India looking forward to bank on Solar power

In India, Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend. India’s commitments on increasing its non-fossil fuel component of power generation to 40% by 2030 are substantial. Even though coal usage has been increasing too but India is confident to use more solar power. In Gujrat (one of the states in India) they have been using Solar power a bit for a while. The project was the brainchild of Narendra Modi. As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi spurred companies to build more than 900MW of solar plant across the state in just a couple of years. Now, as prime minister, the question is whether he can repeat the feat across India, which receives more sunlight than any other country in the G20. India’s booming cities are another huge challenge, with many struggling with blackouts, particularly when temperatures soar and air conditioning is ramped up. Again, Modi’s 13-year tenure in Gujarat is providing the solar template. In September, it was announced that rooftop solar power projects in the state capital, Gandhinagar, will be replicated in Punjab and Delhi, where a storm at the end of May plunged its fragile grid into rolling blackouts for a week.

Delhi is ever more power-hungry, but with little open land and 300-plus days of sunshine a year, rooftop solar is an attractive solution. India’s pledge document talks about increasing nuclear power from 5 GW to 63 GW by 2032 and doubling wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022. But the most ambitious is the plan to increase solar capacity from 4 GW to 100 GW in the next seven years. With the liability issue bogging down nuclear, much of the heavy lifting may have to be done by solar and, to some extent, wind.

Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend to get good deals. Recently, Madhya Pradesh was able to beat down the price it will have to pay for power from a solar project to Rs 5.05 a unit.
The pledge document says: “A scheme for development of 25 solar parks, ultra mega solar power projects, canal top solar projects and 1,00,000 solar pumps for farmers is at different stages of implementation.” The 100 GW expansion planned nationwide would need acquisition of nearly 5 lakh acres of land – at least three times the size of Mumbai.

I really hope India start using more non fossil fuels and less charcoal.

Source: The guardian, TOI

Paris Summit 2015 – Each country’s pledge

Carbon Brief has been following each country’s pledge towards the Paris 2015 summit. Here on this post you will find more details on how each country pledged in the upcoming summit. While for some countries, the pledges seem a big task however it will be interesting to see if they manage to achieve the target.

For instance, Mexico – the first developing country to come forward – includes a section on adaptation, while the EU is silent on the topic. Switzerland’s pledge of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions looks high compared to the EU’s “at least 40%”, until you realise they plan to use international carbon credits where the EU will make all reductions on home soil.

These pledges are also known as “intended nationally determined contributions”, or INDCs. You can find more details of each country’s INPC on UNFCCC. If the INDCs fall short – as they are widely expected to do – there is no official mechanism in place to ratchet them up before Paris. This is where they will be incorporated into the agreement, and likely take on some element of legal force.

I have my skepticism too but let’s wait for this event to happen!

Source: Carbon Brief

World Air Quality Index

Couple of hours ago, I saw this really interesting website where you can find the pollution levels city by city just by one click.

This site give you a world map with numbers on it and on the top you can find the bracket or category where the pollution limit is mentioned.

My city has 129 AQI level of pollution which is termed as ‘Unhealthy’.

I hope more and more people become aware of their surrounding and start taking action to decrease at least some of the pollution at local level

Source: WAQI

Obama’s new climate change plan – Is it a ‘kitchen sink’ approach?

If you have been reading the latest news, you would have read about Obama’s new Climate Change Plan. What the plan actually means is the Clean Power Plan sets standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, which is 9% more than proposed earlier.

That’s drastic change in their policy. I have my doubts over it. One question comes up is why now? It could be because the Paris submit is about to happen in December and Obama wishes to be a leader who brought in remarkable changes in Climate Change Policy. Hilary Clinton supports this policy but other republicans do not.

It sets carbon pollution reduction goals for power plants and requires states to implement plans to meet goals. States have until September of 2016 to submit plans, but can take more time if needed, and must comply by 2022. The original date of compliance was 2020. If states do not submit their own plans, the government will provide them.

The states are clearly refusing to follow it. It is kind of ‘Catch 22’ situation where if this policy is going to be followed, it might hamper coal industry.

They worry that if coal plants cannot do what they have always done, state economies would suffer, people would be laid off of work and the government would be overreaching.

I feel that even if it might see some backlash from other states, this policy might encourage other countries to bring in some positive change. Up till now there are only 49 countries who have signed the new Climate Change Policy. Just 49?

Utility companies say power bills will go up and that the plan will make the US uncompetitive. But market forces are shifting toward renewable sources of energy. There is a greater interest in them and prices are going down. Each state has different emission reduction targets. The plan suggests states comply with “building blocks”. Some states have said they will not comply, promising to sue.

There are a lot of parallels [between the Affordable Care Act and the Clean Power Plan] in that they are both highly controversial, and the Affordable Care Act survived its legal challenges largely intact. This is the time for the final push for legacy initiatives.

If you have seen Obama’s couple of videos in which he spoke about the need to change NOW. It does sound promising.

You can see from this link, the top 10 countries who pollute a lot. Of course, India is one of them.

If all these countries follow suit, there might be some dramatic positive change. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Source: BBC, The Guardian

World’s most polluted cities – 13 out of top 20 cities are in India.

Few months back I wrote on Delhi has become numero 1 as world’s most polluted city. However according to the lastest data by WHO not only Delhi tops the list but 12 other cities from India are on the top 20 most polluted cities in the world. Even for me that is really surprising. China is not even on the top 20 list which makes me little suspicious.

The report ranked almost 1600 cities in 91 countries for the quality of their air, which is measured for concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns. These harmful pollutants cling to the lungs and can cause disease.

In Delhi, the annual average is 153 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air), which is six times the WHO’s recommended maximum. At various times of the year, this number spikes to much higher levels.

There are concerns of young kids having an early lung disease. The WHO found that India has the world’s highest rate of death from respiratory disease, with 159 per 100,000 in 2012, about 10 times that of Italy, five times that of the UK and twice that of China. One study found that half of Delhi’s 4.4 million schoolchildren would never recover full lung capacity.

This does not surprise me. When I was a kid, not only I but even few of friends had respiratory problems. Recently I met a friend of mine in Paris who currently lives in India and he told me “Sometimes I wonder why I am in Delhi” admiring not only the beautiful city called Paris but also because of really bad air in Delhi. Paris may not be the most clean in terms of air but it does not stand a chance if we compare bad air with Delhi.

Many expatriate workers have already left the city, with some major international companies now preferring to base executives in Dubai or Bangkok. Classes at international schools in the city have been cut as numbers dwindle.

Delhi saw significant improvement in its air quality a decade ago following a slew of measures including converting buses and autorickshaws to run on gas, moving small industries to zones on the outskirts of the city and raising emission standards. But benefits were swiftly lost.

Environmentalists say between 40% and 50% of the dangerous PM2.5 particulates in Delhi are caused by vehicles. The figures have been challenged by the car industry. One major problem, all admit, is the 70,000 trucks which drive through the city every night on long-distance journeys. A plan to build a bypass has been repeatedly delayed.

I would ask you to check this video which a little preview on how the kids are suffering from bad pollution.

Some of the facts were found to be –

♦ In lung tests conducted on 5,718 students, 43.5% suffered from “poor or restrictive lungs”.
♦ About 15% of the children surveyed complained of frequent eye irritation, 27.4% of frequent headache, 11.2% of nausea, 7.2% of palpitation and 12.9% of fatigue.
♦ Delhi’s numbers were far higher than that among the ‘control group’ of 4,536 students selected from 17 schools spread across the “much less polluted” rural areas of Uttaranchal and West Bengal.

I still long to see the clear blue sky in Delhi or to see the stars during the night. I guess I should forget about ever seeing this while I am alive.

Source: Businessinsider Theguardian