For the Indian climate crusaders the year 2007 has become more important for three reasons. First the entry of climate change as an agenda item to United Nations Security Council on April 18. Now, the Nobel award for Peace to the scientific community - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former US Vice-President Al Gore for making people aware of climate change. It’s argued that after the prestigious award, the issue would become everybody’s business to know, manage and resolve it.
The Cold War mindset is difficult to fade away. With the announcement of designing and building the nuclear energy centre in Myanmar by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, the US has raised concerns about the peaceful nature of Myanmar’s nuclear energy programme. The proposed 10 megawatt light water reactor has attracted international attention to Myanmar. The negotiation for acquiring the nuclear technology between Russian Agency and Myanmar was shelved since 2003 due to certain payment problems.
All over the world, environmentalists and green activists are jubilant. Even, renowned international environmental organization Greenpeace is thrilled for its nomenclature when the climate change has officially ‘securitized’ at the United Nation. But, traditional war theorists or security experts have kept an eerie silence over the historic development of re-emergence of concept of ‘environmental security’. Beyond its tradition, on April 17 the UN Security Council (UNSC) debated the impacts of climate change and its linkages to international security for the first time in history.
Since decades the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government has been trying hard to unearth the vast bauxite reserves in the Eastern Ghats despite campaigns and protests from the tribal community. The tribal communities believe that bauxite mining would not only render thousands of tribal people homeless, it would also sound the death-knell for the cultural diversity of the community and the endemic biodiversity of Eastern Ghats. Instead, the state government is in a hurry to sign agreements with private firms for bauxite mining.
There has been much ado over the neutral expert’s verdict on the Baglihar Hydel Project (BHP). For over sixteen years, the 450 Mega Watt (MW) BHP on the Chenab River in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir has been the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. After holding five meetings – in Paris, Geneva, London, Paris & Washington; visiting the project site including its hydraulic model at Roorkee University and examining the written and oral submissions made by both parties, the final report of the neutral expert has given the BHP the ‘go ahead’.
Providing access to safe drinking water to all is being the prime target of each country’s development goal as prescribes by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The contentious issue is who will provide this basic service- public or private.
With a growing economy, an increasing population, India’s energy demands is mounting. The household sector is the largest consumer of energy in India, accounting for 40-50 percent of the total energy consumption in the country. In rural areas, the domestic sector accounts for nearly 80 percent of total energy consumption. It has been estimated that with the current rate of consumption, India would require over 450 million tones of coal, 94 million tones of oil and 220 million units of electricity by 2006 to sustain its energy needs.
The eastern Indian state of Orissa will turn to a mass of barren and desert like lands in another 150 years, warned Water Initiatives Orissa (WIO). This is an alarming finding considering that the whole world is observing this year as the year of deserts and desertification with the theme, "Let's stop dry lands from turning deserts". Desertification is a process of productivity loss of lands. When severe, it leads to permanent damages.
The World’s biggest economies set to prepare massive investment in nuclear energy. The most elusive energy, which was discarded in 1992 Earth Summit as ‘not safe and sound’ energy, has been touted as the best alternative for the energy-crunch world in recently concluded Group of Eight (G- 8) Summit meeting at St. Petersburg, Russia. After shock waves of Three Miles and Chernobyl accidents, the nuclear energy is back to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, the root cause of climate change.
India is becoming a graveyard for the dying ships. And so it is, for the workers of the shipyards too. Ship breaking is also environmentalists’ nightmare. Toxic materials, most of which are highly hazardous, are dumped in the ship-breaking yards of India. The most tragic part of the story is the fate of the workers who are facing fatal occupational hazards. Not to forget, India is the one of the six surviving ship-breaking nations in the world, along with China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan and Myanmar.