News from Media
India assisting EU to combat climate change
31 Mar 2008, Times of India
BRUSSELS: India is assisting European Union countries to meet their targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the Energy Trading System (ETS), says India's former environment secretary. "India has the world's largest portfolio of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects. Major amount of the carbon credit that are coming to the EU market are from India," Prodipto Ghosh, former environment secretary, told EuAsiaNews in an interview here. "India is in fact very directly assisting in enabling the EU countries to meet their Kyoto Protocol targets," noted Ghosh, now a distinguished fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi and member of the Prime Minister's council on climate change. The protocol was set up in 1997 to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the earth's atmosphere and leading to climate change. The European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is the largest multinational emissions trading scheme in the world and is a major pillar of EU climate policy. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. Ghosh said India welcomes the announcement by the EU that they would take steps to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 irrespective of what other parties do. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas. "Developed countries historically are the highest polluters and even now the per capita emissions of greenhouse gases of India are only one tenth of that of the EU and only one-twentieth of that of the US," he said. "Everybody accepts that India is not a contributor to the climate change," stressed Ghosh who was here to speak to the climate change committee of the European Parliament. Ghosh, who has held consultancy positions with various UN organisations, also spoke on India's environmental challenges at the prestigious Brussels-based think-tank the European Policy Centre. He said that India has placed a large number of policies and regulations to address issues like energy efficiency and deployment of renewable energy sources. Claiming that 38 per cent of India's energy consumption is from non-fossil sources, Ghosh stressed: "Even by global standards it is a very high level of clean fuels." The developed world maintains that there has to be a 50 per cent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in order to stabilize global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius. "Our position is that whatever steps the world would like to take to address this target, developmental growth and poverty alleviation efforts of developing countries must not be impeded. These are the bottom lines." Ghosh dismissed accusation in the West that one of the main reasons for high oil prices is because of growing oil consumption by India and China. "I would strongly dispute that India is as big a player on the energy scene as to make any significant difference. In the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in demand for petroleum in the developed countries, particularly in the US," he said
India calls for fresh approach to warming
18 Jul 2008, Times of India
NEW DELHI: Several flaws in carbon development mechanism (CDM) scheme of the United Nations have defeated its purpose, India said on Friday and suggested a fresh approach at local level to tackle global warming.
Pointing that benefits are not reaching locals under the present CDM system, Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said, "Whatever the world talk about CDM market, the truth is that what we really forget that despite of huge investment in India, no real transfer of technology has taken place."
India currently accounts for nearly 14 per cent of the world's total multi-billion dollar CDM market which allows developed nations to give financial incentives to companies in developing countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
He alleged that most people taking advantage of the CDM are settled abroad and use local technology to earn carbon credit. "As a result, the CDM which aims to curb carbon emissions is not happening. Therefore, we need to think afresh on how to make the CDM mechanism more effective," Sibal said at a summit titled "Clean Development Mechanism and Carbon Trading in India" which was organised by the Assocham.
out at developed nations for asking developing nations to cut emissions,
he said the issue needs to be looked at in the context of financial
limitations and human resource capabilities of populated countries
like India and China which are trying to eliminate poverty.
Sibal stressed on the need for clean and green technologies. "We need to think out of the box. Burning and problematic issues need to be sorted out by discussing at global forums."
A well-planned approach has to be taken in CDM to ensure that investments are made in such a manner that the impact is on local market.
"Presently, the international community is thinking globally and acting locally. Instead, it should think locally and act locally as well. Only then we will be actually working towards reducing global warming," he said.
Green Living Ninth in the Series
11 Aug 2008, Times of India (Trading in trees.........Chetan Chauhan)
NEW DELHI : AJVIR SINGH of Uttarakhand has lived surrounded by trees all his life. But the thought that planting trees could earn him some money never crossed his mind, nor did the realisation that he was saving the earth from the adverse impact of climate change.
Singh, along with his friends, has been planting trees in the wastelands of Uttarkashi district, his birthplace, to help the state government earn valuable carbon credits. “We have planted thousands of trees in the last few years which have turned barren mountains into the region’s green lungs,” he says.
With the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) now allowing countries to earn carbon credits from planting trees, which function as carbon sinks, the work that Singh and his friends do has helped the Uttarakhand government to register its forestation programme for earning carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Singh has become a role model in his state but there are many others like him who have helped state governments to take up forestation projects to earn carbon credits. Two of India’s greener states, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, have taken a lead in identifying land for planting trees. “We would soon be submitting a proposal to the CDM Authority for claiming carbon credits from our green belts,” said a Delhi government’s forest department official.
The Delhi government has identified land on the Yamuna belt in the east and in Najafgarh in the north-west of the city for planting trees and claiming credits. “We have planted lakhs of trees in the Najafgarh area and would increase tree planting drive once the government proposal is ratified by CDM Authority,” says S. A.Verma, environment head of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Tree lovers like Surender Sarthak, a schoolteacher who has planted trees along roadside from Model Town to Alipur to Pitampura in north Delhi, has appreciated the decision but says that the government should ensure that these trees survive and stay healthy.
India’s tryst with carbon credits is not restricted to forests. New innovations that lead to carbon emission reduction by making systems efficient has helped India in registering 354 projects so far with the with UNFCCC, which is the maximum for any country.
The DMRC has already claimed over 40,000 carbon credits for using innovative braking system that generates electricity, thereby reducing the traveling cost. Gadhia Solar, a company that installs these German made systems in India, is listed its solar cooking systems for claiming carbon credits with CDM Authority . The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has listed two projects for generating power from landfill sites at Gazipur and Bhalswa for claiming over 1.5 lakh carbon credits every year. Similarly, urban development projects in Gujarat and Maharashtra have got UNFCCC validation to claim carbon credits.
Owning to such projects, India has 4.64 lakh carbon credits for trading in the international markets but experts say the country has failed to replicate its innovations at a larger scale. “Unlike China, we have not been able to implement CDM for large projects, which could have earned us huge carbon credits,” said Srikanta K. Panigrahi, former member secretary of CDM Authority in India.
Things are going to change fast, Panigrahi felt, with industry bodies like CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM asking is members to take up CDM projects in a big way .
“We have companies that are in touch with international consultants to get their projects registered for earning money through CDMs. We expect India’s carbon credits to double in the next two to three years,” said an official of the environment wing at FICCI.
The industry is expected to get a big boost from the government soon. “Very soon we would introduce carbon emission reduction norms that will involve tax concessions, incentive schemes including legislative framework to motivate Indian Inc to efficiently undertake carbon emission reduction programme,” said Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal at a climate change conference in Delhi last week.
Transport & civic body link-ups can save lakhs
23 Dec 2008, Times of India
KOLKATA: CSTC, WBSTC, NBSTC, SBSTC and other state transport corporations can work out an integrated fleet management system that is fuel-efficient and be rewarded in cash for going green. Kolkata Municipal Corporation and civic bodies in Siliguri, Durgapur, Asansol and Haldia can similarly earn lakhs by managing municipal waste better and reduce pollution.
Some urban local bodies in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and even Bihar have undertaken such projects. But none has responded from West Bengal yet. This despite multilateral funding agencies' keenness to fund such projects and willingness to even structure them so that they can qualify as a project that reduces green house gas (GHG) emission.
"Under Kyoto Protocol, there is a lot of scope to not only clean up cities by adopting better technologies and cleaner systems and get rewarded for doing so. Municipalities in other states have drafted and put into action a slew of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects that will earn them precious resources. If West Bengal comes forward, we will be more than eager to help out, particularly in solid waste management, waste water management and transport projects," ADB clean energy and CDM specialist Vinay Deodhar said.
Across the country, urban local bodies have bid for CDM projects that include bus rapid transit system (Indore in MP), use of bio-diesel in public transport (Coimbatore in TN, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka), composting (districts of Orissa, Rajasthan, Kerala and Bihar) setting up intercity causeways and greening of commercial places (13 districts of Orissa).
Urging ULBs in West Bengal to take advantage of CDM, Ernst & Young (E&Y) associate director Subrata Ray said there were several initiatives like converting municipal waste to energy, setting up composting manufacturing units, extracting methane from landfills, making the transportation system more efficient and blending fuel to reduce emissions that could be adopted by ULBs in the state.
"Adoption of smart architecture and green technology in building norms can also help save energy, thereby contributing to the cause of reducing GHGs," he said.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) chief engineer Tapas Gupta conceded that ULBs were yet to wake up to opportunities but pointed out the watchdog agency was reaching out to small scale industry to help avail of CDM benefits.
"WBPCB is advising sponge iron units in the Durgapur-Asansol belt on how they can generate energy from waste heat as well as textile units in Howrah on how they can showcase their switch from oil-fired boilers to rice husk ones," he added.
20MW power a day from garbage
23 Dec 2008, Times of India
KOLKATA: Don't think this is rubbish. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) can generate 20 mw of electricity out of 4,000 tonne of waste it dumps at Dhapa daily. That is enough to light 16,000 middle income homes in summer.
All that civic bosses need to do is streamline the disposal system and set up power plant with an investment of Rs 120 crore. From the third year on, it can draw precious power out of the waste with no additional requirement and barely any recurring cost.
Not just that, the civic body can bid for a clean development mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol and earn lakhs of rupees for tapping methane, an extremely hazardous greenhouse gas (GHG).
For the present though, West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) is not attempting the Herculean task of getting KMC's act together. Instead, it is trying to ensure that the mindless, unscientific dumping that has led to the catastrophe called Dhapa is not repeated at other major urban centres like Salt Lake, Siliguri, Durgapur, Asansol, Haldia and New Town.
"To be frank, the situation in Kolkata is beyond redemption. KMC has to locate an alternative landfill site and begin work afresh to make it work. But there is a lot of scope to adopt scientific municipal waste disposal in other major urban civic body clusters. We are creating a blueprint for major corporation and municipalities to adopt a technique called engineering landfill' so that methane can be tapped to generate power," said WBGEDC managing director S P Gon Chaudhuri.
He has had several rounds of discussions with municipalities of Siliguri, Durgapur-Asansol and Salt Lake and hope to start the first project early next year.
Explaining the waste to power mechanism, Gon Chaudhuri said a 20 feet deep pit on a 1.5 km ? 1 km plot would serve as the waste collection centre. The pit will be lined with geotextile to prevent seepage of chemicals. Special perforated PVC pipes are to be then set up in grid formation with vertical pipes 42-43 feet tall that can be sealed at the end.
"These pipes will channelise the methane that is generated from the decomposing waste. Once the pit is filled with garbage (for a municipality that generates 1,000 tonne a day, it will take a year and a half to fill the pit), 20-feet-high embankment is to be created after the pipe ends sealed. Over the next year and a half, waste can be dumped in the embankment, thereby creating a 40-feet stack of waste. At the end of third year, enough methane will be generated from the pit to power a 5 mw power plant for next three years," explained Gon Chaudhuri.
Careful layout of landfill will ensure that a second site is ready for methane tapping once the first is exhausted. By the time the methane generation stops, the waste would also have converted into earth and can be used for landscaping.
Gon Chaudhuri has discussed the issue with Housing & Infrastructure Development Corporation chairman and housing minister Gautam Deb. That latter is believed to have evinced interest in adopting the technology for New Town, the showcase satellite township that is projected to have a resident population of 10 lakh and floating population of 5 lakh. At 0.5 kg of waste generated per capita, the township will generate 750 tonne waste daily.
"We need to manage the waste properly because methane leakage is a major cause of global warming. That will be one of the biggest challenge in future," said the winner of the Ashden award (Green Oscar) in 2003.
Websites log on to green hosting
12 Dec 2008, Times of India
PUNE: If you belong to the club of netizens, plan to have your own website or genuinely care about the environment, this one's for you. The buzzword in website hosting, green hosting' is making itself felt across the internet circles, albeit in a small way.
Now, the trend has made its way to Pune as well, with the city-based Pune Gourmet Club Association opting for an American green' server to host its recently-launched website. Green hosting refers to hosting one's website on a carbon-neutral server, viz. one whose carbon emissions are offset by the web-hosting company by green activities like planting trees etc or through the purchase of carbon credits.
While an extensive search by TOI threw up only one website that was hosted on a green server, Znet India, one of the country's largest web-hosting companies, has confirmed that they have up to 100 clients who have opted for green hosting.
Speaking to TOI, Munesh Singh, CEO of the Noida-based company, said, "Our contributions ave helped towards the purchase of one hectare of land in Noida. Our staff are taking responsibility to grow trees on this land. This is a long-term project and will take twenty years before the forest becomes well-grown. The whole project is expected to sequester some 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide while making a real contribution to wildlife conservation."
And since reducing (or neutralising) one's carbon footprint attracts benefits from the government, green hosting is actually more cost efficient in the long run than conventional hosting.
Closer home, the PGCA decided to go green while launching their website recently. "Our website is hosted on Dream Host, an American server. Dream Host is a totally carbon-neutral server that purchases carbon credits on our behalf. Also, it believes in energy-efficient hardware," said Nilesh Kale, PGCA's web administrator.
Dream Host, in turn, has a green certificate' that says it has offset close to 5,000 tonnes of carbon since April 2007. And, according to Mike S, a member of Dream Host, the server offsets its entire carbon emissions, including the emissions caused by their employees' travel to the workplace!
Speaking to TOI, Zubin Saigal, director of Nettigritty Private Limited, another domestic giant in the world of hosting, confirmed that green hosting is becoming the buzzword in the world of internet. "While end-user knowledge about this is minimal and close to non-existent, it is the responsibility of hosting companies and data centres to endorse the idea and do their bit in moving towards green hosting. Of the few companies that participate in the green initiative, some do it to gain publicity, others to cut costs and some to "make a difference". Either way, its worth it," Saigal said.
Directi, a multinational conglomerate, told TOI that the Green IT' agenda is gaining momentum in India and has already attracted private and government funding.
Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Directi, added that while the company does not undertake green hosting initiatives of its own, green hosting is sure to become "increasingly popular" among the consumers, as "concern for the environment increases".
"TERI can give both an industrial perspective as well as a scientific analysis of the whole clean development mechanism (CDM) situation in India, but not an IT perspective as such. One reason could be that the IT industry is still developing, hence it has to do an indepth perspective into CDM, a system that, in future through IT, stores great financial growth for our country along with a much cleaner environment." Rajiv Chhiber, TERI spokesperson
Carbon credit prices crash on falling crude
6 Dec 2008, Times of India (Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, Nasscom)
MUMBAI: Prices of carbon credits have fallen to euro 14 per tonne from a peak of euro 20 two months ago - a level, which experts feel, is unlikely to be regained in the short term.
CERs, or certified emission reductions, are credits issued by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to developing countries - loosely called carbon credits - under the clean development mechanism (CDM) scheme of the Kyoto Protocol. CERs can be purchased by developed nations to meet their emission reduction targets. One carbon credit is equivalent to a one tonne reduction of carbon dioxide or its corresponding greenhouse gas. Prices are CERs in the spot market have crashed due to multiple reasons. There has been a contraction of demand for CERs due to lower emission on account of lower demand and temporary shutdown of companies due to economic slowdown.
The price has come down on the back of a fall in crude prices. CER rates and crude prices are inextricably linked. Crude prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange are ruling below $47 per barrel. Crude had touched a record high of $147 per barrel on July 11 this year, after which it has been declining.
"In the short run, technically, a rally in CER prices is possible since the fall has also been sharp, but the likelihood seems remote. At this point of time, companies need to take a decision to sell the CERs based on their future fund requirements and risk-taking ability," said Vishal Kedia, head of emerging businesses, Enam Holding.
To some extent, an oversupply situation was created with around 10-12 million CERs of Lehman Brothers' carbon credits being traded in the past two months, said industry sources. In addition, while some buyers have postponed their purchases due to financial constraints, some sellers have also made distress sales of CERs since they needed immediate cash to get over the current credit crunch. According to Ram Babu, managing director (Asia), CantorCO2e: "We expect CER prices to continue to range between euro 10-15 per tonne for over a year. CER prices are unlikely to touch the euro 20 levels till 2010."
Indian companies which had not encashed their carbon credits even when prices were ruling at a peak of euro 20, are not in a hurry to sell now.
Said Seshagiri Rao, director (finance), JSW Steel: "We believe that with economic recovery, prices of CERs would also go up. We will wait till the price revives." JSW Steel was issued 7.4 lakh CERs by the CDM executive board of the UNFCCC, a few months ago.
This may, probably, increase India's quantum of unsold CERs (over 42 million), which currently accounts for more than 40% of the world's unsold certified emission reductions.