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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Todd Sterns visits India..... need for changing your fridge.... !!!

In the 1970s, life in Chennai [Triplicane]  had a paradigm shift…. People moved to Aavin milk from buffalo milk offered at their doorstep by milkmen….~ the processed milk supplied in bottles was a big hit…. In the mornings and in afternoons, there will be big queues in aavin milk booths in each street – with people waiting to get milk in bottles – some would get the milk in the eversilver vessels taken in hand – some others would exchange the empty bottle – there was the bottleholder too…. ~ and on days when the milk van arrived late….. residents would be too perturbed – for they cannot have their cuppa coffee…. !!

About 4 years ago, on the heels of President Obama's announcement that he would ask the EPA to reconsider applications from 14 states attempting to set stricter greenhouse gas-emissions standards, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named another member to what some have recently dubbed Obama's green team.  In US  his appointment  was seen as Administration being serious about the issue of climate change…………
photo courtesy : fusselman.org

Sure all of us have huge Fridges at home….and that changed the way we have our morning coffee too….. A  refrigerator (colloquially fridge) is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump (mechanical, electronic, or chemical) that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room. Refrigeration is an essential food storage technique in developed countries. Lower temperatures in a confined volume lowers the reproduction rate of bacteria, so the refrigerator reduces the rate of spoilage.  The Fridge  maintains a temperature a few degrees above the freezing point of water.

Now if you ever venture to check your household fridge, you may be surprised to see that besides vegetables, it could have dry powders [chilli, sambar, rasam and more]; rasam made a couple of days ago [which you perhaps unwittingly remarked to be good !], chocolates, milk and more…….. a la, storage of all edible items….

Getting back to the man appointed by Obama, Todd D Stern – is the United States Special Envoy for Climate Change, leading talks at the United Nations climate change conferences and smaller sessions,. Stern was previously under the Bill Clinton administration Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary in the White House from 1993 to 1998, during which time he also acted as the senior White House negotiator at the Kyoto Protocoland Buenos Aires negotiations. He is in India as the  U.S. is pushing India hard to sign on to a pact that would eventually lead to New Delhi replacing climate-damaging refrigerant gases with alternative, but expensive, technologies proprietary to a few U.S.-based companies.

Climate damaging, yes – whatever being in use by the developing countries is bad and causes untold damage to the environment – but will any of the developed Nations stop their quota of refrigerants or luxurious items – not necessarily, as according to them – all that is use in their place are of improved technologies ~ what the World needs to do….. just follow them – throwing away all that is in use and buy all that they manufacture at the rates determined by them and save the World….. long live the new Crown !!!!!

Signing the pact — the multilateral Montreal Protocol — would open a huge market for these U.S. firms that hold patent rights on the replacement gases and their attendant technologies. In a meeting with Indian officials, minutes of which were accessed by The Hindu, the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, Todd Stern, demanded that Indian officials agree to the beginning of discussions on the phase out of these refrigerant gases under the Montreal Protocol before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the U.S. Records show that he warned that if the decision was not taken at the official level, President Barack Obama would raise it directly with the Indian Prime Minister. Mr. Stern, in his meeting, told Indian officials that it is a political priority not just for the U.S. administration but also personally for President Obama. [in what way should Obama’s personal preferences prejudice India, is a Q none will dare to ask !!]

The Ministry of External Affairs and the Environment Ministry — both nodal points for environment-related international agreements — have opposed the move strongly, raising a red flag on several counts. They have said that the Union Cabinet had earlier decided against such a move. It’s noted that the new technology and gases being pushed as the alternative are patented by select industrialised country companies, are 20 times more costly at times and untested for safety in some cases. The Ministries have warned of the potential impact on India’s defence equipment — submarines and aircrafts, which use the refrigerant gases. Besides, such a decision promises to weaken the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and dilute existing responsibilities of the developed world to fund reduction of global emissions, it has been pointed out internally.

But India has been caught in a bind with the Prime Minister signing on to the recent G20 communiqué that encouraged such technology transition in breach of the Union Cabinet decision, which was taken in 2012. The PMO approved the communiqué signed at St. Petersburg without the knowledge of the nodal environment ministry.  Dr. Singh’s approval of the St. Petersburg communiqué has left the Indian flank open with the U.S. special envoy, Mr. Stern, pointing to the communiqué specifically while leaning on Indian officials to approve the decision.

The Indian government has so far contended that such a move would bring a dual advantage to the U.S. It would secure a monopoly market for American businesses in the high-growth refrigerant business. It would also allow the U.S. to claim the role of a global climate leader even as it pushes the onus of action on to emerging economies, consequently buying time for itself to take harsh and costly carbon dioxide emission reduction decisions.

Long live the Queen,  no, the new Crown
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

PS: the latter part in blue – reproduced from today’s The Hindu.

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