India’s strategy to fight global warming

With a new United Nations climate treaty due to be discussed in Copenhagen in December, the developed world and the emerging economies are trying to bridge their differences on how to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The United States wants developing countries like India and China to agree to control the emissions being produced by their rapidly galloping economies by setting specific targets.

India argues that this would hurt its economic growth and wants the industrialised world to curb its pollution as well as fund new technologies in the developing world by underlining that it has one of lowest emissions per capita in the world.

Global Warming

Global Warming

Even as both agree on the need for an agreement at Copenhagen, India has made it clear that it cannot accept legally binding limits on carbon emissions.

Although around 80 per cent of world growth in carbon emissions is coming from fast growing economies like India and China, India has argued that even if India’s economy continues to grow at current levels for the next decade or two, its per capita emissions would still be below those of the developed countries.

A recent bill passed by the US House of Representatives seeks to impose tariffs on products from countries that do not undertake emission-cuts targets. This has elicited a strong negative reaction in India which views such tactics as non-tariff barriers.

This is largely viewed as a protectionist measure imposed by the developed world to shield its businesses from the costs of its own national emissions targets.

One of the major stumbling blocks in global negotiations on climate change has been the reluctance of the developed world to make adequate transfers of finance and enabling technology to the developing world.

India is seeking a bilateral arrangement with the US on this issue with an understanding that this can serve as a model for an agreement between the developed and developing world at Copenhagen.

A number of obstacles remain to be overcome before the crucial climate change negotiations at Copenhagen in December. The US, under the present Administration, has also made a commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990.

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, also stated that his country will reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020. As a consequence the emerging economies are now under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commitments to tackle climate change even as they continue with their efforts to reduce poverty.

It became an iconic image of India’s defiance on the issue of climate change when during the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India in July, India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh publicly asserted: “India’s position is clear and categorical that we are simply not in a position to take any legally binding emissions reduction.”

As the global climate change negotiations to be held in Copenhagen in December have come nearer, there has been growing pressure from the developed world on states like China and India to accept quantifiable targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It now seems, however, that India is gradually changing its position also exemplified by Ramesh’s remarks  at the recently held high-level climate change summit at the UN headquarters in New York. He suggested that India “cannot hide behind any excuses and we [Indians] have to be aggressively taking on voluntary mitigation outcomes.”

While accepting binding targets internationally still remains out of question, India is now underlining that it is important for it to take on national commitments so as to enhance its global credibility.

This change of heart is a result of two inter-related factors. One is the evolving Chinese response on climate change. China has declared that it is pursuing its national climate change programme that includes mandatory targets for reducing energy intensity and discharge of major pollutants as well as increasing forest coverage and share of renewable energy during the time period of 2005-2010.

India was caught unawares by the specific measures that China announced at the UN General Assembly recently and is now planning to follow suit. Toward this end, India plans to conduct regular dialogue with China to exchange views on their respective action plans on climate change.

The other factor driving India’s new approach to climate change negotiations is a sense among Indian strategic elite that a rising India should engage the world on its own terms and with a degree of confidence that befits its stature as a rising power in the international system.

In tune with this assessment, India agreed at the Major Economies Forum meeting in Italy about two months back that all countries would work to reduce emissions in order to not let global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees above pre-industrialisation level.

Critics argue that this will restrict India’s diplomatic space in the Copenhagen Summit. Yet India hopes that such steps will help it in overcoming its traditional image of a deal-breaker in global negotiations. India has committed itself to a mandatory fuel efficiency cap to begin in 2011, a change in its energy matrix whereby renewable sources will account for 20 per cent of India’s power usage by 2020 as well as announced an ambitious solar energy plan.

India does not want to be seen as a spoiler in the climate change negotiations and would like to bolster its image as a responsible global actor ready to offer constructive help in mitigating global problems rather than being a persistent nay-sayer.

Despite this it is far from clear if the climate change negotiations will succeed as the developing countries want to be supported financially and through technology sharing with the rich industrialized world. That commitment has not been forthcoming so far.

Without any financial and technological assistance, states like India will not be willing to open their efforts at greenhouse emissions reductions to international verification. Climate change talks not only involve competing economic interests but also raise matters of broad principle for the West’s relationship with developing nations.

India has shown itself ready to lead coalitions of developing nations in the past, vetoing those global agreements they see as discriminatory. The issue of the West’s ‘historical responsibility’ for atmospheric pollution is being case in similar terms and Indian agreement will be hard to secure.

Yet the fact that India has started to gradually change its approach towards one of the biggest challenges facing the international community portends well for the future.


Homes contribute to 50 percent more water pollution than previously believed

WASHINGTON – A new study has determined that homes are an alarming and probably underestimated source of water pollution, and can contribute to 50 percent more water pollution than previously believed.

Scientists Lorence Oki, Darren Haver and colleagues carried out the study.

In the study, the research team explains that runoff results from rainfall and watering of lawns and gardens, which winds up in municipal storm drains.

The runoff washes fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants into storm drains, and they eventually appear in rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.

“Results from our sampling and monitoring study revealed high detection frequencies of pollutants such as pesticides and pathogen indicators at all sites,” Oki said of their study of eight residential areas in Sacramento and Orange Counties in California.

Preliminary results of the study suggest that current models may underestimate the amount of pollution contributed by homes by up to 50 percent.

That’s because past estimates focused on rain-based runoff during the wet season.

Water Pollution from Home

Water Pollution from Home

“Use of pesticides, however, increases noticeably during the dry season due to gardening, and our data contains greater resolution than previous studies,” Oki said.

Pollutants detected in outdoor runoff included ant-control pesticide products.

Previous surveys have shown that the majority of pesticides purchased by homeowners are used to control ants.

To encourage pollutant reduction, the researchers initiated community outreach programs centered on improving both irrigation control and pest management. (ANI)

from taragana

US-Wastewater from food plants getting into wells

CLYDE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — When empty-nesters Kari and Ron Craton moved a few years ago to a more rural area of southwestern Michigan, they were seeking a more rustic life.

What they got was more rust.

Government officials say food-processing plants that turn raw crops into products have contaminated the water-supply wells of the Cratons and other property owners in agricultural areas of Michigan and could do the same in other states. Residents claim increased amounts of metals in water drawn from their wells have killed their pets, ruined their plumbing and made their houses impossible to sell or rent.

“It’s going to take years to clean up this mess,” says Kari Craton, who persuaded environmental advocate Erin Brockovich to help her and her neighbors.

A few years ago, acting on residents’ complaints about foul odors and flies near wineries and cheese factories in the San Joaquin Valley, regional water officials in California started requiring food processors to install monitoring wells near the fields where they disposed of their production wastewater. Elevated levels of salts and nitrates, which in extreme cases can reduce blood oxygen in infants, were found near some fields.

In Michigan, lawn sprinkling has left an iron oxide patina on the front of the Cratons’ ranch, the side of their garage and the decorative cement blocks used in landscaping their front yard. The couple have had bath water that was brown and foul-smelling, fingernails that turned orange and boiled eggs that cooked up black.

Elevated levels of iron, arsenic, manganese and other potentially toxic substances have been detected in the groundwater of two southwestern Michigan communities that are home to large food-processing operations, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the wells of dozens of homeowners near a Birds Eye Foods Inc. cannery in Fennville and a Coca-Cola Co. fruit juice plant in Paw Paw have been contaminated by the facilities.

The Birds Eye plant produces fruit fillings, sauces and glazes made from cherries, blueberries and apples. Coca-Cola makes Minute Maid fruit juice and juice-based drinks in Paw Paw, which is about 30 miles south of Fennville.

State environmental officials say affected residents face no serious health dangers, but little is known about the potential risks of long-term exposure to combinations of such elements. People worry about what they see as unexplained illnesses and even deaths among relatives and neighbors.

“No one’s ever actually done a cumulative impact or cumulative effect analysis (to determine) if somebody’s receiving water that’s high in arsenic and high in manganese, does the manganese compound the problem of the arsenic?” asks Bob Bowcock, a water expert who works with Brockovich.

In the 1960s, both operations started disposing of their production wastewater by spraying it onto local fields, just as other food companies did for years. It was believed that the salt, sugar and other organic matter in the wastewater would restore nutrients to the soil, while the impurities would be filtered out as the wastewater percolated down through the dirt and into aquifers.

However, scientists determined in the last decade that too much spraying can contaminate groundwater.

Coca-Cola stopped spraying fields in 2001, after opening a $7 million wastewater-treatment facility. The company issued a written statement saying it is continuing to study groundwater issues with the Department of Environmental Quality.

Birds Eye stills sprays, although it has proposed making a $3.5 million upgrade to its wastewater-treatment system to handle water used in processing.

The company has denied being the source of Fennville’s groundwater contamination, noting that its spray fields are near a former Chevron Chemical Co. waste-burial dump and orchards that long used pesticides containing arsenic. The Cratons live in Clyde Township, about a mile east of the Birds Eye plant.

Birds Eye said in a written statement that it “shares residents’ concerns about water quality” and also has been working with the Department of Environmental Quality.

Untreated wastewater from food processing has high concentrations of organic matter that robs the soil of oxygen, causing naturally occurring metals that had been attached to soil particles to be released into groundwater, says agency hydrogeologist Eric Chatterson.

“We’re now going through the process of trying to get everybody to upgrade or come up with an alternative way of discharging so that we don’t have these problems,” Chatterson says.

Manufacturing, tourism and agriculture are Michigan’s three largest industries. Firms that freeze, can and dry foods are mostly in northern, western and southwestern Michigan.

Since July 2007, Birds Eye has provided the Cratons with monthly deliveries of bottled water and dug them two new wells, the first of which contained water with too much iron, according to a December report from the company to the Department of Environmental Quality.

There is talk of expanding the city of Fennville’s water-distribution system to homes with contaminated water outside the city limits.

Several Fennville-area residents filed a federal lawsuit against Birds Eye in January. That case is working its way through the system. In April, at the request of Kari Craton, Brockovich met with residents at a town hall-style meeting where the environmental advocate said she would take on their case.

Brockovich’s legal team is planning to sue both Birds Eye and Coca-Cola on behalf of affected property owners.


The amount of electricity used by servers and other Internet infrastructure has become an important issue in recent years as demands for new Internet services (like music downloads, video-on-demand, and Internet telephony) have become more widespread. One of the weaknesses in the literature on data center electricity use has been the lack of credible estimates of the aggregate power used by all servers and associated equipment in the U.S. and the world. The data on the floor area and power densities of data centers are anecdotal and limited by the proprietary nature of such data in most companies. Data on the installed base of servers are also closely held by the companies who track it, and server technology continues to change rapidly, necessitating constant updates to measurements of power used by particular server models.

This study estimates total electricity used by servers in the U.S. and the world by combining measured data and estimates of power used by the most popular servers with data on the server installed base. These estimates are based on more detailed data than are previous assessments, and they will be of use to policy makers and businesses attempting to make sense of recent trends in this industry.

Electricity for PC

Aggregate electricity use for servers doubled over the period 2000 to 2005 both in the U.S. and worldwide

Almost all of this growth was the result of growth in the number of the least expensive servers, with only a small part of that growth being attributable to growth in the power use per unit.

Total power used by servers represented about 0.6% of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2005. When cooling and auxiliary infrastructure are included, that number grows to 1.2%, an amount comparable to that for color televisions. The total power demand in 2005 (including associated infrastructure) is equivalent (in capacity terms) to about five 1000 MW power plants for the U.S. and 14 such plants for the world. The total electricity bill for operating those servers and associated infrastructure in 2005 was about $2.7 B and $7.2 B for the U.S. and the world, respectively.

This study only assesses the direct electricity used by servers and associated infrastructure equipment. It does not attempt to estimate the effect of structural changes in the economy enabled by increased use of information technology, which in many cases can be substantial.

For More Information AMD

Warmest Temperature recorded in JUNE 2009

Ocean surface temperatures around the world were the warmest on record for the month of June, according to federal scientists, though they caution that one month doesn’t necessarily imply global warming.

The warmer temperatures do confirm that an ocean phenomenon known as El Nino is building in the Pacific Ocean.

Junes record ocean warmth worries fishermen, environmentalists

June's record ocean warmth worries fishermen, environmentalists

Some scientists think the rising temperatures hint at broader changes, perhaps resulting from global climate change. Environmentalists and fishermen are wary of what it may mean.

“It’s really kind of disturbing,” said Zeke Grader, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, based in San Francisco. “What we’ve seen right offshore here is a real variation in temperature. But we don’t know what to expect in the future.”

So far, the year has been among the warmest on record for ocean temperatures, ranking sixth based on January through June. The June temperature averaged 62.56 degrees Fahrenheit; the 20th-century average was 61.5 degrees. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been keeping the records since 1880.

“The high ocean temperatures can threaten coral reefs, provide more energy to hurricanes, cause thermal expansion, which would raise sea level and inundate coasts, force the relocation of some aquatic species and thus impact fisheries,” said Ahira Sanchez-Lugo, a climate scientist with NOAA.

The hottest spots were the north Pacific south of Alaska, along the U.S. West Coast and the Atlantic Ocean off New England. Overall, the Pacific was the warmest. The measurements were taken for every 5 degrees of latitude, however, and an overall temperature for each ocean wasn’t calculated, said Deke Arndt, a climate scientist with NOAA in Ashville, N.C.

“Individually, no single month can be attributed to long-term global warming,” Arndt said, though he added that this June marked the 33rd consecutive June with a temperature above the 20th-century average, which may provide an indication of global warming.

In addition to having the warmest waters, this June saw the second warmest combined ocean and land temperature on record, 61.02 degrees, which was more than a degree above the 20th-century average of 59.9.

Though some climatologists dismiss the June heat as an anomaly, others say it’s part of a traditional El Nino pattern. Occurring roughly every three to eight years, El Nino is a warming of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which can disrupt usual weather patterns. During an El Nino year, the Southwest United States tends to be wetter, the Northwest drier and there’s an increased chance of severe weather, such as hurricanes, in the Southern United States.

“Current conditions and trends, as well as the majority of dynamic climate models, are suggesting that (El Nino) will indeed occur,” said Karsten Shein, another climate scientist with NOAA.

Grader said fishermen were worried about their catches, and he, for one, thinks that it isn’t just El Nino that’s causing the higher ocean temperatures.

“Colder water fish will go north,” he said. “It’ll affect phytoplankton and krill production. You’ll see salmon getting smaller.”

Other fishermen aren’t as concerned.

“We’ve fished El Ninos before,” said Larry Collins, 52, a commercial fisherman based at Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco. “There’s good and bad things about El Ninos for the California coast. Nature will throw you a curveball.”

From KansasCity

US – Plastic Bags – Recycling Locations

A variety of store-based programs are meeting the increasing demand to find more ways to recycle more stuff. (These programs also help get people into the store, amongst other benefits). A couple of examples of these programs are ones that take back plastic bags and inkjet cartridges. 

Many area grocery stores have started accepting plastic bags for recycling. This generally means the types of plastics bags you get in, well, a grocery store. ACME, Genuardis, ShopRite, and Giant all have some type of program in place.

US - Plastic Bags Recycle

US - Plastic Bags Recycle

ACME and Shop Rite both offer a nominal credit (i.e., a couple of cents or so) if you re-use a plastic bag or bring your own reusable bags. They also both have collection boxes as you walk in for plastic shopping bags. ACME also accepts the plastic bags in which newspapers are delivered in. ShopRite accepts these as well as any clear bag labeled with the recycle symbol with a 2 or 4 inside of the symbol. No bag that has touched any food or organic matter is accepted. Giant and Genuardis have their collection boxes in the store, and Genuardis also offers a (4 cent) credit if you bring the plastic bags back.

While not a grocery store per se, Walmart does have a grocery section. They too, take back plastic bags as well. They are one of the many stores who now print something like “please recycle” on their plastic bags. (Old Navy is now using 15% recycled product in their plastic bags, at least according to the bag). 

As for inkjet cartridges, the major office supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples offer credit for used inkjet cartridges. They give you a $3 or so credit per cartridge. Best Buy also accepts these cartridges in their in-store collection boxes. Additionally, local colleges such as Gwynedd-Mercy College and Manor College also have inkjet cartridge recycling programs in place. Finally, check your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc. to see if they have an inkjet recycling program—some of these accept the cartridges and then turn them over for funding.

If you have other items to recycle try this website:

This site has a search function for item and location. Select “eye glasses’ and type in ZIP Code 19446 (Lansdale). Then you will find out that the LensCrafters in Montgomery Malls accepts eyeglasses for recycling.  Try “compact fluorescent light bulbs” and the local Home Depots come up.

If that fails, try Freecycle (a previous post).

But in any case, think twice, and then think again before you throw something away. It may have another life somewhere else.


Study – US : Global warming bill could cost more

A carbon emissions plan under consideration in Washington aimed at global warming and climate change could cost the U.S. economy between 1.8 million and 2.4 million jobs over the next two decades.

Global warming bill could cost 2.4 million jobs, $1,250 per household

Global warming bill could cost 2.4 million jobs, $1,250 per household

The study, released Wednesday by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation, worries about plans of Democrats and the Obama administration plans that would put caps and fees on carbon emissions and pollution.

The business study says the climate bill would increase costs that would be passed onto consumers and that a U.S. household would lose as much as $250 annually by 2020 and $1,250 by 2030. Also, according to the study, the GDP could lose 2.4 percent of its value by 2030.

Environmental groups discounted the business study’s conclusions, saying the climate and energy plans will bolster alternative energy development and production, reduce carbon emissions and pollution and reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

BY BizJournals