India | Centre for Science and Environment

India


NREGA’s technological sabbatical

NREGA and Biometrics: conflicts and conclusions

By: Jyotika Sood

Over 25 million job card holders registered under Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) could be affected by the rural development ministry’s decision to introduce biometrics (a form of identity access management and access control) to the scheme. The ministry even claims that this project will overcome the drawbacks of MGNREGA like fake job cards and ghost beneficiaries.

How to approach environmentalism

2010 was a loud year for the environment. High profile projects—from Vedanta to Posco and Navi Mumbai airport to Lavasa—hit the headlines for non-compliance with environmental regulations. While 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was only last year that we were all outraged by the disaster. The realisation of how every institution—the judiciary, parliament and government— had miserably failed to provide justice to the victims shocked us deeply.

Down To Earth Cover Story: Future shock

As the world continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global temperatures could rise by 3°C by mid-century, says a soon-to-be-released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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Diesel hides behind CNG

What’s going on? First the key partners of the Central Pollution Control Board -- IOC, and NEERI -- involved with yet to be released source apportionment study made claims publicly that LPG is the most polluting fuel in our cities. Now in quick succession a second study follows from CPCB that ranks CNG as the “worst” fuel and Euro II-III diesel as the “best”. No other government in the world has every branded CNG as worse than Euro II-III diesel.

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What’s going on? First the key partners of the Central Pollution Control Board -- IOC, and NEERI -- involved with yet to be released source apportionment study made claims publicly that LPG is the most polluting fuel in our cities.

Deal won, stakes lost

Last fortnight we discussed the clandestine endgame afoot at Cancun to change the framework of the climate change negotiations to suit big and powerful polluters. Since then Cancun has concluded and a deal, in the form of a spate of agreements, has been gavelled into existence by the chair. Commentators and climate activists in the Western world are ecstatic. Even the critics say pragmatism has worked and the world has taken a small step ahead in its battle to fight emissions that determine its growth.

The endgame at Cancun

As I write this, some 24 hours are left to finalise the agreement at the 16th Conference of Parties to the climate change convention being held in Cancun. At this moment it seems the predictable deadlock in talks will continue. Like all other global climate meetings, the world remains deeply divided on the matter of how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that even today determine economic growth. Not much is expected to happen at the beach city of Cancun.

India signs nuclear convention

By: Savvy Soumya Misra

Intended as gift to Obama

India signed the international convention on compensating nuclear accident victims on October 27. The convention, to a large extent, shields suppliers of nuclear energy technology from paying damages.

Centre to study endosulfan effect

By: Savvy Soumya Misra

The Union environment ministry has proposed a five member expert committee to study the ill-effects of endosulfan. Union minister of state for environment, Jairam Ramesh, announced the panel after meeting Kerala forest minister Benoy Viswam on November 1.

Rivers at risk

By: Bharat Lal Seth

Securing water for people does not have to be at the cost of biodiversity

How climate ready are we?

By: Sunita Narain

The world can shape the debate on climate link in two ways. One, it can argue endlessly about the scientific veracity of the link between human-induced climate change and the floods in Pakistan. Two, the world can agree that even if a single event—like the Pakistan floods that drowned a fifth of the country— cannot be ascribed to climate change, there is no doubt that a link exists between such events and climate change. The Pakistan meteorological department’s data shows the country received 200 to 700 per cent more rainfall than average. Rains came in cloudbursts in ecologically fragile mountainous areas and led to natural dam bursts and floods downstream. Rains were incessant leading to more floods and greater devastation.

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