The UN environment report states that Ganga would disappear by 2030.There would be no need to train engineers or even Ganga...
A report published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggests that babies of...
Yes, the happening and looming threat of the loss of Bio-cultural diversity stares us in the face. This is particularly true...
Interesting observations but even in petrol consumption who subsidises the rich ,it is the two wheelers i.e. poor people who consume two third of the total petrol consumption in India.
I think diesel should be priced at market rates, and, actually, it is quite easy to subsidize services meant for the poor. The State bus fleet operators and franchised private bus operators could be given a direct cash subsidy at monthly intervals, based on fleet kilometres or against evidence of diesel purchase. The railway passenger traffic should also be subsidized by giving the Railways a cash subsidy at monthly intervals on deisel train operations. All freight cargo traffic (private or railways), passenger cars and diesel gensets would need to procure diesel at retail outlets at market prices which should be at par with petrol prices. At current petrol prices, this would add about 20 per cent to the cost of truck and rail transportation costs and, since typically, freight costs account for about 10 per cent of the retail cost of products it would mean a 2 per cent increase in prices of products at the retail level on the average which is not awesome considering the current level of inflation. The rural population subsists on locally produced food and will not bear the brunt of the freight push inflation. The urban poor must be compensated by a rise in minimum wages which are extremely low anyway and need to be revised upwards sharply. There will be some cascading cost push inflation but I feel that it is a small price to pay for correcting the fuel cost imbalances and the pollution aspect to boot.
Climate Panel (IPCC) Charts Extreme Weather in a Warming World: Now the truth has come out in open that is some climate experts for the past more than a decade have intentionally exaggerated future risks and intentionally pushed very extreme doomsday views by relating extreme weather to global warming. The language was toned down in this report and they are cautious in putting the statements. This is exactly what I was advocating for the past few decades; however IPCC & Al Gore-trained PR groups relentlessly talking and pushing hard at government level other way. Let us see some of those reported view points: The IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007 for its efforts on climate change, but later became a focus of controversy related to factual errors, with disastrous repercussions on the economy of national government. The findings were released at a conference in Kampala, Uganda, by the Inter-government Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], a high-profile United Nations body assigned to review and report periodically on developments in climate research. They come at a time of unusual weather disasters around the globe, from catastrophic flooding in Asia and Australia to blizzards, floods, heat waves, droughts, wildfires and windstorms in the United States that have cost billions of dollars. It appears that IPCC has tightened its procedures in the hope of preventing future errors in terms of language it used. The new report on extreme weather, one of a string of reports that the panel is issuing on relatively narrow issues, did not break much ground scientifically, essentially refining findings that have been emerging in climate science papers in recent years. Indeed, the delegates of IPCC meeting in Kampala, Uganda adopted scientifically cautious positions in some areas. For instance, some researchers have presented evidence suggesting that hurricanes are growing more intense because of climate change, but the report sided with a group of experts who say that such a claim is premature. Nonetheless, the report predicted that certain types of weather extremes will grow more numerous and more intense as human-induced global warming worsens in coming decades. “It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale,” the report said. “It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe.” By the end of the century, if greenhouse emissions continue unabated, the type of heat wave that now occurs once every 20 years will be occurring every couple of years across large areas of the planet, the report predicted. It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase in the 21st century over many regions. It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur throughout the 21st century on a global scale. It is very likely--90 per cent to 100 per cent probability—that heat waves will increase in length, frequency and/or intensity over most land areas. It is likely that the average maximum wind speed of tropical cyclones (also known as typhoons or hurricanes) will increase throughout the coming century, although possibly not in every ocean basin. However it is also likely—in other words there is a 66 per cent to 100 per cent probability — that overall there will be either a decrease or essentially no change in the number of tropical cyclones. There is evidence, providing a basis for medium confidence, that droughts will intensify over the coming century in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, central Europe, central North America, Central America and Mexico, northeast Brazil, and southern Africa. Confidence is limited because of definitional issues regarding how to classify and measure a drought, a lack of observational data and the inability of models to include all the factors that influence droughts. It is very likely that average sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme sea levels in extreme coastal high water levels. Projected precipitation and temperature changes imply changes in floods, although overall there is low confidence at the global scale regarding climate-driven changes in magnitude or frequency of river-related flooding, due to limited evidence and because the causes of regional changes are complex. Some influences are fairly robust, the panel says, particularly a warming of extreme daily maximum (and minimum) temperatures. But the report finds only “medium confidence” (a 50/50 chance) in a link between human activities and intensification of extreme rainfall on a global scale. (A big issue, of course, is the lack of long-term data outside developed countries.) And the odds go down from there on attributing other recent shifts in weather-related disasters to global warming. At least some of the weather extremes being seen around the world are consequences of human-induced climate change and can be expected to worsen in coming decades. It is likely that greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity have already led to more record-high temperatures and fewer record lows, as well as to greater coastal flooding and possibly to more extremes of precipitation, the report said. Whether inland flooding is getting worse because of greenhouse gases is murkier, the report said. Nor, it found, can any firm conclusion be drawn at this point about a human influence on hurricanes, typhoons, hail storms or tornadoes. Even as such extremes are projected to increase, human vulnerability to them is growing as well, the report said. Rising populations and flawed decisions about land use, like permitting unchecked coastal development, are putting more and more people in harm’s way, the report said. “Rapid urbanization and the growth of megacities, especially in the developing countries, have led to the emergence of highly vulnerable urban communities, particularly through informal settlements (slums) and inadequate land management,” the report said. Increases in population density and in the value of property at risk, rather than changes in the climate, are the likeliest explanation for rising disaster losses in many countries, the report said. It called on governments to do a better job of protecting people and heading off catastrophes before they strike. The summary contains a sobering message for those eager to point to current patterns of extreme weather as the manifestation of greenhouse-driven warming. Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain. The uncertainties in the historical tropical cyclone records, the incomplete understanding of the physical mechanisms linking tropical cyclone metrics to climate change, and the degree of tropical cyclone variability provide only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences. While the summary warns of enormously increasing risks from drought and flooding in decades to come, it is bound to disappoint climate campaigners. The section on disaster losses correctly reflects the uncertainty injected in such analysis by confounding factors, including rapidly shifting human populations and the paucity of solid data over long periods. The report summary notes how wealth and development powerfully shield countries from human losses in disasters while amplifying the financial costs of such events. The section on managing risks is particularly valuable, describing strategies that have a host of benefits no matter which scenario for emissions and climate change plays out. Here’s one important point: Many measures, when implemented effectively, make sense under a range of future climates (medium evidence, high agreement). These “low regrets” measures include systems that warn people of impending disasters; changes in land use planning; sustainable land management; ecosystem management; improvements in health surveillance, water supplies, and drainage systems; development and enforcement of building codes; and better education and awareness.
My observations: Weather and climate are highly location specific and thus as a result present different patterns with changing environment like ecological changes to meet the needs of ever increasing population pressure under new technological lifestyles. Over this superposed the natural variations created more confusion as our lifespan is short to understand the underlying physics. Let me give an example of All-India Southwest Monsoon Rainfall pattern. India has wealth of meteorological data, more particularly rainfall data (the above report states lack of data in developing countries, is false statement – I studied the data of several countries in developing countries). The precipitation data series of all-India Southwest Monsoon started in 1871. This data series present a cyclic pattern of 60-years following the Indian Astrological cycle. The data series showed two cycles completed and third cycle started in 1987 to end by 2046. A cycle is a Sine curve in which 30 years up and 30 years down the Mean. In the up part average is more than mean with more frequent wet spells – floods including river floods; in the down part average is less than mean with more frequent dry spells – droughts inclusive of fewer floods in rivers. When we study a part of such data series we may come up with increasing trend or decreasing trend based on the selected period in the cycles. Similarly the intensive rainfall spells increase or decrease. This flawed analysis. This was the case with report of INCCA submitted to MoEF – Krishna Kumar of IITM presentation to MoEF and MoEF interpretation of river floods and Minister’s report to parliament. The same is seen in IPCC summary report and thus they were cautious and put it 50:50 chances. Let the government start working on analyzing the full data series at local, regional and national level. Let IMD or IITM complete the data series left at 1994 to 2011 so that scientists can come up with better interpretations. In the case of temperature, it not only presents a trend but also superposed on it the cyclic pattern. The extremes reflect this pattern. Also, the temperature patterns all over the globe presented different patterns including India. The change is more in winter compared to summer. Why? Is it associated with urban heat island effect? It does not mean we should not help in reducing greenhouse gases. Instead depending upon fossil fuels, the government must look in to other direct and indirect factors contributing to global warming. The global temperature data series analysis presentan increasing trend and by 2100 it reaches by 1.13 degrees Celsius and over this superposed - 0.3 to +0.3 degrees Celsius 60-year cyclic pattern.
S Jeevananda Reddy
The best method is to tax personal diesel cars heavily. Even petrol cars can be taxed more. The money can be used for strengthening our rail net work which offers the least polluting mode of surface transport.
Your article is an eye opener. While I may not be able to influence policy change I can certainly make a life style change in the effort to reduce pollution. Two of my cars, Mercedes and a Skoda, both diesel, are due for a change early next year, and I will switch to Petrol. Automobiles do make a huge collective impact on the environment and this will be my small effort. Will also mail this article to all of my friends and contact and hopefully influence them to think about a change as well. Thank you.
Great article. In UK/Europe Diesel prices are actually higher than petrol prices, owing mainly to supply side deficit: http://www.ukpia.com/files/pdf/ukpia-briefing-paper-petrol-vs-diesel-pri...
Your article is biased and incorrect. Modern Diesel engines are 30% more efficient than Petrol due to their technology and consume less fuel. Thereby, the combustion gases (Co2, Nox, Sox) are reduced by 30%
This is a brilliant initiative. Economical and environmentally responsible transportation. Great. Webmaster of maxi micro scooters
Dear Sunita Nurain: It is with interest I read your article on diesel vs. petrol, particularly in respect of its polluting potential. Here in Ireland the latest changes in road tax greatly support the sale of small efficient diesel cars where 70mpg is becoming the norm. We take our lead from the emissions experts in europe and evidently the modern diesel car no longer emits substantive particulates. Reading your article it would appear that the reverse is true. If it is true that the oil companies are not generating so much revenue on diesel then surely OPEC will make adjustments to ensure its members do not actually lose money. In any case I would be interested to learn more because diesel is certainly not subsidised here at €1.45 per litre at the pump where the government tax is 70% of the orice! Agricultural diesel is sold at a separate rate of approximately €0.89 per litre. In respect of the US, the state and Federal law currently restrict the sale of small diesel vehicles with the possible exception of New Hampshire where they are more common. Prior to the 1990's the VW Rabbit was a big seller and then the law was changed. The price of diesel in the US is similar to petrol and small diesel engine efficiency would prevail, were they available. Anyway I appreciate your article particularly from India's perspective. Keep writing. Respectfully, S M Bennet
Just read the story, moving. Especially the mention of camus' 'plague' in the end. Pity that we never get to read all this in our main stream media. I could never imagine that the impact of Aila has been so great; when it struck, the media hardly reported anything. By the way, that picture of the boat on the river in twilight was beautiful.