Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research from the University of California-Berkeley on the impact of rising temperatures on vulnerable societies. Meanwhile, a new report from Asian Development Bank indicates climate change is pushing Asia towards doom.
Suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers linked to climate change, study claims
Michael Safi, The Guardian
Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research that examines the toll rising temperatures are already taking on vulnerable societies. Illustrating the extreme sensitivity of the Indian agricultural industry to spikes in temperature, the study from the University of California, Berkeley, found an increase of just 1C on an average day during the growing season was associated with 67 more suicides.
Climate change pushing Asia towards doom
The Third Pole
Much of Asia may see 50% more rainfall due to climate change, although countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan may experience a decline in rainfall by 20-50%, says a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. And there will probably be more intense typhoons and cyclones as global temperatures go up, says the ADB report, called A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific.
Sharp spike in natural disasters impacting agriculture, data shows
The spate of floods in Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat among other parts of the country this monsoon season is part of a global phenomenon that shows a marked increase in frequency and extent of natural disasters in the last six decades or so, data has revealed. EM-DAT (The International Disaster database) has found that the number of disasters in India went up from three in the decade of 1900-1909, to as many as 186 a century later. And this decade, in the last seven years (2010-16), India has already seen 107 disasters.
Narmada valley villagers hold jal satyargaha to protest dam gates closure, AAP to launch yatra from August 1
On the third day of indefinite fast in the Narmada Valley, hundreds of villagers entered the Narmada waters and observed jal satyagraha, “challenging” the Madhya Pradesh government’s “plan” to displace 40,000 families by closing gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam allegedly without any rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. Even as the jal sstyagraha is on a large number of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) detachments have reached Badwani. NBA said, “This clearly shows that despite knowing about the tragedy, the government is deliberately working against the people. As the water level increases, there will be havoc in the valley, a completely man made disaster.” (Related: Noam Chomsky seeks justice from Modi as Medha Patkar’s hunger strike off Narmada river enters fourth day)
PM Modi Visits Gujarat, Announces Package Of Rs 500 Crore, Nothing For Assam Where Death Toll Has Reached 77
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited flood affected parts of his home state Gujarat to take stock of the situation. On Tuesday PM Modi announced a relief package of Rs 500 crore for the flood-affected districts. He also declared ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured in the floods. Meanwhile in Assam, which has been in the grip of the worst flood in decades, the situation has shown signs of improvement.
GM mustard has history of safe use, govt tells Supreme Court
The government has told the Supreme Court that genetically modified (GM) mustard crop is not herbicide tolerant and has a “proven history of safe use” for more than 20 years. India’s regulator for GM products—the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)—on 11 May recommended approval for commercial production of GM mustard. Cotton is the only GM crop allowed in India and if the environment ministry grants permission, GM mustard will become the first GM food crop in India. (Related: 1) Will not permit GM mustard in Tamil Nadu: Agriculture minister 2) Organic farming in India wll be jeopardised with commercialisation of GM mustar: Senior economists write to Modi )
In Karnataka, another water crisis looming large?
Dakshina Kannada appears to be staring at another water crisis with the less than normal monsoon. As on July 28, the district received 766 mm rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 1,217 mm and last year’s 876.5 mm, with nearly 42 % deficiency. The situation is alarming and is bound to affect groundwater sources as well as flowing river water, said N.J. Devaraj Reddy, Hydro-Geologist from Chitradurga, who has done extensive studies about groundwater situation and has taken up many projects of groundwater recharge in Dakshina Kannada.
Foodgrain Output Up 5-Fold In 60 Years, Hides India’s Farm Distress
Chaitanya Mallapur, IndiaSpend
India’s foodgrain production rose five times over six decades, according to 2016 government data, the latest available. But with the average Indian farm half as large as it used to be 50 years ago and yields among the lowest in developing economies, both the agriculture sector and farmers have been driven to the brink, shows an IndiaSpend analysis. Output of foodgrains in India increased from 50.82 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 252.22 million tonnes in 2015-16, according to the Agriculture Statistics At A Glance 2016 report. Yield increased as well, from 522 kg per hectare (ha) in 1950-51 to 2,056 kg/ha in 2015-16.
By Ending ‘Zombie Energy’, India Could Cut Premature Deaths From Air Pollution by 65%
Mukta Patil, IndiaSpend
In 2013 and 2014, India provided subsidies worth $16.9 billion/year (Rs 1.08 lakh crore/year) to produce energy from fossil fuels, mostly through support for state-owned or controlled enterprises. The estimated health cost from burning fossil fuels during the same time was $140.7 billion (Rs 9.02 lakh crore) every year, over eight times the value of the subsidies. For $16.9 billion, India could provide 375 million households with solar lamps and train nearly 32,000 more doctors at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) than it does now.
How new hurdles are delaying the Ken-Betwa river link project
As the Ken-Betwa river link project approaches the final stages of environmental clearance, at a time when nothing could come in its way, the Madhya Pradesh government has raised certain issues with the project that are expected to delay the implementation of the project. The raising of objections is interesting given that the MP government till recently had been bending over backwards on every demand by the union and Uttar Pradesh government – the other two stakeholders in the project. The MP government has demanded that three smaller projects on the Ken, that were initially expected to be part of the second phase of the project, be included in the first phase itself. The projects include the Kotha Barrage, Lower Orr and Bina Complex.
Protest Against Adani Port In Vizhinjam Gathers Momentum
The struggle against the proposed Vizhinjam International Deepwater port by AAP had kick started with the 8days long district wide travel in a vehicle with corner meetings at various points and a conclusion on every evening at important venues. The jatha had covered 14 legislative assembly constituencies in the district. On an average 20 persons were travelling with the jatha vehicle on all these days. At some points it came to 50 persons.
Farmers in distress fall prey to the lure of brick kiln owners, lease out fertile lands
The Hans India
With a construction boom across India, brick-making is a lucrative business in Uttar Pradesh villages, with hundreds of furnaces baking millions of bricks day and night. Over 250 farmers in six villages – Kodiyaganj, Sikanderpur, Akrabad, Sakra, Gabhana, Dadaun and Pilakhana – in Aligarh have leased out about 200 acres of land to around 100 brick kiln units in the last four years. Some farmers said they were forced to do it because the prolonged drought had pushed them to the brink of starvation.
India’s search for uranium could displace 4,000 in 13 tribal villages of Madhya Pradesh
Jitendra, Down to Earth
India’s appetite for uranium is growing rapidly. It has 22 nuclear power reactors that produce 3 per cent of its electricity, but the government wants to take this share to 25 per cent by 2050. As the villages are in a Fifth Schedule area, they are governed by a special administrative system, and any exploratory activity without the permission of all the concerned gram sabhas is illegal. In Meghalaya, uranium exploration in the 1990s caused massive damage to the flora and fauna.
In two years solar energy for residential sector would be cheaper than electricity grid: Solar players
The Economic Times
In the next two years, solar power will be cheaper than the electricity grid in the residential sector, says solar energy provider SunSource Energy which on Monday successfully implemented the first two phases of a 100 MW solar project in South East Asia. Stating that while the solar energy in India has already reached ‘grid parity’ in commercial, industrial and utility sectors, soon this would be achieved in residential sector as well.
Reliance thinktank report: Low calorific coal “required” for India’s high economic growth, energy security
Rajiv Shah, Counterview
A top-ranking think tank attached with one of India’s foremost business houses has warned that, despite the Government of India target have ensure that 40% of the energy needs would be fulfilled by renewable sources in about a decade, this is not going to happen over the next two decades or more. Worse, the think tank report says, the use of coal, which currently accounts for 67% of India’s energy needs, would go down maximum by 7%, reaching 60% about 20 years later. Rest of the 40% of the energy needs would, therefore, be met by not just renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.), but also by nuclear and hydro power plants. (Related: 14 hydro power projects stare at Rs 25,594 crore cost overrun)
From Mainstream to Multiversities
In various corners in the country, there are centres — like ships sailing against the winds of ‘factory schooling’ — working on diverse ‘alternative’ ways of education. With the common goal of re-imagining higher education in India, some of these alternative universities recently got together to form the Indian Multiversities Alliance. The Indian Multiversities Alliance aims to harness the collective wisdom and imagination of different organisations to give the youth more learning opportunities and choices than the ones currently available in the current education scenario. Twenty-five educators from different parts of the country met for three days from 21st to 23rd May 2017 at Swaraj University, Udaipur to organize the first meeting of the Alliance.
We may have even less time to stop global warming than we thought
The Washington Post
At least since 2013, one of the biggest concerns in the climate change debate has been the so-called carbon budget — a fixed limit to the volume of carbon dioxide emissions that we can put into the atmosphere before irrevocably committing to a considerably hotter planet. As of 2011, that budget was about 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide before the planet is likely to careen past a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperatures. But now, a team of prominent climate scientists say the budget is probably even narrower. The problem is how you define “preindustrial,” or when you consider human-caused perturbations of the atmosphere to have begun. (Related: Scientists just found a surprising possible consequence from a very small amount of global warming)
Utilities Knew, Too: Despite Warning Decades Ago, Industry Lied and Deceived on Climate
Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. electric utility industry was warned about potential risks posed by climate change if it continued to rely on fossil fuels. Rather than heed those warnings, the industry spent the following decades instilling public doubt and making substantial investments in fossil fuels—according to a report released Tuesday by the Energy and Policy Institute (EPI). EPI’s researchers reveal that beginning as early as 1968, government scientists repeatedly warned electric utility executives about risks of manmade climate change.
Planet has just 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal, study says
There is only a 5% chance that the Earth will avoid warming by at least 2C come the end of the century, according to new research that paints a sobering picture of the international effort to stem dangerous climate change. Global trends in the economy, emissions and population growth make it extremely unlikely that the planet will remain below the 2C threshold set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the study states. (Related: Extreme El Niño events more frequent even if warming limited to 1.5C – report)
Alien species invasions and global warming a ‘deadly duo’, warn scientists
Invasions by alien species and global warming form a “deadly duo”, scientists have warned, with the march of Argentine ants in the UK a new example. The public are being asked to be on alert for invaders such as the raccoon dog and Asian hornet, as eradication can be near impossible after a species becomes established. As trade and human travel has become globalised many thousands of species have crossed oceans or mountain ranges and become established in new regions, with some causing “invasional meltdown” and over a trillion of dollars of damage a year.
Landless Workers Movement protest occupies farms of Brazil’s elite
In a large scale, well coordinated protest in six states, more than 2,000 rural families, members of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST), occupied six farms belonging to some of the nation’s top politicians and the wealthy elite in the early hours of Tuesday and Wednesday this week. With a straight-to-the-point slogan — Corrupt ones, give us back our lands! — the movement demands a resurgence of agrarian reform in the country and the removal of Michel Temer from the presidency. Temer’s policies, according to his critics, heavily favor the interests of the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby that helped bring him to power in 2016.
Proposed Colombia dam threatens to wipe out endangered plants, disrupt river
A Colombian conglomerate is moving ahead to build a nearly 400-foot-tall hydroelectric dam along the Samaná Norte River in northwestern Colombia, which threatens to extinguish critically endangered plant species found only in the canyon, and block the path of migrating fish. Shrouded in violent conflict between guerrilla, paramilitaries and the state that displaced local farmers from their land for decades, the Samaná Norte River had been protected from development up until ten years ago, when the violence began to subside. (Related: Colombia expands indigenous reserves near key deforestation hotspot)
Jeff Bezos, Global Elites And Revolution
Binu Mathew, Countercurrents
The morning papers bring me the news that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world. Actually he overtook Bill Gates for a few hours on Thursday as the richest person on earth as the Amazon share prices rose. Bill Gates regained his position as the richest person later in the day. Why should we crib about hard working businessmen making good money? There is a danger. Joseph Tainter has pointed out in his book “The Collapse of Complex Societies”, as marginal returns become minimal, societies tend to make the system more complex to maximize profit. The same thing is happening now.
‘The idea is coming of age’: Indigenous Australians take carbon farming to Canada
Australia’s world-leading Indigenous land management and carbon farming programs are spreading internationally, with a formal agreement signed to help build a similar program in Canada. A chance meeting between Rowen Foley from the Aboriginal Carbon Fund and a Candian carbon credit businessman at the 2015 Paris climate conference spawned a relationship that led to an agreement this week that will help Canadian First Nations peoples learn from the Australian Aboriginal carbon farming success.