India | Centre for Science and Environment

India


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.

How government is subverting forest right act

By: Richard Mahapatra, Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Sumana Narayanan, Aparna Pallavi

Two tribal villages in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra—Mendha Lekha and Marda— savoured victory when they won community rights over their forest resources in August last year. The rights conferred under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 include the right to collect and sell minor forest produce (MFP). These include tendu leaves used in beedis, and bamboo that have high commercial value and were under the forest department’s control. Winning the right to manage these resources meant economic liberation to the two villages.

Cancun musing

I have reached Cancun few hours’ back to attend the 16th Conference of Parties (CoP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and have been greeted with news that can only be characterised as bad or worse.

Is bamboo a tree or a grass?

The definition is contested as the answer has immense economic implications. If bamboo is a tree or timber, it belongs to the forest department and can be auctioned to the paper and pulp industry, often at throwaway rates. If it is a grass, then it would be classified as a minor forest produce and people would have the right to cut bamboo for sale or for value addition by making furniture or baskets.

Go wild

By: Tiasa Adhya

Ashwagandha occupies a prominent position in traditional health systems like Ayurveda. In India the medicinal plant is cultivated on 4,000 hectares, mainly in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. But when it comes to being the most effective, a group of researchers claims, it is the wild variety.

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