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NEWS UPDATE #165


Vox.com reports: The Danish green energy company Ørsted, partnering with Edelman Intelligence, has commissioned the largest-ever global survey of opinion on energy, surveying a whopping 26,000 people across 13 countries, ensuring that at least 2,000 demographically representative respondents were reached per country. Long story short: The whole world wants more green energy (and less coal).

INDIA

Over 100 global experts to exchange ideas at 13th International Permaculture Convergence
Down to Earth
The 13th International Permaculture Convergence is all set to begin in Hyderabad from November 25. The meeting, organised every two years, will bring together permaculture practitioners from all around the world and provide a forum to share knowledge and expertise and strategise about the future of the permaculture movement. More than 100 global experts will be sharing their views at the meeting. Narsanna Koppula, a permaculture pioneer in India and the founder of Telangana-based Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, which is hosting the meeting, says that the conference will increase the knowledge of permaculture practices amongst farmers and other enthusiastic individuals.

6.5bn Afforestation Fund Has Pitted Forest Depts Against Tribals, Again
IndiaSpend
Burlubaru residents are among the 40,000 tribespeople from the heavily forested states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Telangana who are embroiled in a new episode of an old struggle–protecting traditional tribal lands from state forest departments, who, this time, are forcing plantations on their lands. There are at least 22 cases like Burlubaru’s that Land Conflict Watch, a data-journalism initiative, has documented so far, spread over an area twice the size of Puducherry. Testimonies of affected tribespeople, their leaders, and activists and lawyers working for tribespeople’s land and forest rights point to a conspiracy–forest departments are using afforestation as a tool to exert control over forest lands traditionally used by tribespeople, which they lost with the enactment of the Forest Rights Act.

National Green Tribunal wants installation of rainwater harvesting systems in all the schools and colleges in NCT Delhi
India Environment Portal
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Mahesh Chandra Saxena Vs. The Ministry of Urban Development & Others dated 16/11/2017 regarding installation of rainwater harvesting systems in all the schools and colleges (private or government) in NCT Delhi. NGT directs all the schools and colleges to install rainwater harvesting systems, if not already installed, within a period of two months from today at their own cost. Any institution which does not comply with these directions shall be liable to pay a environmental compensation of Rs. 5 Lakh after expiry of the period of two months granted in this judgment.

New squad to check illegal quarrying in Haridwar
Hindustan Times
A special anti-quarrying squad has been formed in Haridwar keeping in view the rise in illegal mining in the district. “This squad has been formed keeping in mind several cases of illegal quarrying reported almost on a daily basis in the district,” said Krishan Kumar VK, the senior superintendent of police of Haridwar, on Saturday. “This specialised anti-illegal quarrying squad will carry out impromptu raids and inspection at various sites, where illegal quarrying is reported. Special emphasis is given on those personnel having experience of duty in quarrying prone areas and will be quite effective in reining in illegal quarrying business in the district,” he added. (Related: Illegal sand mining threatens winter habitat of black-necked Tibetan cranes in Tawang)

Nitin Gadkari: Just leave the rivers to me
The New Indian Express
“I’m working on all fronts, but the thrust is on mainly two: conservation as a long-term goal and completion of new and old projects. Some 70 per cent of our water, rain and river water coming out of the Himalayan ecosystem flows into the sea. I’m trying to reverse the situation. River connectivity is one way of arresting water flowing into the sea. We’ve to always look at the larger picture. In the Polavaram project, for instance…”

Power companies’ 60,000 Mw thermal generation projects in trouble
The Economic Times
Nearly 60,000 mw of thermal power projects in the IPP (independent power producers) segment are stressed mainly for want of long-term power purchase pacts and unavailability of domestic gas supplies, says a report. According to a report by rating agency Icra, the overall stressed thermal power generation assets remain a sizeable 60,000 mw. Of this about 26,000 mw are in trouble due to absence of long-term PPAs (power purchase agreements), about 12,000 mw are stranded due to non-availability of domestic gas supply and 22,000 mw due to unviable tariff in the PPAs and capital cost overrun. (Related: Indians face higher power bills as government mulls passing on green costs)

Deaths due to non-communicable diseases increased by 37 per cent since 1990
Down to Earth
India’s latest and most comprehensive health report card released today has something to cheer about and a lot to worry about. The good news is life expectancy at birth jumped from 59.7 years in 1990 to 70.3 years in 2016 for females and from 58.3 years to 66.9 years for males. Although fewer are burdened with communicable diseases, the burden of non-communicable diseases is rising. And on top of that, there are vast inequities among states. In all, scientists have identified 333 disease conditions and 84 risk factors for all the states in India. This is the first time the burden of disease has been studied at state-level.

Bio-toilets in trains not effective; they are no better than septic tanks: IIT Madras
Down to Earth
A new kind of toilet caught the fancy of Indian Railways couple of years back when it decided to install bio-digesters in mainline express and mail trains. About 93,537 bio-digesters, Rs 1,305 crore and few years later it has now come to pass that most of the new bio-toilets are ineffective, ill maintained and the water discharged is similar to raw sewage. The technology, which was sold as a game-changer that would resolve the problem of undecomposed human waste on train toilets and tracks, does not seem to be working, according to the IIT-Madras (IIT-M) study. (Related: India even behind Somalia when it comes to safely managing sanitation services)

Video: India’s national aquatic animal is fighting a losing battle
Scroll
The Gangetic River Dolphin has survived for over 20 million years. But the National Waterways Project could drive it to extinction.

WORLD

New global survey reveals that everyone loves green energy — especially the Chinese
Vox
the Danish green energy company Ørsted (which used to be called Dong, back before it got out of the oil and gas business) has commissioned the largest-ever global survey of opinion on the subject, the Green Energy Barometer. Partnering with the research consultancy Edelman Intelligence, Ørsted surveyed a whopping 26,000 people across 13 countries in late July, ensuring that at least 2,000 demographically representative respondents were reached per country. Long story short: The whole world wants more green energy (and less coal).

As the Chitra turns saline, mangroves appear
The Third Pole
Environmentalists have consistently warned that climate change would adversely affect the world’s largest mangrove forest and World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans, with the reduction in flow of fresh water, and increase in salinity. In reality, salinisation of the freshwater river Chitra – adjacent to the Sundarbans – started a couple of decades ago. Now, new mangrove forests are springing up, replacing other vegetation and spelling the end of an ecosystem that was heavy with sweet water vegetation and fish. The newly emerged mangrove forest stretches across three and half kilometres, in the villages of Goalbari, Putia and Gurguria in Begerhat district.

A Sad Day For Mother Nature as Our Javan Rhino Are Officially Extinct
Juice
According to Bernama, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Dr. Hamim Samuri said that according to the latest record of wildlife in Malaysia, the Rhinoceros Sondaicus, or better known as Javan Rhino, is now extinct. He announced the sad news while giving a speech at the Biodiversity Seminar 2017 yesterday. He stated that, “From the latest Malaysia wildlife list records, Javan Rhino are extinct, while four other animals, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Tiger, Sunda Pangolin and Gaur (Indian Bison) are considered critical species.” (Also read: Fears for world’s rarest penguin as population plummets)

Balkan hydropower projects soar by 300% putting wildlife at risk, research shows
The Guardian
Hydropower constructions have rocketed by 300% across the western Balkans in the last two years, according to a new analysis, sparking fears of disappearing mountain rivers and biodiversity loss. About 2,800 new dams are now in the pipeline across a zone stretching from Slovenia to Greece, 37% of which are set to be built in protected areas such as national parks or Natura 2000 sites. Heavy machinery is already channelling new water flows at 187 construction sites, compared to just 61 in 2015, according to the research by Fluvius, a consultancy for UN and EU-backed projects.

Controversial glyphosate weedkiller wins new five-year lease in Europe
The Guardian
Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the world’s bestselling weedkiller, has won a new five-year lease in Europe, closing the most bitterly fought pesticide relicensing battle of recent times. The herbicide’s licence had been due to run out in less than three weeks, raising the prospect of Monsanto’s Roundup disappearing from store shelves and, potentially, a farmers’ revolt. Instead, an EU appeal committee voted on Monday to reauthorise the substance despite a petition by 1.3 million EU citizens last week calling for a ban.

‘The marine equivalent of fracking’: Europe to legalise controversial pulse fishing
The Journal
The European Union has voted to allow an untested type of fishing that sends electric shocks through the seabed. The European Parliament fisheries committee decided to allow “electric pulse” fishing to be considered conventional, a move which would allow EU states to licence it like any other type of fishing. The technique was invented in the Netherlands in 1992, and because of this mostly Dutch ships use the technique.

The U.S. Navy Is Poisoning Local Water Supplies Across the Nation With Toxic Chemicals
Alternet
Cate Andrews is a member of Citizens for Ebeys Reserve (COER), a group of locals working to protect their land, homes and health from environmental and sound pollution from the U.S. Navy. Andrews said some of the wells in Coupeville contain toxic chemicals from the Navy’s firefighting foam exercises at levels 400 percent over what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers acceptable. “Residents are being provided bottled water by the Navy, but warned not to drink, cook or water their vegetable gardens,” Andrews told Truthout. There are numerous examples across the country of the Navy contaminating water around its bases with toxic chemicals. As of last year, there are literally hundreds of towns across the country dealing with this or similar issues.

Amnesty seeks criminal inquiry into Shell over alleged complicity in murder and torture in Nigeria
The Guardian
Amnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into the oil giant Shell regarding allegations it was complicit in human rights abuses carried out by the Nigerian military. A review of thousands of internal company documents and witness statements published on Tuesday points to the Anglo-Dutch organisation’s alleged involvement in the brutal campaign to silence protesters in the oil-producing Ogoniland region in the 1990s. Amnesty is urging the UK, Nigeria and the Netherlands to consider a criminal case against Shell in light of evidence it claims amounts to “complicity in murder, rape and torture” – allegations Shell strongly denies. (Related: Niger delta oil spill clean-up launched – but could take quarter of a century)

The Queensland election outcome is a death knell for Adani’s coal mine
The Conversation
The coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin by Indian mining giant Adani has been a moveable feast, with many stories about its scale, purpose, financing, job prospects, and commerciality. The prospect of a return of the Palaszczuk government in Queensland is effectively the death knell for the project. Labor has so pledged to block a concessional, taxpayer-funded loan, while embracing a significantly expanded program to develop regional solar thermal power in the state. (Related: Adani may not receive 900 million dollars Australia government loan)

Documents reveal Middle East regimes fear food, water, energy shortages
Nafeez Ahmed, Insurge
Official documents obtained exclusively by INSURGE confirm that governments across the Muslim world privately recognise that climate change is a threat of “unimaginable proportions”, already compounding problems of land, food, water and energy scarcity. Yet proposed measures to address this challenge remain poorly thought out, and lacking in scientific rigour. Much more ambitious changes are needed if countries in the Middle East and North Africa are to avoid major ecological, energy and economic crises.

Greenpeace slams Indonesia palm oil industry on deforestation
Channel NewsAsia
Greenpeace slammed Indonesia’s palm oil industry on Monday (Nov 27) for failing to live up to a pledge to halt deforestation, as the lucrative sector faces possible restrictions in Europe over environmental concerns. Palm oil is used in everything from soap to frozen pizza, but a consumer backlash has forced dozens of the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers to address its ecological impact. Vast swathes of rainforest are destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, threatening endangered species and pushing indigenous people off their lands.

Video: Graphic Japanese whaling footage released after five-year legal battle
The Guardian
Footage released by activist group Sea Shepherd shows Japanese fishermen harpooning whales in the Southern ocean before dragging them, still alive, along the side of the vessel. The publication of the video follows a five-year legal battle with the Australian government to make the images public. The footage was filmed in 2008 by Australian customs officials and requests from Sea Shepherd in 2012 for the film were denied by the government amid fears it would damage international relations. Sea Shepherd’s managing director, Jeff Hansen, said: ‘The Australian government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern ocean.’

Poor sperm quality linked to air pollution
The Guardian
High levels of air pollution are associated with poor sperm quality and could be partly responsible for the sharp drop in male fertility, according to a new study. A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studied the sperm of nearly 6,500 men and found a “strong association” between high levels of fine particulate air pollution and “abnormal sperm shape.” The report, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, said that although the effect is “relatively small in clinical terms” it might still lead to infertility for a “significant number of couples” given the extent of air pollution in cities around the world.

Bitcoin mining consumes more electricity a year than Ireland
The Guardian
Bitcoin’s “mining” network uses more electricity in a year than the whole of Ireland, according to statistics released as the currency broke $9,000 for the first time. According to Digiconomist the estimated power use of the bitcoin network, which is responsible for verifying transactions made with the cryptocurrency, is 30.14TWh a year, which exceeds that of 19 other European countries. At a continual power drain of 3.4GW, it means the network consumes five times more electricity than is produced by the largest wind farm in Europe, the London Array in the outer Thames Estuary, at 630MW. (Also read: Father of World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become ‘world’s largest surveillance network’)

 

 

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