Matters concerned with Environment

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plan to return cheetah to India okayed, three sites identified

Plan to return cheetah to India okayed, three sites identified

The cheetah will run again in India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests today cleared a Rs 300-crore plan to raise 18 cheetahs at three sites — six in each — in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has asked Iran to provide the cheetahs. The other option being considered are African cheetahs being bred in Sharjah.

The cheetah has been extinct in India since the 1960s, the only mammal other than the Sumatran Rhino to be wiped out from the country.

Last year, wildlife experts M K Ranjitsinh and Divyabhanu Singh, affiliated with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), proposed reintroducing the cheetah in India. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh pushed the project and sought a technical report from the WTI and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on possible sites where the cheetah could be reintroduced.

The Solar Real Estate Incentive | RenewablesBiz

The Solar Real Estate Incentive | RenewablesBiz

Germany's successful feed-in law has been well reported and now a U.S. congressman wants to bring a version of it to these shores.

Jay Inslee (D.-Wash.) now wants to multiply Germany's achievement in this country. He is motivated by concerns about global warming and the security risks of foreign oil and gas.

Inslee introduced a "renewable energy jobs and security bill" into Congress modeled after German legislation. For perspective, I recently spoke to Jeffrey Michel, an American energy researcher who has lived in Germany for four decades....................................


Environmental Impact Amusements - Bangalore Mirror

Environmental Impact Amusements, Specials - Views - Bangalore Mirror,Bangalore Mirror

Gautam Patel when he’s not on Facebook, he claims to be a lawyer

Environmental Impact Amusements

Environmental Impact Assessments for dams and power plants are being used to make dirty projects look pretty

Gautam Patel
Posted On Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 07:38:59 PM

At Devprayag in the Garhwal Himalaya, the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi slam into each other and become the Ganga. Once, both were mighty. The Bhagirathi’s waters poured at nearly 29,000 litres per second. Today, it is a trickle: just 56 litres per second.

The cause is man-made. Imagine a body of water a quarter kilometre high, 42 square kilometres in area. Imagine it at an altitude of 872 metres — higher than Matheran or Lonavala. Place it in a major geological fault zone. What you have is the Tehri Dam, the world’s fifth (some say eighth) highest dam, the third at this altitude and the only one in a fault zone. It submerged an entire town, displaced over 100,000 people, destroyed vast forests — all supposedly to provide manifold “benefits”.

For 20 years, Sunderlal Bahugana fought against it. Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court. Repeatedly, its safety was questioned. The dam was built anyway. The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of the Tehri Dam say it is “safe”; that its benefits outweigh its risks.

Do they? The dam is in the Central Himalayan Seismic Gap, a fault zone prone to severe earthquakes. Large dams, because of the sheer weight of the water they hold, increase earthquake intensity. The dam is supposed to withstand quakes of up to 8.5 Richter.

What if it does not? Experts say the consequences would be catastrophic: that mass of water would crash through the Himalayan gorges; Devprayag, Rishikesh and Hardwar would cease to exist; and directly downstream lie the cities of Meerut, Kanpur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and Calcutta.

This is not an isolated case of a dubious EIA. The EIA for Dandeli Mini Hydel Power Project was entirely plagiarised from another EIA for a different project. Only the name was changed.

The more recent designer-EIA for a power plant in Sompeta, Andhra Pradesh, is a marvel of linguistic manipulation. By transposing one letter and adding two, it transformed ecologically fragile, biodiversity rich wetlands into wastelands. The environment ministry cleared it. Fortunately, the National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA) stepped in and rejected the clearance. Ninety-five per cent of the people at a public hearing opposed the project.

The central Ministry of Environment and Forests first introduced EIAs in 1994. These are supposed to impartially weigh project benefits against social and environmental costs. There is a detailed procedure, including an environment management plan and public hearings.

Today, after the plastic surgery of 12 or more amendments, some highly questionable, the EIA Notification is as close as it is possible for a legislation to get to Michael Jackson’s face. A slew of industries are exempted from some requirement, many from the critical one of public hearings.

A project proponent chooses its own agency for the EIA report. For a supposedly objective report, this is absurd for the project proponent becomes the EIA agency’s ‘client’; and what agency wants to say anything its client doesn’t want to hear? Often, agencies conduct no independent studies or data collection. They just take what the client gives them and massage the numbers. Even better: the World Bank loves EIA reports, and agencies love the World Bank.

It’s a simple recipe. Ingredients: one used EIA. Method: blend the EIA through a word processor, reformat, and serve garnished with photographs. It doesn’t matter that the report spins yarns about crocodiles in the Kali River. There are none.
The law requires public hearings and making the EIA report available. Nothing is easier to arrange. Stuff the hearing with your own people. Make sure the report is hard to get hold of.

There is simply no way to assess the quality or accuracy of an EIA. From Himachal to Sikkim in the north, down to the Sethusamudran project, environmental clearance was granted routinely no matter how shady the EIA, how manipulated the public hearing.

Fortunately we have Jairam Ramesh, our determined Minister of State for Environment and Forests. He has a quaint notion that befuddles industry, that without environmental protection there can be no real ‘development’. And the NEAA is also beginning to flex its muscles. What we now need is this: guidelines for appointing agencies; data collection and reporting norms; mechanisms for independent assessments of EIA reports; and monitoring of public hearings.

There’s a reason for EIAs, one that underlies the faceless phrase “costs and benefits”. An EIA tests the genuineness of the public interest in the project. It should not be a device to make dirty projects look pretty.

Liked/hated his column? write to Gautam Patel at

Consultation on national environment policy of Malta Republic.

Consultation on national environment policy of Malta Republic.

by Elaine Attard

The government launched the first consultation phase of the national environmental policy, which is meant to listen to the public’s environmental concerns and address them in the final policy document.

The environmental policy aims to provide direction for the wide set of actors in the environmental field. “It will help us integrate our work, not only among environmental players, but also in order to seek congruency between the environmental and other national socio-economic goals. Finally, this policy will help us articulate and communicate our national environmental priorities in a transparent way,” explained Tourism, Environment and Culture Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco during the launch, yesterday.

During this first phase of work on the policy, the secretariat identified a number of environmental issues that are of public concern, but the public’s input to ensure that all the issues in the sector are exhausted, is required.

“Only after the public consultation will we be able to prioritise the issues, and indicate which of them need to be addressed in the short-term, and which need to be addressed over a longer time period.

“The issues are listed in what we are calling an issues paper. The document is the first step in that direction and lists what are considered to be Malta’s most hot issues in the environmental field, based on research and past communications with key stakeholders,” added Dr De Marco.

Meanwhile, the public is encouraged to submit their opinion regarding the new environmental policy and on all the issues that could be considered in the process leading to the final environmental policy.

The preliminary document, which has already highlighted a number of issues that need to be discussed is available on the website . In the meantime a number of public meetings will be held as part of the consultation process.

The national environmental policy was announced by Dr de Marco last March. The policy aims to be comprehensive and should integrate all governmental policies that relate to the environment. The final aim of the document is to cover all the environmental sector in its widest sense and to specify principles and priorities which are central for Malta.

“The sector offers opportunities for different governmental and public entities to work together and to identify how the environment could give us a competitive advantage. We have to find ways of using resources, producing and consuming products and services and reducing pollution efficiently. The environmental policy should be designed alongside the economic policies in a coherent framework,” he went on.

Comments and ideas about the preliminary document can be sent to postal address: National Environmental Policy Coordinator, Office of the Prime Minister, Auberge d’Italie, Merchants Street, Valletta, VLT 1170, or by email to One may also call on 2291-5033/5027 during office hours. All consultation submissions should be submitted by not later than 30 September.

Steel Guru : RPG CESC eying INR 2000 crore solar project in Rajasthan - 157082 - 2010-07-28

Steel Guru : RPG CESC eying INR 2000 crore solar project in Rajasthan - 157082 - 2010-07-28:
"RPG CESC eying INR 2000 crore solar project in Rajasthan"
After entering the hydel energy sector earlier this year, RPG Group flagship CESC has now reiterated its commitment towards the renewable energy space with INR 2,000 crore solar power generation project in Rajasthan.

This project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to create 20,000 MW of solar generating capacity by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan is CESC's second initiative in the green energy generation segment. In January, the company has announced that it had been awarded a 140MW hydel project in Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Sanjeev Goenka vice chairman of CESC said that “We have begun land acquisition for our first solar power project near Bikaner in Rajasthan, which will initially require 200 acres of land. Eventually, we could scale it up to 1000 acres. In the next five years, we plan to produce between 200 MW to 400MW from there.”

Mr Goenka added that “We are looking at the renewable energy sector in a very strong way. By September to October, we will firm up our future plans for this vertical.”

Mr Goenka said that “The Dhariwal power project should be commissioned by March 2013 referring to CESC's INR 3,000 crore facility in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, which will produce another 600 MW.”

Incidentally, CESC claims to be the world's first thermal power utility to be registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for carbon credits and has three Clean Development Mechanism projects.

(Sourced from BS)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Green activist shot dead near High Court - Ahmedabad - City - The Times of India

Green activist shot dead near High Court - Ahmedabad - City - The Times of India: "Green activist shot dead near High Court"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests -

Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests -

London, England (CNN) -- The destruction of the world's mangrove forests is happening up to four times faster than the world's land-based forests, according to a new United Nations report.
A study commissioned by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) reports that one fifth (around 35,500 square kilometers) of the world's mangroves -- forests straddling both land and sea -- have been lost since 1980.
Although the study reports that annual destruction has slowed to 0.7 percent a year, the authors of the "World Atlas of Mangroves" report warn that continued coastal destruction and shrimp farming could cause financial and ecologic havoc.
Studies estimate mangroves generate between U.S.$2000 to $9000 per hectare annually from fishing -- much more than the aquaculture, agriculture and tourism, which the U.N. says are the biggest drivers of mangrove loss.
Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), said in a statement: "This atlas brings our attention onto mangroves and puts them up front and central, plotting where they are, describing where they have been lost, and underlining the immense costs those losses have had for people as well as nature."
Mangroves cover around 150,000 square kilometers and are found in 123 countries worldwide. The biggest concentration (21 percent) of the world's mangroves is in Indonesia, with Brazil home to around nine percent and Australia, seven percent.
Mark Spalding, lead author of the report and senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy, told CNN: "The value of mangroves has been hugely overlooked. Mangroves are incredibly valuable, left standing."
Preserving the environmental diversity of mangroves is essential to maintaining what Spalding calls "the real hard dollar values" for the people who live near them and depend on their survival.
Apart from providing a degree of coastal protection for communities -- there is evidence that mangroves reduced the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 -- mangroves are also of vital economic importance to locals.
"There are a lot of fish that depend on mangroves - mud crabs, oysters, mussels - and there are also a lot of fish that don't seem to be connected to the mangroves but actually are. These fishing industries employ a lot of people," Spalding said.
The U.N. estimates that mangrove-related species support 30 percent of all fish catch and almost 100 percent of shrimp catch in southeast Asian countries. Mangroves and associated habitats in Queensland, Australia, are thought to support 75 percent of commercial fisheries species.
The forestry aspect of mangroves is also important economically.
The wood is dense, rot and termite resistant, Spalding says, making it good for use as timber or as charcoal, among the best in the world, he said.
"It's highly productive so you can continue to harvest it, which is rare," Spalding said.
It's taken Spalding five years to piece together the "World Atlas of Mangroves," and despite the findings, he remains positive that mangroves can be preserved.
"My sense is that we can turn this around into a good story," Spalding said.
"Knowing what we know now, mangroves can be restored and help us fight climate change," he said. They are incredibly resilient ecosystems, which aren't bothered by increasing temperatures, he said.
"These are habitats that are going to be around with us if we just look after them and the economic benefits will just accrue. There has been sustainable use of mangroves in Bangladesh and other parts of Asia for over a century."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Solar Cheaper than Nukes | RenewablesBiz

Solar Cheaper than Nukes | RenewablesBiz

Solar Cheaper than Nukes

Bill Opalka | Jul 15, 2010


The last time I caught up with NC WARN the group caused quite a stir with its call to eliminate coal-fired generation in North Carolina in 15 years.

The group, whose moniker stands for waste awareness & reduction network, is at it again with a new report that said a "historic crossover" has occurred between the costs of building solar installations and new nuclear plants. The report said that the state's utilities have rejected solar energy in favor of nuclear plants that require massive public subsidies and additional transfer of financial risks to electricity customers and taxpayers.

"North Carolina should be leading, not lagging, in the transition to clean energy," said John Blackburn, the former chancellor of Duke University and emeritus chair of its economics department.

He also said the fast-growing worldwide solar industry is poised to bring thousands of manufacturing and installation jobs to North Carolina.

Clean energy advocates point out that solar photovoltaic (PV) for home systems, rooftop installations on businesses and utility-scale plants have fallen rapidly in recent years and that trend is expected to accelerate over the next decade. WARN also said that delays and design issues still dog nuclear plants.

Blackburn said an "apples to apples" cost comparison, net of incentives for both technologies, was based on interviews and published reports of solar trends and cost estimates to build nuclear plants.

Blackburn, who produced the report for clean energy nonprofit NC WARN, was assisted by Sam Cunningham, a master's candidate at the Duke University Nicholas School for the Environment. The authors emphasized that solar prices should be compared to new nuclear plant costs, and that electric rates will rise much less with a clean-energy approach.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jungle camps including- Aanejhari Butterfly Camp

"Here's your chance to go camping in the wild"

Date:08/07/2010 URL:

Front Page

Here's your chance to go camping in the wild

Shankar Bennur

JLR to set up 10 jungle camps as part of an ecotourism initiative sponsored by the Centre

Each camp will have its own educational module

Cave explorations, safaris will be part

of the package


Close encounters:Tourists can follow butterfly trails or spend nights on machans at the different camps.

MYSORE: Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR), a State Government undertaking managed by the Forest Department, will soon set up 10 unique jungle camps in different ecosystems as a part of the Jungle Camps and Trails, a Centre-supported project.

“Jungle Camps and Trails (JCT) is a unique ecotourism initiative. Each camp will provide a different ambience. Work on establishing the camps is in progress; they will be ready in two months,” JLR managing director N.T. Tiwari told The Hindu. He said the JCT project was being implemented through the Tourism Department, which had entrusted the work to the Forest Department.

“The responsibility of establishing the camps has been given to the respective Deputy Conservators of Forests. Once the camps are ready, they will be handed over to JLR, which will run them,” Mr. Tiwari said. The camps coming up are: Sakrebail Elephant Camp, Kulagi Timber Trails Camp, Anshi Evergreen Camp, Gopinatham Country Camp, Bhagawati Herbal Camp, Seethanadi Herpeto Camp, Aanejhari Butterfly Camp, Muthodi Trogon Camp, Castle Rock Adventure Camp and Jogimatti Trekkers Camp.


Each camp will have comfortable accommodation units with a distinct eco-theme. Tourists will have options such as cave exploration, hornbill safari, butterfly trail, herbal trail, herpeto-trail, nature walks, machan night-outs, river rafting, forest treks, bird watching and boating in the different camps.

Each trail starts and ends at the camps and no two trails overlap, according to information given by JLR.

A booklet is being prepared for each trail. Each camp will have a camp-specific eco-education module tailored to suit schoolchildren.

One can have close encounters with captive elephants at the Sakrebail camp near Shimoga. The camp also provides other activities such as herbal trail, bird watching, treks and boating.

For the hornbill safari, cave exploration and timber trails, enthusiasts can visit Kulagi, about 12 km from the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Anshi Camp, situated in the evergreen Anshi National Park on the Belgaum-Karwar highway, will offer mountain biking, treks and machan night-outs, according to JLR.

The Gopinatham Country Camp will provide an opportunity for those who want to walk through territory traversed by the late brigand Veerappan. The camp is coming up at Gopinatham village in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, about 34 km from the Male Mahadeshwara Hills.

The camp offers bird watching, nature walks and mountain biking to the Hogenakkal Falls.

Reptile hotspot

The Seethanadi camp is being developed in the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary near Hebri town. The sanctuary is known for flying lizards and amphibians. River rafting on the Seeta and nature treks are the activities planned at the camp.

The Aanejhari Butterfly Camp is near the famous Kollur Mookambika temple and is the perfect place for learning about butterflies.

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