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Kerala has become the first Indian state to create a very ambitious project to generate over 10 MW of solar power through over 10,000 roof-top solar power systems of one kw each. Anybody living in Kerala with 15 square meters of sunny rooftop area can register for this programme. The innovative scheme was launched by Farooq Abdullah, minister for new and renewable energy (MNRE) on February 11.
This is a very big program provided to Kerala with an overall expenditure of over Rs 175 crores and budgetary support of over Rs 80 crores from MNRE. The second phase of this project aims to reach over 50,000 households in Kerala and a subsidy of Rs 20 crore will be provided by the MNRE.
This project comes under the Solar Off-Grid Photovoltaic program of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission ( JNNSM). It was launched in 2010 with a target to achieve 200 MW of off-grid solar applications by March 2013. This excludes 20 Million Solar Home Systems that will be installed by 2022. The ministry has sanctioned similar projects to other states as well.
BASIC meet to be held in Chennai
This year Chennai has been chosen to host the BASIC meetings. BASIC is a platform where four countries, namely Brazil, South Africa, India and China participate in and meet to coordinate on climate change related issues. The first meeting of this year will see environment ministers from these countries discuss the implementation of decisions made at the Doha Climate Change Conference in 2012. All ministers except the Chinese environment minister have confirmed their presence at the meet scheduled for Feb 15 and 16.
In recent years, BASIC has become a significant voice in climate change negotiations, especially when it comes to highlighting the issues faced by developing nations. In Chennai the group hopes to develop steps to reach agreements under the Durban platform and increase efforts to effectively deal with climate change. This year, representatives of other important members of G-77 have also been invited.
Birds in India also affected by climate change
A study in the Global Change Biology journal has warned that climate change is posing a serious threat to a number of bird species in Asia, including ones in India. The only way to subdue the repercussions of climate change on birds is to significantly increase protection of sensitive areas that birds visit in the country.
This study was conducted on over 350 Asian bird species, whose continued survival is already a cause for concern. The study mainly focussed on the biodiversity hotspots of Eastern Himalayas and the lower Mekong River basin regions in Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal and India. It pointed out that the conservation of species will largely depend on how well the protected sites are managed and if there is free movement for the birds from one site to the other.
Satellite identifies huge lake in the Himalayas with a potential to burst
According to the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad, a satellite-based study has determined that a very large glacial lake has formed atop the Himalayas in Sikkim. The lake contains 19.7 billion litres of water and has a very high potential to rupture at any time causing flooding and devastation downstream. The lake has formed at the snout of the South Lhonak glacier, which is around 7,000 metres high. It is only surrounded by soil and debris so it’s not in a stable condition.
In the report published in the last issue of the Current Science journal researchers have said that the lake is about 630 metres wide and 20 metres deep and covers an area of 98.7 hectares. They do admit that warnings are based on their initial judgment and further field trials are required to determine exact dangers.
Ignatius Thekaekara is Online Media Officer with Greenpeace India.