Blog Posts by author Sunita Narain | Centre for Science and Environment

Blog Posts by author Sunita Narain


Sunita Narain

Director General of CSE and publisher of Down To Earth, an environmentalist pushing for changes in policies and  practices and mindsets. More>>

15 October 2009

If it’s broken, don’t fix it. That’s the new motto of the government: forget it and build another. Do not sort out details. I am talking of what the government believes will form the spine of regulation in future.

The flavour of the day is ‘authorities’: separate, independent institutions not bound by departmental morass, not tied down by procedures or personnel—the bane supposedly of any implementation or regulatory initiative. I think it is time to review this gelato of current governance.

30 September 2009

The 2009 Southwest monsoon has finally arrived in many parts of the country—with a vengeance in several places—leading to flash floods and loss of lives. With images of rain and news of reservoirs getting filled up pouring down TV sets, our macro-economists are seemingly clueless about the damage the delayed and deficient monsoon will cause. Agriculture plays a marginal role in the nation’s gdp numbers and so, even if the crops fail, it will not make a dent in the growth rate, they say.

15 September 2009

It was in early 2008 that my colleagues at the Centre for Science and Environment had tested household paints for lead content. The issue was not new. Lead in paints had been widely indicted across the world for being a silent poison—particularly when used on walls and items that children would lick or chew.

31 August 2009

The latest fuss about the 2°C global temperature target India apparently acceded to at the Major Economies Forum in L’Aquila, Italy, is important to unravel. The declaration by the world’s 20 biggest and most powerful countries recognized the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels should not exceed 2°C. The statement was widely criticized in India as a sign we had ‘given in’ to pressure to take commitments, to cap our emissions.

29 August 2009

There has been a growing interest in the issue of black carbon -- light absorbing carbon particles, also called soot in our world.

29 August 2009

The latest fuss about the 2°C global temperature target India apparently acceded to at the Major Economies Forum in L’Aquil, Italy, is important to unravel.

15 August 2009

Last fortnight a dominant image on TV screens was drought. This fortnight, vast parts of the country drowned in water. An uncertain, unpredictable and variable monsoon is still impacting us. Late rain has delayed or jeopardized sowing; or intense rain has thrown life asunder and flowed away rapidly, creating months of (future) scarcity. Regional variations are huge, too. So there is drought in otherwise moist northeast and in paddy-growing Punjab and Haryana. A different monsoon, perhaps signalling the climate-changing times ahead.

31 July 2009

This is the fortnight of India’s budget. Pink and white papers scurry around for comments on what the finance minister will do for India’s economy, completely missing the bigger questions. What will happen if the Indian monsoon fails—or fails in the critical period when farmers sow the kharif crop? What will happen if reservoirs—holding water for drinking or electricity—do not get their supply from the sky? Will we have water to drink in cities? Will we have water and power to operate industries?

15 July 2009

The to-be-or-not-to-be question of our age. Given the crisis that confronts us—inequality and poverty in our immediate midst and growing climate insecurity in our world—we have no choice but to change. But how will this change be afforded? If we cannot find an answer to this one, what we will get is a lot of talk and little action. In fact, we will regress, literally and deliberately.

30 June 2009

It was the biannual gathering of over 100,000 Protestants in Bremen, a small town in Germany. As the articulate minister for environment, Sigmar Gabriel, came to participate in a discussion on energy security for a climate-secure world, many stood up. Soon the hall was full of blue placards, held high, all saying: “No to coal.” The minister, I could see, was riled. He believed he was the environmentalist in the crowd. He said he would build coal power stations, because the country was phasing out nuclear power.

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