Published On : Thu, Jun 5th, 2014

It is time to raise your voice, not the sea level: Dr. Desa

The coolest scenario in India requires cutting emission by 70 % by 2050


Nagpur News: World Environment Day was celebrated at CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) on June 5, 2014.


The programme was conducted by Jaya Sabjiwala who started the programme with a prayer in Sanskrit in praise to the oceans.


Director of CSIR-NEERI Dr. Satish R Wate in his address said that we have called a guess who has come from a place where it is 36 degrees to Nagpur where it is 46 degrees. This is also true for every one present in the hall where due to AC the temperature is only 25-26 degrees while it is 46 degrees outside. This will give us a jist of what global warming feels like.

He said that the theme is Raise your voice and not the sea level. Dr Vate said that we often raise our voice at the wrong time, at the wrong place and for the wrong cause. However, now a time has come when we have to raise our voice and for the right cause “Against pollution and global warming”.

He explained how our action brings about a cycle. What we throw comes back to you. He added that sometimes, it may come back to us with an increased intensity. While lauding Dr. Ehrlich Desa, he said that he is one very passionate and committed scientist who has taken it upon himself to create awareness among the 800 million citizens of India.

He explained about the CO2 and said that at the moment, the CO2 is 385 mg/cubic meter. He added that Carbon stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. So it could be that this pollution could be result of the pollution made by man 150 years ago.

He said that

  • Electricity & Heat production utilizes 25 %
  • Buildings utilizes 6.4 %
  • Transport utilizes 14 %
  • Industry utilizes 21 %
  • Other energy utilizations are 9.6 %

Dr Vate claimed that an immediate need for judicious utilization of energy is necessary. He added that he is looking for a day when people don’t grumble about Nagpur for its extreme heat. He said that he wants them to say that Nagpur is a city with lowest Co2 emissions, lowest temperature etc.

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Distinguished Scientist of CSIR Dr. Ehrlich Desa who was the Chief Guest on this occasion, has an exemplary track record of working with National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) at Dona Paula, Goa, where he has been instrumental in implementing and developing many systems in Marine Instrumentation and sophisticated instrumentation for data collection of basic oceanographic parameters.

While delivering his lecture on the World Environment Day in NEERI Auditorium, Dr. Desa said that due to global warming the seas are rising, and we must stop contributing to the rise. The most dramatic losses will be felt by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are in danger of losing territory, in some cases to the point of having to relocate, he added.

He explained how we can help SIDS by emulating them by acting sustainably in all matters, for example switching off the systems when not in use, shut door and windows when cooling or heating, cycle to work, using recycled plastic, using solar lamps and lightings that does not require energy for producing them and does not harm turtles, birds, flora and fauna.

Dr. Desa said that these embattled nations, hotspots of ecological and cultural diversity, raise impassioned voices at annual Climate Change Conferences, during discussions at major international meetings. But globally, policies enacted by nations remain ineffective with a lack of apparent will to take the hard local decisions to enact clean air practices, he added.

Dr. Desa alarmed that by 2100 sea-level could rise by 2 meters, and if that occurs, small island countries like Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu will be submerged and lost.

DSC_0216He explained about how we are facing long draughts and flash floods. He explained how one of biggest Icebergs called D-15, broke away in 2009 (14 years ago). He explained that the Iceberg is 1000 meters tall, 183 meters wide. This Iceberg is melting and increasing water-level by 2000 Gigatons (GT) which is equal to one billion tons.

The ice-berg is still melting. He informed that the 20th century saw sea levels rise 19 cm – the highest in 2000 years, the last 20 years saw further increase to 4.76 cm (including thermal expansion, glacier changes, Greenland ice sheet, Antarctic ice sheet and land water storage).  Dr. Desa cautioned that if we do not take appropriate action today to mitigate green house gases, average temperature of atmosphere will rise by 4.20C. Sustainable development and community participation are vital for combating such grim situation, he added. He said that we need to ensure that our government implements adaptation and mitigation programs that will shield us from future temperature rises in the atmosphere. So serious are some counties about this can be seen by Maldives, where the Prime Minister held a cabinet meeting underwater.


He explained about “The Closing Circle” by Barry Commoner (1971).

  • 1st Law is Everything is connected to everything else.
  • 2nd Law is that Everything must go somewhere.
  • 3rd Law is Nature knows best.
  • 4th Law is that there is no such thing as free lunch. Every gain is won at some loss.

He spoke about India’s National Action Plan for Climate change (NAPCC),

He added that this includes

  • National Solar Mission
  • National Mission for enhanced energy efficiency
  • National Mission for a “Green India”
  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate change.


While speaking about the Adaptation in India, he said that “Indian and East Asian monsoon circulation will weaken, but this is compensated by increased atmospheric moisture content, leading to more precipitation and more extremes. El Nino-Southern Oscillation very likely remains the dominant mode of intra-annual variability, but projections are difficult.

We need to do this by raising awareness, ensuring compliance, and through our actions at the national, institutional and individual scales lead the world as a responsible nation, he added.  He said that the coolest scenario requires cutting emission by 70 % by 2050.

Prakash Kumbhare proposed the vote of thanks.