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NEWS UPDATE #134


The Guardian reports: A new paper uses a new strategy to improve upon our understanding of ocean heating shows we are warming about 13% faster than we previously thought. Not only that but the warming has accelerated. Moreover, it is only since about 1990 that the warming has penetrated to depths below about 700 meters.

Water Scarcity Behind Decline in Thermal Power Generation in India
Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar, The Wire
As India continues to rely on conventional sources of energy, with thermal power contributing a major proportion of all the electricity produced in the country, acute shortage of water around power plants appears to be having an impact on the power output with India losing about 5,870 million units of generation due to the non-availability of water till February in this financial year. Power minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday told the Lok Sabha how the loss of generation has actually significantly increased over the past three years from 1,258 million units in 2014-15 to 4,989 million units in 2015-16 and to 5,870 million units in the first ten months of the current fiscal.

Centre gives six months to deal with cases of environmental clearance violations
Srestha Banerjee, Down to Earth
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has issued a notification, giving a six-month window period to project proponents, who have been operating without obtaining a prior environmental clearance (EC), to apply for the same. The notification, issued on March 14, clarifies that this opportunity can only be availed for projects or activities which are observed to be in violation till the date of the notification, thus, making this a one-time opportunity.

India’s organized sector job creation plummets post-2010, leaving people under-employed, poorly paid: OECD report
Counterview
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the inter-governmental body of rich western countries, has regretted that India has been creating “too few quality jobs to meet the aspiration of its growing workforce, leaving many people under-employed, poorly paid or outside the labour force.” The report “OECD Economic Surveys: India”, was released last month. (Also read: India’s healthcare spending lower than Sudan, Tanzania, Namibia, Malawi, with very high “catastrophic spending”)

POSCO offers to return land to govt: Odisha Minister
The Economic Times
Posco-India has requested the Odisha government to take back its 2,700 acres of land provided to it near Paradip for setting up a 12 mtpa steel plant at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore. “We have received a letter from Posco-India in this regard. The steel major has offered to return the land near Paradip in its possession,” state Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra told PTI.

Norway’s Wealth Fund Blacklists Vedanta, Other Indian Firms Over Rights Violations, Climate Impact
The Wire
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – the world’s largest sovereign wealth or state-owned investment fund – continued to put a series of companies with Indian operations on its exclusion lists, citing human rights, environmental and climate change impacts. These include companies with substantial investments in metals, coal and thermal power. UK-based Vedanta Resources Plc., first excluded in 2007, once again made its way to the GPFG’s exclusion list. The council recommended against the re-introduction of Vedanta in the GPFG’s investment universe, stating that “in the council’s view there continues to be an unacceptable risk that your company will cause or contribute to severe environmental damage and serious or systematic human rights violations”. (Related: Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal to Invest Over $2 Bn in mining giant Anglo American)

Protesters from Australia land at Adani House to oppose coal project
Deccan Herald
In one of the firsts for an Indian corporate, Adani Group, which is trying to implement $11.5 billion coal mine project in Australia, saw the protest from Australia land at its doorsteps in Ahmedabad on Thursday. A group of activists from Queensland, Australia, landed at the corporate headquarters of Adani Group in Ahmedabad to personally hand over an ‘open letter’ against the project to the office of Gautam Adani, chairman of the group. (Related: Queensland govt supports USD 16.5bn coal mine project: Adani)

Watch how India crushes its national animal, tiger (Graphic video)
Prerna Bindra, Daily O
The video is brutally shocking: a tiger drunkenly tries to stagger away from the monstrous machine – a JCB – that is bearing down on him. The bulldozer pins the tiger, allowing humans to move in and net him. It is said there was some life left, after the tiger had been tranquilised, squashed, trapped; and so he was dumped into a cage to be transported into a life of captivity at the Nainital Zoo (Uttarakhand).

Paswan rules out separate law to regulate MRP of bottled water, soft drinks
News Nation
Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday ruled out bringing a separate legislation to regulate sale of packaged water and soft drinks above MRP (maximum retail price), saying the existing law has provisions to curb this unfair trade practice. MRP of products is fixed by private firms. But there have been complaints of charging more than MRP and declaring dual MRP. Recently, consumer court NCDRC had imposed a penalty on a multiplex for selling water above MRP.

After Sand Mining Exposé in The Wire, Reporter Complains of Harassment, Intimidation
The Wire
Chennai-based senior journalist Sandhya Ravishankar, who published a four-part series on Tamil Nadu’s sand mafia in The Wire, has alleged that she has been constantly harassed by supporters of S. Vaikundarajan (owner of the largest sand mining conglomerate in the country, who is mentioned extensively in the articles). The series, published in late January this year, documented the illegal sand mining, political collusion, and methods used to suppress competition in the south and is the outcome of four years of investigative journalism.

Meghalaya civil groups say won’t allow uranium project
The Times of India
Anti-mining groups in Meghalaya on Thursday told Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) officials that they would not allow the company to mine uranium in the state. A team of UCIL officials led by their Chairman and Managing Director, C.K. Asnani held a closed-door meeting with five anti-mining groups seeking their views and opinions on Kylleng Pyndengsohiong Mawthabah (KPM) uranium mining project that has been stalled for over two decades.

India’s business houses increasingly rely on NGOs for spending corporate social responsibility funds: Crisil
Counterview
India’s top consultants, Crisil, in its latest “CSR Yearbook”, have said that Indian companies’ attitude towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) “seems to be changing ever so slowly” even though they are “realising that businesses can sustain and thrive only if the communities they serve also endure and flourish.”

A rooftop solar DC power system developed by IIT M gets IEEE award
The Economic Times
A solar direct current power unit developed by IIT Madras, that can power a small home at lesser cost than a conventional solar power has received the IEEE’s (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) ‘Spectrum Technology In The Service Of Society’ award. The unit comprising of 0.9sqm solar panel (roughly the size of a floor tile) of 125watt capacity, a device that will connect AC grid to DC power line and a battery with 1kwh capacity, will power a few fans, lights, a television, mobile charging, mixer grinder and computer that runs on DC current.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at the fastest rate ever recorded
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
For the second year in a row, carbon dioxide concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa Observatory rose at a record-fast clip, according to new data released by the Environmental System Research Laboratory (ESRL). The annual growth of 3 parts per million in 2016 is the slightest shade below the jump in 2015 of 3.03 ppm. Both years mark the first time carbon dioxide has risen more than 3 ppm in a single year in ESRL’s 59 years of monitoring. (Related:  International Energy AGency claims CO2 emissions stay same for third year in row – despite global economy growing)

Earth’s oceans are warming 13% faster than thought, and accelerating
John Abraham, The Guardian
A new paper uses a new strategy to improve upon our understanding of ocean heating to estimate the total global warming from 1960 to 2015. One main outcome of the study is that it shows we are warming about 13% faster than we previously thought. Not only that but the warming has accelerated. The warming rate from 1992 is almost twice as great as the warming rate from 1960. Moreover, it is only since about 1990 that the warming has penetrated to depths below about 700 meters. (Also read: Climate Change Concerns Prompt Court to Block Vienna Airport Expansion)

Weird Polar Warming Appears to Have Made February of 2017 the Second Hottest Ever Recorded
Robert Scribbler
January of 2017 showed up as 1.14 C hotter than 1880s while February was 1.32 C hotter. The combined average of these two months was 1.23 C warmer than the preindustrial baseline — or a hair warmer that the 2016 average. This shouldn’t have happened. But it did. And now there is some risk that 2017 may be yet another record hot year. The fourth in a row consecutively.

US Pressures G20 Into Dropping Climate Reference from Joint Statement
Common Dreams
Finance ministers for the Group of 20 (G20), which comprises the world’s biggest economies, dropped a joint statement mentioning funding for the fight against climate change after pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia. A G20 official taking part in the annual meeting told Reuters that efforts by this year’s German leadership to keep climate funding in the statement had hit a wall. “Climate change is out for the time being,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

Climate change computer model vindicated 30 years later by what has actually happened
Ian Johnston , The Independent UK
Nearly 30 years ago, scientists developed a computer model of the Earth’s climate that predicted the level of global warming – to the ridicule of ‘sceptics’ at a time when there still seemed to be a debate over the issue. Now two leading researchers have compared the model’s results with what actually happened over the last three decades and, to their surprise, found they were “very similar”.

2.7 million animals killed by U.S. wildlife-destruction program in 2016
Deep Green Resistance
The highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 2.7 million animals during 2016, according to new data from the agency. The multimillion-dollar federal program targets wolves, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction — primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.7 million animals killed last year, nearly 1.6 million were native wildlife species. (Related: Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo)

Oil company pulls out of uncontacted tribes’ land
Deep Green Resistance
A Canadian oil company has told Survival International it will withdraw from the territory of several uncontacted tribes in the Amazon where it had been intending to explore for oil. The company, Pacific E&P, had previously been awarded the right to explore for oil in a large area of the Amazon Uncontacted Frontier, a region of immense biodiversity which is home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. It began its first phase of oil exploration in 2012.

New Zealand river is the world’s first ‘legal person’
Al Jazeera
A New Zealand river revered by the Maori has been recognised by parliament as a “legal person”, in a move believed to be a world first. Under legislation passed on Wednesday that combines Western legal precedent with Maori mysticism, the Whanganui river has been formally declared a living entity. “[It] will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person,” Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said. “The approach of granting legal personality to a river is unique.”

Nigerian oil export pipeline attacked
UPI
The group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers said its fighters on Tuesday took out an oil export pipeline in Nigeria operated by Chevron. The militant group, which surfaced early this year, is fighting for a greater share of the oil wealth from Nigeria, which is a member of the Organization of Exporting Countries. The group has been in various stages of peace talks with the government since the summer.

First-ever cases of obesity in Arctic peoples as noodles replace traditional diet
Olga Gertcyk, The Siberian Times
Subtle changes in traditional lifestyle of native ethnic groups in the Yamalo-Nenets region have brought the first-ever cases of obesity. Until now, fatness has not existed in these population groups, but scientists say there has been a marked change. Alexey Titovsky, regional director for science and innovation, said: ‘It never happened before that the small local indigenous peoples of the north suffered from obesity. It is a nonsensical modern problem. Now even a predisposition to obesity is being noticed.’

New Oil Price War Looms As The OPEC Deal Falls Short
Nick Cunningham, Oil Price
In short, the OPEC deal was kind of weak to begin with, and now U.S. shale could be killing off the OPEC-fueled oil price rally. What happens next is uncertain. The much faster return of U.S. shale production and soft oil prices have sparked a growing chorus within OPEC to extend the six-month deal until the end of the year. This week Kuwait became the first member to officially endorse a roll-over of the production cuts for another six months.

Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China’s Housing Bubble
Zero Hedge
A couple of research reports released overnight by Deutsche Bank and Bank of America, respectively, come to a sobering conclusion: the fate of the global economy may be in the hands of the Chinese housing bubble. While the most recent housing bubble, the third in a row, appears to have recently popped as annual home price growth declined in January for the first time after 19 months of continuous acceleration.

 

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