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Climate change and bengaluru


i have recently joined CSM, ( 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.....


idontspam's picture

How much?

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.

Interesting statistics, where did you get it? Elaboration is required on how the numbers were arrived at. Greens are usually accused of overstating the effects of environment.

Also, Are there any statistics on what it will cost businesses to go greeen?

jennypinto's picture

  this lok sabha election,


this lok sabha election, no one has talked about climate or environment. neither candidates nor voters. (speaking of karnataka) . unless climate change becomes a poll issue, nothing will change.

this is an illuminating read



lightness of being
Naveen's picture

Interesting Tehelka Article

The article by Bittu Sahgal was interseting. This is the reality today. The nay sayers outnumber us by the hundreds of millions, maybe even a billion.

The destruction that is being wrought on the planet is comparable to "Nero fiddling, when Rome burned".

jennypinto's picture

another interesting


another interesting read

 its an exciting possibility that solar energy could provide ALL of india's energy requirements!



lightness of being
jennypinto's picture

india may have a relatively low per capita emission BUT....

 As much the world needs to design a system of equity between nations, nations of the world need to design a system of equity within the nation. It is not the rich in India who emit less than their share of the global quota. of CO2,  It is the poor in India, who do not have access to energy, who provide us the breathing space. India, for instance, had per capita carbon emissions of 1.5 tonnes per year in 2005. Yet this figure hides huge disparities. The urban-industrial sector is energy-intensive and wasteful, while the rural subsistence sector is energy-poor and frugal.

Currently, it is estimated that only 31 per cent of rural households use electricity. These are the household, who provide the rich in the world the space to breathe. These are also the households who cannot be indicted to energy-poverty because the world has run out of space.

The fact is that it is the poor, in India, China or Africa, who control the ‘unused’ entitlements in the global atmospheric-emission market. Connecting all of India’s villages to grid-based electricity will be expensive and difficult. It is here that the option of leapfrogging to off-grid solutions based on renewable-energy technologies becomes most economically viable.

If India’s entitlements were assigned on an equal per capita basis, so that the country’s richer citizens must pay the poor for excess energy use, this would provide both the resources and the incentives for current low energy users to adopt zero-emission technologies.

In this way, too, a rights-based framework would stimulate powerful demand for investments in new renewable energy technologies.

Let us be clear. The challenge of climate change is a make or break situation for the world. It forces us, perhaps for the very first time in our history, to realize that we live together on one Earth. It tells us that the there are limits to growth and more importantly that growth will have to be shared between all. The big question is if we will prove to be equal to the challenge. The answer is that we have no choice. There is no other way.

Down to Earth.

lightness of being
idontspam's picture

Individual carbon credits

If India’s entitlements were assigned on an equal per capita basis

This is exactly where we should go worldwide, but how much is appropriate per capita?

The statement that high consumers of carbon pay the poor consumers of carbon for over use has to be implemented in a transparent manner. If carbon credits were tradable on an individual level it should be possible for the energy frugal people to trade them to the carbon guzzling people who may need the credits. This allows for exchange of consideration while maintaing the gross levels. What is the cost of implementing individual carbon credit system?

Lord Nicholas Stern interview

"Unless we invested 1% of global GDP per annum in measures to prevent climate change, the review warned, it would cost us 20% of global GDP."

Amulya Reddy's ideas

 The late distinguished energy scientist, a long time Bangalorean, Dr Amulya Reddy had proposed a massively decentralised sytem of power generation which included solar pv, solar csp, wind, biogas for rural needs.

His website:

Although he opposed nuclear power even for peaceful purposes, much of his other ideas are good.

Infact, there are quite a lot of social entreprenuers, including Dr Harish Hande who heads SELCO INDIA, a social venture firm engaged in promoting solar pv products.


jennypinto's picture

IDS: this is what sunita


this is the view of Centre for Sceince and Environment, Delhi:

The entitlements can be based on the apportionment of the world’s natural sinks—its oceans, which absorb and clean emissions—to every individual. The other option is to distribute the global emissions budget among nations in the form of equal per capita entitlements. For instance, if we assume a target of 450 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent then each person is entitled to 2 tonnes per year. In 2005, the average emissions of the world already crossed 4 tonnes per person per year with us and Australia leading with 20 tonnes per person per year. The entitlements taken together will be the “permissible” level of emission of each country, which can be the basis of trading between nations. The country, which exceeds its annual quota of carbon dioxide, can trade with those countries with “permissible” emissions. Countries with permissible emissions will have the financial incentive to keep their emissions as low as possible and to invest in low-carbon trajectories. The equal per capita entitlements framework is then the tool to make the much needed energy transformation in the world.

lightness of being
Naveen's picture

Is this India's Per Capita ?

In 2005, the average emissions of the world already crossed 4 tonnes per person per year with us and Australia leading with 20 tonnes per person per year.

Does this refer to Our (India's) per capita emmision ?  20T must refer to perhaps US. India's Per Capita is much lower.

Could you provide a link to this article ? Thanks.

s_yajaman's picture

It is US as in USofA


That should read US and not us.  India is at 1.3 or 1.4. 

The Middle East countries lead in per-capita - somewhere in the 50 tons/per capita.  This is because of the crude oil industry and NG flaring, etc. US, Canada, Australia are the usual suspects who put out 20T/year and also contribute a lot to the Middle East emissions. 

450 ppm is already too much - no?I thought that the target was 375-380 ppm and we need to go down to 350 ppm.  We added 2.1 ppm just in 2008.

Not enough awareness in the people that will be most affected.

The problem is that there are no serious visible manifestations today.  And when they come it will be too late.  It is hard for people to relate to something that they cannot experience first hand.





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

Rainfall change due to global warming

"But while Canada, Russia and northern Europe had become wetter, India and parts of Africa had become drier, the team of scientists added."

See the picture in that article. It clearly shows that rainfall is decreasing in India.

The diaster is already showing in terms of strained groundwater availability and our crisis in agriculture.

Sadly even this fact does not seem to jolt our political class. They are happy with smoke belching thermal power, fuel subsidies and what not.

They put the long term viability of our nation in peril by not being at the forefront of climate change.

Ironic that our country will be most effected by climate change and we do not do anything about it.

idontspam's picture

Classic example

Environmental degradation is the classic example of the tragedy of commons

Written by Garrett Hardin he uses a metaphor of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons), on which they are all entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin's view, it is in each herder's interest to put as many cows as possible onto the land, even if the commons are damaged as a result. The herder receives all of the benefits from the additional cows, while the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational decision, however, the commons are destroyed and all herders suffer. Hardin asks for a strict management of global common goods via increased government involvement or/and international regulation bodies.

Myth of costly clean energy

Our per capita power consumption is barely 500 units per capita per year. Even if we swtich to non-carbon sources such as nuclear, hydel, wind, biomass, and solar, we would only have to pay about 500 to 1000 rs per capita annually.

This given our per capita income of about Rs. 41,000 is quite afforable. With a mixture of policies to promote energy effeciency, energy intensity and judicious use of energy, the costs can be mitigated.

What is immediately required is to crack the whip on power theft irrespective of committment to Kyoto protocol or not.

What is more, renewable sources of energy (including nuclear) actually turn out to be cheap in the long run compared to thermal and gas.

With the exception of nuclear, renewable sources of energy are not subject to price swings and commodity swings as much as thermal and gas do.


s_yajaman's picture

Free riding and game theory


Classic example of free riding that we see all around us. 

Jump lights - makes sense for me individually, but causes jams when I get stranded in the middle of the road. 

Cut lanes, create extra lane at traffic light - same story

Banks take massive risks and cause global economic disaster-  now want tax payers to bail them out

Prisoner's dilemma comes into all of this.  If both play fair then everyone wins.  If either play fair and the other does not, then the one who plays fair gets screwed disproportionately.  if both play unfair, both lose but each loses less than in case 2.  So we all break rules as that leads to what is known as a Nash equilibrium.  Government has to ensure fair play by enforcing rules which it sadly does not.


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

jennypinto's picture

: The problem is that there

: The problem is that there are no serious visible manifestations today.  And when they come it will be too late.  It is hard for people to relate to something that they cannot experience first hand.

srivatsa, i am planning to  colate data on the the already visible evidence in india...trying to raise funds to collect and then make a film. or something. any leads/help welcome.

mcadambi: where did you get this?

"we swtich to non-carbon sources such as nuclear, hydel, wind, biomass, and solar, we would only have to pay about 500 to 1000 rs per capita annually".


Naveen: read it shd "US".

this is the climate special.many interesting articles.

on the right, under "our positions" is a pdf called "just framework"

thats where you will find the entire article




lightness of being
jennypinto's picture

i read this on a goethe inst

i read this on a goethe inst site: the indian monsoon is one of 15 "tipping " elements scientists are observing!!

the monsoon  is very real and very important to every indian. there's enough of a 'story' here

to demysify and  bring climate change 'home' to us indians?



Calm Before the Storm: When the Climate Tips


 Stefan Rahmstorf Researchers fear that climate change may occur more swiftly and less stably than has been assumed. Even a slight increase in temperatures in several regions could permanently alter their climates. In Potsdam, researchers are investigating such “tipping elements”.

Every year in July, the great rains begin in India. That happens when the subcontinent so heats up that large amounts of air rise and saturated air from the Indian Ocean streams into the interior. Rains pour down for weeks on the parched fields. Were the monsoon to fail to appear or to grow more intense, a large part of the people living in India would lose the basis for their existence. Precisely that could soon be the case: climate researchers at Potsdam, among others, believe it possible in the near future that the Indian summer monsoon will become freakish and unpredictable.

The Indian summer monsoon is one of fifteen so-called “tip elements” in the climatic system of the earth that could drastically increase global warming. “The assumption that climate change will be gradual and stable gives us a false security,” says Professor Wolfgang Lucht of the Potsdam Institute for at Climate Impact Research (Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung / PIK). “If we don’t respond swiftly, it can have dramatic consequences.”

lightness of being
idontspam's picture

Funny thought...

The problem is that there are no serious visible manifestations today

All this research is coming from weather researchers who cannot get the days weather right. Just kidding but, is this why people wait to see it till they believe it?

Power consumption


The annual per capita  power consumption in India is about 500 units.

On an average, power tarrif (the cost you pay to the distribution company like BESCOM) is the cost of power generated from multiple sources like Thermal (Coal, Gas, Oil), Hydel, Wind, Solar and other sources like Biomass and Imports from Bhutan (mainly hydel)

Coal cost about Rs. 1.5 - Rs. 2 per unit, Gas from Rs. 2 to Rs 8, Oil from Rs. 7 to Rs. 11, Hydel from Rs. 0.45 to Rs. 3, Wind from Rs. 3 to Rs 5, Nuclear from Rs. 3 to Rs. 7, Solar PV is the most expensive at Rs. 8 - Rs. 12 depending on sops.

Different regions get different sources of power. It depends on weather conditions, good monsoon et al.

Thermal sources belch out CO2 while other sources do not.

But Thermal provides for 65% of our electricity needs and it is not unreasonable to state that NTPC provides for a fourth of all the homes in India.

If we gradually give more space for renewables, it would slightly increase the average tarrif paid.

So in that sense, if the average tarrif paid increases by 1 or 2 rs, then we can get a per capita cost of about Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000. 

jennypinto's picture

thanks macadambi,  does it

thanks macadambi,

 does it take into account the cost of changing for thermal to renewables (if we want to decorbonise).

and also, considering over half of inda is sitll unelectrified, it also a matter of building more genraation? doesnt that also affect the per capita?

sorry about any dumb questions....i know very little about all this, would appreciate you pointing me to some good reads.




lightness of being

Renewable standards


Globally, the thermal power sector (coal, gas and oil) emit about 26% of CO2. If at all there can be any progress in reducing CO2 emissions, the thermal sector has to be wound up.

One cannot do that overnight. Even the US, which receives atleast over 50% of it's power from the thermal sector, is going to take a step-by-step approach.

Yes, there are costs, both in terms of tarrifs and cost of switching over the renewables. But as i pointed out, they are too low and can be mitigated by energy effeciency and energy intensity.

The problems with Rural Electrification stem mostly from problems of distribution. You see, the average village power requirements are not more than 5 kW. But the tranmission and distribution lines are built for much more.

Therefore, it costs significantly to install step down transformers for Rural Loads.

Many greens, including Prof Amulya K Reddy, proposed a decentralised system for rural consumers. This would include micro power options such as solar pv, solar csp, wind, biomass and small hydel.

China leads the world in terms of mini and small hydel. They even lead in solar pv and csp, small wind and biomass.

India should encourage manufacturing of small and rural scale power equipments. 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Consider this World Bank honored project U-SEE

U-SEE stands for Unlimited Saving of Electrical Energy -

U-SEE, we can help ourselves  for getting free bright light, save money, switch off bulbs, reduce emission of CO2 that causes climate change, global warming or global dimming, earn carbon credits, protect and preserve natural resources like fossil fuels, thermal and hydro elements in the nature which are becoming finite due to man's over-exploitation.

My effort to reduce Carbon Footprints that has been honored by World Bank is described below:

For the past six years, I have been harvesting sunlight for my daily need of power for interior lighting to make it brither during day time when the sun is shining just across the windows / doors. Why can't we bring home the infinite solar light into our homes.


Bangalore Mirror dated 1-10-2007
Prajavaani dated 10-10-2007

The Hindu - URL:

Kaaranji: - 1-3-2009 issue about Global Warming/Global Dimming.

 For further clarifications, if any, please call 9845950440 - Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

jennypinto's picture

mcadambi, thanks i have

mcadambi, thanks

i have been reading prof redy's papers, very interestig.

some aso talk of shifitng kerosene and other fuel susbidies to renewables.

mr. mysoremath, congratulations on your u-see idea. i agree, the sun gives generously and freely, we should use it more intelligently.


lightness of being
blrsri's picture


From TOI today:

Bangalore: India’s first solarthermal power plant is, quite appropriately, coming up in electricity-starved Karnataka. That it taps green options should go down well with eco-activists who usually kick up a ruckus over large power plants. 
    The Rs 100-crore project is likely to be in Bellary. Chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and head of The Energy and Research Institute (Teri) R K Pachauri consulted Karnataka government representatives on use of renewable technology in the state. 
    “We’ve asked the government to set up the pilot project for 10 MW. The technology is still in the take-off position. Every MW will cost Rs 10 crore, so the project here is estimated to be worth around Rs 100 crore,” said head and fellow M K Halpeth, Teri, Bangalore. 
Solar thermal has been extensively used in Spain, which gets the highest amount of sunlight in Europe. 
    The solar scenario in India, according to most experts, is more attractive than any other country. “Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat are ideal 
for utilizing such technologies. We have 280 days of sunlight and as much radiation, so India has a very high potential. If Karnataka implements this plan, it’ll the first in the country,” he added. 
According to sources, a detailed project report (DPR) is in an advanced stage. “We’ll start work on the project with Teri help after the elections. 
    “We are also looking at making solar panels more popular in Bangalore by installing them in homes and thereby reducing the peak load,” said principal secretary, energy, K Jairaj. 
    Teri will help Karnataka government to coordinate with international players, specially Spain in sharing expertise. 
According to many solar thermal experts, the plants will require a lot of land as collectors are scattered over a vast area and there are mirror-based solar collectors, steam generators among others and the electricity can be directly added to the grid. The technology is free of carbon emission and pollution. This will have many takers in the state, feel green energy experts. 


Unlike solar panels, in solar-thermal, high temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors STE converts solar energy directly into electricity As technology is considerably new and expensive, most countries have set up 10 MW plants Some high-end ones in Spain go up to 50 MW Work on project could start after elections 

jennypinto's picture

is it too late for

is it too late for mitigation?

is adaptation the only way forward?

climate scientists begining to lose hope.

temperature rise explained:

lightness of being
idontspam's picture

Not to throw too much water but...

...I just stepped a litte farther away for a big picture and it made me want to come right back to earth.

"Earth will get scorched as part of the process the Sun will go through as it transforms from being a red giant into a white dwarf,"

"The sun, like all main sequence stars, is getting brighter with time and that affects the Earth's climate,"

"If we calculated correctly, Earth has been habitable for 4.5 billion years and only has a half billion years left"

Not that this ride into the sunset gives us an excuse to not get back our forests and make us give up cars.

Ok now lets get back to fighting the metro

sanjayv's picture

solar thermal power plants

Okay, I just got a chance to read this carefully today.  I have some amount of expertise, at least on the technical side of solar thermal power... so I am going to wade in with a few observations.

No. 1. My prediction, India's first solar thermal power plant will NOT come up in Karnataka. Just reading this article, it is very clear that it is just another one of those articles.  There are very few people with solid experience in solar thermal.  These guys have a long way to be able to lock in the right experts.

No. 2: Unlike solar panels, in solar-thermal, high temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors STE converts solar energy directly into electricity As technology is considerably new and expensive, most countries have set up 10 MW plants Some high-end ones in Spain go up to 50 MW Work on project could start after elections 
This whole section is so wrong that I am shocked reading it.  In solar thermal, high temperature mirrors concentrate sunlight, use it to heat a heat transfer fluid, such as a mineral oil which is then used to produce steam.  The rest of the process is similar to a regular steam power plant where the steam spins a turbine-generator and produces power.

The SEGS plant in Kramer junction, California which consists of 9 or so units (If I remember that number correctly) has a combined capacity of 354 MW began operations in the mid to late 1980s.  So it is not really a "new technology" as the article states and very big plansts have been realized.

No. 3: 10 MW is the absolutely the wrong size for a plant.  It is well known that a plant has to be 150-200 MW before the economics starts making sense.  This is because of the fixed and variable costs and simply the economics of the situation.  THe 10 MW I believe is coming from some Government of India policy that provides incentives for this small size. 

Summary - solar thermal power is an established technology.  There is still room for improvement, but really, there is no big worry from the technology side.  It has been shown to work numerous times.  The big issue is the cost of power produced.  However, the advantage is thst a solar thermal power plants peak output is in the evening times, when the grid also sees peak power.  Peak elecricity is expensive for the electricity board to buy.  So the cost disadvantage is not that severe.  With suitable policy and giving the industry in the country a window to explore lowering costs, this technology has a real chance to contribute to our power mix.  But honestly, bone headed moves such as looking for 10 MW options is really not the way to go.
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