Days ahead of the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investment ( CCI), the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), the statutory body for advising on forest clearances, rushed to clear a little over 20 projects, including those in mining and power.

The CCI, set up to hasten big-ticket infrastructure projects, had its first meeting on January 31. According to sources, as many as 30 projects came for hearing before the seven-member FAC on January 21-22. Of the seven members, only three were present.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Monday told states any commercial activity within 10 km of 650 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries would be discontinued if they failed to notify ecologically sensitive areas by next month.

Environment secretary V Rajagopalan, in a letter to state chief secretaries, has sought proposals for declaring eco-sensitive zones latest by February 15, 2013, as a last opportunity to submit their report. “In case the states and union territories fail to submit the proposals, the activities prohibited as per the 2011 guidelines would stand implemented within 10 km of national parks and sanctuaries,” the letter quoted Rajagopalan as saying.

After a prolonged slide, the price of each well below a euro, a 95% fall in 4 years, with no relief in sight

With the price of carbon credits continuing to slide in the global markets and the first commitment period for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM, under which carbon trading is permitted) coming to an end this year, companies and investors holding carbon credits are worried at the prospect for investments in this regard.

Industry and government claim 95% towers compliant with norms

No new tower within 1-km radius will encourage passive infrastructure sharing among firms

The latest advisory from the environment ministry, asking the telecom department to limit the number of cellphone towers within a specific area, is likely to benefit the existing tower firms, according to telecom experts. The new advisory, if accepted and implemented by the Department of Telecommunica-tions (DoT), will encourage passive infrastructure sharing among the companies, increasing the tenancy ratio of the existing towers, they said.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has made it clear that it will not relax the environmental norms set for the sector, which include reducing carbon emission, and switching to energy-efficient telecom towers, despite repeated request from telcos.

In a communication to the various telecom associations, DoT said though it was open to dialogue and discussions, “the green technologies in the telecom sector have already been defined… any discussion in this regard with DoT shall not justify any delay or dilution of the implementation timeline.”

Global demand for carbon credits, especially in Europe for economic reasons, has been declining since 2010

With the prices sliding of Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certificates traded on the international exchange, Indian companies holding the credits are bracing for tough times. Brokers trading in CERs have started to downsize their carbon desk and the ones holding these are looking for buyers. “The demand for CERs is low, which saw the prices slide. Aggregators of credits and the intermediaries, have started feeling the heat.

South Korean steel maker says will take steps after consulting ministry

South Korean steel maker Posco is opting for dialogue and negotiation, rather than a legal route, to sort things out, after the National Green Tribunal suspended the environmental clearance for its $12-billion project in Orissa.

Even as the government’s annual Economic Survey outlines the importance of climate change and global warming, the Union Budget 2012-13 made no announcement towards climate financing. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made no specific announcement about how the Rs 3,864-crore National Clean Energy Fund is going to be utilised in 2012-13.

Indian NGOs opposing the proposed nuclear power plant in Kudankulam have got covering fire from Moscow.

A Russia-based environmental group, EcoDefence, on Monday backed the Indian non-profit groups, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remark on foreign funded NGOs thwarting nuclear enterprises was incorrect.