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Latest Message:

November 30, 2006 CSE Newsletter

Previous Messages:

November 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

October 25, 2006 CSE Newsletter

October 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 27, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

August 3, 2006 CSE Newsletter

June 1, 2006 CSE Newsletter

May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

November 24, 2005 CSE Newsletter

September 22, 2005 Newsletter

March 15, 2003 Newsletter

You can find CSE archives of past newsletters on their website.



November 30, 2006 CSE Newsletter

An e-bulletin from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, to our network of friends and professionals interested in environmental issues.


- Training: Understanding and deciphering EIA: from screening to decision-making
- Short-term course: Urban rainwater harvesting
- Editorial: Climate: the market's Achilles heel
- Cover story: Flawed conservation policies lead to decline in gharial population
- 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 projects
- Hands-on exercises in screening, scoping, data analysis and developing environment management plans
- Tools and thumb rules to evaluate various environmental and social impact parameters
- Techniques to engage in public consultation

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
New Delhi


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

For more information, contact:
Salahuddin Saiphy

- 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 programme


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


Cover story: Flawed conservation policies lead to decline in gharial population


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.


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.


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?


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" of entry.


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.


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 change.


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 jgupta@cseindia.org


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.
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


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.