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An article on environment management perspective

I remember many years ago receiving a call from a bbc journalist

asking which villages in India should they visit to see the impacts of

climate change. This was the early 1990s. I was puzzled and asked "is

climate change here?" Finally the television crew decided to shoot

urban fires in Delhi and drought in Rajasthan to tell their viewers

about how India was reeling under the impact of changing climate

because of increased greenhouse gas emissions.

I wonder what I'd say if I got a similar call today. Would I point to

recent cloudbursts and cyclonic events, which have more or less

drowned several major metropolitan cities in the country? Would I

point to the obvious variations and extreme weather events - from heat

waves to freak snow episodes - to say that our climate has changed?

Clearly the answer isn't simple. It is true every Indian city that has

drowned under the weight of its rain has suffered because of the

progressive mismanagement at the hands of its city managers. It is

true also that the intensity of floods and drought has increased

because we have made the poor even more vulnerable to weather events -

either by destroying the wetlands that absorbed the water or by simply

ruining the land economies of people, which would sustain them in

times of stress.

It is also true that our weather is changing. In other words, we have

a double-whammy - already stressed regions and people who will be

further hit. It is imperative that we reduce our vulnerabilities by

doing 'good' development - investing in the natural resource base of

people to mitigate against drought and floods. Simultaneous it is also

imperative that we reduce global emissions so that the threat of

climate change is contained.

It is for this reason that the world governments party to the

convention on climate change came up with the Clean Development

Mechanism (cdm). The idea was simple: the industrialised north had to

reduce its emissions, partly because its emissions were already

leading to the threats of climate change and partly because to provide

economic and ecological space for the South to increase its emissions.

Two facts were clear: one the North could really not reduce its

emissions substantially as it could not de-link from the fossil fuel

economy that drives growth. Two, the South did not have to make the

mistakes of the emission-flatulent parts of the world. It could

re-engineer its growth trajectory so that it would be more efficient

or less dependent on fossil fuels. It was this reasoning that lead to

cdm - so that the North could pay for the cleaner development in the

South and get credits in its own carbon balance sheet. It was to be a

win-win situation.

This was not to be. In our study of the working of cdm (see 'Newest,

Biggest Deal', Down To Earth, November 15, 2005) we find that it has

become a market mechanism simply - an agreement between private

parties looking to make a fast buck. It is, as we show, not just the

complicated development mechanism but also the corrupt development

mechanism, which is leading to poor quality projects.

It is important to consider why this is so. It will be easy for

commentators in the developed world to blame these transgressions -

corruption or poor project design - on the governments and industries

of the South. But the answer is not so simple.

The fact is that governments (rich) have worked overtime on the design

of cdm so that it is what it is today. For instance, the rules and

procedures that have been developed for cdm are extremely convoluted

and cumbersome and are leading to ineffective projects at the country

level. Take the criterion for "additionality" - what can be done

without a cdm project - which is in turn leading to really creative

carbon accounting and poor quality projects. In fact the current rules

create perverse incentives for governments to do little to combat

climate change.

These over-developed criteria are purportedly the response of the rich

governments and their ngos to protect against "business-as-usual"

dirty projects, which they believe Southern government would want to

push through in the garb of cdm. They don't trust the poor country

governments. The result is bad rules made for bad projects.

The second problem concerns high transaction cost (and procedures) -

because of the compulsory involvement of private auditors and their

procedures, which in turn negates the involvement of community and

small projects in cdm. This was done by rich governments and their

ngos to protect against the lack of credible procedures in the South.

But look at the end result. The procedure stipulates that the project

proponent hires the consultant to do the project design and then hires

the authorised validator to certify the project, based on the

consultant's report. In other words, the entire process is regulated

by mutual self-interest. It is no wonder that Down To Earth indicted

two internationally acclaimed auditors - namely,

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young - for fraudulent project

design documents.

I could go on. But the moot point is that the design of cdm is flawed.

It keeps prices low; it forces the South to discount its advantage in

reducing emissions. It does little for combating climate change. If

the threat of climate change is real, then the answers to it must also

get real. cdm is a half-way house because it does not build a global

climate regime based on entitlements for all. But it can deliver the

building blocks of a cleaner tomorrow. For this we must do things

differently. Much more differently.

- Sunita Narain



From India, Delhi
Sr Project Manager
Business Consultancy

Dr. Jogeshwar mahanta

Hi umalme ji
I think the topic may be away from HRM.
2. I think social climate change is more catastrophic than what is described.
1.Unreliable systems,
2.Khosboos and Sania Mirzas who want to make aberrations as norms.
3. spread of suicide, heart attacks and what not as a result of unbearable stress.

From India, Delhi

Hi Umalme,

Interesting article.

1. I do not agree with Dr Ji that this is far removed from HR.

Please refer an old post <link no longer exists - removed>

Any corporate is also equally responsible for protecting, maintaing the environment. And consequently it becomes an HR subject also.

2. Read this in today's Hindu newspaper::


Miscreants blast lake bund

K. Manikandan

Encroachers destroy outlet point of Kilaambakkam with explosives to drain water

TAMBARAM: Miscreants on Monday night blasted the bund and a portion of the "kalangal" (outlet point) of the Kilaambakkam Lake near Vandalur to prevent the flooding of several huts and pucca houses that had encroached on the water body.

As a result, almost all the water stored in the lake, spread over 80 acres, drained out and inundated the residential areas in Urapakkam and Kilaambakkam. Farms were also flooded and newly sown paddy damaged.


When we have "public" like this, what more do we need to destroy environment. Why blame politicians and Government. We - the PEOPLE - ourselves are responsible for the mess we are in toady. Read more about this news on

3. I beg to differ on Dr Ji's comments on "Khosboos and Sania Mirzas who want to make aberrations as norms". Everybody has a right to have their own views and perception. Moreover they only pointed our attention to a problem. They never justified it. The so called 'moral people' are trying to make political benefit out of it. Another sad side of "we the people".

4. Social climate change is indeed a big issue. Who is responsible for it - we the people once again. But environmental are no way less serious than social issues.

And Drji, what do say about this :


500 condom vending machines in city soon

Chennai Corporation initiative for easier distribution

CHENNAI : In a bid to ensure easier distribution of condoms, Chennai Corporation's AIDS Control and Prevention Society (CAPACS) will install 500 automatic condom vending machines in the city.


Please do read the full news at

And what do you say about this?

DOWN THE DRAIN: Drinking water gushes out of a trench from a broken Metrowater main on St Mary's Road, Mandaveli. Photo: S R Raghunathan

This in a city where drinking availability has always been a big question mark. Because of rains, it is better last couple of weeks. But do we need to waste it?



From India, Madras

Attached Images (Download Requires Membership)
File Type: jpg drinking_water_down_the_drain_142.jpg (24.9 KB, 133 views)


thanks for the comments,
Dr Jogji this article is as near to HRM as voltage ampereage in brain hemisphere. but a critique article upon recent development in environment changes supporting corporate.
rest of the findings are great i hope from these youngsters there are things to learn to ancestors like you and us.

From India, Delhi

Dr Ji,

Here is one more on so called "social climate". What do we do such happenings? I am moving away from the subject here which is environment.



First Rank in State in Secondary School Examination

First Rank in University in Plus Two

First Rank in IIT Entrance Examination

First Rank in All India IIT Computer Science

First Rank in IAS Entrance Examination

First Rank in IAS Training Institute

On passing out from IIT Chennai Mr. Narayanaswamy was offered scholarship by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He who came from a middle class family believed that he had a moral obligation to give something in return for the lakhs of rupees the government spent on him as an IIT student. He had the intelligence and conviction to realize that this money came also from the poorest of the poor - who pay up the excise duty on textiles when they buy cloth, who pay up customs, excise and sales tax on diesel when they travel in a bus, and in numerous other ways indirectly pay the government. So he decided to join IAS hoping he could do something for the people of this country. How many young men have the will power to resist such an offer from USA? Narayanaswamy did never look at IAS as a black money spinner as his later life bears testimony to this fact.

After a decade of meritorious service in IAS, today, Narayanaswamy is being forced out of the IAS profession. Do you know why?

A real estate agent wanted to fill up a paddy field which is banned under law. An application came up before Narayanaswamy who was sub collector the, for an exemption from this rule for this plot of land. Upon visiting the site he found that the complaint from 60 poor families that they will face water logging due to the waste water from a nearby Government Medical College if this paddy field was filled up was correct. Narayanswamy came under intense political pressure but he did what was right - refused permission for filling up the paddy field. That was his first confrontation with politicians.

Soon after his marriage his father-in-law closed down a public road to build compound wall for his plot of land. People approached Narayanaswamy with complaint. When talking with his own father-in-law did not help, he removed the obstructing wall with police help. The result, his marriage broke up.

As district Collector he raided the house of a liquor baron who had defaulted Rupees 11 crores payment to government and carried out revenue recovery. A Minister directly telephoned him and ordered to return the forfeited articles to the house of the liquor baron. Narayanswamy politely replied that it is difficult. The minister replied that Narayanaswamy will suffer.

In his district it was a practice to collect crores of rupees for earthen bunds meant for poor farmers,but which were never constructed. A bill for rupees 8 crores came up before Narayanaswamy. He inspected the bund. He found it very weak and said that he will pass the bill after the rainy season to ensure that the bund served the purpose. As expected the earthen bund was too weak to stand the rain and it disappeared in the rain. But he created a lot of enemies for saving 8 crores public money.

The net result of all such unholy activities was that he was asked to go on leave by the government. Later such an illustrious officer was posted as "State Co-Ordinator, Quality Improvement Programme for Schools". This is what the politician will do to a honest officer with backbone - post him in the most powerless position to teach him a lesson. Since he found that nothing can be achieved for the people if he continued with the State Service he opted for central service. But that too was denied on some technical ground. What will you do when you have a brilliant computer career anywhere in the world you choose with the backing of several advanced technical papers too published in international journals to your credit? When you are powerless to do anything for the people, why should you waste your life as the Co-Ordinator for a Schools Programme?

Mr. Narayanaswamy is on the verge of leaving IAS to go to Paris to take up a well paid United Nations assignment. The politicians can laugh thinking another obstacle has been removed. But it is the helpless people of this country who will lose - not Narayanaswamy. But you have the power to support capable and honest bureaucrats like Narayaswamy, who has suffered a lot under self seeking politicians who rule us. You have even the power to replace such politicians with these kind of people dedicated to the country.

The question is will you do the little you can do NOW? At least a vote or word in support of such personalities?




From India, Madras
Dr. Jogeshwar mahanta

Namaskar Bala ji.

This time you appear to be quite emotional, particularly on the point of Khoosboo and Sania Mirza.

you think that the opening article is within the range of HRM, I have nothing to dispute. After all every discipline goes on expanding its scope and objective. Fine.

other points you mention are rooted in human conscience and social climate.

3. Condoms are necessary items as good as any other necessaries. So if these are made easily available then in my opinion there is nothing wrong in it. How you use a product that matters.

However, there is a commercial constraint behind it. An international survey of a condom company about 2 years back found that average frequency of sexual encounter by sexually active indians was 96 per year, one less than global average. Then another survey within the country showed that condom sale is going down in India. To confirm this this year's international survey shows that the average sexual frequency per year has gone down to 75 in India whereas the global average is 103 per year. If the condom vending is backed by these considerations then I have reservations please.

4. On the issue of Article 19 of the Constitution of India every one has right to freedom of expression but under the same fundamental right others have right to contradict it. At the same time one is judged by his/her views. Now how do you judge Khoosboo's and Sania Mirza's views-prosocial or antisocial?

Who gets what political milage from it? Only the communists, if at all. In 1847 the manifesto of the communist party was prepared by Marx and Engels. Here community of women and abolition of family is one item in the manifesto. Women's emancipation emanates from there and in the name of equality and harrassment there is a grand conspircy against family instituation. We are very near to that. Do you support community of women and abolition of family institution?


From India, Delhi

Dr Ji,
I agree with your point that "If the condom vending is backed by these considerations then I have reservations please". It cannot and should not be a consideration for putting the vending machines. And I do not think this is.
Now on Khushbu and Sania, I reiterate my statement that they were only trying to draw our attention to a social malaise. They were not trying to justify it. As far as political mileage goes, it is the local TN parties which are trying to take advantage of the situation.

From India, Madras
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