Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hankon Thermal Power Plant - 2 - Kyoto Protocol vis-a-vis India

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving "stabilization ofgreenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would preventdangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."[1] The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitment for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane,nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons andperfluorocarbons) produced by "annex I" (industrialized) nations, as well as general commitments for all member countries. As of January 2009,183 parties have ratified the protocol, which was initially adopted for use on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and which entered into force on 16 February 2005. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries agreed to reduce their collective green house gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% from the level in 1990. National limitations range from the reduction of 8% for the European Union and others to 7% for the United States, 6% for Japan, and 0% for Russia. The treaty permitted the emission increases of 8% for Australia and 10% for Iceland.[3]

Kyoto includes defined "flexible mechanisms" such as Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation to allow annex I economies to meet their GHG emission limitations by purchasing GHG emission reductions credits from elsewhere, through financial exchanges, projects that reduce emissions in non-annex I economies, from other annex I countries, or from annex I countries with excess allowances. In practice this means that non-annex I economies have no GHG emission restrictions, but have financial incentives to develop GHG emission reduction projects to receive "carbon credits" that can then be sold to annex I buyers, encouraging sustainable development. In addition, the flexible mechanisms allow annex I nations with efficient, low GHG-emitting industries, and high prevailing environmental standards to purchase carbon credits on the world market instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions domestically. Annex I entities typically will want to acquire carbon credits as cheaply as possible, while non-annex I entities want to maximize the value of carbon credits generated from their domestic Greenhouse Gas Projects.

Among the annex I signatories, all nations have established Designated National Authorities to manage their greenhouse gas portfolios; countries including Japan, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands,Germany,France, Spain and others are actively promoting government carbon funds, supporting multilateral carbon funds intent on purchasing carbon credits from non-annex I countries, and are working closely with their major utility, energy, oil and gas and chemicals conglomerates to acquire greenhouse gas certificates as cheaply as possible. Virtually all of the non-annex I countries have also established Designated National Authorities to manage the Kyoto process, specifically the "CDM process" that determines which GHG Projects they wish to propose for accreditation by the CDM Executive Board.

The treaty was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, opened for signature on 16 March 1998, and closed on 15 March 1999. The agreement came into force on 16 February 2005 following ratification by Russia on 18 November 2004. As of 14 January 2009, a total of 183 countries and one regional economic organization (the EC) have ratified the agreement (representing over 63.7% of emissions from annex I countries).

The five principal concepts of the Kyoto Protocol are:[citation needed]

  • commitments to reduce greenhouse gases that are legally binding for annex I countries, as well as general commitments for all member countries;
  • implementation to meet the Protocol objectives, to prepare policies and measures which reduce greenhouse gases; increasing absorption of these gases and use all mechanisms available, such as joint implementation, clean development mechanism and emissions trading; being rewarded with credits which allow more greenhouse gas emissions at home;
  • minimizing impacts on developing countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change;
  • accounting, reporting and review to ensure the integrity of the Protocol;
  • compliance by establishing a compliance committee to enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol.
India signed and ratified the Protocol in August, 2002. Since India is exempted from the framework of the treaty, it is expected to gain from the protocol in terms of transfer of technology and related foreign investments. At the G8 meeting in June 2005, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singhpointed out that the per-capita emission rates of the developing countries are a tiny fraction of those in the developed world. Following the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, India maintains that the major responsibility of curbing emission rests with the developed countries, which have accumulated emissions over a long period of time. However, the U.S. and other Western nations assert that India, along with China, will account for most of the emissions in the coming decades, owing to their rapid industrialization and economic growth.

Full Text of Kyoto Protocol (click)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hankon Village and the Thermal Plant Part - 1

This is the temple of Sri. Sateri Devi at Hankon village, in Karwar Taluk (Wikimapia Link). This Ancient Temple, recently renovated by its devotees, opens for only SEVEN DAYS in a year..

Sateri Devi temple at Hankon, about 10 km from here on the Sadashivgad-
Kadra state highway, has been attracting devotees not only from this part of the
state, but from Goa and Maharashtra as well.The most significant feature of the
temple is that it is open only for a week in the Bhadrapada month. The festival
is celebrated during this week. Legend has it that about 300 years ago, Sateri
Devi took birth at Hankon in a human form. Having mystic powers, she was revered
by the people. However, one day she disappeared by jumping into a well.When the
villagers prayed for her to resurface, Sateri Devi, who appeared in the dream of
a devotee promised that she would give darshan only on two days in a year. When
they asked her to stay for at least a week, she agreed.Thus the festival is
celebrated from the fourth day of Ganesh Chaturthi every year for one week.
More here...

Residents of this village - Hankona are protesting against the establishment of a Coal-based Thermal Power plant in their fields and neighbourhood. The locals allege that the Company behind the proposed coal-based thermal power plant bought land from them in the guise of setting up a resort. The Kali which flows here has created an evergreen thick forest cover, and is the breeding ground for many species of marine and acquatic life.

Despite all this the Ministry of Environment, Government of India gives clearance to the Thermal project. In the Public Hearing that was held at the Hankona village, more than 53 Points, supported by Documentary evidence was tabled by the majority of the people that spoke against the Thermal Plant.

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It seems none of these Objections were considered by the Government. The entire Public meeting was documented, and videographed,but what irks the local poeple is that none of their objections were even replied to by the Ministry. This shows that the entire operation was stage managed...

Meanwhile, take a look at this :- Orissa inks MoUs for 10 thermal power plants will be set up with an investment of Rs 45,000 crore to produce 10,920 MW power...

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Campaign against Coal Based / Fired Thermal Power Plant Projects in India Petition

Campaign against Coal Based / Fired Thermal Power Plant Projects in India Petition

To: The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Governors, Chief Ministers (CMs) and Chief Secretaries

Campaign against Coal Based Thermal Power Plant project

Chamalapura plant: KERC wants a re-look at project The Hindu, Sat, May 31, 2008

Centre rejected eco-clearance for Chamalapura project in 1998 : The Hindu Sat, Apr 05, 2008

The Greenhouse Effect (Photo)

Global Warming: causes and effects (Photo)

Causes of global warming (Photo)

How Acid Rain Works (Photo)

Indian Netizens' Forum

Summary report of the study on "Post-Clearance Environmental Impacts and Cost-benefit Analysis of Power Generation in India" Conducted by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute February, 2006

Air Pollution / Pollutant

Almost all >(greater than) 100 MW Coal based / fired thermal power plants or CBTPPs or CFTPPs by consuming thousands of tons of coal daily, heavily pollute the air of the surrounding region. Burning coal also releases massive amounts of toxic mercury and arsenic.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Coal is considered a heavily polluting fuel in terms of black carbon, sulphates and other gaseous pollutants primarily due to incomplete and inefficient combustion. CBTPPs/CFTPPs are responsible for almost 21 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions.

Official figures from China in 2003 suggest that TPPs using coal, released over 11 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide or SO2 into the air, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total emissions in the country.

India is fifth (in the year 2001) in the world in carbon emissions (251 million metric tons of carbon equivalent). Emission levels in the CBTPPs are high.

Black Carbon

Black Carbon or BC due to the TPPs causes dense / intense fog, haze and smog as in the Indo-Gangetic or I-G/IG basin or as in the northern plains during the winter season and brings day to day life to standstill. An intense air pollution will persist throughout the year.

An increase in the concentration of BC produces changes in the monsoon (rainfall) patterns and abnormal heating of the atmosphere as BC is strongly absorbing in nature.

Global Warming and Climate Change

Coal is the most carbon intensive of all fossil fuels, emits massive amounts of carbon dioxide or CO2 leading to global warming and climate change.

Respiratory Ailments

SO2 causes a number of health problems, including respiratory disorders.

Water Environment

Water slurry is used to take the ash from the power plant to the ash pond for disposal.

The water may contain harmful heavy metals like boron, which have a tendency to leach out over a period of time. Due to this the ground water gets polluted and becomes unsuitable for domestic use.

The second factor affecting the water environment is the release of ash pond decant into the local water bodies. This is harmful to the fisheries and other aquatic biota in the water body.

Geochemical hazard by coal-ash from a CBTPP in Kolaghat, West Bengal, India

Huge amounts of ash rich in toxic trace elements and radioactive elements or radionuclides, are disposed off in large ponds and on open grounds surrounding the power plant, thus contaminating the topsoil and the subsurface aquifer.

Absence of an underground lining permits easy mixing of the ash with the topsoil of the area. Al, As, Zn, Mo, Ba, V, Mo, Cd, Mn, and Pb exceed the WHO guidelines for drinking water in the tube well waters.

People living near the ash ponds are subjected to a high radiation dose from the ash ponds and the soil cover, which is ~ (approximately) 2.6 times higher than the world average.


The exposure of employees to high noise levels is more in the CBTPPs.

Land Environment

The natural soil becomes more alkaline due to the alkaline nature of flyash thereby damaging the agriculture / agricultural sector.

Biological Environment

The effect on biological environment can be divided into two parts, viz. the effect on flora and the effect on fauna. Effect on flora is due to two main reasons land acquisition and due to flue (combustion exhaust) gas emissions. Land acquisition leads to loss of habitat of some species.

Socio-Economic Environment

The study of the effects of power plants on the socio-economic environment is based on three parameters, viz. Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R), effect on local civic amenities and work related hazards to employees of the power plants.

The CBTPP has the highest number of accidents due to hazardous working conditions.

Assessment of Uncertainties

The development of civic amenities due to the setting of a CBTPP/CFTPP project is directly proportional to its size or installed capacity. Higher the capacity greater the civic amenities, pollution, hazardous working conditions and health hazards.

Influence of coal based thermal power plants on aerosol optical properties in the Indo-Gangetic basin

India is the third-largest producer of coal in the world (365 million tons, 2003-04), where the coal used in the power plants is of poor quality (mostly E-F grade or lignite) with high ash content (35-50\%) and low calorific value.

Therefore, preference should be given to promotion of cleaner sources of energy to reduce the pollutant load in the atmospheres over India and China.

The total pollution load from the transport sector is quantitatively second to the TP sector.

Environmental impact of coal industry and thermal power plants in India

The problems associated with the use of coal are low calorific value and very high ash content. The ash content is as high as 55-60\%, with an average value of about 35-40\%.

Further, most of the coal is located in the eastern parts of the country and requires transportation over long distances, mostly by trains, which run on diesel. About 70\% oil is imported and is a big drain on India's hard currency.

Campaigns Thermal Trauma, February 2007

Ash samples taken from the 735-MW CFTPP in Pagbilao, Quezon in the Philippines operated by Mirant were found positive for mercury, arsenic and lead.

The same must be true for Indian plants, but it would probably need applications under the Right to Information or RTI Act, as industrialists, do not seem to display much loyalty to the people of India.

Despite all the well-documented negative impacts of CBTP generation, the Indian central / state governments are unfortunately bent on going forward with more and more in complete disregard of the impacts.

The Karnataka Industrial Development Board or KIADB has already handed over 263 ha. in Yellur to NPCL, which has begun to level agricultural land and clear forested areas, some privately owned and protected as sacred groves and believed to harbour leopards, wild boar and a rich avian diversity.

Villagers claim the company did not take prior permission, violating section 28 of the Panchayati / Panchayathi / Panchayti Raj Act. A writ petition challenging the project's environmental viability is pending before the Karnataka High Court (HC).

A National Environmental Engineering Research Institute's (NEERI) study states that the project is unsustainable, even if a Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant is installed. Yet, the polluting plant has been accorded clearance.

Though this coastal region is ecologically sensitive and no polluting project should be sited here, successive governments continue to try and extract commercial gains from clearances.

In an act that can only be described as "suicide by climate change," the Maharashtra Government has also sought to double the number of TPPs to eight!

The planners and leaders in India unfortunately neither seem able to comprehend the issues surrounding climate change, nor seem to be aware of the serious consequences for our economy.

Solutions will probably never be found until the government itself works to educate its people against the 'disease' of environmental degradation. Looking at alternate energy sources and investments in energy efficiency would ultimately benefit the economy itself.

Greenpeace India recently initiated a positive and creative campaign, "Switch for Mumbai" to encourage people to adopt energy efficient ways to use electricity so that the city could bridge the energy demand-supply gap.

We can influence the choices we make today by reducing our own power consumption.

We protest against our country's / states' suicidal plans to construct new CBTPPs and appeal to opt for coal-free alternatives as
1. CBTPPs are one of the biggest contributors to global warming.
2. TPPs will pollute the air, water and soil in the area and affect livelihoods of farmers and fishermen.
3. India must look towards earth-friendly alternatives to meet our power demand and adopt energy-efficient ways rather than invest large amounts in destructive CBTPPs.


The Undersigned

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