Author: The ThirdPole

Climate and conflict in South and Southeast Asia

A recently published paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has focussed on the under-researched topic of how climate change impacts may affect violence in South and Southeast Asia. Titled “Climate change and violent conflict: Sparse evidence from South Asia and South East Asia”, the report highlights how little work has been done in looking at climate change and its possible impact on security in the most densely populated regions on the planet.

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From Bread Basket To Basket Case

After degrading rich farmland through reckless use of chemical fertilisers and depleting aquifers by overusing groundwater – an outcome, ironically enough, of India’s successful Green Revolution – agricultural practices in India’s bread-basket are now largely responsible for foul haze hanging over Delhi and swathes of northern India and Pakistan.

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Displacement And Deforestation On Kedarnath Route

Last Friday, before the closing of the gates of the Kedarnath temple, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an elaborate speech about the ‘grand reconstruction’ of Kedarnath town. While inaugurating the project he also said the number of people visiting Kedarnath will increase manifold in coming years. “You can take this in writing, next year no less than ten lakh (one million) people will come to visit the shrine,” he said. However this ‘development’ is not good news for everyone. Downstream at Agastyamuni, Uma Prasad Bhatt, a local resident is worried. His house is marked for demolition to build an all-weather highway to Kedarnath. This proposed highway is part of Char-Dham project inaugurated by the prime minister last year. Bhatt says authorities want to acquire his property for widening of the road but the compensation they are offering is meagre.

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The Uncertain Death Of King Coal

After three years of declining coal production, China has suddenly seen a rise in both its production and consumption. While analysts debate whether this is a mere blip in an overall declining trend of coal use, the rest of Asia is also caught in the midst of a strange debate where the death of coal is being celebrated while, at the same time, official consensus seems to be that coal will continue to be a large part of future plans.

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