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NEWS UPDATE #144


Live Mint reports: Five farmers were killed and others were injured in firing during a protest in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday. The government has ordered an investigation into the incident. The farmers in the state have been protesting since last week. They want fair prices for their produce and loan-waiver from the BJP government.

5 farmers killed in firing during protest in Madhya Pradesh, govt orders probe
Rajendra Jadhav, Live Mint
: Five farmers were shot dead on Tuesday at a protest in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, according to news reports, marking an escalation of violence as a rural strike demanding farm loan waivers spread. The outburst of discontent in India’s heartland farming states of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Maharashtra poses a challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has promised to double farmers’ incomes over the next five years.

Food supplies to Maharashtra cities are pinched as farmers’ strike kicks off
Mridula Chari, Scroll.in
Fruit and vegetable supplies in some cities in Maharashtra have been pinched as farmers in several parts of the state went on strike on Thursday to press for a list of demands – prime among which is that agricultural loans should be waived. The protest is expected to last a week. From June 1, farmers across Maharashtra have agreed not to take their produce to local markets, not to supply milk to dairies, and to prevent trucks on highways from reaching cities for seven days.

India has built more thermal power plants than it currently needs
Ann Josey, Manabika Mandal & Shantanu Dixit, Scroll.in
Surplus power could arise due to a fall in demand, or increase in power supply. Insights from various states show that the burgeoning surplus is more due to the increase in power generation capacity. The existence of a sustained and significant surplus in many states has been, at times, attributed to the increasing migration of industrial consumers away from power distribution companies to power generating companies.

Insurance companies have not paid 83% of farmers’ claims
Down to Earth
A year after the Union government launched the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in April 2016 to enable farmers tide over chronic crop losses due to various calamities, it clearly emerges that the insurance companies, despite collecting huge premiums, have not been able to settle insurance claims. A closer look at the schemes shows that the ambitious schemes have been of little help to the distressed farmers. In fact, insurance companies seem to be the actual beneficiaries, says an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment.

Remote sensing data shows massive erosion of forests in Kerala
Nidheesh M.K., Live Mint
A new Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, study named ‘Four decades of forest loss: Drought in Kerala’ using remote sensing data pins the blame on eroding forest cover. Between 1973 and 2016, Kerala lost 906,440 hectares (9064.4 sq.km) of forest land, as per the study. Consequently, the forest cover as a percentage of total land area has been reduced from 66.2% to 42.15%. In other words, Kerala has diverted more than 50% of its total forest area for other purposes since 1973 (from when the remote sensing data is available).

4 crore litres groundwater drawn illegally everyday in Gurugram
Shilpi Arora, The Times of India
Four crore litres of groundwater are drawn out every day in Gurgaon through illegal borewells to meet a big gap in demand and supply. And that’s only a conservative estimate as the city’s population is increasing continuously. Now, add to this people who will move into lakhs of flats in the city’s new sectors along the Dwarka expressway, Southern Peripheral Road and Sohna Road in the next few years and thousands more who currently live in unauthorized colonies. This shows why availability of water could soon become the single largest challenge for the city, probably bigger even than air pollution.

NGT notice to Uttar Pradesh government over dirty water in Sambhal district
The Indian Express
The National Green Tribunal today took note of a plea alleging ground water pollution in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh and sought a response from the state government on the matter. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Yogi Adityanath government, state pollution control board, Sambhal district magistrate and the municipal council while seeking their replies before July 13. “Children are drinking dirty water. It’s shocking. Why don’t you do something,” the bench, also comprising expert Nagin Nanda, said. (Also read: Fly ash debris: NGT pulls up Tangedco MD)

Rally for Valley begins along Narmada to protest “failure” to develop rehab sites, will visit MP, Maharashtra, Gujarat
Rahul Yadav, Counterview
The villagers were determined: They would not leave their villages till their demands were met. If they had held on to their ground for three decades then they were ready to hold on and fight for their rights for the next three decades. NBA leader Medha Patkar said, the government has failed to build 88 resettlement sites in three decades, wondering, whether the government had a magic wand that it would provide all the basic amenities and completely developed settlement sites before July 31, the deadline set by the Supreme Court to resettle the oustees.

Chief of EAC on rivers faces conflict of interest charge
The Times of India
Citing conflict of interest, green activists and river conservationists have written to environment minister Harsh Vardhan seeking removal of the chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on river valley and hydropower projects — the body which cleared the project to link Ken and Betwa rivers. In a letter to the minister, activists including river and water experts said EAC chairman Sharad Kumar Jain, a scientist from the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, was holding additional charge of director general of National Water Development Agency (NWDA) which was involved in preparing detailed project reports (DPR) of various river linking proposals including the Ken-Betwa link.

Trump to Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Accord
Variety
President Donald Trump will withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate accord to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Trump announced his decision at a White House event on Thursday afternoon. He said that the U.S. would negotiate for better terms. “I will work to ensure that America remains the leader on environmental issues,” Trump said, arguing the deal “hamstrings” the United States while “empowering the world’s real polluters.” (Related: Sushma Swaraj Contradicts Trump’s Claims That Climate Pact Gave India ‘Billions of Dollars’)

The Larsen C Iceberg Is on the Brink of Breaking Off
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
The saga of the Larsen C crack is about reach its stunning conclusion. Scientists have watched a rift grow along one of Antarctica’s ice shelves for years. Now it’s in the final days of cutting off a piece of ice that will be one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. It’s the latest dreary news from the icy underbelly of the planet, which has seen warm air and water reshape the landscape in profound ways.

World’s First Commercial CO2 Capture Plant Goes Live
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
A Swiss company on Wednesday is set to become the world’s first to commercially remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into a useful product. Climeworks, which will begin operations at a facility near Zurich, Switzerland, plans to compress the CO2 it captures and use it as fertilizer to grow crops in greenhouses. The company wants to dramatically scale its technology over the next decade, and its long-term goal is to capture 1 percent of global annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. (Related: Stop hoping we can fix climate change by pulling carbon out of the air, scientists warn)

UN Ocean Conference: a roadmap for sustainable use of oceans
Vibha Varshney, Down to Earth
The United Nation’s Ocean Conference is set to commence at the body’s headquarters in New York on June 5, world environment day. The meeting is a step ahead in achieving the world’s 14th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14)—conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It will see participation from over 5,000 delegates and continue till June 9. The UN plans to finalise the text for its zero draft “Call for Action” by the end of the conference, along with reports of seven partnership dialogues planned during the meeting.

Add Nitrous Oxide to the List of Permafrost Melt Concerns
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
Melting permafrost is among the biggest climate change issues. That’s because it contains billions of tons of carbon that, if it melts, will be released in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas. Less studied is what happens to the 67 billion tons of nitrogen stored in the currently frozen soil. New research shows that a permafrost meltdown could cause that nitrogen to be released as nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that’s nearly 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That would crank up the planetary heat even further, and with it, the risks posed by sea level rise, increasingly extreme weather, and other climate change impacts.

Waves Rippled Through Greenland’s Ice. That’s Ominous
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
On its surface, the Greenland ice sheet is a vast expanse of seemingly immovable ice. But beneath the monotonous stretch of white, scientists have discovered evidence of waves rippling through one of its outlet glaciers and roiling its innards. The waves, observed during the two most intense melt seasons on record, sent an unprecedented cascade of ice and water rushing into the sea and warping the very bedrock upon which the ice sits. As temperatures continue to rise, scientists fear that massive waves of ice could expedite Greenland’s melt even further, pushing sea levels higher.

Himalayan blunder: Pakistan’s Indus Cascade plan will reduce food and water security
Jopydeep Gupta, Scroll.in
The five dams forming the North Indus River Cascade that China has just promised to finance and build in Pakistan – including Pakistan-administered Kashmir – has the potential to generate over 22,000 megawatts in an energy-starved country. But the dams will also stop the flow of silt, which is the lifeline of agriculture downstream. In non-monsoon months from October to June, they may also reduce the flow of water down the Indus to Pakistan’s Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Mapped: Nearly half of China’s provinces have failed to clean up their water
Zachary Davies Boren, Greenpeace
Much of the water flowing through the rivers of China’s major cities is ‘unfit for human contact,’ according to a new analysis of official government data. In 2015, at the end of China’s last Five-Year Plan Period, more than 85% of the surface water in Shanghai was deemed unsafe to drink, while in Tianjin – a port city home to 15 million people – that figure reached 95%. Over that period of time nearly half of China’s mainland provinces – 14 of 31 – failed to meet their water quality targets despite the improvements made in 2011 and 2012.

China’s ivory ban sparks dramatic drop in prices across Asia
Naomi Larsson, The Guardian
The price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen dramatically since the Chinese government announced plans to ban its domestic legal ivory trade, according to new research seen by the Guardian. Poaching, however, is not dropping in parallel. Undercover investigators from the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) have been visiting traders in Hanoi over the last three years. In 2015 they were being offered raw ivory for an average of US$1322/kg in 2015, but by October 2016 that price had dropped to $750/kg, and by February this year prices were as much as 50% lower overall, at $660/kg.

Leaked Documents Expose Military Tactics Used to Defeat Pipeline ‘Terrorists’ at Standing Rock
EcoWatch
In September of last year, when protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota were at its peak, disturbing footage showed security personnel releasing their dogs at the peaceful water protectors. This widely shared clip sparked nationwide criticism and anger towards the controversial project. To counter the protests, DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners turned to a private security firm that treated the demonstrators to a “jihadist insurgency,” according a jaw-dropping report from The Intercept.

Shareholders force ExxonMobil to come clean on cost of climate change
Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, was compelled by shareholders to be more open about the impact of climate change on its business in a “historic” surprise vote on Wednesday. Some 62% of shareholders voted for the resolution and against Exxon’s management at the company’s annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The vote to more clearly report how climate change affects Exxon’s business comes as investors are increasingly demanding companies disclose the likely impact of global warming and follows the passing of similar proposals at two smaller energy companies earlier this month.

Adani Gives Final Approval to $4-Billion Australia Coal Mine
Byron Kaye, The Wire
India’s Adani Enterprises gave final investment approval on Tuesday for its $4 billion Carmichael coal mine and railway in Australia‘s north, shifting the focus to fund raising for the controversial project. Adani, which hopes to secure a A$900 million ($670 million) government loan, said in a statement it had given “final investment decision approval” to build what would be Australia‘s biggest coal mine.

CRISPR May Cause Hundreds of Unintended Mutations Into the Genome, New Study Finds
Teodora Zareva, Big Think
In case you haven’t already heard of CRISPR-Cas9, it is the revolutionary gene-editing technology, discovered just a few years ago, that allows scientists to edit the DNA of any species with an unprecedented precision and efficiency. In a recently published study in the journal Nature Methods, titled “Unexpected mutations after CRISPR–Cas9 editing in vivo” scientists used whole-genome sequencing to study the mutations that had occurred in the DNA of mice that had undergone CRISPR gene editing.

Atlanta commits to running on renewable energy
AJC.com
Atlanta lawmakers approved a resolution on May 1 committing the city to transitioning toward running entirely on renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, by 2035. The city council unanimously approved the measure, which will first transition all city buildings by 2025. This resolution makes Atlanta the 27th American city to commit to a 100 percent renewable energy plan, and the first in Georgia, according to the Sierra Club.

 

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One Response “NEWS UPDATE #144”

  1. Meena Teny
    23rd June 2017 at 11:23 am

    I am impressed. I did not ha ve an idea on the magnitude

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