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Environment

Typhoon Rammasun (Glenda) hits Philippines

Even as the Philippines was trying to recover from the destruction caused by super typhoon Haiyan last year, another typhoon Rammasun smashed large parts of the Philippines killing one person and forcing hundreds of thousands to take shelter in evacuation centres. Typhoon Rammasun (also known as Glenda) hit south of Manila on the Philippine island of Luzon before moving west toward China’s Hainan Island.

Sustained wind speeds were estimated at over 230 kilometers per hour, making Rammasun a Category 4 storm (and just short of being officially classified a “super typhoon”). Rammasun, which is Thai for “God of Thunder”, is now heading into the South China Sea and is likely to hit South China.

The Philippines was recently hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 and devastated Samar and adjoining Leyte island, killing up to 7300 people in one of the nation’s worst natural disasters.

 

Rich nations should capitalize Green Climate Fund: India

Expressing concerns over the empty coffers of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), India urged rich countries to give their consent to a road-map for its capitalization by 2015 – the year the world will have a universal global climate treaty.

Speaking at the ‘Major Economies Forum’ (MEF) in Paris, India’s Environment minister Prakash Javadekar also suggested that part of GCF, which was launched in 2009-10, should be used for funding critical technologies and buying Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) so that it can be made available to developing nations free of cost.

He referred to the annual Budget to inform that India had had taken a number of measures to fight climate change including earmarking Rs 100 crore for National Adaptation Fund, launching of mission for Himalayan region, Clean Ganga mission and hike in cess on coal from Rs 50 a tonne to Rs 100 a tonne.

Green Climate Fund (GCF)

GCF is a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC set up as a mechanism to transfer money from the developed nations to the developing countries, in order to help the developing nations in adaptation and mitigation practices to tackle climate change. The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea. It is managed by a Board of 24 members.

The GCF will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing nations. It intends to be the fulcrum of efforts to increase Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.

Study attributes Oklahoma earthquakes to subsurface wastewater injection

A study has attributed the dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 to subsurface wastewater injection at a few wastewater disposal wells. As per researchers, Oklahoma earthquakes make up nearly half of all central and eastern U.S. seismicity from 2008 to 2013, many occurring in areas of high-rate water disposal.

Induced seismicity poses as a primary obstacle to expanded shale gas and unconventional hydrocarbon development. The study offers insight into the process by which the earthquakes are induced and suggests that sticking to standard best practices may significantly cut down the danger of inducing seismicity. The best practices include avoiding wastewater disposal near major faults and the use of suitable monitoring and mitigation schemes.

As per research, 4 of the highest-volume disposal wells in Oklahoma (about 0.05% of wells) are capable of triggering about 20% of recent central U.S. earthquakes in a series, called a swarm, spanning nearly 2,000 sq kms, as shown by the study of modeled pore pressure surge at relocated earthquake hypocenters.

Earthquakes are induced at distances more than 30 kms from the disposal wells, far away from current criteria of 5 kms from the well for diagnosis of induced earthquakes.

The area of increased pressure related to these wells keeps expanding, increasing the probability of encountering a larger fault and thus raising the risk of triggering an earthquake of higher-magnitude.

R K Pachauri calls Shopping Malls “energy guzzlers”

Noted environmentalist and, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) R K Pachauri termed shopping malls as “energy guzzlers” and said they are not suited to the Indian environment.

Pachauri, who is also chairperson of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that buildings contribute to green house gas emissions and they should be made more efficient. The largest growth of buildings is taking place in the emerging economies. Most of the buildings projected to be standing in 2030 in India are yet to be constructed.

With a view to speed up the development of high performance buildings in India and Southeast Asia, TERI and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a strategic collaboration. TERI’s GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) and USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) have joined hands to promote the best of global and Indian practices to ensure efficiency of design, construction and operation of high performance buildings.

For new buildings, GRIHA projects will have the opportunity to earn LEED certification and LEED buildings will have the opportunity to get GRIHA certification.

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