Happy Monday and welcome to today’s edition of Lights On, with this week’s key stories on energy and climate change in South Asia.
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New landmark bill for the climate age
Days after tabling its updated climate pledges, the Indian government approved the legal foundation to deliver on them. The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, is a comprehensive package which covers the toughest areas of the country’s carbon-intensive economy. The main mandates:
No end in sight for Russian carbon flows
India stands firm in its decision to take advantage of discounts on Russian fossil fuels, with officials reiterating that the needs of an emerging economy trump energy diplomacy. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, trade between the two countries has skyrocketed: India is now the biggest buyer of Russian oil, and Russia is India’s third coal supplier, expected to provide 40 million tonnes by 2035, up from just 7 million earlier this year.
New agri-waste solution ahead of Delhi pollution season
India’s first plant turning rice straw into ethanol, launched last week, is sparking debate among energy experts. Prime Minister Modi pitched the project to boost India’s energy independence and help reduce air pollution in Delhi, which every year is engulfed for weeks by the smog coming from stubble burning in nearby agrarian regions. However, back-of-the-envelope calculations shared with Lights On by experts in the field suggest that the return on investment may be poor. An investment equivalent to $113 million would yield between $6.3 and $22 million per year depending on the amount of feedstock available.
Flash floods test Pakistan’s climate readiness
Heavy rains and floods have affected over a million people in Pakistan, causing 580 deaths and leaving over 900 people injured. This year’s exceptionally strong monsoon, which is expected to last until the end of this week, has hit impoverished areas such as the Balochistan province the hardest, submerging tens of villages. The government is speeding up response by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the situation and enabling easier access to NGOs providing humanitarian relief.
Last ditch measures for the energy crisis
Still in the throes of a months-long energy crisis, the Bangladeshi government has mandated staggered weekly holidays for industries in an effort to regulate power demand. The energy minister has asked citizens to be patient for another couple of months as they face record high fuel prices due to the international crisis sparked by the Ukraine war.
The highly anticipated meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission is expected to bring Bangladesh and India together to discuss water sharing issues later this month, ahead of a September visit by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. During a previous meeting last year, Ms Hasina reiterated the urgency of finalising the pending water sharing agreement on the Teesta river, the second largest watercourse in the region after the Ganges.
Old plans for new dams
India’s state owned company NHPC has received the green light to develop two hydropower projects in western Nepal for a total of 1.2 GW of capacity. The projects, one of which was first envisaged some 60 years ago, will have a capacity of 750MW and 450MW, and will be located on the Seti river, with a proposed dam at the confluence of the Seti and Karnali rivers. Nepal’s economically feasible hydropower potential is estimated at 42GW, of which 7.3 are expected to be developed by 2025.
The results of a new paper from @NatureClimate have been called “truly scary” and “terrifying” by researchers.— Fiona Broom (@Fiona_Broom) August 9, 2022
It finds 58% of infectious diseases have been exacerbated by climate change - including dengue, hepatitis, malaria and Zika.
📰 Full story https://t.co/ZBvLleV9VR pic.twitter.com/omtM8LrLWa
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