Nature & India : News, Views and Discussions


Active member
Dec 5, 2018
Gujarat is not very well known for its beauty but what I have seen last week was beyond my imagination. I visited dand where I saw river flowing upside down from mountain in the middle of jungle with trees as high as 10 story buildings. I realized that there is no need to go to Masuri to enjoy such beauty.


Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

US Senate writes to President Biden praising India's clean energy agenda and Ethanol targets​

A group of nine American senators on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to promote biofuels as a key solution for the country's energy and climate agenda and said that India's efforts in this regard to set up targets for ethanol are encouraging. "Mr President, biofuels are a readily available energy solution that deserves full consideration, not only for helping to stem the recent increase in fuel prices which has subsequently accelerated inflation, but to serve as a foundational source of transportation emission reductions as part of your energy and environmental agenda," the senators wrote.

Under the BJP-led government, India is pushing aggressively to meet stricter climate goals, especially in automobiles. After implementing BS6 norms, Nitin Gadkari - Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways is now working on Ethanol blended fuel. India has set a target of 10 percent ethanol blending by 2022 and increasing to a rate of 20 percent ethanol by 2025.

Led by Senator John Thune, a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, the nine GOP senators called on the Biden administration to utilise the full capacity of American agriculture to deliver on both fronts. "The benefits of expanded biofuel use do not stop at the water's edge, and we are encouraged to see countries like India recognise the potential that higher blends of ethanol hold to meet energy needs and environmental goals. India has set a target of 10 per cent ethanol blending by 2022 and increasing to a rate of 20 per cent ethanol by 2025," the senators wrote in their letter.

They said that it not only suggests a promising export market for American farmers and biofuel producers but underscores how biofuels can be leveraged immediately to reduce transportation emissions without overhauling the entire electric grid.

"We urge your administration to feature biofuels as part of its international outreach on energy, environment, and trade, including the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland," the senators said.

Observing that they want all Americans to have access to affordable and reliable sources of energy, including transportation and winter heating fuel, the senators said this requires an all-the-above energy strategy that equally leverages responsible resource development and innovation. "American biofuels represent both, and as we outlined in our previous letter, they hold the proven ability to provide consumers broad choices for cleaner and more affordable energy. These contributions would expand with timely action by your administration," they said.
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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

Unesco World Heritage forests: India’s Sundarbans among 5 sites with highest ‘blue carbon’ globally​

India’s Sundarbans National Park is among five sites that have the highest blue carbon stocks globally, according to a new assessment of greenhouse gas volumes emitted from and absorbed by forests in Unesco World Heritage sites.

Also, such ‘World Heritage forests’ are now releasing more carbon than they are absorbing, primarily due to human activity and climate change, according to the assessment.

Researchers at Unesco, the World Resources Institute and the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimated the gross and net carbon absorbed and emitted by Unesco World Heritage forests between 2001 and 2020.

They did this by combining satellite-derived data with monitoring information at the site level, according to a statement by the organisation. They found that Unesco World Heritage forests in 257 sites absorbed approximately 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere each year.

This figure, according to the study, was comparable to roughly half the United Kingdom’s annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

The study added that World Heritage forests also stored substantial amounts of carbon in addition to absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The total carbon stored till now by these forests is approximately 13 billion tonnes of carbon. If all this stored carbon were to be released into the atmosphere as CO2, it would be akin to emitting 1.3 times the world’s total annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

The study described blue carbon as organic carbon that is mainly obtained from decaying plant leaves, wood, roots and animals. It is captured and stored by coastal and marine ecosystems.

Unesco lists 50 sites across the globe for their unique marine values. These represent just one per cent of the global ocean area. But they comprise at least 15 per cent of global blue carbon assests.

These 50 sites have carbon stores estimated at 1.4 Gigatonne Carbon (Gt C). The Sundarbans National Park has stores of 60 million tonnes of carbon (Mt C).

The other four sites besides the Sundarbans National Park in India are the Bangladeshi portion of the Sundarbans (110 Mt C), Great Barrier Reef in Australia (502 Mt C), Everglades National Park in the United States (400 Mt C) and the Banc d’Arguin National Park in Mauritania (110 Mt C).

Worrying scenario
The researchers found that 10 of 257 forests emitted more carbon than they captured between 2001 and 2020 due to different anthropogenic disturbances and pressures.

The reasons for emissions to be greater than sequestration included clearance of land for agriculture, the increasing scale and severity of wildfires due to drought as well as extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes.

The 10 sites are:
  1. Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia)
  2. Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras)
  3. Yosemite National Park (US)
  4. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (Canada, US)
  5. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains (South Africa)
  6. Kinabalu Park (Malaysia)
  7. Uvs Nuur Basin (Russian Federation, Mongolia)
  8. Grand Canyon National Park (US)
  9. Greater Blue Mountains Area (Australia)
  10. Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)

The report urged strong and sustained protection of Unesco World Heritage sites and their surrounding landscapes to ensure their forests could continue to act as strong carbon sinks and stores for future generations.

It recommended rapidly responding to climate-related events, as well as maintaining and strengthening ecological connectivity through improved landscape management.

It also called for integrating the continued protection of Unesco World Heritage sites into international, national and local climate, biodiversity and sustainable development strategies.

This should be in line with the Paris climate agreement, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals, it said.


Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

1-billion-tonne emissions cut: Why it’s a big leap forward​

While these mark a significant step-up in India’s existing climate targets, four of the five promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday are relatively low-hanging fruit – with at least one in response to global pressure.

The most substantive new commitment, however, relates to the 1-billion-tonne reduction in its total projected emissions from now until 2030.

This is the first time that India has taken any climate target in terms of its absolute emissions.

Though it’s not a direct emission reduction target, something that only developed countries are expected to take, the reduction marks a major step towards bending India’s emissions trajectory.

According to the World Resources Institute, India’s total greenhouse gas emissions were about 3.3 billion tonnes in 2018. It’s projected to rise above 4 billion tonnes per year by 2030.

That would mean between now and 2030, India could be emitting anywhere between 35 to 40 billion tonnes at the current rates of growth. Cutting 1 billion tonnes would, therefore, represent a reduction of 2.5 to 3 per cent in its absolute emissions in the business-as-usual scenario in the next nine years.

This was also the most unexpected of the five new announcements.

The most anticipated promise was about setting a Net Zero target, something that the world had been demanding of India for long.
Net Zero is a state in which a country’s total emissions are offset by absorptions of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, like that done by trees and forests, and physical removal of carbon dioxide through futuristic technologies.

More than 70 countries have promised to become Net Zero by the middle of the century, and this is being considered vital for meeting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.

India’s Net Zero target of 2070 silences its critics but it is along expected lines. The big thing here is not the target itself but the fact that India finally relented and decided to take up a target, something it had been holding back on for quite some time.

In its climate action plan submitted under the Paris Agreement, India had promised to reduce its emissions intensity, or emissions per unit of GDP, by 33 to 35 per cent by the year 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Even at that time, it was considered a modest target, something that could be achieved in a business-as-usual scenario. In fact, some estimates suggest that India would achieve this target by 2022 itself, eight years in advance. The increase of this target to 45 per cent reduction is, therefore, in line with the progress made.
The same is true with the increase in installed capacity of renewable energy, and that of the proportion of renewable sources in India’s electricity generation.

Two years ago, Modi, speaking at a climate meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, said India would take up its installed capacity of renewable energy to 450 GW by 2030. At that time, India’s publicly stated target was 175 GW by the year 2022.
The installed renewable capacity has been growing rapidly in the last few years, and the enhancement from 450 GW to 500 GW is not likely to be very challenging.

The increase in proportion of renewable energy ources in India’s electricity generation to 50 per cent is a natural corollary of this.
Most of the new capacity additions in the energy sector are being done in the renewable and non-fossil fuel space. In fact, India has already said it does not plan to start any new coal power plants after 2022. As of now, India was already targeting 40 per cent electricity production through non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
Put together, this comprehensive package is much more than the world was expecting of India and marks a significant commitment to climate action.

“Reducing 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 and expanding non-fossils capacity to 500 GW are enormous and transformative steps. 50 per cent electricity generation from renewable energy sources speaks of India’s leadership and commitment to climate action,” said Ajay Mathur, head of International Solar Alliance, and a former climate negotiator for India.
Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of Council for Energy, Environment and Water, said that India had demonstrated climate leadership and now the ball was in the court of developed world to raise its ambition, particularly, in matters of climate finance.
“This is real climate action. Now India demands US $1 trillion in climate finance as soon as possible and will monitor not just climate action but also climate finance,” Ghosh said.


Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

India has shown what climate leadership looks like​

On November 1, the first day of the UN climate conference in Glasgow (COP26), Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a bold statement for low-carbon development. He committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2070 and backed that up with strong near-term commitments. This changes everything for India, for the planet, for investors and technology developers, and for climate negotiations.

The Prime Minister spoke for developing countries, in effect calling for a deal for development that would be just, equitable, people-centric and planet-positive. The much-anticipated announcement of India contained five elements: Non-fossil electricity capacity of 500 GW by 2030; 50 per cent electricity capacity from renewables by 2030; one billion tonnes of emission reduction by 2030; 45 per cent reduction in emission intensity of GDP by 2030; and net-zero emissions by 2070.

It is important to recognise how transformational these commitments are. Currently, India has 101.5 GW of renewables plus 46.5 GW of large hydropower capacity. Combined with 6.8 GW of nuclear power, this amounts to 155 GW (40 per cent of power capacity) coming from non-fossil sources. In 2021 India has already met one of its important commitments, which had originally been set for 2030.

Now it has upped the game. Getting to 500 GW of non-fossil capacity will not be easy. If, say, India builds another 50 GW of hydropower and nuclear capacity, it would still mean installing about 300 GW of additional renewables capacity. This will be a breathless marathon: Every working hour, six days a week, 365 days a year, for the next nine years, India would have to deploy at least 10.5 megawatts of renewable energy capacity.

Similarly, a reduction of 1 billion tonnes of emissions reduction by 2030 amounts to about 3 per cent absolute reduction, in addition to the avoided emissions that would accrue from already stated targets for clean energy, electric mobility, industrial energy efficiency, and LED lighting.

To put this in context, industrialised countries reduced emissions by only 3.7 per cent during 1990-2019. Calculations by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) show that the near-term target for renewables capacity would result in 246 million tonnes of CO2 saved in the electricity sector alone in 2030.

Overall, the net-zero target is a call for economic transformation. CEEW analysis, published in recent weeks, shows how a 2070 net-zero scenario will change the outlook for many key sectors. With (green) hydrogen but without carbon capture and storage, by 2070 industrial energy will shift significantly. Electricity from non-traditional sources provides less than 20 per cent of industrial energy currently, but its share would have to jump to 65 per cent by 2070. Hydrogen’s negligible share would have to grow to 19 per cent of industrial energy by 2070. Electric vehicles would have to be 84 per cent of all four-wheelers and 79 per cent of all trucks sold in 2070. Coal-based power would have to be completely eliminated.

Once the dust settles over COP-26, India would do well to have legislative backing for long-term targets. Performance and progress towards net-zero by each successive government should be monitored by the Parliament. Developing near-term and mid-term sectoral roadmaps would give businesses policy and regulatory clarity. Further, a National Commission on Climate Change, as a constitutional body, should be formed to deal with climate change as a strategic risk and an overarching development priority, and improve inter-ministerial and Centre-state coordination.

The economic cost for net-zero transition will amount to between $ 9,400 billion to $ 14,000 billion (in 2015 prices) between 2030 and 2100. The cost variations depend on whether hydrogen and CCUS have a big or small role in India’s energy transition. An economy-wide carbon price will be needed sooner than later to raise resources and nudge investments.

Having set the targets, there will be a need for hard investment. The net-zero announcement is an invitation to institutional investors. It is a challenge laid out for innovators. Not every answer is known. That is also an opportunity to develop next-gen smart appliances, grid storage, solar panels, wind turbines, energy-efficient industrial boilers, electrolysers for green hydrogen, or EV batteries.

We will need a mindset change. Everything will now have to become sustainable, regardless of the economic sector. Use, reuse and misuse of resources (land, water, air, carbon) must become guiding principles to pursue jobs, growth and sustainability. The transition must be just for those impacted by economic shocks and by climate shocks. None of this is a given, nor will it be easy.

Yet, India has put the ball firmly in the court of developed countries. First, despite a 2070 net-zero year, its cumulative emissions from 1900 to 2100 would still be lower than that of the US or the EU (which have declared 2050 net-zero targets) or China (with a 2060 net-zero year). Second, India’s transition from peaking emissions to net-zero would be faster than any other major economy, which are taking a slow-motion route to net-zero stretching from four to more than seven decades.

Third, India has called out the shifting of goalposts around unmet climate finance promises. Just days ago, the $100 billion that was meant to be delivered by 2020 has now been pushed to 2023. There is no guarantee that this new deadline will be honoured. India has, instead, demanded $1 trillion “at the earliest” for developing countries. Effectively, $100 billion is now a floor not a ceiling for climate finance.

Fourth, India continues to show institutional leadership. This week it launched the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States – an initiative under the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure to support vulnerable island countries. It also launched the Green Grids Initiative — One Sun One World One Grid in partnership with the UK to interconnect grids across countries and tap into renewable energy resources everywhere.

Will there be naysayers? Certainly. Some will be concerned about the feasibility of these ambitions. Others will criticise that the net-zero date is too far into the future to be meaningful. A third set will question specific sectoral numbers. A healthy debate is welcome. Investments are welcome even more. But India has silenced critics who suggested it had no bold vision for the planet. It has set out its vision, backed it with action, is requesting cooperation, but will not accept any falsification of its intentions.


Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
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