Category — Environmental Services

President Obama and PM Modi Affirm Convergence in Strategic Perspectives

During an official working visit of Prime Minister Modi to the United States, and marking the third major bilateral summit between him and President Obama, the leaders reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India:

US and India Flags

  1. India’s ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, has laid a strong foundation for a long-term partnership between U.S. and Indian companies for building nuclear power plants in India.
  2. The United States and India share common climate and clean energy interests and are close partners in the fight against climate change. Leadership from both countries helped galvanize global action to combat climate change and culminated in the Paris Agreement reached last December.
  3. The leaders welcomed the signing of an MOU to Enhance Cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change, and an MOU on Cooperation in Gas Hydrates
  4. Reflecting Prime Minister Modi’s call to embrace wildlife conservation as a development imperative, the leaders welcomed the signing of an MOU to enhance cooperation on Wildlife Conservation and Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
  5. The United States supports the Government of India’s ambitious national goals to install 175 GW of renewable energy which includes 100 GW from solar power.
  6. The United States and India will jointly launch the third Initiative of the International Solar Alliance which will focus on off-grid solar for energy access at the Founding Conference of ISA in September, 2016 in India.
  7. The U.S. and India today are announcing: the creation of a $20 million seed U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance initiative, equally supported by the United States and India, which is expected to mobilize up to $400 million to provide clean and renewable electricity to up to 1 million households by 2020.
  8. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate on research and development, including through the announcement of an upcoming $30 million public-private research effort in smart grid and grid storage.
  9. Both countries will work together to combat the threat of terrorists accessing and using chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological materials.
  10. The United States called on Nuclear Suppliers Group Participating Governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary.  The United States also re-affirmed its support for India’s early membership of the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.
  11. The leaders applauded the completion of a roadmap for cooperation under the 2015 U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, which will serve as a guide for collaboration in the years to come.
  12. The United States hereby recognizes India as a Major Defense Partner.  India will receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives. Also, in support of India’s Make in India initiative, and to support the development of robust defense industries and their integration into the global supply chain, the United States will continue to facilitate the export of goods and technologies, consistent with U.S. law, for projects, programs and joint ventures in support of official U.S.-India defense cooperation.
  13. The leaders welcomed the progress toward establishment of an ISRO-NASA Heliophysics Working Group as well as toward finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding for exchange of earth observation satellite data.
  14. They committed to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity and welcomed the understanding reached to finalize the Framework for the U.S.-India Cyber Relationship in the near term.
  15. The two heads of state announced further steps to deepen collaboration against the full spectrum of terrorist threats.
  16. In order to substantially increase bilateral trade, they pledged to explore new opportunities to break down barriers to the movement of goods and services, and support deeper integration into global supply chains, thereby creating jobs and generating prosperity in both economies.
  17. The United States welcomed India’s interest in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, as India is a dynamic part of the Asian economy, as well as India’s hosting of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
  18. The leaders affirmed their nations’ mutual support in exploring the most fundamental principles of science as embodied in the arrangement reached to cooperate on building a Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) in India in the near future and welcomed the formation of the India-U.S. Joint Oversight Group to facilitate agency coordination of funding and oversight of the project.
  19. The leaders strongly endorsed expansion of the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program, which is fostering public-private research partnerships focused on the development and evaluation of vaccines to prevent tuberculosis, dengue, chikungunya and other globally important infectious diseases.
  20. The leaders recognized the global threat posed by multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and committed to continue collaboration in the area of tuberculosis and to share respective best practices.
  21. The leaders reaffirmed their support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
  22. They looked forward to opportunities to deepen the U.S.-India global development cooperation in Africa, as well as in Asia and beyond.
  23. Both sides committed to open additional consulates in each other’s country. India will be opening a new consulate in Seattle and the United States will open a new consulate at a mutually agreed location in India.
  24. The leaders also appreciated their governments’ joint efforts through the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship to develop a cohort of climate scientists to confront the shared challenge of global climate change.
  25. The leaders intend to renew efforts to intensify dialogue to address issues affecting the citizens of both countries that arise due to differences in the approaches of legal systems, including issues relating to cross-country marriage, divorce and child custody.

June 13, 2016   No Comments

U.S.-India Move Forward on Climate Change and Environment

Recognizing the urgent threat of climate change, the United States and India are committed to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as quickly as possible. The two nations plan to work together to adopt in 2016 an ambitious amendment to phase-down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – a potent greenhouse gas – under the Montreal Protocol, which could avoid a half-degree of temperature increase. By avoiding up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century, an HFC Amendment is one of the most consequential actions to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the United States and India committed to work together to reach a successful resolution to address greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, says a White House release.

Effect of Climate Chamge

Through the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change and related fora, the United States and India continue to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change.

  • Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship:  In March, the U.S. and Indian governments announced the first call for applicants for the U.S.-India Fulbright—Kalam Climate Fellowship, part of a commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi to building long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both countries.
  • Partnership for Climate Resilience:  In support of the U.S.-India Partnership for Climate Resilience launched by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) are leading a collaboration to model future climate conditions in India at high resolution, to assess climate risks at the sub-national level in India and to support actions that promote climate-resilient sustainable development. Also under this Partnership, NASA released its NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP) dataset that provides downscaled climate model data for the Indian sub-continent.  Over the coming year, IITM and NOAA intend to co-host a series of workshops in India with U.S. and Indian experts to focus on the development and use of downscaling tools for seasonal forecasting and multi-decadal climate risk assessment.
  • Advancing Air Quality Cooperation:  The two countries will work to reduce urban population exposure to air pollution by disseminating information through the AirNow-International program, which should enable urban policy planners to improve air quality in cities, allowing for estimates of health and climate change benefits of these strategies.
  • Technical Cooperation on Heavy-Duty Vehicles:  Both countries have pledged to cooperate on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in India through the G-20. This technical cooperation will help inform the design of heavy-duty vehicle Greenhouse Gas emission  standards which will result in significant oil saving benefits in India.

 

 

June 13, 2016   No Comments

Sweden’s Scania Opens R&D Center in India

In collaboration with Larsen & Toubro Technology Services, Scania, Sweden’s automotive industry manufacturer, recently inaugurated its new research and development center in Bangalore.

The R&D office in India, with approximately 100 development engineers, is primarily focused on localizing and adapting Scania’s buses and trucks for the Indian market as well as for other emerging markets.

Scania R&D Center Inauguration

Scania R&D Center Inauguration

“It’s difficult to work in Sweden and understand the needs here,” says Örjan Rasmusson, Director of R&D in India. “The products here need to be simple to both use, maintain and repair. We make full use of Scania’s modular system to produce vehicles that match the very specific needs of the Indian market. But since we historically have been very focused on Western Europe, we lack some performance steps for the emerging markets.”

In India, Scania has highlighted the benefits of alternative fuels, particularly ethanol, not only for reducing emissions but also as a means of making use of locally available resources while productively addressing growing problems of waste disposal and wastewater treatment.

April 13, 2016   No Comments

NASA and India’s ISRO to Launch Satellite Ahead of Schedule

ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organization is working with NASA to advance the launch of a satellite that was expected to be launched in 2021 to monitor climate change and earthquake patterns.

The NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, or NISAR, is designed to observe and take measurements of some of the Earth’s most complex processes, including ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet collapse, and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides, reports Aviation Week.

NASA has designed and developed the spacecraft’s 12-meter L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna, GPS system and data recorder. ISRO will take care of the design and development of the mission’s S-band SAR, spacecraft bus and data transmission system, while also handling spacecraft integration and testing, launch via Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, and on-orbit operations.

The radar payload will be integrated at NASA and then brought to Bangalore in south India for integration with the satellite.

“The L-band will help us look at crustal deformation,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says. “We are looking for hints at earthquake detection. We cannot predict [an] earthquake but we can advise people where it has occurred.”

“One can measure accurately the variations in surface topography [to an] accuracy of millimeters,” ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar adds.

The NISAR mission will explore new applications in natural resources mapping and monitoring, estimating agricultural biomass over the full duration of a crop cycle, assessing soil moisture, monitoring of floods and oil slicks, coastal erosion, coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters. It will also assess mangroves and surface deformation due to seismic activities.

Kumar says the mission might prove to be a landmark step in Indo-U.S. space cooperation. “We are excited about this,” he says. “It is for the first time that the two agencies are working on such a big scale.”

April 11, 2016   No Comments

India’s Attero Seeks to Recycle E-Waste in U.S.

Latin for “waste”, Attero is India’s largest electronic asset management company which promotes eco-friendly reuse and recycling of electronics. The e-waste recycler and metal extraction company, aims to turn waste into sustainable resources.

Founded by Nitin Gupta in 2008 just after he had finished his MBA from New York University, the company, situated in Noida near New Delhi, has patented a technology which helps remove precious metals such as gold, silver and palladium from electronic waste, such as circuit boards and mobile phones, among others. Attero claims its technology can remove more than 10 precious metals found in used electronics without releasing hazardous chemicals back into the environment reports cips.org.

E-waste

E-Waste

According to Forbes, Attero has won the backing of U.S. investors such as the International Finance Corporation and Draper Fisher Jurvetson to help it expand into the U.S.

Attero’s move into the U.S. market would be the first time the country has its own facilities for extracting precious metals from components such as circuit boards. Currently most U.S. circuit boards are recycled in Europe, Asia and Canada.

April 11, 2016   No Comments