6th India Water Impact Summit
Recently, the 6th Edition of the India Water Impact Summit was organized. The valedictory session was organized in a hybrid mode by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), New Delhi and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga), Kanpur.
Theme: The Summit was based on theme of ‘River Resources Allocation- Planning and Management at the Regional Level’.
- It was highlighted that the Ganga River Basin Management Plan (GRBMP) developed by the 7 IIT consortium has given a very strong background and understanding of the Ganga Basin.
- The various sessions organized included the following:
- Need for identification and conducting systematic assessment and valuation of river resources;
- Potential impact of water efficient solutions in maintaining the overall water balance of the country;
- Implementation challenges of the river resources allocation plans; and
- Need to inculcate a scientific understanding of rivers for developing sustainable policies and encourage the creation of circular water economy through water recycling and establishing a water trading market.
- The 5-day Summit also witnessed the signing of an MoU between C-Ganga and Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) for the development of a sludge management framework.
- Two MoUs have also been signed with Innovation Centre Denmark and UPS Hungary to encourage the sharing of knowledge and increase participation of Hungarian industry in the Ganga River Basin Restoration and Conservation Program.
- An MoU between cGanga and British Water was also signed to promote the development of 21st century infrastructure in water and the environment sector.
- An MoU between NMCG and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi - a premier public policy research think tank – was also signed. Both organizations shall work together to collaborate in research and knowledge production activities for rejuvenating rivers in India and informed policy thinking and institutional transformation for enduring outcomes for long-term impact.
- Four important releases were launched which include the ‘Uttarakhand River Atlas’, ‘Alaknanda and Bhagirathi River Basin Atlas’, ‘Yamuna River Basin Atlas’ and the ‘Samarth Ganga Report’.
COP26 Summit in Glasgow: India’s Pledge and ‘Mantra’ to World
The Prime Minister of India addressed the Cop26 Glasgow Summit on 1 November 2021.
He provided facts on India’s recent initiatives towards environment; proposed the world community to follow two unique movements to meet the climate goal; and also put forth India’s own targets in this regard. He also advocated for early climate finance for developing countries.
- Today India is at number four in the world in installed renewable energy capacity.
- India's non-fossil fuel energy has increased by more than 25% in the last 7 years. And now it has reached 40 percent of our energy mix.
- Indian railway system has set itself a target of making itself 'Net Zero' by 2030. This initiative alone will lead to a reduction of 60 million tonnes of emissions annually.
- LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually.
- In solar power, India has initiated the International Solar Alliance.
- India has created a coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure for climate adaptation- vital initiative to save crores of lives.
India’s ‘Mantra’ to the World
- LIFE: One-Word Movement: Indian PM proposed One-Word Movement – LIFE (L, I, F, E, i.e. Lifestyle For Environment) recognizing that lifestyle has a big role in climate change.
- MindFul and Deliberate Utilization: What is needed today is MindFul and Deliberate Utilization, instead of Mindless and Destructive Consumption.
- These movements together can set goals that can revolutionize many sectors such and diverse areas such as fishing, agriculture, wellness, Dietary Choices, Packaging, Housing, Hospatility, Tourism, Clothing, Fashion, Water management and Energy.
Panchamrit: India’s Pledge at Glasgow
India offered five nectar elements, ‘Panchamrit’, to deal with the climate challenge:
- First- India will reach its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
- Second- India will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
- Third- India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030.
- Fourth- By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45 percent.
- Fifth- By the year 2070, India will achieve the target of Net Zero.
Climate Finance: India advocates for Developing Countries
- India showed its concern for the developing countries’ task to meet climate risk and asked developed countries to provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest that was promised earlier with emphasis on tracking climate finance.
Production Gap Report 2021
- On 20th October 2021, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released Production Gap Report 2021.
- The Production Gap Report — first launched in 2019 — tracks the discrepancy between governments’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C.
- Governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. The production gap has remained largely unchanged since first analysis in 2019.
- The production gap is widest for coal in 2030: governments’ production plans and projections would lead to around 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
- G20 countries have directed more new funding to fossil fuels than clean energy since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- International public finance for the production of fossil fuels from G20 countries and multi-lateral development banks (MDBs) has significantly decreased in recent years.
- Most major oil and gas producers are planning on increasing production out to 2030 or beyond, and several major coal producers are planning on continuing or increasing production.
Recommendations: Role of Governments
- Governments have a primary role to play in closing the production gap and in ensuring that the transition away from fossil fuels is just and equitable.
- The report recommends that global fossil fuel production must start declining immediately and steeply to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5°C.
- Further, it charts out roles of Governments that they have a primary role to play in closing the production gap. In addition to strengthening measures to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, governments should also take actions to ensure a managed and equitable decline in production:
- Acknowledge in their energy and climate plans that there is a need to wind down global fossil fuel production in line with the Paris Agreement’s temperature limits.
- oChart the course towards a rapid, just, and equitable wind-down of fossil fuel production as part of overall de-carbonization plans.
- Place restrictions on fossil fuel exploration and extraction to avoid locking in levels of fossil fuel supply that are inconsistent with climate goals.
- Phase out government support for fossil fuel production. Governments can end subsidies and other support for production, exclude fossil fuels from public finance, and direct greater support towards low-carbon development.
- Leverage international cooperation to ensure a more effective and equitable global wind-down of production.
The Report on India
The report mainly flags India’s push for coal production and lack of policy towards winding down of fossil fuel production as well as supporting a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production.
- Government Views on Fossil Fuel Production: Under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) campaign, the government seeks to “unleash the power of coal” and become self-reliant by 2023–24 and commits to “augment production through government companies. The government articulated this as “a paradigm shift in the approach from being oriented to maximum revenue from coal to making maximum coal available in the market at the earliest”.
- Plans and Projections for Domestic Fossil Fuel Production: In 2020, several ministries jointly produced a vision and action plan for developing India’s resources. The plan outlines measures to expand coal production by nearly 60% from 2019 to 2024 (from 730 to 1,149 million tonnes), including through the removal of barriers to land acquisition and building capacity for exploration. India also aims to increase total oil and gas production by over 40% in the same period through measures such as accelerated exploration licensing, faster monetization of discoveries, and gas marketing reforms.
- Government Support for Fossil Fuel Production
- India provided tax breaks and budget expenditures for fossil fuel production.
- In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the government provided a 50% rebate on revenue payable to the government for coal extraction projects
- As part of structural reforms announced in 2020 amid the Self-Reliant India campaign, the government committed INR 500 billion (USD 7.1 billion) for coal extraction infrastructure.
- In 2020, India opened up its coal mining sector to private and foreign investment, offering financial incentives and organizing large auctions of coal mining blocks. A 2020 auction included mines that would add an estimated 225 million tonnes at peak production, representing around 15% of India’s projected coal output for 2025. It was opposed by the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, with concerns about potential social and environmental impacts. A second auction took place in 2021.
- Over the past decade, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has narrowed the public consultation process for coal mine projects.
- Policies and Discourses towards a Managed Wind-Down of Fossil Fuel Production: No such government policies or discourses were identified at the federal level.
- Policies and Discourses Supporting a Just and Equitable Transition away from Fossil Fuel Production: No such government policies or discourses were identified at the federal level.
NTPC commissions largest Floating Solar PV Project
- NTPC Limited has commissioned the largest floating solar PV project of 25 MegaWatt on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
- This is also the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilisation Scheme, notified by the Government of India in 2018.
- The floating solar installation has a unique anchoring design which is spread over 75 acres. This floating solar project has the potential to generate electricity from more than one lakh solar PV modules.
- This will not only help to light around seven thousand households but also ensure at least 46 thousand tons of carbon dioxide is not emitted every year during the lifespan of this project.
Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021
On 13th August 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibits identified single use plastic items which have low utility and high littering potential by 2022.
- The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022:
- Ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration;
- Plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.
- The thickness of plastic bags would be increased from 50 to 75 microns from September 30, 2021, and to 120 microns with effect from December 31, 2022, so that they could be reused.
KASEZ: India’s First Green Industrial City”
Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ), the oldest export zone in the country, has become the “first green industrial city” in India to receive a platinum rating under IGBC Green Cities Rating for existing cities in the industrial cities category.
Initiatives that helped Kasez achieve this Status
- Green Cover: Compared to the 25,000 trees in KASEZ in 2019, the 1000-odd acres have 3.5 lakh trees. Most of these trees have been planted post 2019, using the Miyawaki forestation method.
- Bird and Tree Species: KASEZ managed to grow 68 species of trees and attract 28 varieties of birds— which were also audited and counted — on a piece of land that was once a salt pan with almost no vegetation.
- Halting Growth of Salt Pan: The SEZ halted the growth of salt pan beyond Kandla. The planting of trees helped reduce salinity and improved the quality of top soil. The water became less saline and the growth of the trees improved. It also used water harvesting systems.
- Productive use of Waste: Usage of worn clothing by KASEZ which is a hub of used clothing recycling industry for mulching during tree plantation.
- Use of Plastic Waste: KASEZ used plastic waste to line the artificial water bodies created inside the area to prevent water seepage and mix with the saline water.
- Energy Conservation: The SEZ’s initiatives with solar energy and LED lighting were also among the factors that contributed to the IGBC rating.