I usually find news paper advertisements boring, but a small invite to pre-bid conference for proposed 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) caught my attention. Ignoring a restraining order by the National Green Tribunal India, the project promoter Power Finance Corporation Limited, India has announced bid process for UMPP proposed in Cheyyur District of Indian State of Tamil Nadu. In past PFC has lied to the people and authorities of Cheyyur about upcoming project and now they were trying to hide facts from investors as well. Someone had to put an end to all lying. So we at 350 India, decided to confront the concerned authorities and warn the investors as well. With help from our friends at Community Environment Monitoring, a list of fraudulent statements and misrepresentations used by Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Ltd to facilitate environmental clearances for 4000 MW Cheyyur UMPP was prepared. The plan was to hand out these letters to the potential investors warning them of risks associated with this project.
It was bit difficult to blend in the suit clad crowd and pretend to be as one of interested developer. However the short film on the project site followed by a presentation boosting about state of the art technologies being adopted to protect environment, made us laugh and even more determined to expose the lies in the Environment Impact Assessment report submitted by the PFC officials. During the open discussion, one by one we started asking hard hitting questions about court orders & land acquisition. While the authorities tried to duck these questions few more investors expressed their concerns over the way the clearance was sought. Suddenly from technical discussion the focus shifted to environment and forest concerns. However the key moment was when we directly mentioned about the fraudulent claims and walked to deliver the letter to the panel. All eyes were glued to us as we were distributing the letter in middle of the meeting. We were hoping we would be asked to leave immediately, but the organizers were too shocked to react and we got stay till the end of the meeting.
As we prepared to leave the conference we were surrounded by anxious investors asking for a copy of the letter. Soon we ran out of copies of letter. We never expected our small action would be taken so seriously by investors present. No wonder we were not invited for post conference lunch for the organizers.
The small action was in solidarity with people of Cheyyur, fighting to save their land and water resouces. Visit http://cheyyur.
A massive cyclone is about to hit the eastern sea coast of India. Cyclone Phailin is gathering intensity and is expected to pick up speeds of over 220 KMPH, which would categorize it as a 'severe' to 'super' cyclone. Over 400,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas close to the coast and shifted to various public institutions turned into cyclone relief centers. The army, navy, air force, coast guard and other reserve forces have been mobilised to offer relief as the cyclone is expected to make landfall by 6 PM IST on October 12th. Here is a list of emergency contact numbers in the region. The cyclone is currently on par in its intensity with hurricane Katrina in 2005.
I write this from the comforts of my home in New Delhi while hundreds of locals are refusing to leave their homes, shops and their only source of livelihood. Relief operations are in full swing but as is with many in India, there is a greater faith in god to protect them than anything else.
Two questions that remain unanswered at this moment are a. What was the sea surface temperature that caused this cyclone? vis-a-vis the past few decades and b. What is the periodicity and intensity cycles of such cyclones? These questions are crucial to learn how the unequivocal rise in global warming is causing cyclones like Phailin. But for now, our thoughts are with those millions in the path of the cyclone's fury and hoping there is as little casualty as possible.
We will keep this site updated with the latest on this extreme weather event.(More...)
We sent this email out to our network in India. The team there is organizing a twangout (twitter+hangout) for anybody who has questions on climate change (impacts, perceptions, solutions..) with relevant experts from the region. The call will predominantly be focused on the Indian context but anyone around the globe can join the call on October 18th, 11:30 GMT by signing up on the links below.
Check out these recent headlines from India's leading newspapers:
1. Planet heading towards 2 degree celsius temperature rise: UN Report - Times of India, September 30th
2. Despite the hiatus, Global Warming is unequivocal - The Hindu, September 30th
3. Impact from greenhouse gases could linger for centuries - Financial Express, September 28th
All of them are speaking of the IPCC report that 800 respected scientists put together on global warming. Their verdict last week was very clear: manmade greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason behind the rising temperatures around the world. And this temperature rise, they say, will result in more extreme weather.
If you're interested in learning more about this report or climate change, join us for a chat on October 18. It will be your opportunity to have any questions answered and learn how to speak more convincingly about the climate crisis.
A few weeks back, we asked you and many others to tweet or write to Indian celebrities, asking them to connect the devastating floods in Uttarakhand to global warming. We did not hear back from them. We realized that global warming still isn't a mainstream issue in India. We have corruption, poverty, energy and other crises to deal with and we should.
But here’s the crucial challenge, as shown by a large survey done across India: people are already experiencing the severe impacts of global warming. It's making poverty and other issues worse across the country. People want the government to act, but they feel helpless. For some of us, who are privileged enough to avoid global warming's impacts a little longer, we have a responsibility to call out our leaders to act.
But the first step to that is education. We are trying to answer some of the queries that you have about climate change.
"Education is the strongest weapon to change the world"- Nelson Mandela.
1. BBC Climate Asia Survey across South Asia. Out of over 8000 respondents in India, 90% felt the impacts of climate change and 71% expected the Governemnt to support them.(More...)
Rampal plant in Bangladesh
Join the struggle to stop Rampal coal plant — a massive dirty project that could create devastating and irreversible impacts on the beautiful forests of the Sundarbans.