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Australia Environment EU News India News

Amundi to sell green bonds if SBI finance Aus coal mine

One of the State Bank of India (SBI)’s investors, French giant Amundi has announced that it would sell off its SBI green bonds if the bank grants a Rs 5,000 crore loan to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Australia.

“We consider SBI should not finance this project. Ultimately it’s their decision but we’ve been extremely clear on the fact that if they decide to do it, we would immediately disinvest,” Director of the Institutional Corporate Clients Division & ESG, Jean Jacques Barberis, was quoted as saying by a global wire service.

“Financing the mine would be in “total contradiction” to the SBI activities financed through its green bond, he added.

“We have engaged SBI asking them not to participate (in the loan) and now we are waiting for their answer”, he was quoted as saying.

Amundi, which holds the bond in its Amundi Planet Emerging Green One fund, said it had learnt this week that SBI was considering financing the Carmichael thermal coal mine in Australia.

The Adani Carmichael project has been opposed by climate activists due to the issue of carbon emissions.

Reports said the move from Amundi demonstrates that some financial institutions understand the serious reputational risks associated with supporting a new thermal coal project like Adani’s mega mine, especially in the middle of a global pandemic and intensifying climate disasters.

Amundi is Europe’s largest asset manager and ranks in the top 10 globally. It manages assets worth 1,650 billion euros.

Responsible investment has been the starting point in Amundi’s investment policy. When it was created in 2010, Amundi made social and environmental responsibility one of its four founding pillars. It was one of the founding signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment.

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Environment India News

Mt Everest To Get A New Height

Nepal is going to announce the new height of Mt Everest, the world’s tallest peak, very soon.

A Cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening gave nod to Nepal’s Ministry of Land Management to announce the height of Everest and according to some media reports, as the peak has appeared taller than it was but no official confirmation yet.

Minister for Land Management of Nepal, Padma Kumari Aryal said that with our own resources, we have completed the measurement of the Everest and are going to announce it very soon.

Nepal had started the remeasurement of the world’s tallest peak in 2017 of its own resources as a lot of concerns were emerging about the height of Mt Everest after the 2015 earthquake.

As agreed with Chinese side, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last year, Nepal and China will jointly announce the height of the Everest in Kathmandu and Beijing simultaneously, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Land Management.

Although Nepal had planned and announced the remeasurement of the Everest height, believed to be altered by the 2015 earthquake, on its own, the two countries made an agreement in October last year to announce the height jointly. Following that, China measured the height of Everest from the northern side in May this year from Tibetan face.

Nepal and China have been at odds over the height of Everest after China unilaterally declared the height of Everest as 8,844.04 meter in 2015 against globally accepted 8,848 meter. Over the differences about the height of Everest, Nepal and China also could not sign the boundary protocol since then. The present height of Everest was declared after the Survey of India in 1954 and has been considered the same since then. After Nepal declared to remeasurement of the height of Everest, India had also put interest but Nepal rejected the offer saying that it will measure of its own resources.

As China came up with the rock height of Everest in 2015 against the globally accepted snow height, now according to Padma Kumari Aryal, Minister for Land Management, now Beijing has agreed to consider the snow height of Everest

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COVID-19 Environment Health UK News World News

Fresh indoor air reduces COVID19 risk by 70%: Report

  • Research shows that being in a room with fresh air can reduce risk of infection from particles by over 70%
  • The film is part of the Hands. Face. Space. campaign which urges public to adopt simple health behaviours to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading

A new public information campaign launched by the Government to highlight how letting fresh air into indoor spaces can reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus by over 70%.

The campaign, which forms part of wider ‘Hands. Face. Space’ guidance, sees the release of a new short film created with scientists and an engineer at Leeds University.

Dr Amir Khan

The film illustrates how coronavirus lingers in the air in spaces with no fresh air, increasing the risk of people breathing in infected particles, and how the risk can be reduced significantly by regularly ventilating enclosed areas.

As we spend more time indoors, experts are recommending that the public open windows for short, sharp bursts of 10 -15 minutes regularly throughout the day, or leave windows open a small amount continuously, to remove any infected particles lingering in the room.

Additionally, it is advised that any household systems that use outdoor air, including kitchen or bathroom extractor fans, are used correctly and regularly as an additional method to remove infected particles. 

Airing indoor spaces is particularly important when:

1.       People have visitors (when permitted) or tradespeople in their home, for example for construction or emergencies;

2.       Someone from a support bubble is meeting with another household indoors;

3.       A care worker is seeing a patient indoors; or

4.       If someone in the household has the virus, as this can help prevent transmission to other household members

Coronavirus.

Professor Catherine Noakes, from Leeds University who advised on the film, said:

“When a room does not have any fresh air, and where people are generating large amounts of aerosol through activities such as singing and loud speech, that is when transmission of coronavirus is most likely. Fresh air must come from outdoors – recirculating air just means the aerosols containing the virus move around the same room rather than being extracted outdoors.

Coronavirus is spread through the air bydroplets andsmaller particles (known asaerosolsthat are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they breathe, speak or cough[2]. They behave in a similar way to smoke but are invisible. The majority of virus transmissions happen indoors. Being indoors, with no fresh air, the particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and build up over time[3]

The longer people spend in the same room as these particles, the more likely they are to become infected.

GP, Dr Amir Khan said:

“As we approach winter, and inevitably spend more time indoors, fresh air is extremely beneficial. For COVID-19, it is important to ventilate indoor spaces if someone in your home has the virus as this can help prevent transmission to other household members.

“You should also let fresh air into your home when you have any visitors and just after they leave in case they are infected. Remember, opening windows alongside washing your hands, covering your face and making space is also essential in reducing your risk of COVID-19.”

Ventilation to provide fresh air in enclosed spaces is just as important as the other actions, so remember this as well as Hands, Face, Space. These are the most effective ways we can all control the spread of the virus. Visit gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.

The public are encouraged to continue to be vigilant of coronavirus symptoms which include a new continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell. If you or someone you know, displays any symptoms please get a free test by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk.

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-Top News Environment World News

UN Calls For Stronger Ties With SCO To Tackle Climate Crisis

GENEVA, April 3, 2018 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan/IANS)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for stronger ties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in tackling climate crisis and geopolitical tensions amid Covid-19 recovery.

The Covid-19 pandemic “has exacerbated vulnerabilities, inequalities and fragilities across the world. The recovery will require global cooperation to protect lives and livelihoods, and to keep economies and businesses afloat. We count on the strong engagement of SCO member states, and we stand ready to share good practices and provide technical expertise to your pandemic recovery plans,” the UN chief said in his video message to the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The climate crisis, like the pandemic, is a global threat that knows no borders.

“Ambitious multilateral action is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underpin the work of the United Nations and should be central to national decision-making too,” said the UN chief.

“The tide is turning. The European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, together with more than 110 other countries, have committed to net zero emissions by 2050, and China before 2060,” Guterres elaborated.

“I call on more governments to join this net zero coalition and to align their Covid-19 recovery plans and 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions with this objective. And I urge all governments to bring concrete policies and plans to the Climate Ambition Summit I will co-host with several member states on December 12,” the Secretary-General added.

“I welcome the support of the SCO, as a leading player in regional diplomacy in Eurasia, for my appeal for a global ceasefire. I look forward to your further advocacy and action to end hostilities around the world before the end of this year,” the UN chief said.

Heads of state of member states at the 2018 summit in QingdaoShandong, China (Wikipedia)

The Secretary-General warned that “when people fight each other, the only winner is the virus. We have seen this most recently in Armenia and Azerbaijan, where the pandemic has taken on new ferocity since the conflict re-ignited.”

Guterres stated that regular exchanges between the United Nations and the SCO “provide us with ways to enhance our cooperation on regional issues.”

He expressed his gratitude to the members of the SCO for their “firm commitment to inclusive multilateralism and the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

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Environment Health

Homoeopathic Remedies For Respiratory Issues

Air Pollution: People walk on the streets of Sarajevo – the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina wearing masks so as to avoid breathing polluted air. (File Photo: Xinhua/Haris Memija/IANS)

With thick smog blankets engulfing the air across most of the country, times can be especially hard for people with asthma or other respiratory issues. While many turn to mainstream medicine, homeopathic advice and treatments help as well…writes Siddhi Jain.

According to Dr Kushal Banerjee, a Delhi-based Consultant Homeopath, there’s substantial evidence linking air pollution and respiratory illnesses including bronchial asthma, other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and a long list of conditions. Exposure to outdoor air pollution can cause lung cancer. Children affected by air pollution may also suffer from abnormal development of their lungs, putting them at a high risk for many respiratory conditions.

“Air pollution, particularly small particulate matter can penetrate deep into lung tissue and trigger repeated inflammatory reactions and a cascade of other changes leading to lung injury. Prolonged exposure to air pollution can permanently affect the lungs ability to expand, efficiently exchange gases and push oxygenated blood to the heart. Structural changes in the tissues can open up abnormal cellular mechanisms which can lead to cancers and other conditions,” he says.

Suggesting that homeopathy can address most respiratory issues arising from air pollution, he adds: “In addition to providing relief in the short term for acute episodes of bronchial asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and various other issues, homeopathy is very well suited at addressing the tendency and preventing these episodes from occurring. Patients are often surprised at how quickly homeopathic medicines are able to control asthmatic episodes and bad bouts of cough. Prolonged homeopathic treatment can bring the frequency and intensity of these illnesses. In many cases, even homeopathic medicines are withdrawn when the patients report no recurrence of episodes of their problem.”

As per Dr Jawahar Shah, Managing Director, Speciality Clinic, homeopathy has 423 different medicines for treatment of Bronchial Asthma which work on very precised indications, improves the immunity and decreases the sensitivity to allergens. Discussing some key practical behavioural changes to incorporate in lifestyle, he suggests regular pranayam, not going for walks on the roads, inhaling steam, and gargling with salt-turmeric-water. He advises that if symptoms do not seem to ease within 6-8 hours, one should contact their family physician.

Dr Banerjee adds:

The last eight months or so have inculcated in us, the habit of wearing masks. Many of these masks, particular those categorised as N95 are known to protect the wearer from inhaling most particulate matter which make up the pollutants in the air. Avoiding the outdoors during days of extremely low air quality and avoiding vigorous exertion (particularly outdoors) during increased air pollution is helpful.

Lead a healthy and disciplined life. This includes consuming a well-balanced nutritious diet consisting of ample portions of green vegetables and fruits. Fixing mealtimes and going to bed early is also important. These activities keep your body relaxed and running smoothly.

New Delhi: Smog engulfs the national capital as the air quality worsens. (Photo: IANS)

As a result, the immune system is not stressed and primed to effectively protect you against irritants to the body.

Most importantly, try to reduce your own contribution to air pollution. Walk where you can, do not allow or condone burning of trash or leaves near you, celebrate festivals responsibly, plant trees and avoid cutting them. There so many more common sense options which can go a long way in curbing air pollution.

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Environment USA World News

Pressing need to address climate change: Dalai Lama to Joe Biden

Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday congratulated Joe Biden on his election as the next President of the US, saying climate change is indeed pressing.

“As you may be aware,” he wrote in a letter to to the President-elect, adding: “I have long been an admirer of the US as the anchor of liberty, democracy, religious freedom and the rule of law.”

“Humanity places great hope in the democratic vision and leadership of the US as leader of the free world. Particularly in these challenging times, I hope you will be able to contribute to shaping a more peaceful world in which people suffering poverty and injustice find relief.

“The need to address these issues, as well as climate change, is indeed pressing,” the Nobel Peace Laureate added.

“May I also commend you for your choice of a woman, Kamala Harris, to be your Vice President.

“Following my devolution of political authority over matters relating to the cause of Tibet to the elected Tibetan leadership in exile, I have been committed to promoting human values, religious harmony and the principles of non-violence and compassion, which I believe are very much needed in today’s world.

“I would like to thank you for your support for the Tibetan people, during your time in Congress and the previous administration, as well as for your statement in September this year. It has been the Tibetan people’s good fortune to have received the friendship and encouragement of the American people and their respective Presidents in our endeavor to protect and preserve our ancient Buddhist culture — a culture of peace, non-violence and compassion — that has great potential to benefit humanity as a whole.

“On their behalf, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude once again,” the elderly Buddhist monk said.

Wishing him every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of the US and in contributing to a more peaceful and harmonious world, His Holiness concluded his letter by offering his prayers and good wishes.

Also Read: Climate Change to trigger major health conditions: Study

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Environment India News Lite Blogs World News

Study: Lockdown Improved Air Quality

Air Pollution: People walk on the streets of Sarajevo – the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina wearing masks so as to avoid breathing polluted air. (File Photo: Xinhua/Haris Memija/IANS)

Researchers have found that lockdowns initiated to curb the spread of Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic improved air quality, averting tens of thousands of deaths in regions where air pollution has a significant impact on mortality.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, found that particulate matter concentrations in China dropped by an unprecedented 29.7 percent, and by 17.1 percent in parts of Europe, during lockdowns.

“This unique, real-world experiment shows us that strong improvements in severely polluted areas are achievable even in the short term, if strong measures are implemented,” said study author Paola Crippa from the University of Notre Dame in the US.

New Delhi (Photo: IANS)

Particulate matter (PM2.5) — tiny airborne particles smaller than 1/10,000 of an inch in diameter — comes from various combustion-related sources including industrial emissions, transportation, wildfires and chemical reactions of pollutants in the atmosphere.

The research team integrated advanced computer simulations with measured particulate matter concentrations from more than 2,500 sites in Europe and China between January 1, 2016, to June 30, 2020.

It included the period (January 2020-June 2020) during which both regions initiated lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From February to March, the study found that an estimated 24,200 premature deaths associated with particulate matter were averted throughout China compared to 3,309 reported Covid-19 fatalities.

“Improvements in air quality were widespread across China because of extended lockdown measures,” the authors wrote.

The study found the situation in Europe to be quite different.

While Covid-19 related deaths were far higher in Europe compared to what was reported in China, an estimated 2,190 deaths were still avoided during the lockdown period when compared to averages between 2016 and 2019.

Coronavirus.

The averted fatalities figures become much larger (up to 287,000 in China and 29,500 in Europe) when considering long-term effects, which will depend on the future pathway of economic recovery.

“In China, we saw that lockdowns implied very significant reductions in PM2.5 concentrations, which means that policies targeting industrial and traffic emissions might be very effective in the future,” Crippa said.

“In Europe those reductions were somewhat smaller but there was still a significant effect, suggesting that other factors might be considered to shape an effective mitigation strategy,” Crippa noted.

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