niceties.  I say we cannot NOT afford to think about climate change given our dependence on the monsoons.  Last year we just about escaped.

As a young boy, I was reading somewhere that bad roads cause some Rs.900 crores of petrol losses or some such number and an equal amount of damage to vehciles and cause frequent repairs, etc.  I thought to myself - why is this such a bad thing.  If Rs.900 crores of petrol is burnt, that means someone sold and bought that petrol.  If more spares are used then some company profited from it.  In fact we should be happy we have so much waste.  Something was wrong.  It then dawned on me that we don't put a negative value to environmental degradation - that is for our children to sort out!  As long as someone else pays the price, nothing is going to be done. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Per capita is the only measure

Economics does not dictate otherwise. Per capita income is the measure of the wealth of a country. We are 4th on the GDP but between 120 to 140 on percapita depending on who you ask and how you measure. GDP is only a means to get the per capita up. So your emissions also has to be on percapita NOT on cumulative. It is a mistake if we believe in total emission restrictions, it will end up exactly how narayan mentions. If countries demand cap on total emissions we have to demand equitable distribution of populations. Get the H1b Limit removed now :)

narayan82's picture

The real question

So our excuse as a nation  is,

"When half our country doesnt get 3 square meals a day how can think of global warming."

To me they are 2 different problems that need to be looked at parallely. We have too many problems to solve them one at a time.

To me climate change comes above infrastructure, development, foreign trade/investment..etc. The top three problems (all with same importance) of our contry seems to be:

1. Poverty
2. Climate/Pollution
3. Corruption

And just for the record - but they time we get the entire national to eat 3 meals there will be no food left!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
navshot's picture

Broadly speaking

I've put them in brief, in danger of over-simplifying it. Broadly, these are some of the things we ought to be doing, all in parallel:

- aforestation (includes tree planting across cities)
- improve efficiency of current energy consumers (includes use of public transport, instead of cars)
- develop cleaner energy source, seen holistically (more on this below)
- reduce need to consume "external" energy (in other words, sustaining with human energy!)
- "We two, ours two" makes a lot of sense, again!

Obviously, no single group can achieve this. It would have to be a combination of citizen, govt., scientific community, etc.

Cleaner energy source many times is a myth. The scientific community has to take holistic approach. One example is the bio-fuel. Use of food grains as fuel is a great idea but a disaster when practiced - as you all might know, it results in higher food prices that ultimately affects poor people. In my opinion, bio-fuels are dangerous that way.

I might sound like a pessimist, but let me add these words nevertheless: man-made climate change is a reality; notion of permanent fix to it is a myth!

-- navshot

 

-- navshot
Naveen's picture

Per-Capita Emmissions

This may be outdated, but some time ago, this is what I had  watched on US TV :

The Per-Capital emmission of harmful gases by each American was some 34 times as much as an Indian.

The Per-Capital emmission of harmful gases by each Englishman, about 18 times more than an Indian.

However, because of the very large population in India, it's total emmissions were high, & were increasing rapidly.

idontspam's picture

Watch the video for stats

For statistics on carbon emissions and where we are heading. You have to watch the video of Al Gore "An Inconvinient Truth" that PSA has mentioned about. It should be available in music stores I got mine in Planet M.

Naveen's picture

Thanks - I have It

IDS - I have a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth" with me, too. You will recall that the figures quoted in the film were challenged in Britain as an exaggeration. Hence, I mentioned the stats that were shown by Fox News in USA (as best i can remember !).

idontspam's picture

Huh!

"We two, ours two" makes a lot of sense, again

Unless you are talking about trees, I thought we went to we 2 ours 1 long time ago!!!

idontspam's picture

Poverty and economics

To me climate change comes above infrastructure, development, foreign trade/investment..etc. The top three problems (all with same importance) of our contry seems to be:

1. Poverty
2. Climate/Pollution
3. Corruption

Since you have put poverty in your list you have automatically included infrastructure, development and FT/FDI. This is because the only way to eliminate poverty is to increase GDP and hence per capita. Which in turn depends on labour and capital. Infrastructure is capital and you need to put it in place to increase GDP. Foreign trade and investment is required to keep the countries balance sheet in check. Development happens when labour is employed in creating capital goods and services. So you cant wish any of these away if India has to eliminate poverty.

navshot's picture

IDS,

IDS,

"We 2, ours 1" is not socially sustainable in the long run.

-- navshot

-- navshot
idontspam's picture

Deja Vu!

And just for the record - but they time we get the entire national to eat 3 meals there will be no food left!

:) you are beginning to sound like George Bush !!! Wasnt he the one who was complaining there was food shortage in US because we started eating more?

narayan82's picture

Poverty

IDS

I dont mean everyone who gets just about a meal a day starts driving a Nano! Thats not my idea of elemination of poverty.

I feel - that if anyone can get the basic - Roti Kapada and Makaan - that is the first level of poverty eradicated. Then before going ahead to the next level, we should have worked out the other two problems. Hence by the time you bring in FDI and Infrstructure you keep in mind Climat change and corruption.

I dont "wish away" FDI and Infrastructure. But I dont see these a problem in India now. There seems to be a beeline for FDI and a lot of Infrastructrure projects on the way. But how eco freindly our are infrastructure projects - how much money is swindled each time a bridge is built?

Thats how i rate my top issues - if we can work those out indirectly a lot can be affected.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
narayan82's picture

Poverty

:) you are beginning to sound like George Bush !!! Wasnt he the one who was complaining there was food shortage in US because we started eating more?

I was implying that we won't have a planet to grow any more food !! Its a scary thought but I hear china is buying land in Africa so it can grow food for itself!

Look at the amount of Prime Agricultural land being turned into SEZs, IT parks - highways. Why can we build these parks where you can grow vegetation! Farmers are the fuel of the country and we rob their land in the name of infrastructure!

Bush is something else! His logic beats all rational methods!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

How so?

"We 2, ours 1" is not socially sustainable in the long run.

Per what study?

idontspam's picture

The finite factor

Look at the amount of Prime Agricultural land being turned into SEZs, IT parks - highways

You have touched upon one factor of production which I ignored to mention because it is finite. The challenge for countries is to increase GDP considering this factor to be finite. The way China and India has to grow GDP has to be a little different considering this finite factor. I am doing a write up on thi in my blog... but I find myself dragged into macro economic strategy which is not my forte.. but I will post something soon to think about.. it will be out of topic on Praja.

s_yajaman's picture

Other big problem we will hit in our poverty elimination

Will be a fossil fuel crisis (which could potentially solve AGW/CC or make things worse by making us go to coal even more).

There is a direct correlation between GDP of a country and that amount of oil it uses.  The US has(had) a total GDP of about USD13T and consumes about 7 GB of oil a year (or about $2000 of GDP/barrel).  For India it is about 1T of GDP with 1 GB of oil or about $1000/Barrel.  Same ratio for China.  You can check out the ratio for most countries - there is no magic where with 1 GB/year we can support 10T of GDP.

For us to come to a $5000GDP/capita (where we reach Malaysia income levels) means oil consumption in the 3-4 GB/year range.  China will not lag behind and will by then have a consumption of 5-6 GB/year.  Together India and China will add a demand of 6GB/year to global demand.  Today's annual production is about 30GB/year (all liquids) and has not budged from this number over the last 4 years inspite of oil hitting 140+.  We need 2 new Saudi Arabias just to support India and China.

There has been some analysis done that to grow one calorie of food in the US takes 6-7 calories of enregy.  The food that they grow is a net energy loser and it's viability is only because of cheap oil (which delivers 9-12 net calories for every calorie used in its production).  

We will slowly realize that Gandhi got it right when he said that "The world can provide for every man's need but no every man's greed".   of course no political system has been successful which has told people that less consumption is good.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Hand out?

I feel - that if anyone can get the basic - Roti Kapada and Makaan - that is the first level of poverty eradicated

How do you propose to provide everybody with roti kapada makaan? If you are thinking CPI style just hand out these items to them on a monthly basis, that is not eradication since it is not sustainable it is called dole. Dole is avoidance as opposed to mitigation.

s_yajaman's picture

We 2 ours 1 not sustainable for a given population

For a population to be stable in the long run you need 2.1 children / couple assuming people are not immortal.  If each couple had only 1 kid you would have fewer people in 50 years time.  However whether a sustainable population is more important than a sustainable earth is a moot point.  Who will bell the population cat?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Moot indeed

However whether a sustainable population is more important than a sustainable earth is a moot point

Considering where we are heading, what will you do with a sustainable population that cannot sustain itself in 50 years time? The macro picture looks so bleak that it makes me want to go back to clamouring for dustbins and street signs for Bengaluru. It is easier to keep everything above the carpet look neat and tidy.

navshot's picture

Re: How so?

This would result in fewer young ones as compared to old ones in the long run. I think many of the countries who have higher population of old people as compared to young have social issues. One of the examples is Japan and even some of the europian countries.

Even theoretically (and simplistically) speaking, there would be more mouths to feed and less hands to work, I think its a productivity problem. (I'm unable to find a good link to a study to substantiate this).

-- navshot

 

-- navshot
narayan82's picture

Poverty Eradication

Ok, so what we need to do is really find out the root cause for poverty or unemployment. Is it population? - then we MUST tackle it.

I think, that one of the most impt factors is corruption and bad planning. Tribals, get thrown out of the forest (which was thier livelyhood) and are given some barren land - and asked to make a living out of it. Its like taking an Techie from the city, barring him access to the city, giving him a plot of land beyond byllakuppe and asking him to survive!

Second, so what happens to the "compensation" paid to those whos cultivable land is taken away from them for some mega-hyper-superfast-expressway/train? Firstly they probably loose 50% of the compensation by the time it gets to them, secondly what skills to they have to survive elsewhere?

Yes FDI and Infrastructure will help in eradicating poverty - but that cannot happen without eradicating corruption. Else they rich will get richer and the poor become poorer - which is what is happening. Minimum labour laws that state mnimum wages will help. Look at all the construction workers in the city - how much do they make and how much does the builder? Now, I'm not saying the builders is wrong.....but we dont have any laws to make sure that wealth can be spread equally. And if we do - then we have some corrupt babus who decide to ignore it.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
narayan82's picture

we 2 ours one - why not?

I am all for the 1 child per family law.

But - how we do enforce it. There will be PILs, Litigations, Cases etc - that this will not happen for the next 2-3 generations. As a democracy I do not think we can easily pass such laws.

But - we can give incentives to those who have only 1 child. Free education (1 child per family) or something like that to encourage folks to be aware of how much the planet can hold.

Or we better start cultivting Mars rightaway!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
jennypinto's picture

wow!! thats a lot of

wow!!
thats a lot of feedback for one day. thanks!

 the differences among you are a microcosm of the differneces in opinion around the world. from the climate activists to the climate deniers, there a whole range of opinions .(fortunately there werent deniers amongst you) , but the undeniaible fact (inconvenient truth if you will) is that the climate is changing at increasing and alarming rates.
pl read reports from a very recent scientist gathering in copenhagen, 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/12/copenhagen-summary

not surprising, the climate deniers met in new york the same week:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers

(btw, gore's film has been criticised for being scientifically  inaccurate, but i still feel its worth seeing)

srivatsa,  the argument that the west had their fun, so why are they spoliing ours , is exactly the GoI's stand. ofcourse, the west's model of production and consumption has brought us here, but the fact is that we are here, and we cannot afford to do nothing about it . carbon emissions in LA take just 12 hours to reach the himalayas, is what they say. with vulnerable neighbours, and melting glaciers and rising sea levels, india will have a vst number of "climate refugees" in the near future, to add to our problems.

sure, considering India's population and our problems and our development and our growth rate, its all very complex. some beleive that sustainability and growth are irreconsilable, there are economists who think that we first need to change our defintion of "growth" ,  that "zero growth" is the way forward. that we have to put a value on our bio diversity and out natural wealth, that we have to do "full-cost pricing" . some even say that the "happiness quotient" should be added to GDP....but the fact is that the jury is still out on the economics of sustainability.
(lots on the net on all this if you are interested)

but climate change has affected india already in more ways that we see, very often we dont relate them to climate change because thay are compounded by mismangement and corruption..
is there a solution yet? no, but there probably are many at the micro level.  each country, community, individual is going to have to find their own,  make changes, and those changes dont need to be "depriving oneself" going back to the dark ages, but re-evaluating everything we know, from the way we live to what constitutes "happiness". yes, re-call gandhi !!

no aplogies, but as a woman (the only woman in this discussion), i will always have a less to do with GDP and more to do with "happiness quotients"

a word on "one child" norm that china adopted. they now find that they have a nation of people with no siblings, no cousins, no aunts and uncles...thats going to come with whole set of psychological problems....here comes the happiness quotient again :-)

lets keep the discussions going.....and keep suggesting ways to communcate the issue and ways to find india-specific solutions. i am keen to find some scientists in IISc, NIAS or ISEC who might want collaborate.

jenny



lightness of being
idontspam's picture

zero growth

that "zero growth" is the way forward

This is acceptable where the per capita levels are already good. It is not possible to accept zero growth for poor countries in Africa and India and China. We could put a limit on an acceptable per capita and then have growth to get everybody to that level. Try and get north korea or iran or colombia or US to agree to a view point, we will be finished by the time they come to the table.

they now find that they have a nation of people with no siblings, no cousins, no aunts and uncles

Why arent they happy? kidding :)

idontspam's picture

Economy is the way out again

secondly what skills to they have to survive elsewhere?

Aha you are back to one of the factors, labour. Redeployment and employment is one of the variable factors. This is the only advantage India and China have over the other countries. It is important to choose a basket of products that can leverage the labour surplus with minimal retraining across product spaces. The current level of entreprenurship is grossly insufficient to get us to the levels of GDP we need to get us out of poverty. Capital expenditure to generate emplyment (NREGS is interesting in this aspect) and growing entreprenurial businesses in a carefully chosen product space which leverages the labour factor is the need of the hour.

jennypinto's picture

growth

IDS:

"It is not possible to accept zero growth for poor countries in Africa and India and China. "

thats what i meant when i said in my earlier post, that countries, communities, indviduals have to look for their own answers. no one-size-fits-all .

the end of globalization as we know it!!






lightness of being
blrpraj's picture

climate change & other problems - population levels

Now let's list 3 chief causes of climate change (definitely not comprehensive but will definitely figure in a top 5 list)
- transportation emissions due to burning of fossil fuels
- industrial emissions (facilities like coal fired power plants are some of the chief culprits among other industrial facilities)
- rampant deforestation accross the globe due to human development and expansion. I would consider quite a few of the western countries to be responsible for massive deforestation just by the sheer volume of timber they use for housing.

Now, globally everybody thinks of fighting climate change in terms of alternative fuel, going green etc. but I really doubt if anybody is actually talkng abour unsustainable population growth..a topic mentioned in this thread. Cities & towns are ever expanding eating into forest space.

Another thing that is easily done is countries fingerpointing at each other for the global waming mess. In my view, the way I see it, the industrial countries brought the globe to the edge of the cliff. But, now they have tough norms to control the problem; but; countries like China and India are now doing the job of pushing the globe over the brink. Point being all countries are responsible now for the mess and anybody living in the west and finger pointing at China/India or anybody living in India/China and finger pointing at  the west is living in a fools paradise.

Overall, we must follow Europe's lead in terms of - efficient public transport systems, sustainable urban growth,  though emission laws with proper enforecement.

Before outrightly blaming the West in general saying they have more cars & and have had their fun..I am just curious (certainly not a rhetorical question)..does anybody have facts and figures..like how much emission/pollution does and Indian autorickshaw(or a 2 wheeler) cause (considering the lax enforcement of pollution laws)  when compared to an average mid-size car in the west?  Another interesting comparison would be between a Indian public transport bus/truck with a similar vehicle from UK/US/Germany/France. This article
makes an interesting reading about the deadly autorickshaw emissions - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6614561.stm

Comparing a couple of the most polluted cities I have been to in the western hemisphere NY and LosAngeles with the top polluted cities in India like Bangalore&Delhi I have found Bangalore and Delhi to be literally gas chambers.
s_yajaman's picture

My comment seems to have been misunderstood

Let me clarify.  My comment begins with "Our attitude is".  It just happens to be in the subject line :)  I don't support that line of thinking.  It is simply a case of two wrongs being even more wrong and not right.

The primary greenhouse gas is CO2 and that would not cause visible pollution.  That depends on the amount of oil and coal burnt.  (Our cities seem like gas chambers but that is because of kerosene and half burnt fuel from 2-stroke engines.  Diesels give out a lot of particulates but are more efficient than petrol engines). 

US per capita CO2 emissions are about 20tons/year.  India is about 1.3 and China is about 4 or so.  Of course 1/4 of China's emissions can be put into the US' account as the latter consumes quite a bit of Chinese products.  Europe is at about 10tons in general.  France (lots of nuclear or nukular as GWB used to say) is at 5.7.

Vehicular pollution is one part.  But big thermal power plants do the real damage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

Srivathsa

 

 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

A Problem of Awareness

Politicians just pay lip service & try to chant about the realities the world faces today. They cannot do anything else other than what's popular with the people. What our people collectively think & demand is ultimately what comes about. Unless our masses realize that we are on the brink of a serious catastrophe, we will not react & forge ahead of other nations.

Most of our people are ignorant about climate & environment. For the majority, survival itself is difficult, let alone worrying about such issues. Thus, we will continue our neglect of the environment & progress with doing our bit to save the environment will be very slow.

idontspam's picture

Politics and strategy

Most of our people are ignorant about climate & environment. For the majority, survival itself is difficult, let alone worrying about such issues

Correct, This is why we have leaders and think tanks etc. To understand issues and provide strategic direction to the nation. To synchronise policies both internal and external. Heck, the city administration cant even provide trash cans

They cannot do anything else other than what's popular with the people

To quote Jairam Ramesh of Congress, manifesto doesnt win you elections. BSP doesnt even have a manifesto and they still win.

blrpraj's picture

air pollution-green house gases-climate change-health affects

Undoubtedly the worst offenders are the US and EU..the big boys on the block as far as polluters are concerned. But, there are 2 bears around the corner that are barelling down at a rapid pace and will dwarf the big boys in 30 years if things stand currently where they are and nothing is done.

Particulate matter pollution amplifies global warming
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=109712
I am trying to dispel any myth there may be about how particulate air pollution affects climate change. As far as global warming and climate change are concerned, Diesel&Kerosene engines are as much a culprit as clean burning greenhouse gas emitting petrol engines.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3786067/
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/ships-are-a-major-source-of-global-warming-pollutants_10010920.html
Excerpt from above link -
"Also, black carbon or soot, which is another pollutant released by ships, can warm the air hundreds of thousands of times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide. This is quite alarming as black carbon may be responsible for as much as 25% of observed global warming."


We in India and China are looking at nothing short of a health and climate change catastrophe if air pollution (particulate matter & greenhouse gases etc.) & deforestation are not brought under control.

I guess the bottom line is the US and EU have to mend their ways drastically and China&India have to literally do a 90degree or 180 degree turn in the way they do things in order for there to be any significant impact in global air pollution and climate change.

As far as direct actionable items in Bangalore, the following need to be done -

- Green cover needs to be protected as well as expanded on a war footing via proper&effectively enforced urban planning

- Stricter pollution control norms should be established and enforced on industries as well as transportation . Especially 2 wheelers,
autos, public transport buses & trucks as these are big time culprits hand in hand with cars.

- Provide effective clean burning pulic transportation & mass transit and encourage it's use as opposed to using private vehicles.

- Most importantly control Bangalore's expansion through effective zoning and bye-laws plus enforcement of those bye-laws. Explore development of self sustaining neighbourhoods complete with pedestrian/cycle facilities, public transportation hubs, shopping facilities etc. which reduces requirements for motorized transportation as far as possible.
 

jennypinto's picture

show of hands

all of you are coming in with great comments and ideas

yes, to start acting,
we need data
we need planning
we need think tanks, and leaders

how many of you willing to volunteer time and interlligence?
if we have enough hands going up we just may have a praja-lead project.
feel free to contact me directly
pinto.jenny@gmail.com



jenny
lightness of being
Naveen's picture

Spread Awareness

Government leaders & think tanks to understand issues and provide strategic direction to the nation have not been very effective so far, at least in combating issues related to the environment & in creating awareness.

Any action to limit emissions without first building awareness may seem "forceful" to people & runs the risk of failure. The campaign, if started must begin with steps to create awareness, even amongst the very poor.

To overcome difficulties with this, a desi version of "An Inconvenient Truth" or entertainment that includes spreading the message about the current destruction of the environment is what is required.

If the leaders are serious, they could pass laws that make it mandatory for bollywood & other language films to include such educative content amidst entertainment instead of the excess idolization of glamour that is routinely being dished out.

People in Scandinavia, though responsible in part for the problems facing us today, are so aware about this important issue that even commoners amongst them argue with us about our subsidy for car fuel, lack of initiatives for cleaner mass transport, destruction of forests, etc.. Thus, it is obvious that the more successful emission control programs there happened in large measure as a result of efforts to create public awareness.

idontspam's picture

I am in

how many of you willing to volunteer time and interlligence?

As long it is more substantial than a tree plantation drive.

jennypinto's picture

IDS: you are absolutely

naveen:

you are absolutely right in all yr points raised above.
there are plans to address exactly that.
but everything has to start with an idea and a will to make it work!

IDS: (or anyone)

do email me if you like to get involved
thanks
lightness of being
zenrainman's picture

Climate change - Zone of concern/zone of influence

 Taking off from Stephen Covey, why not break the issue into those that we can do as individuals/members of institutions/community    and those which we can rant about but hopefully as a group bring change?

So for example what are the Ten things I can do
- Conserve fuel and reduce consumption of fuel ( walk/bike/take public transport as much as possible)
- Conserve electricity - since the maximum GHG emission comes from coal , reduce demand/switch to CFL,monitor my energy bill and bring it down by 25% 
-Conserve water - since the embedded energy in water is one of the highest in Bangalore atleast reducing demand for water/harvesting rainwater/reusing greywater reduces carbon emissions
- Turn a vegetarian as far as possible ( go figure that one out :):)   )
- Plant trees and ensure they grow
- Paint the roofs of your homes/office white 
- Reduce paper consumption/recycle paper - subscribe to less magazines/ignorance may be carbon saving if not bliss :)
- Lead a lifestyle that uses less materials - less is more
- Reduce packaged food/eat fresh food and vegetables preferably grow them yourself
-  Take a train instead of a plane when you can 

Now to solve the issue of poverty/GDP/Kyoto protocol /emissions per capita/total emissions   join a discussion group preferably this one with Jenny .   There are groups out there trying to figre out adaptation/mitigation strategies to climate change for example a group of NGO's looking at helping small and marginal farmers understand/overcome climate change impacts.
This one has OUTREACH/BIRD-K/SVARAJ and others as members and is expanding. 
Maybe we nee to set up a think tank to help each sector do its best. My recommendation is let it be kept to an Indian activity for now and let the government engage with USA/China et al

Keep up the good work Jenny





idontspam's picture

White walls

- Paint the roofs of your homes/office white 

How come white paint is not recommended for the mud block houses? paint is considered environmentally unfriendly. I find a lot of energy absorption with mud blocks not painted with a light color consequently increasing lighting expenses.

zenrainman's picture

Roof paint- Is on the outside to fight climate change

 Indian paints are uniformly environment unfriendly in terms of production and in the lead they contain. Mud block homes are generally more darker inside , the lighting therefore will have to be not the usual all purpose /light up everything , but strategic focussed lighting. Generally needs a bit of getting used to and its philosophy is light up the spaces you need light,  like for reading or for conversations etc and not the whole space. There is no bar however in using Chunna/limewash which is fine.
 
The paint for the rooftop ( and this is on the outside of the rooftop) is to bounce back infra red radiation into outer space AND keep the house cool. The paint recommended here is an Australian one - now also made in India- called INSULTEC.This one has no heavy metals and the water harvested from the rooftop can also be used for drinking too.One can of course use a limewash only that needs to be redone yearly.

Also lighting is the LEAST energy consuming electric appliance . Water pumps/heating devices/TV's/Refrigerators consume a heck of a lot more.
idontspam's picture

e-sense

- Conserve fuel and reduce consumption of fuel ( walk/bike/take public transport as much as possible)
- Conserve electricity - since the maximum GHG emission comes from coal , reduce demand/switch to CFL,monitor my energy bill and bring it down by 25% 
-Conserve water - since the embedded energy in water is one of the highest in Bangalore atleast reducing demand for water/harvesting rainwater/reusing greywater reduces carbon emissions
- Turn a vegetarian as far as possible ( go figure that one out :):)   )
- Plant trees and ensure they grow
- Paint the roofs of your homes/office white 
- Reduce paper consumption/recycle paper - subscribe to less magazines/ignorance may be carbon saving if not bliss :)
- Lead a lifestyle that uses less materials - less is more
- Reduce packaged food/eat fresh food and vegetables preferably grow them yourself
-  Take a train instead of a plane when you can 


Come to think of it even if I dont save environment atleast I will save some money by doing most of the above. :)

jennypinto's picture

yes, zenrainman you hit the

yes, zenrainman you hit the nail, as always
best place (and the most dificult) to start is with myself.

and this e-adda has its carbon advantages...unless we
could have all walked to the corner coffeeshop , this is good place to keep discussing
hopefully it'll lead somewhere....

aslo,
CSM is looking for a full time climate change portal manager based in bangalore
please spread the word
and anyone interested can look up csmworld.org to
know what the organisation is about.


lightness of being
sanjayv's picture

Climate change a problem for us? Yes!!!!!

Hi Jenny,  I am a little late to this discussion and looks like a lot has been said already.  Anyway, here is my 2 cents on this.

1. is climate change a "problem" in india yet?  Absolutely YES.  It is a problem for the whole world, whether we realize it or not.
2. is the time right to bring this subjcet closer to home? into the public fora? Way past time.  There is a potential crisis brewing.
3. what should GoI / state /local govts be doing ?  Governments at every level should be implementing coherent, scientific, large scale policy.
4. what should the scientifcic community in india be doing? A lot - research solutions, educate the public.
5. what is the role of civil society ?
6. the role of Corporate india?
This is everybody's problem.  Everybody has to do their bit to find solutions.
7. any other thoughts or suggestions...

In my view, the biggest reasons for climate change and environmental degradation is our human lifestyle. Today's world of prosperity and scientific progress which benefits at least a part of the world's population, to varying degrees is due to our ingenuity and scientific progress and the consumption of various resources, especially, fuels such as oil and gas and coal.  Many people argue that the west is to blame and that they have had their fun, but all that is a moot argument as others pointed out.  Climate change will impact everybody and actually, the rich countries will be better able to withstand it relative to poor peoples and countries.  So do not argue fairness with nature.

The need of the day is - Government policies, the world over, encouraging conservation. Innovations that help us do more with less. Accounting of the huge costs of pollution and waste.  Have you heard of a power plant paying for its emissions and its health effects , especially in India.

- Policies and all out efforts to develop new and cleaner energy resources.  We need energy for growth - without it, our economic growth and prosperity is kaput.

All other items such as using the bus more or planting more trees are all part of the solution, but will not solve the problem.  That helps us live a lower impact life, but as long as we are using dirty fuels in this world that is designed for it - we are slowly bringing climate change closer.

For all this, we need an enlightened populations and an enlightened leadership and well educated, top scientific talent.
jennypinto's picture

hi all, thanks for posting

hi all, thanks for posting ....

my first question seems to have been misunderstood...it was meant as . is CC acknowledged as a problem in india....and my answer would be no, most people dont know/think about it. not yet.
so  the few people who do, and all of you are clearly part of that
enlightened minority, should start getting together to speak up, gather like minds, speak with one voice, make a diferene.
start by speaking about it to as many people as possible, at as many fora as possible
and watch this space. ....

jenny


lightness of being
idontspam's picture

Cost of green growth

Obama on his discussions with Manmohan Singh at the G20

 We talked about a whole range of other issues related to, for example, energy and how important it is for the United States to lead by example in reducing our carbon footprint so that we can help to forge agreements with countries like China and India, that on a per capita basis have a much smaller footprint and so justifiably chafe at the idea that they should have to sacrifice their development for -- for our efforts to control climate change, but also acknowledging that if China and India, with their populations, had the same energy usage as the average American, then we would have all melted by now   ...

...  In some ways, our -- our European counterparts have moved more quickly than we have on this issue, but I think even the Europeans have recognized that it's not easy. It's even harder during times of economic downturn.

And so we're going to have to combine the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency with rapid technological advances. And to the extent that in some cases we can get international cooperation and pool our scientific and technical knowledge around things like developing coal sequestration, for example, that can be extremely helpful.

There is going to be a cost associated with growing the economy in an environment friendly way and it has to start with the regulators and Govt being aware what it is and how it needs to be driven. At the same time push for per-capita measurements globally.

Penny wise pound foolish

It's probably acceptable in Indian polity to be penny wise. That is why there has been no sustained support even within India for Nuclear power (which does not emit GHGs).

The pressures of competitive populism are so high that a coal fired future is what is supplying to India's addiction now.

We have very low emissions both per capita and overall. Ideally, we should be at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change.

With most of our freshwater supplies locked up in glaciers, we are the one who will suffer the most because of global warming.

It was cost us not more than 3% of our GDP in order to move towards greater energy effeciency, renewable sources and a post-kyoto non-carbondioxide future.

Not tackling climate change will cost us more than 20% of the GDP. Imagine the prospect of slightly acidic rainfall and the disastrous effects that will have on our agricutlure. Remember, we still are a rainfed country.

Perhaps the first step India can take is to implement the B K Chaturvedi Panel report on fuel subsidies.

They are not even doing that.

India is digging it's own grave by not doing so. 

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