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The endgame at Cancun

As I write this, some 24 hours are left to finalise the agreement at the 16th Conference of Parties to the climate change convention being held in Cancun. At this moment it seems the predictable deadlock in talks will continue. Like all other global climate meetings, the world remains deeply divided on the matter of how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that even today determine economic growth. Not much is expected to happen at the beach city of Cancun.

The Protocol in dispute

December 6, 2010

The post-2012 emissions reduction commitments for Annex 1 countries under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) are presently going nowhere. Japan had fired the first salvo when in the opening plenary, it categorically stated its opposition to the second commitment period of KP. Now, countries like Australia, Canada, and some European nations have joined the chorus to disband KP.

Is bamboo a tree or a grass?

The definition is contested as the answer has immense economic implications. If bamboo is a tree or timber, it belongs to the forest department and can be auctioned to the paper and pulp industry, often at throwaway rates. If it is a grass, then it would be classified as a minor forest produce and people would have the right to cut bamboo for sale or for value addition by making furniture or baskets.

When will Punna Bai get a toilet?

Of the one billion people that defecate in the open in the world, 638 million are found in India alone. In Badasilonia, a Nirmal Gram village, in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, we inspected the toilet of Punna bai. The toilet or “latrine” as it is called, had only the four walls of the outer structure. On the opposite side of the road, we visited the house of the sarpanch. His toilet was completely and properly built and had an additional twin room for bathing. He also had a water storage tank close to the toilet.

ABCDE of Obama’s sales pitch

There is no doubt US President Barack Obama was in India on a business trip. His recent electoral losses weighed heavily with him when he stitched up deals, reportedly worth US $10 billion, that would create about 50,000 jobs back home.

How climate ready are we?

On a brief visit to Pakistan this week I noted that the recent floods have left deep impressions on the country’s policy and political leadership. They spoke about the scale of devastation, human suffering and the massive challenge of rehabilitation. They also noted, interestingly, that in their view there was a link to climate change.

Fix what is broken

The high corridors of the nation are abuzz with talk about how much food should be given to the country’s poor as a right.

Games,Garbage, and Gurgaon

Visit the website of Gurgaon’s civic authority  and the visual that unfolds on your screen might confuse you.

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Control your food. It is your business

Our control over our food and our health requires inventive institutional reordering and new ideas about the way food regulations work.

The battle for control of our bodies

They say you are what you eat. But do we know what we are eating? Do we know who is cooking and serving us the food we take to our kitchens and then into our bodies?

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