The TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS)family grieves the loss of its founding Chancellor and one of the finest environmentalists and a trailblazer of sustainable development, Dr R K Pachauri, who left for his heavenly abode on February 13th, 2020. The TERI SAS family stands with Dr Pachauri’s family in this hour of grief.
The university held a condolence meeting in memoriam of the departed soul at its Vasant Kunj campus. The demise of Dr Pachauri isn’t just loss to the fraternity of environmentalists and climate change crusaders, but without his valuable insight, the fight against climate change would never be the same.
It was during his leadership that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the former Vice President, USA, Mr Al Gore in 2007. One of the pioneers of sustainable development, Dr Pachauri was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the third and second highest civilian awards of the Republic of India respectively.
Dr Pachauri and his persistent efforts led to the establishment of TERI SAS and his long association with TERI SAS was certainly a driving force which led this institution on the path of excellence.
Dr Shailesh Nayak, Chancellor, TERI SAS expressed his grief and remembered Dr Pachauri for his contribution in the fight against climate change and setting up TERI SAS.
Dr Shailesh Nayak said, “His idea of setting up TERI School of Advanced Studies was a visionary step. He had realised that we will need leaders to address issues related adaptation and mitigation of climate impacts, and formal education is the answer. Today TERI -SAS is in forefront in building capacity for ushering sustainability.”
Dr Manipadma Datta, the Vice-Chancellor, TERI SAS, observed, “Dr R K Pachauri was a global citizen. History will remember him as the trailblazer of sustainable development, education and research. It would be our responsibility to carry his mantle and stand for the principles he lived for.”
The drug menace spread across the world certainly threatens the wellbeing of people, but in South Asia, the situation is quite grave when it comes human security challenges associated with drug abuse.
TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS), New Delhi, India in collaboration with Swansea University, UK organized a weeklong Executive Programme on ‘Human Security and Drug Policy’ from January 27-31, 2020 at its New Delhi campus.
Speakers were drawn from world class Universities and Institutes such as Swansea University, UK; London School of Economics, UK; University of Rosario, Colombia; The New School, USA. The programme was uniquely designed to deliberate and discuss a host of critical issues around human security challenges associated with drug use and abuse, with specific emphasis on South Asia region.
The theme of the workshop is highly relevant and timely, given that the menace of drug abuse in increasing worldwide and has emerging as a key social impairment. This becomes more pronounced in South Asia region, given that the region is highly vulnerable in many ways, including health related vulnerabilities. The workshop intends to discuss an array of policy measures, and possible policy strategies which are contextual and designed to cater to the ground realities.
The focus will also be on designing and strategizing behavioral transformations to arrest such imminent societal challenge. Specific emphasis will be laid on discussing global declarations such as declarations made through SDGs and how these global goals can effectively be translated into regional and domestic policies and plan of actions.
The coordinator of the workshop Dr Gopal Sarangi from TERI SAS opines that “the primary purpose of the workshop is to strategize feasible, smart, and effective drug policy ‘solutions’ that are effective and humane and which utilize best practices, research, and lessons learned from existing policies that have failed and succeeded”.
Prof. David RB Taylor, Director of Global Drug Policy Observatory, Swansea University, who is one of the co-organisers of this workshop says, “It’s been a privilege to be involved with this ground-breaking workshop at TERI SAS.
Our goal has been to improve the knowledge base across and better understand a range of aspects of the drug issue in an effort to move towards a more nuanced, effective and humane drug policy within Afghanistan. And while certainly a process not an event, we have made good progress and established a solid foundation for future activities”.Read More
NEW DELHI: Former Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman K Kasturirangan says the space agency has a proper mechanism to deal with cyber security threats. The veteran scientist, who led the space agency for nine years, gave the statement when asked about a report that alerts were sent to Isro about threats from North Korean hackers just before the Vikram lander's scheduled moon landing date on September 7 this year.
Giving an interview to TOI on the sidelines of 12th convocation ceremony at Teri School of Advanced Studies here, Kasturirangan said, "Though I am not aware of any specific alert provided to the space agency, what I can say is Isro has a process to deal with such (hacking) alerts. There are experts and engineers in Isro who look at it. I am sure they have gone through the process. Nothing is taken lightly by Isro. Isro is extremely serious to deal with every input it gets directly or indirectly. As engineers know their systems well, they will make sure it (cyber security issue) is truly understood. This is the Isro culture."
Talking about Chandrayaan-2 mission, Kasturirangan, an honorary adviser to Isro, said, "Isro has gone into all possibilities of failures and anomalies. It is an opportunity to learn things which otherwise we would not have known. We should be able to correct and improve things. When Isro makes the announcement about Chandrayaan-3, it knows things it needs to address so that even more ambitious missions can be achieved in future."
Whether there is a chance of the revival of Vikram lander lying on Moon's surface, he said, "There is no declared direction in which Isro has confident that Vikram lander will come back, but Isro will continue to explore ways so that it can be revived. Luck would have it if certain things can happen."
The scientist said the "Gaganyaan is a very complex mission". "It includes multiple dimensions of technologies like engineering, science and users. We are learning in the process and preparing for it. Government has given us a deadline to launch the mission by 75th year of independence and we are trying our best. It is a good challenge," he said.
When asked why Nasa satellite images are preferred for spotting farm fires cases in Delhi's neighbourhood when Isro too has several specific satellites, Kasturirangan, who is also the chairman of committee on national education policy, told TOI, "Isro has acquired images of stubble burning, quantified it and provided information on time variation of the stubble burning process. A mechanism is being instituted to provide this kind of data to concerned authorities."
On the role of satellites in better prediction of severe cyclones, he said, "With advanced geo satellites, we can now predict cyclone landfall accuracy up to 50-60km. Such accurate information helps in evacuation much in advance. Isro's (Ahmedabad-based) Space Applications Centre provides such data and creates accurate cyclone models along with IMD, and provides advance warning to state and local authorities through MHA.
Satellites can now catch formative stages of cyclones even when they are several 100km away. They can monitor the movement of cyclones as sensors have large visibility zone up to the size of a continent. The satellites can now take cyclone pictures in the interval of 15 minutes. With optimal images and thermal images, we can even see the eye of a cyclone. With basic parameters of cyclone formation and atmospheric parameters like temperature, wind velocity and pressure, we can now create a model and predict the track that a cyclone takes."
Talking about the monitoring of glaciers, the Padma awardee who is also the chancellor of Central University of Rajasthan, said the "satellite system is monitoring 5,000 locations in the Himalayas for glacier melting. Fringes of glaciers can be monitored with fringe detection system -- analysis of whether there is an accumulation or recession of glaciers on a timely basis. Ground-based technological studies complement satellite data, which provides accurate data about glacier melting."Read More
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Experts call for a robust system to implement existing clean-air policies, hail National Clean Air Programme
ONE IN EIGHT DEATHS IN THE COUNTRY IN 2017 WAS ATTRIBUTABLE TO AIR POLLUTION, MAKING IT THE LEADING RISK FACTOR FOR DEATH ACROSS INDIA
NEW DELHI: Creating a robust system to implement existing clean-air policies, promoting coordination between the Centre and states, and devising stateand district-level pollution control plans are vital to improve air quality, experts say.
One in eight deaths in the country in 2017 was attributable to air pollution, making it the leading risk factor for death across India, said a state-level disease burden study published in Lancet Planet Health on Thursday.
The statewise breakup of data, however, shows that there is a three and six-fold variation in deaths and healthy life-years lost because of pollution. The heterogeneity among the states needs to be addressed by identifying local sources of pollution and developing policies to address them.
We need detailed emission inventories that not only tell us the type of pollutant but also what proportion of it is coming from where and what are the chemical properties. We get data on this from various studies conducted by the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) but we need to strengthen our monitoring systems too,said Tushar Joshi, adviser on occupational and environmental health and chemical safety in the Union health ministry.
The government is in the process of adding more automatic air quality monitoring stations and it is needed in the rural areas too, where typically the high ozone pollution is leading to failing crops. The ozone is high as there is no nitrous oxides to neutralise it, he said.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which women of poor households are being provided free cooking gas connections to reduce their dependence on firewood, is one step towards addressing the problem, said Sagnik Dey, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi.
For a county as large as India, source apportionment studies cannot be done everywhere, but modelling studies have shown biggest contributor, for the country as a whole, is use of solid fuels, said Dey.
Experts hailed the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that aims to reduce PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants by 30% and 20% respectively.
The NCAP is a good start as it allows states to formulate their own plans. However, it is more important to improve the coordination among states and with the Centre for effective implementation of already existing and any policies that are introduced in the future, said Dey.
For example, the 15-year diesel vehicles removed from the roads in Delhi are not discarded but sold off to other places where they continue polluting. Would that pollution not come back to Delhi? he said.
Adding to the problem is the slow percolation of policies across the country.This is what we see with low emission diesel or CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles, which are still not feasible in many parts of the country. The government has brought in the BS (Bharat Stage) VI standards, which may face the same problem, said Kamna Sachdeva, associate professor at the TERI School of Advanced Studies
India will move up to the toughest emission standards of BS-VI from the current BS-IV by 2020, skipping an intermediate level.
Fixing accountability is also needed. â€œThe NCAP should be released incorporating the time-bound pollution reduction targets across sectors with fixed accountability and strong legal backing, said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India.
And the focus should not just be on the polluting industries and the emissions from thermal power plants.
The government already has norms for the emissions from industries and policy on reducing dependency on fuelbased power. But we often forget that solid fuels are also used in the numerous dhabas across the country, or the dust pollution caused by sweeping, and inefficient municipal waste disposal that leads to people burning household waste. Emphasis should be on these too, said Dr Lalit Dandona, senior author and director of the India StateLevel Disease Burden Initiative
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