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INDUSTRIAL-ECOLOGY  March 2000

INDUSTRIAL-ECOLOGY March 2000

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Subject:

What's new at CSE, India - a sample

From:

"webadmin" <[log in to unmask]>

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[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 2 Mar 2000 14:56:01 +530

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*****************************************************************
A fortnightly electronic news bulletin from CSE, India, to a network of 
friends and professionals interested in environmental issues. We send this 
to people who we believe are involved in sustainable development 
initiatives. This is a sample issue. If you wish to join the list, just 
send an email to [log in to unmask] with the subject as subscribe.
*****************************************************************

What's new at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, 
India

The President of India, His Excellency Shri. K R Narayanan, was presented 
a copy of the Centre for Science and Environment's latest publication, 
Green Politics: Global Environmental Negotiations -1, at a function in 
Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 1, 2000. "This is a vital book," he said, 
adding that it would go a long way in protecting India's interest, and 
those of the third world, in the international forum.  More details about 
the book and the President's remarks are available at 

http://www.oneworld.org/cse/html/eyou/eyou41.htm
-------------------------------------------------

NEPAL'S LESSON TO INDIA
Six years ago, Nepal decided it was time to hand over some forest tracts 
to the communities that lived nearby. Wise decision, one would say, as 
these forests have regenerated much better than government forests. The 
Himalayan Kingdom is teaching the regional superpower India how to manage 
forests in the hill. An analysis by Down To Earth at 

http://www.oneworld.org/cse/html/dte/dte20000229/dte_analy.htm
-------------------------------------------------

FADING GREEN?
The government that came to power in Germany in 1998 included the Greens. 
One year down the line, their performance is already being labelled 
'disappointing'. But before you rubbish them, remember that there is still 
reason to hope for better environmental governance. Read more in Down To 
Earth at 

http://www.oneworld.org/cse/html/dte/dte20000229/dte_analy1.htm
-------------------------------------------------

BIOSAFE THAN NEVER

The Biosafety Protocol, recently framed by 140 countries in Montreal, is 
the first step towards transparency into trade in bioengineered products. 
Which means countries will be able to ban imports of genetically 
engineered seeds, microbes, animals and crops if these are considered 
environmentally harmful. But due to US pressure to protect its 
biotechnology industry, the cornflakes that you buy may not be labelled if 
they use genetically modified corn. So, who decides what you eat?


http://www.oneworld.org/cse/html/dte/dte20000229/dte_srep.htm
-------------------------------------------------

A message from the Director, Anil Agarwal:
Polluting politics

DISINFORMATION and bad politics seem to go hand in hand. Now that the 
Delhi government is showing that it is determined to fight growing air 
pollution, a desperate effort seems to be on to try and confuse the issue 
in the hope that action against polluters can be delayed, if not derailed. 
The Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) has suddenly woken up to say 
that the government's move to ban the registration of all commercial 
vehicles, except those running on compressed natural gas (CNG), will 
promote global warming. TERI scientists seem to have suddenly pulled this 
out of their hat, much like a magician conjuring up a rabbit. 

Of course, CNG being a gas with a high methane content is known to have 
greenhouse gas potential. This is well-known and well-considered in public 
policy. This is not to say that diesel, for which TERI obviously seems to 
be lobbying, does not lead to global warming. In fact, there is increasing 
evidence to show that diesel contributes in an equal measure to global 
warming. It was a preferred fuel because of the alleged high efficiency of 
diesel engines but the price differential and the lower costs of running 
diesel cars has led to increasing usage and negates any advantage. 

But the issue that TERI scientists seemed to have missed completely is 
that diesel engines emit high quantities of particulate matter which are 
extremely small and highly carcinogenic. Particulate pollution is the most 
serious pollutant in Delhi. Pollution due to PM 10 particles - particles 
with a diameter less than 10 microns - reached an astonishing 820 
microgrammes per cubic metre on some days in the city's ambient air. This 
is eight times higher than the national standard and possibly way above 
anything recorded in any other city in the world. Mexico City, which is 
widely considered as the most polluted in the world, has a smog alert 
system. The authorities inform citizens about the state of the air on a 
daily basis. If Delhi's particulate pollution levels are considered and 
Mexico City rules imposed, the city would have a pollution emergency every 
second day. In fact Delhi would have to close down for six months in the 
year to make the air good enough to breathe. 

Therefore an action plan to control particulate pollution becomes vital. 
Curbs on diesel use become a must. Because of this, the Supreme Court in 
1998 had ordered that all buses over eight years old should move to CNG 
from April 1, 2000 and all buses should be running on CNG by March 2001. 
The court is also hearing a case recommending a ban on private diesel cars 
in Delhi, as the spiralling growth of these cheaper-to-run-vehicles of the 
rich, has the potential to negate any clean up efforts by the public 
transport sector. 

The Delhi government long criticised for delaying the implementation of 
these orders has finally decided to take a hard line. But no sooner does 
it clear the proposal to register only buses, taxis and autorickshaws that 
run on CNG from April 1, 2000, it is hit on the head. The timing is 
amazing, simply because the decision to move public and commercial 
transport to CNG had been taken almost two years ago. The Gas Authority of 
India Limited has been busy setting up the infrastructure to provide the 
city with CNG and everyone else, from the Supreme Court downwards, has 
been pushing for the timely implementation of this crucial order. 

The question now being asked is whether Delhi, which is suffering from 
severe local air pollution, should first take steps to deal with global 
pollution. This is absurd. It is important to note that India does not 
have commitments under the climate change convention to take action to 
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not to say that it should have 
the right to pollute with impunity. Only that the convention clearly lays 
down that those who have endangered the world's climate should be the 
first to take action to reduce their emissions. We have seen precious 
little of this till date. The Kyoto Protocol, signed in late 1997, lays 
down commitments for the industrialised North to cut emissions but now the 
richest and most polluting nations are trying to buy their way out of the 
problem. They want to trade in cheap emission reductions from our part of 
the world instead of taking action to cut emissions at home. 

Secondly, there is the issue of priorities. In the grossly climate-
unfriendly country like the US, states like New York and California were 
faced with the choice of restricting diesel, that had less global warming 
potential, against rising concerns over local air pollution. They clearly 
stated that local health concerns had to take precedence over global 
concerns. As a result both these states have programmes to induct more and 
more CNG buses. Why then should Delhi citizens be treated differently? 

TERI's conjuring act is a part of the automobile lobby's sustained efforts 
to block the introduction of CNG in Delhi. It is, therefore, not 
surprising that only a few months ago the director of TERI was quoted in 
newspaper reports as arguing that burning of leaves by the poor and not 
automobiles, was the cause of air pollution in Delhi. Given that a TATA 
company - TELCO - is leading the diesel brigade, should we call this 
connivance, or term it a coincidence?

- Anil Agarwal 

Visit our website at www.cseindia.org or www.oneworld.org/cse and check 
out what's new. Our website carries our science and environment 
fortnightly Down To Earth, a weekly Feature Service of articles on 
environment and a daily environment news flash by subject categories. We 
also give regular updates on all of our campaigns on topics like vehicular 
pollution, climate change, biodiversity, water resources, wildlife, 
forests etc. Our online library of books, journals, images and videos is 
searchable through a thesaurus of environmental keywords at 
http://data.cseindia.org 

We are also looking for reciprocal linking to other websites in this area. 
Let us know your website address and we would be happy to link to you. 
Please feel free to forward this message to other interested individuals. 

*************************************************
If you wish to discontinue this fortnightly email update from CSE then 
please send an email to [log in to unmask] with the subject heading as 
unsubscribe. To add yourself to the list please send with the subject 
heading as subscribe. 
 
*************************************************

Usha Sekhar 
Website Unit 
Centre for Science and Environment 




****************************************************************
* NOTE CHANGE IN OUR EMAIL ADDRESS: PLEASE NOTE AS FOLLOWS  *
****************************************************************
         CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT  ( CSE )
 41, TUGHLAKABAD INSTITUTIONAL AREA, NEW DELHI- 110 062
            TELE:        698 1110, 698 1124  
                         698 3394, 698 6399  
            FAX :        91-11-698 5879                      
            VISIT US AT: http://www.cseindia.org

                Email: [log in to unmask]
****************************************************************
  




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