- Training: Understanding and deciphering EIA: from screening to
- Short-term course: Urban rainwater harvesting
- Editorial: Climate: the market's Achilles heel
- Cover story: Flawed conservation policies lead to decline in gharial
- Podcast: Hear what's new in Down To Earth
- News: Activists, exporters protest Bt rice trials in India
- News: Orissa refinery project breaking law to build, expand
- News: Mumbai may lose its open spaces
- Features: Mulkanoor: guiding light of India's cooperative movement
- Science: Some species adapt to climate change, others face extinction
- Gobar Times: 10 ecological phrases you must know
- Jobs: Copy editors needed for Down To Earth
Training: Understanding and deciphering EIA: from screening to decision-making
New Delhi, January 8-13, 2006
This hands-on training programme aims at demystifying Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) for NGOs. It also seeks to develop the capacity
of state-level regulators to screen and scope the EIA process, evaluate
reports and conduct public consultations.
The course will expose participants to:
- Technical and new legal aspects of EIA
- Environmental and social impacts of various types of developmental
- Hands-on exercises in screening, scoping, data analysis and developing
environment management plans
- Tools and thumb rules to evaluate various environmental and social
- Techniques to engage in public consultation
Last date for registration: December 15, 2006
Register online >>
For more information contact:
Sujit Kumar Singh
- Course is open only to civil society members and state-level regulators
- Due discount will be given to grassroots NGOs
Short-term course: Urban rainwater harvesting
CSE is accepting applications for its short-term training programme
on urban rainwater harvesting (RWH) to be held on the following dates:
- December 26-29, 2006
- February 12-15, 2007
- March 19-22, 2007
The programme will discuss the following:
- Urban water scenario in India with detailed case studies
- Groundwater status, demand side management and supply
- Planning: hydrogeological, geomorphological and metrological conditions
- Design and components: rainfall, terrain, water table, soil conditions
- Maintenance, monitoring and impact assessment
- Policies on RWH: legal and fiscal initiatives
- Primer on urban wastewater management
- Field visit to active project sites, workshops on RWH design
Register online >>
For more information, contact:
- NGOs, researchers, RWAs, engineers, architects, urban planners,
industry consultants, and concerned citizens are invited to apply
- As this is a popular course, we advise you to register at the earliest
- A certificate of participation will be awarded at the end of the
Editorial: Climate: the market's Achilles heel
By Sunita Narain
Last fortnight I wrote about making space for emissions. Let's discuss
how this can be done. Let's discuss this with governments meeting,
possibly for the millionth time, to discuss the global agreement to
combat climate change. Let's discuss this when we know with some greater
certainty that global warming is beginning to adversely change our
world. And we know that in spite of all the years of intense negotiations,
governments have done too little to avert the reality of climate change.
Let's discuss this during a fortnight when a study commissioned by
the British government has concluded that evidence not only shows
that climate change will be disastrous for countries, particularly
the poor, but also that it would cost the world much less if it invested
today in mitigating emissions.
The UK report authored by economist Nicholas Stern is important
for this reason. It is an economist's warning in a world run by them.
I say this because for far too long these smart people have argued
that climate change is too uncertain and, therefore, there is no reason
to take high-cost action today. It is better to wait and see, if necessary
adapt. It has also been assumed that in this scenario, as climate
change happens in the far future, technological innovation and transition
will also happen. The market will happily provide answers. But most
of all, this breed has lulled us into complacency. There will be no
costs to the transition towards an economy which is able to delink
economic growth with the growth of its emissions, they have said.
It is time we stopped fooling ourselves. The fact is that warming
of the global atmosphere is possibly the biggest and most difficult
economic and political issue the world has ever needed to confront.
I say this because, firstly, emissions of carbon dioxide are directly
linked to economic growth. Therefore, growth as we know is on the
line. We will have to reinvent what we do and how we do it. There
will be costs, but as Stern says, the cost will be a fraction of what
we will need to spend in the future.
Secondly, the issue is about sharing that growth between nations
and between people. The fact is that global economic wealth is highly
skewed. Put in climate terms, this means that global emissions are
also highly skewed. The question now is whether the world will share
the right to emit (or pollute) or will it freeze inequities. The question
is if the rich world, which has accumulated a huge 'natural debt'
overdrawing on its share of the global commons, will repay it so that
the poorer world can grow, using the same ecological space?
Thirdly, climate change is about international cooperation. The
fact is that climate change teaches us more than anything else that
the world is one; if the rich world pumped in excessive quantities
of carbon dioxide yesterday, the emerging rich world will do so today.
It also tells us the only way to build controls will be to ensure
there is fairness and equity, so that this biggest cooperative enterprise
is possible. Think of climate change as the fallout of the feverish
embracing of the market.
What must we do to contain it? We must accept the world needs to
go beyond the weak commitments of Kyoto Protocol to even stabilise
carbon dioxide emissions at 550 parts per million. This level is considered
by many to be extremely dangerous because it accepts doubling of pre-industrial
levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By most assessments, this
stabilising will require cuts between 30-50 per cent of the current
emissions soon. All this means we need to take hard action, fast.
The way forward would be to re-negotiate the world's agreement on
combating climate change. But this time the agreement must be political.
It must reflect the desperate urgency of the world. It must be fair
and meaningful. In other words, it must not take the world another
15 years to cut emissions and get something as weak and pusillanimous
as the current Kyoto Protocol.
The fact is that the world has changed in more than more ways. There
is clear understanding that the rich and the emerging rich world needs
to make the transition to a low carbon economy. There is also much
better understanding that the route ahead is made up for technologies
that we have in hand currently. It is not about inventing new things,
but using much more efficiently and effectively the technologies of
the present. Therefore, answers will lie in increasing efficiencies
in both the generation of energy and in the use of energy in manufacturing
other products. It will also lie in the change in how we do things
from transportation policies in our cities to everything else. The
fact is that we need to know how to change.
It is also clear that the emerging rich world, China, India and
others, is showing itself to be more efficient per unit of output
within their limited means than the industrial world was. The fact
is they would want to improve if they were compensated for it. The
question then is why can we not move ahead?
The answer lies in the way we have framed the questions. It has
been lost in the obduracy of the us government, which has never accepted
the need to build a fair and cooperative agreement to combat climate
change. The us, still the world's single largest contributor to climate
change and whose emissions continue to grow, says it will not join
an agreement which does not involve India and China. The result has
been a weak and compromised agreement called Kyoto, which allows renegade
polluters-the us and Australia to opt out.
This must change. Ultimately, climate change is the true globaliser.
It forces our world to come together not just to make short-term profits
for some, but long-term economic and ecological benefits for all.
Let us continue to discuss how this can be done.
- Sunita Narain
To comment, write to >>
Read the editorial online >>
Cover story: Flawed conservation policies lead to decline in gharial
Which predator species is severely threatened in India? The tiger,
you would say. But it is the gharial (a crocodile species), which
finds itself in the critically endangered list. Conservation measures
to save the gharial have failed: at present, there are just about
200 adults in the wild. The numbers have dwindled because, firstly,
their habitats were turned into protected areas, where everyone, including
local communities dependent on gharials for their livelihood, were
barred. This affected the ecological balance of the areas. Secondly,
gharials had a hard time in their strictly riverine habitats, especially
during floods when a lot of them were flushed down to shallow stretches
where they could not survive. Moreover, the fluctuation in water level
led to migration of fish -- an important prey of the gharial.
Read online >>
Podcast: Hear what's new in Down To Earth
Want to hear the latest from Down To Earth every fortnight? Get
our new audio podcast for a briefing on what's in the issue by follow
the link below. You can hit play to listen online (latest web browsers
required), or subscribe to the podcast using free podcast software
such as Juice or Itunes.
What is a podcast?
More in Down To Earth magazine
News: Activists, exporters protest Bt rice trials in India
In a new twist to the genetically modified (GM) crops debate in
India, rice exporters are opposing Bt rice trials and have thrown
their weight behind anti-GM activists. Exporters fear losing the lucrative
European market, where consumer movements are part of the anti-GM
struggle. Anti-GM activists are also charged up: they are using the
Right to Information Act to retrieve government records that were
earlier beyond reach.
Read complete article >>
News: Orissa refinery project breaking law to build, expand
The setting up of Utkal Alumina International Limited's (UAIL's)
refinery in Rayagada, Orissa, is a classic case of getting work done
through deception and repression. UAIL bought land from villagers
at nominal rates and guaranteed employment to them -- a promise that
was never kept. Protesting villagers now face repression from both
the state and the company. The illegal ways continued: UAIL applied
for an environmental clearance for expansion even though the plant
is yet to start operations. Will a big enterprise be absolved of all
misdemeanours yet again?
Read online >>
News: Mumbai may lose its open spaces
Urban planners and activists in Mumbai are demanding the scrapping
of a policy, which if implemented, will mean that the city's reserved
open spaces will be handed over to private organisations/corporate
bodies for development and maintenance. Private players will get construction
rights to over 25 per cent of the space leased to them. The remaining
will be used for "disciplined" public use with "restricted hours"
Read online >>
Features: Mulkanoor: guiding light of India's cooperative movement
India's cooperative movement is in a dismal state. However, Mulkanoor
Cooperative Rural Bank and Marketing Society Ltd in Karimnagar district,
Andhra Pradesh, is an exception. With a turnover of more that Rs 55
crore, Mulkanoor is the site of an extraordinary rural cooperative
credit society. It facilitates one of the most extraordinary paddy
seeds operations in India, gives foundation seeds to select farmers
and has two seed-processing plants.
Read online (subscription required) >>
Science: Some species adapt to climate change, others face extinction
Recent studies have shown that climate change has a significant
impact on various species, especially birds. While some show behavioural
changes, some undergo genetic changes over a period of time, and others
face extinction. Some species even partially adapt themselves to the
Read online (subscription required) >>
Environment for beginners: Gobar Times
10 ecological phrases you must know
So you have heard of terms like "Urban renewal", "Eco-feminism"
and "Biomass economy". But do you know that they describe the ecological
problems faced by us and the challenges that lie ahead? Gobar Times
digs into 10 such key ecological phrases, which all those aspiring
to be responsible global citizens must understand.
Jobs: Copy editors needed for Down To Earth
Down to Earth, our fortnightly news magazine on science and environment,
requires resourceful individuals with excellent communication and
rewriting skills, a basic understanding or willingness to deal with
scientific issues, efficiency at the craft of copy editing and five
years of experience working in a similar capacity in the publishing
industry. Working under high pressure and meeting challenging deadlines
will be the norm.
To apply, send your resume to
CSE is an independent, public interest organisation that was established
in 1982 by Anil Agarwal, a pioneer of India's environmental movement.
CSE's mandate is to research, communicate and promote sustainable
development with equity, participation and democracy.
Contact CSE: http://www.cseindia.org/aboutus/feedback.htm
E-mail: < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Address: 41 Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110062
Tell us if you know a colleague or friend who might enjoy this newsletter
© Centre for Science and Environment