India and Glasgow COP26

WELL into the second week of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the climate summit is shrouded in a dense fog of uncertainty, confusion and broken or empty promises, while activists both inside as observers and outside fume and fret in sheer frustration. As the days wind down to the conclusion this weekend, various multi-lateral agreements between voluntary sets of countries which are not binding at the level of the COP, are being pushed and signed.

Can the Developing World Stand Up to The Global North at COP-26?

AS delegations from 192 countries head to Glasgow for the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is important to underline some of the key issues before the global south as a whole, including India in particular. These nations face a double challenge in Glasgow. On the one hand they are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which is a result of emissions from the rich countries of the global north and the continuing inaction of the latter to mitigate climate change.

Electricity Act Amendment 2021 & The Physics of the Impossible:

THE coal crisis in the country led to a significant shortfall of power generation, especially in the Northern region leading to hours of load shedding. However, certain private power producers like Adani Power made windfall profits. Facing blackouts, some state distribution utilities such as Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, were forced to buy power at exorbitant prices from the power trading platform Indian Energy Exchange (IEX).

Current Power Cuts Due to Criminal Negligence in Government’s Planning

THE Modi government has created an artificial electricity shortage during the festival season, which normally sees a high electricity demand. With the opening of the economy post-Covid-19 second wave, power demands were expected to pick up in October. This, coupled with the festival season, would obviously see a large up-tick of power consumption. Currently, there is a shortfall during the evening peak hours of about 7,000 MW, most of it in Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Bihar. Many others are staring at impending blackouts.

Whistleblower: How Facebook’s Algorithms Promote Hate and Toxic Content

FACEBOOK is in the limelight for both the right reasons and the wrong reasons. The wrong reason is that, what was supposed to be a small configuration change took Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp down for a few hours last week. It affected billions of users, showing us how important Facebook and other tech giants have become to our lives and even other businesses. Of course, the much more significant issue is the whistleblower, Frances Haugen, a former employee, making tens of thousands of pages of Facebook's internal documents public.

Science Another Casualty in Modi Govt's Handling of Covid-19

THE New York Times (NYT) has recently published an article (September 14, 2021) detailing how politics overrode science in India's deadly second wave. It is based on the struggle of a young scientist, Dr Anup Agarwal, who sought to warn the top scientific and health agency Indian Council of Medical Research, of a second wave and that a policy based on the so-called Super Model would prove a disaster for the country. Dr Agarwal has since then left the country.

Reckless, Malafide Go-Ahead for Seven Hydro Projects

THE Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) last week filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court conveying that it has now given the go-ahead for seven controversial hydro-electric projects in the Upper Ganga region of Uttarakhand.  These projects include the 512 MW Tapovan-Vishnugarh hydro-electric project on the Dhauliganga which was almost completely destroyed in the massive floods of February 2021, killing more than 200 people including  over 150 workers and others whose bodies are probably still interred in the ruins of the project