Opinion

Environmental degradation and damage: The neglected aspect of security

09 Jan 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Newspaper Today

Security concerns worldwide have generally been confined to traditional aspects dealing with military issues and political conflict. In actual fact, environmental stress has emerged as a major concern over the past few decades, with ecological impacts leading to conflict of a different kind. There is, therefore, need to understand environmental security as an essential prerequisite for human wellbeing and peaceful progress. Environmental stress can lead to an increase in poverty and economic hardship which carries the potential of conflict. Globally there are 2.8 billion people who live at incomes below $2 a day, and they are therefore, highly vulnerable to threats arising out of environmental damage.

Collapse of northern grid: a wake-up call

17 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(24)

As this issue of TERI Newswire goes to press, the entire northern grid has suffered a major collapse, plunging all of northern India into one of the worst power breakdowns in recent years. The government has set up a committee to inquire into the factors behind this failure and the means by which such occurrences can be prevented in the future. The breakdown is, however, symptomatic of a much larger problem, for which solutions are difficult and likely to be time consuming. The committee that would go into this specific episode can, therefore, at best provide some directions for first aid, but this malady requires a series of surgical procedures.

Environmental Security: A developing country perspective

02 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| PECS NEWS 2(2)

Featuring R K Pachauri, Director, TERI and Vice Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Richard Elliot Benedick, Deputy Director, Environmental and Health Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and President, National Council for Science and the Environment. Sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Project.

Learning from international experience: a must for regulation in India

02 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(23)

While all the world has been watching the twists and turns of the US presidential elections, a crisis that normally would have caused great concern, at least in the US, has not received adequate coverage in the media. California, the most economically advanced state in the US, has been going through a precarious period of power shortages in recent weeks. The situation is so serious that the US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has ordered other states in the western part of the country to sell power to California. The maintenance reserve in California has reached a low level of about 1.5% of the total supply, which in operational terms signifies a Stage-3 alert level. It is possible that blackouts will have to be imposed if the winter in the western part of the US becomes more severe than it is now.

Kyoto Protocol ratification: with or without the US?

17 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(22)

Many observers had anticipated that the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) would not result in any decision or action of significance. But the complete collapse of the negotiations, which at a late stage of deliberations were heading towards some sort of compromise, came as a surprise to those present in The Hague as well as those who monitored developments from afar.

Height of contention: A dammed model of development

12 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Times of India

In a majority decision, with two judges including the Chief Justice of India in favour of the Narmada project and one member of the apex court dissenting, the Supreme Court has ruled that construction work on the dam up to a height of 90 metres be taken up immediately.

COP-6: hopes and hurdles

02 Nov 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(21)

The Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) is taking place at The Hague to hammer out a consensus on actions to be taken for protecting the earth's climate. It was three years ago that in Kyoto the protocol that goes by the name of the city was drafted and agreed on. Admittedly, the draft that was approved came in the final hours of the Kyoto COP just when the conference appeared doomed to failure. Therefore, many of the details that could have given the protocol operational clarity were obviously not worked out. These were to be worked out during the deliberations of the subsidiary bodies set up under the FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the two Conferences of the Parties that have already taken place since Kyoto. Unfortunately, progress has been slow and hardly noticeable. There is, therefore, much expectation that something must and should happen in The Hague.

Lessons from Sardar Sarovar

17 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(20)

A defining stage in the history of the Narmada project was reached with the Supreme Court's verdict on construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam with specific provisions. It is not pertinent that the decision was not unanimous within the three-member bench. The legality of the decision, which has to be accepted, is fully valid as long as this was a majority decision.

The gas chamber verdict

03 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| Outlook

The recent meeting of OPEC oil ministers was in various respects a great disappointment to the major oil-consuming nations of the world, reeling as they are under the prolonged burden of crude prices above or around $30 a barrel. Observers are looking at the impacts of high oil prices on the US economy, particularly because it is facing a presidential election. The global response to OPEC's decision would be heavily influenced by actions taken by the US. Comparisons are being made between the oil crisis of '73 and OPEC's current decisions, but the actual situation today is vastly different from what happened 27 years ago to the month. Yet, OPEC probably remembers some lessons of the past, and it's for this reason that its decision to hike oil output by 8,00,000 barrels a day was devoid of bickering. It was also the result partly of some timely diplomacy by the Saudi royal family to bring around the hardline OPEC members, like Iran during, the millenium summit in New York - perhaps the only happening worthy of notice in the hugely expensive and sterile spectacle arranged by the UN Secretary-General.

Three cheers for democracy

02 Oct 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(19)

On the eve of the visit of Mrs Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, to the US, The Washington Post carried a two-page special on Bangladesh, which highlighted the opportunities for US business in that country. It also described the political evolution of Bangladesh as a nation and prominently displays a picture of and eulogy to Sheikh Majibur Rahman, the founder and first prime minister of that nation.