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Tags: , , , | Category: Community development, Farmers, Social Problem, climate change

Can India compensate Bihar for its lower energy consumption?

Can India compensate Bihar for its lower energy consumption?

India is arguing in climate change dialogue that wealthy nation should compensate poor for its lower energy consumption. Thanks to Bihar and other poor states that India can claim to have lower energy consumption rate and putting strong argument against cliamte change deal…

Bihar’s per capita energy consumption is the lowest in the country and the government’s rural electrification campaign is a “failure”, according to a report by the Greenpeace India Society.

“Bihar’s annual per capita energy consumption, at 75 kWh (kilowatt per hour), is the lowest in India and far below the national average of 613 kWh,” the report, titled “Energy Injustice”, said.

Can you imagine this energy inequality?

For example, two 100-Watt bulbs on for 2 hours per day in summer and 6 hours per day in winter will use about 290kWh per year. So 75 kWh consumption means they have to use one 100-watt bulb 1 hr in summer and 3 hrs per day in winter. However this is average of whole state where capital Patna is getting more electricity and better-off people are using more. Average household electricity use in the UK is about 4,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year without considering other energy consumption.

How it work in Bihar?

According to Greenpeace India, only 30 percent of rural households in the state have been electrified.

The Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY) is a a centrally-sponsored programme launched in 2005 to provide electricity in rural areas.
As per RGGVY norms, a village will be considered electrified if 10 percent households and some important structures like the panchayat building got electricity.
While 70-75 percent villages in Bihar are considered electrified, only 30 percent households in these villages have received electricity, according to Greenpeace India report.

Interesting to see high moral ground of India in climate change deal and asking the developed country to pay poor country for low energy use. Can India compensate Bihar for its lower energy consumption?

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2 comments to Can India compensate Bihar for its lower energy consumption?

  • Dennis

    Dear Vikas,

    Energy being my first love, this is very interesting and has distracted me from my normal functions; joking, but drives a level of seriousness considering the upcoming Copenhagen meetings. I hope you would observe the below points when you do make it there next month.

    With excitement to discuss this subject amongst fellows in the community of practice, I have cc’ed Dr. Tak, Global University System, Dr. Wu, Millenium Institute, and our own of the Bihar Project, Green Architech Sanjay Mukerjee. Dr. Tak/Dr. Wu, Dr. Vikas Kumar is an environmental system modeller at the Univ of Sheffield, UK, and a co-founder of the Bihar Project.

    This is to hopefully try and steam up and stimulate a dialogue to strengthen your collection of our opinions during the Copenhaggen visit. Also, Ambassador Blake, who have steer tremendous works on Climate Change at the United Nations level, and a core team member of the Bihar Project, is copied.

    Bihar regions population, and Eastern UP, (focus of our Bihar Project) is in the hundred millions, (relative to US population, maybe two). Its low per capita energy use on global scale is not to be perceived as backwardness or derogotory in any means. In fact, these could be looked in opposite as one of the lowest energy use/carbon avoiding areas per capita, in the world. Carbon credit for this measure, is only just, and should be established, measured, and accounted for.

    You may have stumbled on a very factual issue here to support Indian Govt. policy proposal during international policy makings.

    I have written on this similar subject as relating to New York City during our Total Life Cycle valuation debates…..this was over main stream magazines promoting NYC as an energy per capita leader, when in fact their absolute energy/carbon impact was doing more harm than good. Will dig it up and send to you.

    The plain truth answer to your question of whether Bihar should claim carbon offset credits is YES, but, we have to look at absolute carbon output in drafting policy for solutions, as India’s drastic population explosion (over last six decades) affected and affects world energy dynamics, its problem statement, ecology, and policy proposals and solutions.

    Take for example: I look daily in Calcutta at the amount of fossil fuel free tranportation (rikshaws for people and construction cargo/materials and dry goods transport, bicycles, etc). I think about the cummulative offset these are having on global scale (with no global carbon trading acknowledgement) and, potentially having carbon impact on an Indian nationwide basis; these practices in the US and Europe, would typically rely on heavy energy inputs. Amory Lovins once made this analogy; he said, in US, it take conceivably, a 4500 pound car, to transport a 150 pound person, on avg 1.5 miles, to pick up a 1 pound bread. So, US has 1/3 of India population, thereabout, but, uses 25 percent worlds energy, where India uses say 4 percent. This has to be evaulated. Again, the answer points to your quesion is a BIG YES.

    In terms of using absolute carbon accountability and reduction, this is the best approach. We have to model the whole picture based on population dynamics to see where we stand in term of true output and reduction potential. Per Capital is flawed. Per capita is a distorted metric. Take again for example, avg of 70 + 70 = 70; avg of 140 + 0 = 70. per capita is really really flawed, and should NOT be used for any type of policy making that relates to international, national and local scale policies.

    This is why I want us to contribute to the Indian Global Early Warning System project with Dr. Tak and Dr. Hans. Our environmental modeling understanding (whatever it may be worth) could help to shed better light and understanding on the whole system dynamics and situation, effecting policy that is appropriate for the level of risks at stake.

    I recall New York City boasting, they have the best energy efficiency in the nation based on per capita (a very shallow and norrow minded dynamics), but during my field data collection and research while working on TLCv (and 20 years living there), I walked into most skycraper and buildings, and observe energy flushing through their windows because the building is overheating (during winter), and vice versa, building are over air-conditioned in the summer (where people put on sweaters). And, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Another strange and related finding from investigation and interview overseas in a big city, is that the average resident in Johannesburg, South Africa, takes two daily baths using 35 gallons each to fill a tub, with inputs of hot waters. These are in high rises apartment buildings where energy is also expended to build pressure head for water distribution flow. (In Ballia, India, one showers once daily (or maybe twice if to do Pujas) using one 3 gallon bucket each). In NY, a shower involves mixes of hot water, even during summer, with the water flow for the most, during the entire duration. The avg flow is 2.5 gallons per minute constant flow, times, maybe, 10 – 15 minutes. You can do the math.

    Again, I support this idea and would encourage policy makers to consider. However, care must be taken to ensure derivities of carbon revenue is invested in energy efficiency for India, and not channeled elsewhere.


  • I was surfing around to find more personal opinions on this issue this evening when I found your really helpful article…thanks a ton for sharing. I will definitely be checking up on your blog and coming back for more.BTW how long have you been keeping a blog? :)

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