Monthly Archives: April 2013

Clean Development Mechanism in the Building Sector

cdmpage cover

Malathy Madathilezham writes that there would be significant local, economic and sustainable development benefits to India with an effective implementation of Clean Development Mechanism

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the four flexibility mechanisms that can be utilized by the industrialized nations under the Kyoto Protocol. Under the clean development mechanism (CDM) adopted in 2001, private players and governments from developing countries can earn carbon credits by adopting environment-friendly practices like growing trees on degraded land or adoption of cleaner energy sources like hydroelectricity.

These carbon credits can then be sold to polluters in developed countries to help them meet their targets of emission cut. This race to earn carbon credits has resulted in the rise of artificial forests with fast-growing varieties of trees. Such trees, however, are only good for storing carbon. This is basically to encourage the participation of the developing nations in emission reduction process and is often touted as the only link between Kyoto protocol and of the developing countries’ willingness to participate in a future global emissions regime. The problem with the approach of transferring CERs based on CDM projects is that the aspect of sustainable development has been trivialised and the major focus is on the reduction of emissions.

In the Seventh Conference of Parties (COP-7) to the UNFCCC it was decided that a National Authority for CDM should be designated by the participating Parties and a written approval of voluntary participation from the Designated National Authority should be included in the project proposal confirming that the project activity would help the host country in achieving sustainable development. In accordance to this the National Clean Development Authority was constituted.

Clean Development Mechanism and the Building Sector

More than one-third of the total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, both in developed and developing countries can be traced to buildings and most of it is during its use for heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation etc. Materials manufacturing, construction etc consumes a much smaller percentage. There is a great potential and need to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

According to the fourth report of the International Panel on Climate Change, the building sector not only has the largest potential for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also that this potential is relatively independent of the cost per ton of CO achieved. This is because of the fact that the increase in investment costs is offset by reduced energy costs over time which is a result of the measures aimed at reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

But the fact remains that this potential remains mostly untapped in most countries. Only six of the 3000 CDM projects in the pipeline seek to reduce energy demand in the buildings. Out of these six, only one is generating Certified Emission Reduction Credits (CERs). Thus even though this sector is identified as offering the greatest potential for GHG emission reduction, CDM is not having much of an impact here.

The Indian Scenario

In terms of energy demand, India stands sixth in the world and accounts of 3.5 % of the world’s commercial energy demand in 2001. In spite of this the annual per capita consumption of energy is low compared to other developing countries. In the last five decades, there has been an increase in the total energy use along with a shift from non commercial to commercial sources of energy.

It can be observed that the building sector plays an important role in the increase of energy use mentioned above. About 11% of the world’s energy consumption in residential sector can be accounted to India.

The Union Government of India along with many international agencies has taken steps towards efficient and optimized energy utilization and simultaneously employed various means to check financial as well as environmental losses due to wastage of energy. But most measures bypassed the building sector till CDM came to be proposed. Using marginal costs of abatement in different countries to estimate the flow of CDM funds it is estimated that India would collect between 7%-12% of the total global market for CDM-led investment (Jotzo and Michaelowa 2002)

SWOT analysis of CDM in Building Sector

Strengths

  1. It can be seen that CDM is a good complementary mechanism for financing EEB projects mainly in the following ways

a) Reducing various financial risks inherent in EEB projects;

b) Making life cycle-based financing more acceptable to investors;

  1. Providing complementary financing to offset increased investment and transaction costs
  2. The project based approach of CDM provides a good platform to promote energy efficiency in the building sector
  3. The rules and procedures of CDM contain measures aimed at ensuring “real,measurable and verifiable” emission reductions (COP 1, Decision 5).
  4. The flexibility to allow ‘bundling’ of several small projects (which are located close to each other and implemented at the same time) helps to reduce CDM related transaction costs to small projects.

Weaknesses

  1. The CDM was created for two purposes: to   combat climate change through GHG emission reductions and to support sustainable development in developing countries. In its current form, the CDM only assigns monetary value to GHG emission reductions, and not to project contributions towards sustainable development. The CDM has been heavily criticized for not sufficiently fulfilling its sustainable development mandate, which is one of its most challenging tasks (Schneider, 2007)

Opportunities

  1. With the buzzword of sustainability becoming increasingly popular and the importance of an environment friendly brand image, CDM project approvals are of added value and are especially attractive to business stakeholders, including builders, owners, tenants, and even banks.
  2. The relationship between CDM and policy implementation of the government which complement each other in various terms

Threats / Challenges

  1. There are characteristics of the building sector which make the managing of the projects comparatively difficult and costly. These include small savings per technology improvement, large numbers of buildings, widespread locations, many technologies used to achieve efficiency improvements, various specifications for dispersed end use requirements, varying end-user knowledge levels and decentralized energy use decision making.
  2. Fragmentation and complexity of the construction sector
  3. Risks – Business risks and perceived risks
  4. Diverse Stakeholder interests
  5. Lack of Information, misinformation or asymmetrical information
  6. Lack of experts
  7. Costs
  1. Investment and Transaction
  2. Management

Conclusions

There would be definitely be significant local, economic and sustainable development benefits to India with an effective implementation of CDM. There should be increased cooperation with potential investors and stakeholders (both public and private). Also the issues of risk management and project financing should be addressed by establishing adequate facilities for the same. This could take the form of a national CDM fund that supports the development of good-quality and relevant CDM projects.

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जलता जीवन, जलते तुम हम

Burning Woods burning life
By Atul Singh
जलता ज़ीवन जलते तुम हम,
ख़त्म हो गई राहें सब ।
आगे है घनघोर अँधेरा
दुःख की बदली छाई है ।
साथ मिलाकर छोड़ गए सब,
क्यूँ तू संग मेरे आई है ॥
क्यूँ करू तुझसे प्रणय निवेदन,
क्या तू जीवन सार मिला ।
किया तिरस्कार तूने है अब तक,
क्यूँ अब तेरा प्यार जगा ॥
तू ठहरी अलका का वैभव,
पर अवनी का मैं भी पुजारी हूँ ।
प्रेम सिखा कर चली गई जो,
उसका मैं आभारी हूँ ॥
प्रेम है क्या ये तू क्या जाने ,
मीरा की वो मूरत होती ।
जिससे मैंने किया प्रेम था,
प्रेम की सूरत वैसी होती ॥.
क्यूँ डाले बाहों के घेरे ,
करती मुझको आलिंगन ।
मैं तो हूँ एक ठहरा पानी,
क्यूँ तू खोजे उसमे जीवन ॥
उसमे ज़ीवन नही मिलेगा,
फूल प्रेम का नही खिलेगा ।
जलता जीवन मेरा अब तक,
जो प्रेम करेगा वो भी जलेगा ॥
” जो प्रेम करेगा वो भी जलेगा “

Meet Shyam, The 11-Year-Old Snake Charmer

Shyam-11 year old snake charmer

This is the story of Shyam, whom this author met at a restaurant at the Delhi-Agra highway. He had a tale to be told so here it is.

How many of us have come back home after a bad day at office and thrown things around because of a bad meeting, bad boss, poor traffic, a stuck deal etc. While doing all this, little do we realise, that in a country where a third of the population lives upon what Montek Singh Ahluwalia calls enough income (Rs 30 per day), we are blessed to actually be on that road with a car, in that office with an AC and a computer, in a job with a 6 figure salary. Look around you and there are numerous without even basic amenities of food, clothing and shelter. This is one such story.

Meet Shyam, an 11-year-old, snake charmer from Kosi. For my western friends am sure being 11-year-old and being a snake charmer might sound a little unbelievable but in this country which is often presented in marketing meetings as the biggest market in Emerging countries, there are villages where 2-year-kids start training on learning to charm snakes as without any formal education and support, this is the only career they entitle themselves to.

I happened to jump onto this young lad when I was stepping out of a restaurant at the Delhi-Jaipur old highway. As usual after having splurged Rs 500 on a unnecessary lunch alongside my wife, I was headed towards my car for an afternoon siesta as my Driver would drive me back to Delhi. Suddenly I heard the sweetest “Bye Bye” I had ever heard. Just outside I saw Shyam with his friend, a snake.

As Shyam saw me interested, he lifted his snake and moved towards me with enthusiasm you only associate with someone who loves his job. At 11 years of age am not sure whether he really loved his job or whether he was trained so well. As he came towards me, I could not stop but wait to talk to him and here I am, narrating his story to all of you.

Shyam is all but 11-years of age. Studies and after his school helps his family by sitting outside the restaurant alongside his snake. I could not refrain myself from asking a foolish question. Whether he was scared of the snake or not. His reply was obvious “He is like my friend, I know it since a long time now and it never bites me”.

Shyam has a father who often drinks and beats up his mother, a mother who is often ill and two sisters who are 2 years and four years elder to him respectively. He says that they will get the older one married soon (I did not ask him whether he was known to the fact that getting a girl below the age of 18, married, entitles legal action).

So what does Shyam wants to become when he grows old. He wants to become an engineer and wants to study in the prestigious IIT. Believe me the kid knew this and also wanted to touch the tab I was carrying in my hands. I gave him that opportunity and he thanked me with all glitter that he could generate in those small eyes. I continued to talk to him as he fondled with my machine. I was a little scared about it but then Shyam was one kid who knew how to handle machines, he gave that feeling at least.

So how do you study I asked at home? “Oh that is not a problem at all, we have a light just outside our house which works almost all the time, that is where I study”. Remember the stories our mom’s used to say of IAS officers having become what they are studying under the streetlights. Why go far, don’t we remember the kind of struggles APJ Abdul Kalam undergo while he was studying to become India’s best weapons scientist.

So what kind of problems do you face I asked and what are you scared of. “My father beats me when I get home with less money.” It is here that I felt a pain pang in my heart. Such a sweet kid, wants to study, helps the family at a tender age when kids his age would be playing in the sun and still gets beaten up, I thought. How many times does he beat? Almost daily he said.

Leaving the beating aside our Shyam was happy with everything life has bestowed on him. He was happy to be sitting outside the restaurant with a wild snake while people eat in air-conditioned restaurant inside. But yes he has big dreams, he has dreams of gifting his mother a restaurant like this because he says that his mom cooks awesome food and he would like everyone to eat what she makes.

Moral of the real-life story is simple. Life outside is as tough as anything can get. Only the toughest can and will survive but the one’s that will be remembered would be the ones who survived it with a smile. I will thus definitely for all my life remember Shyam, the 11-year-old snake charmer.

It was time to say good bye and again the thank you that he said when I gifted him packets of chocolate, biscuit and money was the biggest gratification I could have received for anything I had done till date. Shyam, I would again meet you and pray that you step up the gas further and become India’s biggest and bestest engineer ever.

Jazz by the Way!

Sampurna Majumder delves into the history of jazz in Kolkata on International Jazz Day!

International Jazz Day

The UNESCO organizes the International Jazz Day on 30 April every year. So being a music aficionado (or at least trying to be), I thought of delving a little into the journey of this musical genre in a country that already has an excellent musical legacy.

Well, the search for the same, again took me to my hometown, the City of Joy. I was not quite surprised as the Kolkata is officially known as the Cultural Capital of the Country. By the 20th century, many Europeans had  adapted the city as their hometown and their way of life began to be reflected in the city life. Pubs and nightclubs began to come up in the city that started belting out some outstanding jazz tunes.

Carlton Kitto

By the late 1950s and 1960s, Kolkata was already home to a few nightclubs some of which still continue to run. And what tickles in my mind, is the jazz veteran Carlton Kitto who continues to lighten up the jazz scene of Kolkata.

Kitto began his musical journey in the 1970s at Moulin Rogue. Owned by a French Lady, Carlton along with his band Carlton Kitto Jazz Ensemble lit up the evenings at Moulin Rogue. The only Jazz Musician from the city, recently a documentary named Finding Carlton has been filmed on him that traces the history of Jazz in India. The movie has captured many moments that showcased how Jazz bridged cultures and provided a common language of communication.

Moulin Rouge KolkataToday, restaurants like Moulin Rogue, Mocambo and the age-old Trincas are places where one can expect to listen to some amazing jazz music on a Saturday evening In Kolkata.

Once frequented by the likes of Amitabh Bachhan and Shashi Kapoor, Trinca’s Tavern continues to run the tradition belting out Jazz musical for over 6 decades now. Someplace Else is another hang out where you can soothe your ears with similar tunes.

Therefore if you have a soft corner and an ear for somewhat improvised music, Jazz is definitely for you – and now you know where to visit for some good Jazz musicals.

White Light Balance – DSLR Photography

This is the first of the series of posts by Mili Sharma on the technicalities of photography. Mili is an IT professional, who is passionate about travelling. She also pursues photography as a hobby. Today, she has written about White Light Balance.

White Light Balance

White light balance is used to ensure that the color appearing to our eyes appears the same in the photographs too. In other word, balancing the white light gives us more accurate colors in our photographs. Human eye has the capability to judge the white color under difference light conditions. However a Digital Camera cannot automatically understand/detect the white light in various light conditions. This is when the feature of balancing the white light comes into effect. It allows the camera to understand the white color in various light conditions and remove the unrealistic colors.

To understand this better, we first need to be familiar with the concept of ‘Color Temperature’. Each color has a temperature. Color temperature describes the spectrum of light which is radiated from a ‘blackbody’ with that surface temperature. A blackbody is an object which absorbs all light incidents irrespective of the frequency. The Sun is considered to be a black body radiator as. The unit for measuring the color temperature is ‘Kelvin (K)’. Colors which have temperatures over 5,000K are called cool colors (blueish white) while the colors with the temperature between 2,700 K and 3,000 K are called warm colors (yellowish white through red).

We can also relate the warmth of the colors to daylight and evening light. Daylight has a spectrum similar to that of a black body with a correlated color temperature of 5,500 K. Digital Camera come with predefined white light balancing effects. Some on the common White light adjustments are:

Color Temperature

Light Source

1000-2000 K

 Candlelight

2500-3500 K

 Tungsten Bulb (household variety)

3000-4000 K

 Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky)

4000-5000 K

 Fluorescent Lamps

5000-5500 K

 Electronic Flash

5000-6500 K

 Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead)

6500-8000 K

 Moderately Overcast Sky

9000-10000 K

 Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky

We can manually set the white light balance by following the steps below to set the white light balance:

  1. Press the MENU button and select the Shooting Menu.
  2. Select White balance and then scroll to the right.
  3. Select one of the values like Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct sunlight etc. and click OK.

White balance 2

White balance

Note: These steps are for Nikon users. Cannon users may refer to the User Manual.

If not sure what white balance option to use then leave it set to ‘Auto White Balance (AWB)’.  We can also create our own white light balance using a Grey Card or a White Sheet. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Keep a Grey Card or a White Sheet ready in front of you.
  2. Press the ‘MENU’ button and select the Shooting Menu.
  3. Select ‘White Balance’ and then scroll to the right.
  4. Select ‘Measure’. It will show a pop up to ‘Overwrite existing preset data’.
  5. Click on ‘Yes’.
  6. It will then ask to take a photo of a Grey or a White object.
  7. Set your focus on the Grey Card or White Sheet and take a picture.

You can now expect better photographs with better color accuracy in various light conditions. Happy Clicking!!

सब खवाब हुए धूमिल…..

depressed-person

पैदा हुवा मै जिस दिन, माँ-बाप मुस्कुराये I

थी तंग घर की हालत, लड्डू ना बाँट पाये I I

बस आस उम्मीदों में, बचपन भी मेरा बीता I

हर हसरत रही अधूरी, लगता रहा पलीता I I

ना शिक्षा मिली ढंग की, ना काम ढंग का पाया I

संघर्षों ने जर्जर, कर डाली मेरी काया I I

शादी भी मैंने कर ली, पैदा किये दो बच्चे I

हालात अपने फिर भी, हो पाए नहीं अच्छे I I

महीने से हफ्ता पहले, घर में ना टिकता राशन I

तब खाने को मिलता है बीवी का केवल भाषण I I

पीता हूँ ख़ूनी आंसू , है ह्रदय मेरा ज़ख्मी I

जीवन में सदा मुझसे, रूठी रही है, लक्ष्मी I I

सब खवाब हुए धूमिल, अरमान सारे टूटे I

है आखिरी तमन्ना, ये प्राण तन से छूटे I I

हे ईश!  मेरे मुझको, बस इतना डर सताता I

जिस राह से मै गुजरा, बच्चों का ना हो नाता I I

depresshun

Chinese Breakfast @ China Town!

Continuing her series on China Town, Sampurna Majumder writes about the uniqueness of the locality.

Tiretta Bazaar

The variedness of Kolkata never seems to satiate me. From lip-smacking delicacies to some of the best known cultural events – Kolkata has loads to offer.

In my last article I focussed on the existing China Town of Kolkata. This time, I decided to take a step ahead and find out something unique about the locality.

It is a Saturday early morning around 5.30 am. The Tiretta Bazaar in Old China Town is already bustling with life. You can choose from some of the best Chinese delicacies that are served here. From yummy chicken soups to pork suimai – you name it and its there. On weekends, the breakfast platters are over by 8 am. Call centre employees and night-club hoppers comprise the main crowd.

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

If you want to try something new and adventurous you can always end up at the shops selling Chinese sauces and other ingredients that are required for cooking. There’s one shop named Sing Cheung Sauce Factory that sells all kinds of Chinese sauces.

The spicy pork sausages taste like slimy scrambled eggs. You can also try having the spicier broths with a dash of Sichuan chillies and pickled garlic. The fish-ball soup that is found at every nook and corner of Tiretta Bazaar is a must have. The best part about the breakfast is you will not find the regular Chinese stuff – like noodles or rice, but an assortment of other delicacies with broths and soups taking away the credits.

Shrimp Sui Mai

Tiretta Bazaar is one of the remaining cosmopolitan food hubs in the city that has already started becoming somewhat conservative in nature. Whatever, be it, if you are in Kolkata do miss the chance of a sumptuous Chinese Breakfast in the heart of the city.