[Goanet] Ozone-smart, climate-cool-CSE's Fortnightly News Bulletin (Oct 22, 2014)
2014-10-22 05:24:40 UTC
*CSE's Fortnightly News Bulletin (October 22, 2014)*

And then there were lights, or better still, what they call 'a festival of
lights'. And with it came haze, smog, and a variety of hidden killers in
the air...

All courtesy the celebrations through crackers that we tend to indulge in
at Diwali. Every year, says official monitoring data, air pollution during
Diwali (compared to a normal day) remains a major challenge. Take the case
of 2013 in Delhi -- levels of particulate matter 10 (PM10) was in the range
of 796 and 1,138 microgramme per cubic metre (?g/m3), compared to 748 and
951 ?g/m3 during 2012. The standard ? that is considered a safe level ? is
100 ?g/m3. Which makes the levels seven to 11 times higher.

Do we realise what this does to our bodies? Hospitals report that their OPD
visits rise by 20 to 30 per cent post-Diwali. Children, who breathe more
air than adults in proportion to their weight, are especially at risk. The
brighter side of this picture is that public awareness of this threat is
gradually building up, and children seem to be at the forefront of this
movement towards change. But we all need to pitch in...

Here is to looking forward to a clearer Diwali, and wishing you all a very
bright, happy, relatively peaceful and clean festival...

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- Editorial by Sunita Narain - Ozone-smart, climate-cool -- a bugbear
called HFCs
- Cover story - Battle over oil, coal & forests -- India's northeast fights
for its natural resources
- DTE Web - World Food Day Special
- Call for Abstracts for Fifth National Research Conference on Climate
Change to be held at IIT-Delhi on December 19-20, 2014
- Pre-publication booking for State of Environment 2015 report and special
package offer that includes CSE's new publication - Building Sense: Beyond
the green facade of sustainable habitat

Ozone-smart, climate-cool

by Sunita Narain

One item on the agenda of the much-discussed Narendra Modi-Barack Obama
meeting that has Indian commentators flummoxed is hydrofluorocarbons
(HFCs). The joint statement issued after the meeting of the two heads of
states says rather ambiguously that the two sides agreed to cooperate on
?next steps to tackle the challenge posed by HFCs to global warming.?

HFC has been a bugbear in the India-US relationship. The US wants to begin
negotiations for the phase-out of HFC?a chemical used in a wide range of
industrial and household products like refrigerators, air-conditioners and
solvents?under the UN?s Montreal Protocol. India argues that the Montreal
Protocol is for protecting the world from ozone layer depletion and HFC is
harmful because it contributes to climate change, so discussions should
take place under the UN?s climate convention (UNFCCC).

In fact, HFC is the chemical that the world introduced to phase out
hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), an interim substitute for
chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Both HCFC and CFC were indicted for damaging the
stratospheric ozone layer that blocks harmful ultraviolet rays.

Seemingly, the US is driven by green concerns, as HFCs are greenhouse gases
2,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But the outcome depends on the
alternative the world chooses. When this chemical was introduced it was
understood that it would be bad for the climate. The world decided to solve
one problem by creating another.

In the past decade, the use of HFC has grown by 8-10 per cent annually,
mostly in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Now developing countries
will begin to phase out HCFC. Should they first phase into HFC and then
phase out of it because it is bad for climate? Or should they leapfrog to
new substances, good for both ozone and climate?

This is where the politics of technology becomes murky. The same companies
that first invented CFC and then profited from its phase-out are now ready
with another alternative. It is not a coincidence that US companies DuPont
and Honeywell are promoting hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs) for air-conditioning
and HFC-1234yf for car air-conditioning. But these new generation chemicals
are plagued with same problems. HFO is good for ozone, has less global
warming potential but still not so good for climate because it is
energy-inefficient. Since indirect emissions (due to energy use) from
appliances are responsible for over 80 per cent of the problem, this
chemical will add to climate change.

But the commercial interests are huge and powerful, hence the push to move
discussions to the Montreal Protocol, where the US is a party and things
can be expedited. The Indian government?s position is equally driven by
commerce. Its four companies that made ozone-depleting CFC got a windfall
of US $82 million to move to HCFC. Now they want to be paid for the next
phase-out to HFC. Worse, they were paid millions of dollars to reduce the
greenhouse gas emissions from HCFC plants under the climate convention. It
is, therefore, in their interest to keep the negotiations under the
Montreal Protocol to phase into an ozone-friendly gas, which is bad for

The Modi-Obama joint statement indicates a movement ahead by recognising
the need to use the Montreal Protocol to reduce HFC and to continue to
account under the UNFCCC. This is good. Now the real work begins. It is
important for India to take a proactive position. It should first get
industrialised countries to agree to an ambitious phase-out of HFC by 2020,
instead of 2035. Next, it should ask for changes in the Montreal Protocol
so that countries can leapfrog the fluorinated chemicals treadmill.
Alternative technologies, rated on the basis of their life-cycle energy
emissions, are available. For instance, some companies are moving to
hydrocarbons, such as propane and butane, for refrigeration and
air-conditioning. The US still does not allow this shift, arguing
inflammability problems associated with these off-patented technologies.
This is what needs to be changed.

The question is: profit or planet?

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Cover story: Battle over oil, coal & forests
As India debates how to allocate natural resources, the north-eastern
states face a peculiar challenge: communities want recognition of their
ownership over coal, forests and oil, the three "nationalised" resources.

Interview: `Diseases have become a way of life in Gaza'
Izzeldin Abuelaish a Palestinian doctor who has worked for reconciliation
between Israel and Palestine, on Gaza's crumbling health infrastructure

Analysis: Parched capital
While Delhi struggles to make rainwater harvesting compulsory even after 13
years of amending byelaws, Chennai shows the way

Big step for biocultural rights
The Nagoya Protocol promotes community stewardship of genetic resources.
India needs to foster this

- DTE World Food Day Special
Why traditional food is more relevant than ever
Locally available and biodiverse food is the answer to growing food
insecurity, inflation and under-nutrition
To read on hunger and its solutions, please follow downtoearth.org.in

- SC: Farmers, not banks, have first right over proceeds from sugar sales
Apex court confirms Allahabad High Court order, citing concerns over farmer
suicides due to non-recovery of dues

- Rajasthan's new solar energy policy simplifies regulations for investors
Policy also talks about land allocation, a clause not mentioned in any
other states? policy till now

- Suspected Ebola case in Manipur; Northeast mounts strict vigil
Manipur, Assam and Tripura have increased screening of foreign visitors,
including football players

- From Phailin to Hudhud: a year of extreme weather events
Since October 2013, when Phailin hit Odisha?s coast and left a trail of
destruction, the country has witnessed a series of cyclonic storms, floods,
droughts and hailstorms
For live coverage of cyclone Hudhud, keep following downtoearth.org.in

Follow Down to Earth:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/down2earthindia
Twitter: http://twitter.com/@down2earthindia
To subscribe to the Down To Earth newsletter, visit

- Making sense of `Make in India'
Manufacturing needs to get a boost. But what to manufacture and how are two
critical questions

- Modi back to ?vikaas? hardline
Prime Minister seems to have gone back on promises to farmers

A. Interactives/Infographics

Hudhud Cyclone ? interactive with resources and updates

Meet the top women eco-entrepreneurs of 2014
From an enterprise that markets solar electricity kiosks in rural off-grid
areas of Malawi and promote bikes as subsidised moving billboards for the
rural poor in Mozambique to a women?s farming cooperative that improves
food security in Nepal, check out for innovations by this year's SEED award
winners from Africa, Asia and South America. Women?s empowerment is crucial
for inclusive and sustainable industrial development and these top women
eco-entrepreneurs are drivers of sustainable development. People who wish
to support such enterprises can contact India Environment Portal, Centre
for Science and Environment (CSE) at indiaenvironmentportal at gmail.com

India Environment Portal Weekly Newsletter brings you the top environment
developments, studies, reports, conflicts

Sign-up and get connected with the India Environment Portal. Subscribe for
alerts and services.

Follow the India Environment Portal
- On Facebook http://on.fb.me/1jxAdYQ
- On Twitter http://bit.ly/1hNlYi6
- On Youtube http://bit.ly/18NF2Xg

For more details or any assistance, contact Kiran Pandey at
kiran at cseindia.org, kirandwi at gmail.com

Annual Media Briefing on Climate Change
November 6-7, 2014, New Delhi

About 100 journalists from Asia, Africa and Latin America are coming
together for this event, which is now in its sixth year.

For details:

Souparno Banerjee, souparno at cseindia.org / 9910864339


Fifth National Research Conference on Climate Change
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology
Madras, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and Centre for Science and
Environment, under the banner Indian Climate Research Network, are
organising the Fifth National Research Conference on Climate Change, to be
held at IIT-Delhi on December 19-20, 2014. We invite abstracts from
faculty, students, civil society organizations and practitioners in the
areas of climate science, impacts, mitigation, adaptation, disaster risk
reduction and renewable energy. Abstracts should provide evidence of
independent research and be of direct relevance to the South Asian context.
Selected abstracts will receive a slot for presentation or poster session.
There will also be panel discussions involving invited speakers from a
range of different backgrounds.

Abstracts should be submitted online by October 30, 2014 at:
Acceptance notifications will be sent by November 15, 2014

For more details, visit www.icrn.in, Queries may be sent to icrn at icrn.in

Courses offered by Anil Agarwal Green College

- Training Programme on Clean Air and Sustainable Transportation
Strategies for Liveable Cities
Date: November 10 ? 12, 2014
For details, please visit:

- Training Programme for Environmental Managers
Date: November 10-14
For details, please visit:

- Visual Story-telling and new media in the digital age for strategic
communication and influence
A two days workshop on how to work with photographs and videos for
strategic communication and influence
Date: November 18-19, 2014, New Delhi
Applications accepted from national and international applicants.
For details, please visit: http://www.cseindia.org/node/4634

- E-Outreach: New media technologies for advocacy and strategic
A two-day workshop on how to leverage new media technologies for advocacy
and strategic communication
Date: November 20-21, 2014, New Delhi
For details, please visit : http://www.cseindia.org/node/997

- Septage Management: Towards City Wide Sanitation
Date: November 24-26, 2014
For details please visit:

- Urban and Industrial Wastewater Treatment
Date: November 24-28, 2014
For details, please visit:

For a complete listing, please visit our website: http://www.cseindia.org/

Pre-publication booking for State of Environment 2015 report
The report, backed by our over two decades of researching environment and
development, is emerging as India's most credible annual statement on key
issues like water, land, climate change, agriculture and urbanisation. It
will be out in January 2015.


For special packages on books and films, please contact Ramachandran at
rchandran at cseindia.org, Mobile: 91-9810641996

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