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Introduction: Energy versus emissions: The big challenge of the new millennium

By Rakesh Kalshian

To maintain its economic growth rate of 8-10%, India needs all the energy it can get. But the momentum of economic growth overrides crucial environmental concerns. How can India sustain a high economic growth rate and leapfrog into a sustainable energy regime without irreparably harming the environment?


Hotting up: The science and politics of climate change

By Aditi Sen

The world is hotting up. Climate systems are changing. The 1990s were the hottest decade ever, sea levels rose by 10-20 cm during the 20th century, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are 31% higher than in 1750. There's overwhelming scientific evidence to prove that climate change is human-induced and closely connected to energy use and the burning of fossil fuels


Confused about climate

By Darryl D'Monte

Journalists reporting on the arcane science of climate and the environment have to grapple with new and often conflicting theories and findings from scientists and sceptical environmentalists virtually every month. What does the bewildered journalist do in the circumstances?


Low on fuel: Crisis ahead

By D Narasimha Rao

With costs of oil and coal rising, and crude imports growing, India is facing a huge energy crisis. Where does India's energy come from, and where does it go? If we are to reduce demand, boost efficiency and design small-scale, decentralised energy options, we must incorporate the consumer in decision-making


Mobility: At what cost?

By Chella Rajan

Transport contributes nearly one-fourth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In India, there has been a 200-fold increase in vehicle population between 1951 and 2002, placing a heavy demand on petroleum. Emissions from passenger cars are expected to grow at 5% per annum, and from aviation at 4% per year. Are there solutions?


Climate's new trustees

By Richard Mahapatra

Piggybacking on the goal of reducing carbon emissions, multilateral banks including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank are re-orienting their lending priorities. They are pushing big hydropower projects and nuclear power as feasible and economically viable for reducing carbon emissions in transition countries like India and China


Hydropower is hot property again

By Shripad Dharmadhikary

Hydropower is riding the wave of climate change: it is touted to cut down the use of fossil fuels and sequester carbon in its reservoirs. The pace of implementation is being stepped up in India, with a planned 162 projects in 16 states by 2017. But claims of the climate benefits of hydropower seem to be running far ahead of the science of the matter. And even if hydropower does cut down on fossil fuel, it does so at the expense of other impacts on the ecosystem and communities. So it may be 'cleaner' in some respects, but 'dirtier' in others


A trading system based on hot air

By Rahul Goswami

Smoke and mirrors defines the world's newest commodities trading system, one in which India is a pivotal participant. In the name of sustainable development, Indian industry is claiming revenue through Clean Development Mechanisms, a key device of the Kyoto Protocol. This reliance upon the market to clean up the mess represents an increasingly prevalent paradigm in India's response to climate change


Flaws in the pro-nuclear argument

By M V Ramana and Suchitra J Y

Flailing nuclear establishments worldwide are using global warming as an opportunity to resurrect an industry that has collapsed because of its inability to provide clean, safe, or cheap electricity. India too is forging ahead, mindless of the fact that nuclear energy is not environment-friendly, safe or economical. Thousands of crores of investment later, just 3% of India's installed electricity-generation capacity comes from nuclear energy. This investment is at the cost of promoting other more sustainable sources of power



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