Friday, June 10, 2011

Climate change to have large-scale effect on NE biodiversity

The impact of climate change is likely to result in large-scale changes in the biodiversity of the Northeast, a study has revealed.

The study, sponsored by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), has warned that change in temperature, quantum and intensity of rainfall coupled with extreme weather conditions would have a long-term impact, particularly on the structure and composition of forests in the region.

The impact is likely to be more severe in areas where other pressures are deemed to be high, including stability of the natural systems affected due to socio-economic pressures such as encroachment on forest areas, over-grazing, felling of trees for jhum cultivation, etc.

With the impact not being uniform across the region, it is expected to be higher in certain areas and on certain communities because of various factors.

They include physio-geographic and topographic features, degree of association with climate-sensitive environments and ecosystems, socio-economic, political and cultural characteristics of the region and communities, the study pointed out.

The study seeks to understand the factors that determine the vulnerability of the Northeast in terms of the effect of the climatic change and identify measures to reduce the impact.

The study asserted that despite its rich natural resources, the region lagged behind others in terms of social and economic development.

Comprising eight states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, the area is unique due to its rich forest resources that account for nearly 25 per cent of the total forest cover in India and covers nearly 66.8 per cent of its geographical area, much higher than the national average of 21 per cent.

With a total population of about 38 million (3.8 per cent of the country’s total population), the region has observed changes in its demographic and socio-economic profile, which have acted as important drivers for the alteration in its resource base.

The last three decades have witnessed intense land use change with increase in the demand for urbanisation, grazing, agricultural land and settlements, increased demand for fodder, fuel wood and timber production.

It is estimated that approximately 30 per cent of the total forest cover in the region is under pressure due to these factors, the TERI study said.

Besides pressures from natural hazards such as floods, forest fires and landslides, the study pointed out, seismic activity further exposed the region to the threats.

Lack of effective early warning systems and disaster management systems further intensify the impact of natural hazards, it pointed out.

The incidence of poverty is high with the percentage of population living below the poverty line as high as 32 per cent, much higher than the all India average of 21.6 per cent.

The study further said that the region had a low level of industrialisation and lacked infrastructure facilities to be able to exploit its rich natural resources.

Though it is sparsely populated with an overall density of 149 persons per sq km compared to the country’s average 313 per sq km (census, 2001), the region has, however, recorded a high population growth with the decadal growth higher than the national level of 21.5 per cent.

Source: The Hindu

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The great carbon bazaar - Tehelka

By Avalok Langer & Yamini Deenadayalan New Delhi
Carbon Bazaar

By the late 1990s, the idea of global warming had become real. For the developed world, however, emission reduction at the cost of industry-driven growth was a tough pill. Its ‘Zen’ moment finally came in 1997 in Japan with the Kyoto Protocol signed under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). All the signatories agreed to reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by a pre-determined amount from 2008-12. It was handshakes all around as 37 countries and the European Union created carbon credits. Through this system, developed nations could claim emission reduction by bringing down emissions in developing countries like India instead of their own. This led to the creation of a new and Byzantine market essentially trading in the transportation of guilt. India is only second to China in the carbon credits market and will have a potential market value of $3.6 billion by 2012. However, as industries scramble for financial incentives, strange little soap operas and games of ecological blackmail play out on the ground. Welcome to the bazaar.

Avalok Langer is a Correspondent with Tehelka.
Yamini Deendayalan is a Features Correspondent with Tehelka.

Link: The Great Carbon Bazaar:-Tehelka

Saturday, June 4, 2011

North East Cultural Centre to be set up in Delhi

The Government will set up a North East Cultural Centre here to promote rich and diverse culture and heritage of the region.

The Centre will be set up jointly by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) and the Culture Ministry.

DONER Minister B K Handique said the Centre will be established within the complex of Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) at Dwarka in West Delhi.

“This is one of the outcomes of discussions Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with a delegation of students from the North East in December 2009,” Mr. Handique said.

He said the NECC will be a permanent platform in the national capital for cultural exchange not only among the people of the North East living in Delhi but also with those from other parts of the country.