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 Conference Proceedings
 
Abstracts of papers : April 20: Urban Challenges in the Context of Climate Change, at IIT Delhi
India Thursday, April 19, 2012


Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and Liberty Institute, is organising a workshop on urban challenges in the context of the climate change debate.

Session 1: Water Management and Human Health Issues

 

Extreme weather events and water borne diseases: Uncertainties?
By: Dr Arun Kumar

Reported effects of climate changes on environment (consists of environmental effects, ecological and human health effects) have resulted in intensive research on understanding and forecasting future implications across the world. Preliminary results showed the association of precipitation and temperature with microbial agents and direct and indirect effects of weather factors enteric viruses, Vibrio species, and enteric protozoa have been reported. For example increase in storm intensity has been associated with increased transport of fecal and wastewater sources which in turn increase the transport of microbial agents to farther distance from point of discharge. Temperature and ultraviolet irradiation have been directly linked with microbial survival. These interdependencies clearly indicate the influence of weather parameters on microbial fate and distribution in water bodies. On the other hand, very few studies have explicitly discussed or quantify human health risks. In general Indian studies have focused primarily on effects of climate variations on physical environment; however, very few studies have been conducted to understand effects of climate variations on human health, indicating the need for taking immediate action and focus research efforts on this important linking for Indian scenario.


 

Session 2: Urban Heat Island Effects and Urban Air Pollution

 

Air Pollution missions and health impacts in megacity Delhi
By: Dr B R Gurjar

Abstract not Available


Urban climate and air pollution
By: Prof. Manju Mohan

Almost all the growth in population in the next 50 years is expected to occur in cities, particularly in cities in developing countries. Urban climates, their relationship with global warming and associated impacts have thus become important areas of study for scientific community in general. Different studies conducted in recent years have proved that global climate change can no longer be considered in isolation with local urban climate dynamics. This presentation/discussion is aimed at understanding urban climate and its relationship with air quality and human health.
Urban climate is defined as any set of climatic conditions that prevails in a large metropolitan area and that differs from the climate of its rural surroundings. These differences are largely attributable to land cover modifications, air pollution and anthropogenic heat released by various sources.  A city surface constitutes of different surface materials each of which has a different albedo and heat capacity properties. Materials such as concrete and asphalt have high heat capacity and low albedo which leads to an increase of heat flux in the city. Emissions of green house gases, which are the causative agents of global warming, also impact the local urban climate as cities are significant source of such gases. On the other hand, the vehicular exhaust and consumption of various solid and liquid fuels in the city also contribute to particulate matter emissions which block the radiation and cause net cooling effect. Heat emissions from anthropogenic sources are the crucial aspect these days which warrants immediate concern from society in general. The excessive use of air conditioning and heat emissions from vehicles and power plants etc contribute significantly to rising temperatures. Increasing population also further aggravates the heat pollution problem.
The peculiarity of urban climate is best represented in Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon. UHI effect is the tendency for a city to remain warmer than its rural surroundings and it has been intensifying throughout this century. As compared with rural areas, urban districts have high absorption (of the heat of the sun and atmosphere), low reflection, altered evaporative heat loss and fast transmission of heat. The effects of air quality and anthropogenic heat also add to this phenomenon. There is a cyclic relationship between global warming and urban heat islands. Greenhouse effect aggravates rising urban temperature while heat islands may contribute to the greenhouse effect. The UHI effect leads to greater electricity consumption, more thermal discomfort among people and catalyses the production of ozone and photochemical smog in the city. Some case studies have been presented in this regard in this discussion.
In India, excessive urbanisation in last two decades has dominated the temperature trends and led to a net increase in ambient temperatures. This has led to changes in flood and drought events, rise in vulnerability to vector borne diseases, thermal stress among livestock among many consequences.
Mitigation of urban heat islands calls for steps such as greening the urban cover, reducing both pollutant and heat emissions, and installing reflective materials for roofs and pavements. Energy conservation is the key factor in mitigation of adverse impact of urban climate.
Earlier global climate models were used without considering urban effects due to lack of sophisticated modeling capabilities as well as computational facilities. However, with advancements in technology, now urban scale and regional scale models can be coupled to simulate both local and regional effects. The urban community needs further detailed investigations and models ranging from micro to meso-scale while also linking relevant atmospheric and anthropogenic (both heat and pollution) components. The direct contributions of urban warming to global climates are small. However, the greenhouse gas emissions from the construction and operation of cities are large and increasing; and with development of more cities, the significance of UHI effect is bound to increase. The ultimate challenge is to understand and estimate though modeling efforts the cross linked influences of global warming, urban climate and air quality and associated impacts on human health.

 

Disability adjusted life years and indoor air pollution-quantifying the burden of disease
By: Dr. Priyanka Kulshreshtha

Global Burden of Disease analysis provides a comprehensive and comparable assessment of mortality and loss of health due to diseases, injuries and risk factors for all regions of the world. The overall burden of disease is assessed using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY), a time-based measure that combines years of life lost due to premature mortality and years of life lost due to time lived in states of less than full health. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that IAP is responsible for 2.7% of the loss of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide and 3.7% in high-mortality developing countries. More recently, Zhang and Smith (2007) undertook a very through meta-analysis of 200 publications regarding IAP in China. They showed that most of the studies find a strong correlation between IAP and negative health outcomes: lung function reductions, immune system impairment, lung cancer, etc. One DALY can be thought of as one lost year of "healthy" life. The sum of these DALYs across the population, or the burden of disease, can be thought of as a measurement of the gap between current health status and an ideal health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age, free of disease and disability.  DALYs for a disease or health condition are calculated by WHO as the sum of the Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature mortality in the population and the Years Lost due to Disability (YLD) for incident cases of the health condition:
DALY=YLL+YLD
The YLL basically correspond to the number of deaths multiplied by the standard life expectancy at the age at which death occurs. The basic formula for YLL (without yet including other social preferences discussed below), is the following for a given cause, age and sex:
YLL=N*L
where:
• N = number of deaths
• L = standard life expectancy at age of death in years
Because YLL measure the incident stream of lost years of life due to deaths, an incidence perspective is also taken for the calculation of YLD. To estimate YLD for a particular cause in a particular time period, the number of incident cases in that period is multiplied by the average duration of the disease and a weight factor that reflects the severity of the disease on a scale from 0 (perfect health) to 1 (dead). The basic formula for YLD is the following (again, without applying social preferences):
YLD= I*DW*L
where:
• I = number of incident cases
• DW = disability weight
• L = average duration of the case until remission or death (years)

 

Urban air quality: Unresolved issues and future direction
By: Dr. Sagnik Dey

Extended abstract of the talk: This talk will summarize the state-of-the-art knowledge about air quality in urban areas in India and focus on the unresolved issues about quantifying the health impacts of air quality. A new remote sensing based methodology will be presented to demonstrate its capability of examining air quality (due to particulate matter) over large time and space. Further, the influence of aerosol composition on visibility (a major air quality problem in urban areas, particularly in North India) will be assessed using an integrated approach with emphasis on megacity Delhi.



Session 3: Green Construction/ Habitat

Climate Challenges - An Architectural View
By: Prof. K Jaisim

CHALLENGE S OF CLIMATE and THE CHANGE that it influences on the LIFE of Humans and their activity on this Earth and Universe that we habit,  From  Urban Hot spots to oceans. Macro to Micro the weather that rapidly undergoes metamorphic modifications with and without our interference brings Day to day problems to long term energy issues. Suddenly over the past few decades few sections of the people have woken up to the heavens and are finding hell in their pursuits.  One can call them the Saviors or realistically as Alarmists.
I am approaching this topic as an amateur professional architect who every day of the past FIVE DECADES has dealt with the built environment in one way or another. And these built spaces which are th4e habits of us humans respond to nature with their strong effective contrasts. But here is where the architect plays a significant role. The design can emulate with empathy what nature has taught us or with a sense of subtle defiance provoke nature with our ingenuity to interfere and image a whole new built form. This is a challenge.
Well, yes and no, when I design it is a very subconscious affair with nature (which today is termed green and sustainable). I believe Nature is not only a teacher but is also a prophet and to top it all dares one to challenge and surpass.
After all Man (Woman) is the apex of Nature. Space and Time are integral. It is not a duty but is a challenge that evokes one to demand more and obtain by optimizing what Nature in its Myriad format and forms appears in both abstract and real.
Man is a very spiritual being and one must address this aspect at every nook and corner of the design process. Technology is a product of Man‘s unlimited vision to exploit by invention and innovation. To adapt it in the built environment is a continuous challenge. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. What IS IS. One can only play with its many manifestations and Myriad forms that go on forever and ever. It is a finite infinite.
Technology affords illusions of fantasy to many an Architect's imagination. These are evident today as technological circuses and marvels rather than architectural expressions.  Yet in a manner of speaking the MEDIA has made a sickening routine to see in every column of many a journal to everyday news papers about Sustainability and Green built environment. (I dare not call it architecture). Everyone who can read a few alphabets knows all about ecology and the environment. Social sofa conversations and political honchos turn to Global warming, sustainability and Green after a few words of social exchange (Sick). Yes I sometimes want to hide under the sheets and just disappear. Who are WE?
Another perspective throws up in professional dialogues, WHEN TECHNOLOGY CAN SOLVE ALL RELEVANT ISSUES OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT -WHERE IS THE NECESSITY OF DESIGNING TO A GIVEN SITE AND CONTEXT.  That is a thought provoking challenge in today’s context of Globalization.  Udupi Hotels and McDonalds have no barriers or boundaries!  It is possible to sustain this argument by the evidence that new hi-tech IT corporate and neo-rich social personalities wanting imagery of presence find this defiance of local weather, climate and culture to express the alien in them as the new expression of success. Both the do-gooder and the high profile personalities seem to pull the same rope as a tug of war and what can we objectivists do – only stop stare and smile and hope they pull each other down and leave us and the Earth alone to face reality with strength and vigor.
Nature IS what IT IS. It will keep on changing within the Fundamentals. That is what is so fascinating about it. Men must be born, Men must LIVE, Men must DIE. The CYCLE must continue but always evolving towards a more MEANINGFUL and Challenging Future.

 

Institutional Framework and policy changes required for Optimum involvement of Urban Local Bodies in Combating Climate Change
By: Dr Poonam K Ahluwalia

Despite widespread debate, discussions, experimentation and rhetorical endorsement, the actual implementation of climate change planning remains majorly confined to individual projects in different sectors namely power, transport, housing, etc. The initiatives at the city level unfortunately are relatively few and confined to the developed nations of the world.  
Planning at a city level can give cohesion to the sustainable development of a large urban area, as opposed to having a scatter-shot series of local projects. This will ensure that such urban developments have a collective roadmap that will serve as a reference, which will not be compromised by a series of contradictory local or individual initiatives, and implement operational projects in a coherent manner.
A city’s carbon footprint primarily depends on mode of transport, kind of buildings, consumption of various resources (water, food, energy) and waste (solid waste, wastewater, etc), and industries prevalent. For the cities for which data is available, transport and building/ housing sector have been found to be mostly responsible for a high footprint.

Although, transport and building/ housing sector have been found to be mostly responsible for a high footprint in developed nations, the role of urban planning in influencing the same is being increasingly acknowledged. Landuse planning perhaps most significantly influences a city’s ability to respond positively to the threat of climate change and city’s carbon footprint by influencing city’s energy and transport requirements. This mandates an active and focused involvement of the various municipal bodies and a sound mechanism of fruitful collaboration amongst them. An optimum balance between green infrastructure and grey infrastructure has to be achieved to balance functionality with due consideration to conservation of environment and combating climate change.
Also, grey infrastructure is relatively a “build and forget” system (for most of its life span) as compared to green infrastructure which in order to be successful, needs regular, long-term protection and care through long-range planning and management, as well as an ongoing commitment from various municipal agencies.
To achieve this in an integrated manner requires an adaptation of the current urban governance systems and modes. One such adaptation could be creating a common vocabulary of sustainability across departments. This does not necessarily mandate creating/ developing a competence for climate change in all municipal departments. It would however mean that although the competence for climate change policy may be concentrated in a city‘s department of the environment, there is a mechanism to transmit information and address issues of collaboration with other departments.
Perhaps the most common obstacle to the implementing these green initiatives at the planning stage, especially during the current economic crisis, is the lack of funding for environmentally friendly infrastructure. Because sustainable practices and energy offers cost benefits in the long-term rather than the short-term, ecologically sound practices are often bypassed in favour of more carbon-intensive programs.
One possible response to financial constraints could be assembling green financial arrangements and additional financial tools designed to generate capital for environmental projects. These may include a range of fees and charges to reduce waste, congestion, pollution, building financial partnerships, and the use of clean venture capital.
Current urban finance systems can also be made considerably greener, since they are often biased towards developing land, sprawl and car transportation, but fail to encourage reduction of energy and waste, brownfield redevelopment and urban densification.
Innovations are required in planning tools that attempt to mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects. Such tools can encompass: local climate change action plans, ecosystem planning, green development codes and zoning ordinances, subsidizing green architecture, building materials, and roofs, pedestrian and bicycle planning, energy-efficient street lighting, urban landscaping, densification, and the greening of buildings under the purview of municipal authority.
Lastly, ensuring that urban planning to address climate change is not just the sum of multiple local projects requires a strong framework, the ability to negotiate implementation incentives, combined with the legal muscle to prohibit ?local deviations and the power to block decisions.


Sustainability of cementitious materials
By: Dr Shashank Bishnoi

After water, concrete is the most used material in the world and India is the second largest producer of concrete, second only to China. As we move more towards taller office and residential buildings that can house more people in dense cities, concrete roads that need less maintenance and bridges and flyovers that make it easier to travel between these tall buildings, the demand for concrete is set to rise even further. The production of cement in India, which is the key and usually the most expensive ingredient in concrete, has therefore grown at an unprecedented rate. Globally, cement has been recognised as the most polluting material in the world, contributing to about 7% of the global CO2 emissions. Despite the high cost and energy requirements of cement, concrete is still the cheapest and most low-energy material with its per kilogram cost and energy being lower than even timber and masonry. Furthermore, it can be produced almost anywhere using locally available materials and compared to steel and timber, concrete buildings are also likely to consume less energy for heating and cooling during their lifetime. Therefore, attempts at replacing of concrete with other materials will not only be impractical but also ineffective as sustainability measures. A more efficient use of the material is needed. The efficient use of cement would ensure that we use the minimum possible amounts of cements in our concrete, increasing the amounts aggregates (sand and gravel), which are usually the cheaper and stronger ingredients of concrete. One of the most widely used ways of reducing cement contents in concrete has been through the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), also known as pozzolanic materials, such as blast-furnace slag, fly-ash and rice-husk ash. Apart from reducing the consumption of cement, these materials allow beneficial use of waste-materials that will otherwise go into landfills and also improve the durability of concrete. At the same time, alternative “low-carbon” cements need to be explored to reduce pressure on the conventional material. However, in order to encourage the use of these materials, major policy changes and incentives will be needed.

 


Session 4: Urban transportation: The mismanagement of supply and demand

 

Strategies to reduce carbon emissions from passenger transport
By: Dr. Sanjay Singh

The passenger transport sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of energy demand and CO2 emissions not only in India but also in many other developing countries. The sector is also causing increasing environmental damage beyond emissions of CO2, including air pollution, congestion, erosion of landscapes and land use. To ensure that the passenger transport sector makes a contribution to climate protection and CO2 reduction, there is a need to find a way of achieving a greater degree of mobility combined with lower levels of energy use and CO2 emissions. This paper presents a package of different instruments and measures which can be used to reduce CO2 emissions from the passenger transport sector not only in India but also in many other developing countries facing rapid increase in transport demand.

Chemical Looping Combustion For Carbon Capture
BY: Prof. Babu J Alappat

Chemical-looping combustion (CLC) is an energy efficient, low cost CO2 capture technique where CO2 is captured right at the source.  The main idea of the CLC is to split the combustion of fossil fuels into separate oxidation and reduction reactions by introducing a suitable metal oxide as an oxygen carrier to circulate between the two reactors: an air reactor and a fuel reactor (shown in the figure below). Metal oxides are used to separate oxygen from the air avoiding direct contact between the air and the fuel. In this way, CLC produces almost pure CO2 stream, ready for capture, compression and sequestration.Fuel reactor has reduction cycles where oxidized metal oxides, MeO, are reduced by the gaseous fuels according to reaction: (2n+m)MeO+C_n H_2m?(2n+m)Me+mH_2 O+n?CO?_2.  The exit gas stream from the fuel reactor contains CO2 and H2O, and almost pure CO2 can be collected after H2O is condensed.The reduced metal oxides, Me, is transferred to the air reactor where it is oxidized according to reaction:   Me+1/2 O_2?MeO. The flue gas stream from the air reactor contains only N2 and some un-adsorbed O2.        
   
The former reaction is often endothermic, while reaction latter is exothermic based on the metal oxide used. The total amount of heat evolved from oxidation and reduction cycle is the same as for the normal combustion using atmospheric air. There is no enthalpy gain in the CLC. The main advantage lies in the inherent separation of both CO2 and H2O from the flue gas. Another advantage of CLC is the low NOx formation, as the fuel burns in a N2 free environment and the reduced metal oxides are oxidized in the absence of fuel and that is also at a comparatively low temperature.
As CLC has an inherent ability to separate almost pure CO2 at the source of generation and this CO2 can be used for industrial purpose, CLC may be granted a place in the emission trading technologies under the clean development mechanism (CDM). A case study of an urea manufacturing plant (Madras Fertilizer Limited, Manali) using CO2 as a raw material showed that, switching over to CLC technology for CO2 capture and using that as a raw material will lead to about 161516 tCO2e of  emissions reduction.

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