The Washington Post reports: Scientists have documented what they’re describing as the first case of large-scale river reorganization as a result of human-caused climate change. They found that the retreat of a very large glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory led to the rerouting of its vast stream of meltwater from one river system to another.
Centre warns of water shortage
The Economic Times
The ministry of water resource has asked some states to promote water conservation projects ahead of the monsoon season as they could be vulnerable to drought conditions. Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh are identified as vulnerable states as some of them are in arid and semi-arid zones, receive spatial rains, and have low water storage in reservoirs, or are seeing a decline in the water tables. In 2016-17, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry suffered agricultural drought. (Also read: With New System in Hand, IMD Predicts Normal Monsoon for 2017)
Five deaths and a pungent village: The aftermath of a chemical leak in an Andhra village
Rahul Maganti, The News Minute
At around 9am on the morning of March 30, Praveen and four others were asked to clean a 16-feet deep wastage tank in a factory of ‘Ananda Aqua Sea Exports’, based in Nallammavarithota village, in Andhra’s West Godavari District. Eega Yedukondalu (30), was the first to get orders from his duty supervisor Nallam Satyanarayana to get into the tank, but little did he know that the poisonous gases which filled the tank would take his life and that of four others – Jakkamshetty Praveen (24), Boddu Rambabu (25), Thota Srinivasa Rao (30) and Nallam Yedukondalu (23).
Mamata Banerjee is making political arrests to crush stir against power project, claim protestors
Subrata Nagchoudhury, Scroll.in
The participants of an agitation against a power project in Bhangar, in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, have alleged that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government was using repressive measures and filing false cases against peaceful protestors, often using draconian laws, in an attempt to crush the movement. Sujato Bhadra, a leader of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, accused the government of making several “political arrests” in connection with the Bhangar agitation, and of “slapping UAPA charges indiscriminately” against those associated with it. (Also read: Indian Naval Academy in Kerala is in choppy waters as residents claim it contaminated their wells)
Swachh Bharat: Funds for treating solid waste cut 46 per cent
Nidhi Sharma, The Economic Times
As Swachh Bharat Mission reaches the halfway mark of implementation, the Centre has decided to halve the expenditure on solid waste management, the biggest head of the cleanliness drive. The government has scaled down expenditure on solid waste management 46 per cent to Rs 20,153 crore from Rs 38,000 crore approved by the Cabinet in September 2014, when it gave its assent to the Rs 62,009-crore mission. The urban development ministry has decided to follow the estimates given by a task force on waste to energy formed by the erstwhile Planning Commission.
43 hydro projects under construction: Govt
The Economic Times
Forty three hydro-electric projects, with total generating capacity of 11,928 MW, are under construction, the Lok Sabha was informed today. Out of these 43 projects, 16 are stalled due to financial constraints and other reasons, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. The total power generation capacity of the 16 projects is 5,163 MW and the anticipated completion cost of these projects would be Rs 52,306 crore while their original cost was Rs 27,027 crore, he said. (Related: Government to replace 7,700 Megawatt old power units with efficient plants)
India’s solar energy capacity expanded by record 5,525 MW
Kaavya Chandrasekaran, The Economic Times
India’s solar energy capacity has expanded by a record 5,525.98 MW in 2016-17, according to the latest figures provided by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE). In comparison, India had added 3,010 MW of solar capacity in 2015-16, which shows that growth nearly doubled over the past year. Cumulative solar capacity currently stands at 12,288.83 MW, against 6,762.85 MW at the end of March 2016. (Related: 1) India adds record wind power capacity of 5,400MW in 2016-17) 2) New draft wind power guidelines seek to reform sector through payment security)
Blow to Tata Power, Adani as Supreme Court sets aside ruling on tariff
Apurva Vishwanath, Live Mint
Tata Power Co. Ltd and Adani Power Ltd were dealt a major setback on Tuesday when the Supreme Court set aside an earlier tribunal ruling that allowed the power producers to charge compensatory tariff from consumers. The ruling will likely weaken the finances of both companies, particularly Adani Power, which may have to write off some of the additional revenues it had booked in anticipation of a favourable verdict. Adani Power shares plunged 16% to Rs37.20, while those of Tata Power fell 1.95% to Rs85.40 on the BSE on Tuesday.
NGT orders closure of industrial units in Bellandur Lake area
Down to Earth
In a hearing on the Bellandur Lake fire case, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday ordered the closure of all industries situated in the vicinity of the lake. This was done to prevent industrial units from dumping treated or untreated waste into the lake. Taking a suo motu cognisance, the NGT ordered that no industry would be allowed to operate in the area unless effluent emissions are under permissible limits. Industries found violating the order will be sealed. The green bench order also prohibits dumping of municipal solid waste as well as construction and demolition waste into the lake or in the buffer zone. Individuals, industries and builders found violating the order will be fined Rs 5 lakh.
Photo Feature: The thirsty forests
K. Bhagya Prakash, The Hindu
As one of the worst droughts in recent years cuts a swathe through the Bandipur and Nagarahole Tiger Reserves in southern Karnataka, the 1,515 sq.km of forests have become a desolate landscape. By conservative estimates, just one in five watering holes, even lakes and ponds, remains wet. Langurs, elephants, gaurs, deer and nilgai crowd the remaining water sources and the once-expansive Kabini backwaters. The tiger makes an uneasy appearance — but even carnivores are on the lookout for just water. The drying up of watering holes is tipping the fragile ecological balance of the forests, home to one of the densest populations of tigers in the world.
India suffers US$ 41.17 billion loss due to corporate tax avoidance, or 2.34% of GDP, one of the highest in the world
Rajiv Shah, Counterview
India loses US dollars 41.17 billion dollars, or 2.34% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as a result of corporate tax avoidance. While in quantitative terms this loss is the fourth largest in the world, next to the United States (188.8 billion dollars), China (66.8 billion dollars) and Japan (46.8 billion dollars), the loss as percentage of GDP tells a totally different story. The size of the economies of US, China and Japan is much bigger than that of India, one reason why their quantitative loss due to corporate tax avoidance is more than that in India. However, in percentage of GDP lost, India’s 2.34 per cent is much higher than the US’ (1.13 per cent).
India’s farm fires poison air over South Asia
Soumya Sarkar, India Climate Dialogue
Even as India attempts to grapple with increasing air pollution in its cities, fires started by farmers across the country on crop residues are adding massively to the overall carbon dioxide load over South Asia. There are agricultural fires currently raging across the entire southern Asian landscape, according to the latest satellite image released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The image was taken by the Suomi NPP satellites’ VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument last week. The Suomi NPP satellite is a joint mission between NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US.
Kaziranga film: BBC banned for 5 years from all national parks, sanctuaries
Jay Mazoomdar, Indian Express
The government as prohibited the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from filming in India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for “irreparable damage done to India’s reputation”. Imposed with “immediate effect” on April 10, the five-year ban applies to filming for BBC documentaries and news reports. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had in a showcause notice issued two days earlier criticised the BBC for “grossly erroneous” reporting and recommended the blacklisting of the BBC’s South Asia correspondent Justin Rowlatt for a documentary that highlighted the government’s “ruthless anti-poaching strategy” for the Kaziranga tiger reserve in Assam.
Madras High Court Lobs Illegal Beach Sand Mining Ball in Centre’s Court
Sandhya Ravishankar, The Wire
As the saga of illegal beach sand mining drags on in the Madras high court, an interim order pronounced on March 27, by the first bench comprising acting Chief Justice Hulavadi Ramesh and Justice R.M.T. Teeka Raman, has finally called into question the role, or the lack thereof, played by the Centre over two decades in monitoring, curbing and enforcing laws preventing the mining of monazite, an atomic mineral found in the beach sands of Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin districts in Tamil Nadu. The mineral is found in the sand of the shores of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as well.
China, EU Reaffirm Climate Action After Trump Retreats
Ben Blanchard & Alister Doyle, Reuters
Nations led by China and the European Union rallied around a global plan to slow climate change on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump began undoing Obama-era plans for deep cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Trump’s order on Tuesday, keeping a campaign promise to bolster the U.S. coal industry, strikes at the heart of an international Paris Agreement in 2015 to curb world temperatures that hit record highs in 2016 for the third year in a row. Many nations reacted to Trump’s plan with dismay and defiance, saying a vast investment shift from fossil fuels to clean energy such as wind and solar power is underway with benefits ranging from less air pollution to more jobs. (Related: China solar, wind to attract $780 billion investment by 2030 – research report)
For the first time on record, human-caused climate change has rerouted an entire river
Chris Mooney, The Washington Post
A team of scientists on Monday documented what they’re describing as the first case of large-scale river reorganization as a result of human-caused climate change. They found that in mid-2016, the retreat of a very large glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory led to the rerouting of its vast stream of meltwater from one river system to another — cutting down flow to the Yukon’s largest lake, and channeling freshwater to the Pacific Ocean south of Alaska, rather than to the Bering Sea.
‘An enormous loss’: 900 miles of the Great Barrier Reef have bleached severely since 2016
Chris Mooney, The Washington Post
Scientists just back from a 5,000 mile aircraft survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef pronounced a dire verdict Sunday: Warm waters have severely bleached large swaths of its corals for the second year in a row in a deadly one-two punch. In 2016, two thirds of corals in the northern sector of the reef died after severe bleaching from unusually warm waters. Now this year, researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, who reported the previous findings, say that the reef’s central sector has been hit by another year of damaging warmth.
Greenpeace UK fined under Lobbying Act in ‘act of civil disobedience’
Matthew Taylor, The Guardian
Greenpeace has become the first organisation to be fined under the U.K. government’s Lobbying Act which critics warned would silence legitimate campaign groups. Ministers said the legislation, dubbed the “gagging law” by charities, would hold corporate lobbyists to account when it was introduced in 2014. But the act has faced intense criticism from civil society groups which have repeatedly warned that the restrictions it imposes on spending during an election would hamper the activities of legitimate groups.
Study finds need for independent monitoring of carbon offset programs
A mechanism used as part of international efforts to reduce emissions has a potentially fatal flaw, according to a new study. A recent review of the way carbon offset credits have been used internationally to reduce carbon emissions suggests that the program needs independent monitoring. The issue is particularly timely given that the Paris Agreement, a historic international climate change pact that includes provisions relating to carbon markets, goes into effect Nov. 4. (Also read: World must hit zero carbon emissions ‘well before 2040’, scientists warn)
Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police
US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over. Army veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river. (Related: Keystone XL Opponents Target Banks Funding Climate Destruction)
Peru: National park plan to open up uncontacted tribe’s land to big oil
DGR News Service
Survival International has learned that the Peruvian government is developing a “Master Plan” for a new national park that could pave the way for large-scale oil exploration. This will threaten the lives and lands of several uncontacted tribes. The area, known in Spanish as the Sierra del Divisor [“Watershed Mountains”], is part of the Amazon Uncontacted Frontier, the region straddling the Peru-Brazil border that is home to the largest concentration of uncontacted tribal peoples on the planet. A new plan for the area currently being drafted by Peru’s national parks agency SERNANP could enable oil companies to enter the park. It has further been reported that the new government wants to change the law to make it even easier to open up national parks to oil and gas operations. (Also read: Olympics: Tribe facing “genocide” defies ranchers after baby’s death)
Interview: Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the World Coal Association
Simon Evans, Carbon Brief
“I think global coal demand is probably at a peak, in a way. It’s probably not going to grow massively like it has done over the past couple of decades, but I think that we will continue to see some slow growth in coal. Coal power provides 40% of the world’s electricity today. That’s going to decrease as a share, perhaps, as the years come, but, overall, power generation from coal is going to continue to grow.”
This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy
Chelsea Harvey, The Washington Post
A new kind of water-capturing device could be a game-changer for some of the world’s driest places. It can pull water vapor out of the air at humidity as low as 20 percent — conditions that may be seen in the Sahara desert during its hottest months — and it can operate entirely off-grid, just using the ambient power of the sun. This means it could provide water for parts of the world likely to be most vulnerable to water shortages under future climate change, including areas afflicted by recurring drought.
Harms of nighttime light exposure may be passed to offsprings
The damaging effects of nighttime light exposure may be inherited by offsprings, according to a new study which shows that our increasingly illuminated nights can have a lasting negative impact on health. Researchers found evidence that the dim light exposure had various repercussions for offspring and that fathers and mothers independently appeared to pass along genetic instructions that impaired immune response and decreased endocrine activity. In addition, some of the effects were seen only in female offspring or only in male offspring.
For the first time, study establishes link between PM 2.5 and breast cancer
Down to Earth
In a first, a study has established link between PM 2.5 and mammographic breast density, a strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer. The study also found inverse associations between ozone (O3) and mammographic breast density. In medical terminology, breast density is a reflection of relative amounts of epithelial, stromal and fat tissue in breasts. Published recently in Breast Cancer Research, the study was conducted to fill the knowledge gap on the link between air pollution and breast density. The authors say that this is the largest and the only study to examine the link between breast density and PM2.5 or O3. (Also read: Antibiotic use in animal farms linked to antimicrobial resistance in environment)