NOx level spikes to unacceptable levels throughout the day in Delhi

Delhi air gets worse, as traffic jams create havoc and an overloaded road network is unable to handle the mess.
A Study by CSE finds no significant peak and non-peak hour difference in both traffic and pollution, moreover the low traffic speeds worsen already high NO2 levels.  This will get much worse because Delhi and surrounding areas are India’s largest market for passenger vehicles.  The solution is to make passenger cars and parking significantly more expensive and invest all the revenue generated into public transport.  But it seems that the government is too scared to take the tough call.


Laid-Off Coal Workers and Environmentalists Saved This Town

A story on how change can be brought about when governments listen and communities are empowered.
Indian cities are probably the worst in the world where urban services are concerned; they definitely are among the 40 odd countries that I have visited across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The reason is communities are not empowered, and the politicians have little power over the bureaucrats manning municipal bodies.  If either of this is changed, positive change will occur.  This is a heart-warming example from the US, of environmentalists and coal miners working together for their community.


Better to target zero emissions than 100% renewable energy

This well-written article makes the point that governments should mandate low emissions, not specific technologies.
What if a new technology makes hydrogen fuel cells more viable than electric ones?  In an era where technology is changing rapidly, it is impossible to predict which one will finally emerge as the most environmentally friendly and cost efficient.  And so it is best for governments not to mandate specific technologies like solar power or electric vehicles.


The Electric Vehicle Takeover? Think Different.

An easy to read article on the rapidity with which electric vehicles will grow.  
Sticking my head out on this one, given the low cost of producing such vehicles, and the speed with which battery prices are falling and efficiency increasing, it will be barely a decade for EVs to beat conventional vehicle sales.   Not two decades as these studies are projecting.


Understanding the limitations of the electric vehicle market

A warning on how electric vehicle growth is highly dependent on government subsidies.  Withdraw those subsidies and sales will collapse.  Electric vehicles need to be mass-produced at far lower costs than they are being currently produced.  
The counter to such arguments is that given the environmental mess that conventional vehicles create, such dirty technologies should be taxed much more and those proceeds should then be used to subsidize electric vehicles.  


The best way to reduce emissions? Have fewer kids

The fewer the children the lower the emissions!  A thought provoking study.
Had the study gone a step further, it would have found that individual actions that reduce consumption make little impact.  Why?  Because when you spend less on some entity, the extra income in your hands enables you to consume more of something else.  But whatever we consumers consume has a large energy component.  So, the net reduction in energy consumption or resultant emissions is therefore marginal.  The solution to the emissions problem is to focus on improving technology, not having fewer children!


Global automakers call on China to ease electric car rules

China is doing what India did successfully in the past.  By limiting global competition but encouraging domestic competition, India was able to create a somewhat competitive automobile industry.  This system has been used in other countries too, but the Chinese are now trying to do the same with electric vehicles.  Will they succeed?  Probably.

Government Actions this week


Nagpur takes first step in embracing e-mobility

Nitin Gadkari, India’s most proactive Minister is pushing hard towards greater use of electric vehicles, and he has made Nagpur a test case.
The article provides information on the various steps being taken by the government in Nagpur to make the city as electric vehicle friendly as possible.  These are important early stage experiments that will help hasten the movement towards electric vehicles at the pan-India level.


Solar power drives financial inclusion in remote areas

Despite the government’s efforts at increasing village electrification by connecting them to the grid, there are many parts that don’t receive power regularly.
Solar power is going where wires cannot go, or even in areas, where power lines are stolen frequently.  Since the new digital transaction ecosystem, which includes Aadhaar based ID verification and mobile based transfer, is power dependent the presence of solar has made possible what otherwise would not have been.


India begins work on meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement

The government has asked three institutions - Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), The Energy Research Institute (TERI) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) to conduct a study on India’s carbon projections.
Both energy needs and carbon emissions are highly correlated with the GDP and typically accurate prediction is not too difficult.  However, massive technology changes are occurring, moreover, India’s economic structure is also undergoing a huge shift, and uncertainties over the success of Make in India will make good quality prediction a difficult task.

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