INDIA: Energy use will increase ten-fold and water resources fail in 50 years

A report published by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI)in New Delhi, paints a bleak picture of the environmental cost of India's economic development over next half century.


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The report, known by the acronym DISHA (Directions, Innovations and Strategies for Harnessing Action), estimates that demand for power in India is expected to increase ten-fold over the next 50 years, the country’s air will have to carry 300% more particulate matter than it does now and India’s rivers and lakes will no longer be able to meet the demand for water from the country’s 1.57 billion people.

DISHA forecasts the state of India’s environment by 2047 and sets out to offer solutions in the technological, legal, fiscal and political spheres. DISHA is a sequel to the GREEN (Growth with Resource Enhancement of Environment and Nature) report. TERI launched the GREEN India 2047 initiative on Earth Day in 1995. A massive research project, it estimated the extent of loss in natural resources over the period 1947-1997 and calculated its economic consequences.

GREEN India 2047 showed that in 1947, there was 6000m3 of water for every Indian. Fifty years later, the figure was down to less than 2000 m3. By 2047, DISHA predicts, it will be as low as 760 m3. And there are areas where water for drinking would not be accessible at all.

The report says there are four requirements which are critical to prevent further environmental degradation: enlightened government, responsible business, market-based economic instruments and technological advancement.

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