Wednesday February 26, 2020
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Madras HC sanctions stay on govt appeal against Greenpeace

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New Delhi: Madras High Court put a stay on a government order revoking Greenpeace India’s registration, remarking that the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) had not followed the doctrines of natural environmental justice.

It is the sixth time in the past one year and a half that Greenpeace and its campaigners have prospered against numerous efforts to limit its tasks and finances. The government has also tried to shut it down.

The High Court has constantly been in the favour of the Indian Non-Profit Organisation (NGO). The organisation has also been expecting the court to be in favour as it claims the government’s argument to baseless and biased.

“We were confident the court would agree that Greenpeace is on sound legal footing and has done nothing wrong, notwithstanding the government’s ridiculous allegations of fraud in this instance. Our accounts are an open book and our website is there for all to inspect”, said Priya Pillai a Greenpeace volunteer in an interview with a news agency.

Notwithstanding the trials encountered by the organisation, it continues to work towards their agenda of recycling to achieve clean air, eco-friendly energy and clean water. The NGO also initiated a free application on android systems that warns people to take safeguard from hazardous levels of air pollution across the country. This is a mobile application very useful for Indian citizens with the growing rate of pollution, especially after the recent Diwali celebrations.

With triumphs like these, the organisation is gathering additional support among citizens affected or concerned about environmental distress.

The rising level of pollution from traffic emission, industrial wastes has made India the highest affected country by air pollution. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that 13 of the top 20 worldwide cities with the poorest fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in air pollution are in India, and Delhi tops the list.

With India becoming more prone to environmental hazards, an organisation of this sort is of prime importance, and with the recent judgement Greenpeace can work towards achieving its aim.

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France Takes Steps to Shift to More Renewables For Energy

France Takes First Steps to Reduce Nuclear Energy Dependence

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France Nuclear Plant
In this picture the nuclear plant in Fessenheim, eastern France. VOA

By Lisa Bryant

France, the world’s most nuclear energy-dependent nation, is taking its first steps to shift to more renewables to power up. This is the latest news.

On Saturday, the country begins a gradual shutdown of its aging Fessenheim plant. The move fits into the government’s broader energy strategy to reduce French dependence on nuclear energy from supplying three-quarters of its electricity to about half by 2035.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says the plant’s first reactor will be closed Saturday, and the second in June.

Another dozen reactors must close by 2035 to meet the phase-down target. The plan also sees France closing its remaining coal plants, and moving to renewables like solar and wind to close the energy gap and help fight climate change. For Charlotte Mijeon, spokesperson for anti-nuclear group Sortir du nucléaire, the Fessenheim shutdown is welcome news — but not enough.

France Nuclear Plant
A sticker is photographed on a helmet of an employee of Fessenheim’s nuclear power plant opposing the closure, during a protest outside the EDF headquarters in Paris, France. VOA

“It’s great that it’s eventually closed; however, we fear that Fessenheim is something like the tree hiding the forest,” she said. “The government is closing one nuclear power plant, but it should not make us forget that the rest of the nuclear fleet is aging.”

France has 58 nuclear power plants, thanks to an energy strategy dating back to the 1970s oil crisis. Supporters say nuclear energy is a clean way to fight climate change while also meeting national energy needs.

But critics say the plants have received billions in subsidies and nuclear lobbies are powerful, making it harder for renewables to compete. And they say the remaining plants pose mounting safety concerns as they age.

“Regarding the climate emergency, we have no time left,” Mijeon said. “So we have to invest in green climate solutions, not in nuclear power, which is not only dirty, but also very expensive and slow.”

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While the reactor shutdown is a first for France, other countries, including Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, have also shut plants for a mix of budgetary, safety and environmental reasons. Neighboring Germany aims to phase out of nuclear power completely by 2022. It has been pushing for years for the shutdown of Fessenheim, which is located near its border. (VOA)