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Insights Daily Current Events, March 10 – 11, 2014

March 10 – 11, 2014



Satellite towns and twin cities near existing metropolises-

A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to smaller metropolitan areas which are located somewhat near to, but are mostly independent of larger metropolitan areas.

Conceptually, satellite cities are miniature metro areas on the fringe of larger ones. Satellite cities are sometimes listed as part of the larger metro area, and sometimes listed as totally independent.

Faridabad and Ghaziabad, once sleepy villages, became important ‘satellites’ to Delhi as they rapidly expanded as industrial centres.

As satellite cities proliferate and become unmanageable, there is a raging debate on whether planned ‘satellites’ should be the way forward or should development take the ‘natural’ course of nudging along developing villages and towns on metropolises’ periphery with plans and funds.

Satellite towns are successful if they provide quality services that equal the mother city and have good transport corridors.

There is an imperative to plan for development of new townships/satellite towns around million-plus large cities. The satellite towns/ counter magnets should be spatially separated from the mother city.

The guidelines name 35 key cities for ‘satellite development’ and propose initial funding from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for creating 300,000-500,000 towns as satellites for million-plus cities and towns in case of mega cities with population exceeding 4 million.

India is better positioned than other developing economies with much of its urbanisation still to come in the future. Just 30 per cent of Indians are living in towns and cities, compared to China (45 per cent), Indonesia (54 per cent), Mexico (78 per cent), and Brazil (87 per cent).

By 2031, the urban population will be touching 40 per cent or around 600 million. The United Nations projects that urban India will be larger than its rural cousin by 2045



India-US Energy Dialogue-

India and the United States agreed to further work collaboratively on energy sector.

Both the countries agreed to promote scientific cooperation, research & development for greater technological innovation and for deployment of environmentally-friendly technologies and products.

The expected expanding trade and sound regulatory frameworks would emerge to deliver energy solutions for sustainable growth of economies of both the countries for benefit of their people.
Partnership to Advance Clean Energy PACE- Research & Development (PACE-R) has been working on research and development projects on solar energy, Building Energy Efficiency and Second generation bio-fuels. A number of consortia from Industry, R&D and Education Institutions have been formed to take up the projects in these areas.

In 2009, the India and U.S. agreed to significantly increase collaboration on energy security and clean energy through launching the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE).
India and USA have also signed two separate MOUs for partnership in clean energy access (PEACE) and demand for air-conditioning sector. The MOU on Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) was launched in September 2013 for promoting increased energy access and is developing several priority activities.

In a positive development, the US Department of Energy (DoE) has so far given its approval for export of LNG from five liquefaction terminals, set up by various companies in the US, to countries with which the US does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) – with two of these five terminals, the Indian public sector entity, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has off-take agreements, totaling nearly 6 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA). These terminals are expected to be complete and in a position to export cargoes by late 2016/early 2017.

As a priority initiative under the PACE, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Government of India signed an agreement to establish the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC).

The JCERDC is a bilateral initiative designed specifically to promote clean energy innovations initiative by teams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total joint committed funding from both Governments of US $ 50 million. The Center has funded three research projects, in the areas of solar energy, second generation bio-fuels and energy efficiency of buildings.


Science & Technology

Morphing is one way to make aircraft more efficient-

It is estimated that by 2050 there will be a six-fold increase in the number of flights there are today. This is going to be an environmental problem, and it will need radical change in aircraft design to deal with it.

Not only is the air transport industry the fastest growing within the transport sector, it is historically the hardest to make greener.

The transport sector as a whole is increasing CO2 emissions at such a rate that it has cancelled out two decades’ worth of green gains made across the manufacturing, power generation, district heating, residential, services and agriculture sectors combined. This devastating disparity is forecast to grow.

The goal set by the EU to reduce aircraft CO2 emissions by 75% by 2050 is totally unrealistic. Even if Europe were to meet these goals, their aircraft industries will at the very least double its greenhouse emissions by 2050.

The past decade has shown the least improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency when compared to advances over the past century. The “tube and wing” template we use is a fossil.

Allowing the parameters of an aircraft’s geometry to become adjustable during flight would lead to large gains in efficiency throughout the flight envelope – that is, from take-off to landing. This is the idea behind aircraft morphing.

Morphing means tailoring the shape of the aircraft to best fit the objective at hand – be it maximizing fuel efficiency, speed or maneuverability. Examples of morphing devices are found in commercial aircraft today, including retractable undercarriages and wing flaps.

Morphing technologies may not be the sole solution to the problem we are facing, but they will play an important role. All-electric propulsion, energy harvesting systems, prolific use of light-weight composite materials, and formation flying will all go some way to resolving the issue.

Morphing technologies- Morphing is a special effect in motion pictures and animations that changes (or morphs) one image or shape into another through a seamless transition. Most often it is used to depict one person turning into another through technological means or as part of a fantasy or surreal sequence. Traditionally such a depiction would be achieved through cross-fading techniques on film.

Morphing algorithms continue to advance and programs can automatically morph images that correspond closely enough with relatively little instruction from the user. This has led to the use of morphing techniques to create convincing slow-motion effects where none existed in the original film or video footage by morphing between each individual frame using optical flow technology.



IPCC report warns of heat stress, flooding-

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chair warns that floods and storms are increasing in intensity and frequency.

Two types of extreme events are going to occur more frequently — extreme precipitation and heat waves. It is important for societies to deal with climate change if we want to avoid the impacts.

It also warns of extreme heat stress in cities, increased precipitation and widespread flooding.

Due to sea level rise throughout the century and beyond, coastal and low-lying areas will increasingly experience adverse impacts such as coastal erosion and flooding. Without adaptation, hundreds of millions of people will be affected by coastal flooding and will be displaced due to land loss.

There will be serious impacts on food production in every region of the world with climate change. The Mediterranean will have severe problems with water scarcity which will impact on food. Some parts of Africa could have declines of 50 per cent [in crop yields] as soon as 2020.

Even a 1 degree C rise in temperatures could lead to an extra three million malaria cases in children under 15 years of age per year. The disease, which infects more than 200 million people every year is spread by mosquitoes and will start to affect higher elevations as temperatures rise.