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Tesla Enters the Indian Market

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he’s in talks with India’s government to sell electric cars in the country, which is currently the fourth-largest auto market in the world.

Musk said on Twitter Thursday that he is currently negotiating a relief on import penalties until Tesla can build a local factory. This isn’t the first time Musk has announced he intends to enter the Indian market — Musk said in February he was hoping to launch in the country this summer.

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India could become one of the most important markets for Tesla given the country’s massive population size and focus on reducing emissions.

Adoption of Electric Vehicles

Vehicle adoption in India is expected to grow rapidly. At its current pace, the country is set to become the third-largest auto market in the world by 2020, according to a May report by the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian government’s resource center for economic information.

India’s passenger vehicle segment witnessed the most growth in the 2016 fiscal year, but two-wheelers still secure the most widespread adoption.

But some foreign automakers have so far struggled to increase sales in India, driven partially by a crackdown on diesel vehicles. General Motors put its $1 billion planned investment in India on hold last summer due to poor sales and the regulatory environment, Reuters reported at the time.

What could give Tesla an edge is that India is looking to promote electric and hybrid vehicle sales through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. The initiative aims to have 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2020 by offering manufacturing and purchasing incentives. The country, however, will need to invest heavily in a charging infrastructure to make that vision a reality.

As Musk explores India, Tesla is also looking to further tap into the Chinese car market, the largest in the world, as the government pushes battery-powered vehicle adoption.

The post Elon Musk in Talks to Bring Electric Cars to India appeared first on Futurism.

Modi Makes Statement

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi vowed today that his country will not only stick with the 2015 Paris Accord, but will go “above and beyond” its goals aimed at fighting climate change, selling only electric cars throughout the country within 13 years, for example. Attending a news conference today with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr. Modi made his remarks as he described the accord as part of “our duty to protect Mother Earth.”

The agreement commits 195 countries including the U.S. — every country in the world except war-torn Syria and Nicaragua, who argued the agreement was not strong enough — to ensure that global temperatures remain “well below” 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, and “endeavor to limit” them to 1.5ºC. India’s commitment is critical to the agreement’s success, as it is currently the world’s fourth-biggest producer of carbon emissions, after China, the U.S., and the EU.

Global Consensus (Almost)

Multiple world leaders have both reaffirmed their nations’ commitments to the agreement and criticized President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. The EU, Canada, and China have confirmed their commitments, while Canada expressed disappointment in Trump’s choice. President Macron of France characterized Mr. Trump’s decision as a “mistake both for the US and for our planet.” 

Our Warming World: The Future of Climate Change [INFOGRAPHIC]
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On Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his country would cooperate with European leaders who “worry about global uncertainty,” in the wake of the decision. At the same conference, EU Council President Donald Tusk referred to a joint statement from the EU and China promising to “step up” efforts to fight climate change, including the raising of $100 billion annually by 2020 to support reducing emissions in poorer countries: “China and Europe have demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet.”

Mr. Modi’s views appear to be in tandem with those of other world leaders, along with much of the U.S. at the state and local levels, as well as corporate America. After his meeting with Mr. Macron, Mr. Modi indicated that India and France had “worked shoulder to shoulder” on the Paris accord, and emphasized in the same press conference that both nations see it as critically important for all nations. “The Paris agreement is the common heritage of the world. It is a gift that this generation can give.”

The post World Leaders Respond to Trump’s Decision to Remove the U.S. From Paris Accord appeared first on Futurism.

Doubling Their Efforts

Yesterday was a particularly glum day for climate scientists, with President Donald Trump withdrawing U.S. support for the Paris Climate Agreement, an action that resulted in the resignation of serial entrepreneur Elon Musk from his government advisory posts. The move was widely criticized by experts, other nations, and the majority of Americans as a major setback in the global fight against climate change.

But as the U.S. deals with these developments, the world’s second most populated nation is making its own set of changes, and it’s caught the attention of Musk.

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The Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted an article posted by the World Economic Forum about India’s recent commitment to sell only electric cars in 13 years or sooner. Musk also noted, “It is already the largest market for solar power,” to highlight two separate efforts by India as it takes the fight against carbon emissions seriously. Both of these initiatives are indicative of the transformation India has recently been undergoing.

India’s Turn

Those who’ve seen that Leonardo DiCaprio documentary on climate change might remember that bit during the actor’s interview with India’s energy minister. After DiCaprio pointed out that India’s among the leading contributor for climate-warming gasses, the minister made a reply that stumped the actor.

She said that before talking about India, one has to look at the more developed nations and how they are serious about cutting down on their carbon footprint. Besides, India lives with what it has, and it couldn’t afford the alternative energy at that time.

Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
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This no longer is the case, however, as India is finally working on means to change things. There’s the commitment to selling only electric vehicles, and more recently, India’s push for more renewable energy sources by scrapping a major coal project.

More promising still, the country now seems to be the biggest market for solar power with the opening of the world’s largest solar plant. Cost is no longer a problem for India to shift to renewable sources, with solar power now already cheaper than coal.

These efforts are vital to halting humanity’s negative impact on our world, according to environmental experts. Whatever the U.S.’s future involvement in the Paris accord may be, the nation must continue to transition to renewable energy if the globe is to avoid major repercussions from greenhouse gas emissions.

The post An End to Fossil Fuels: India Commits to Sell Only Electric Cars by 2030 appeared first on Futurism.

Canceling Coal

The Indian government has abandoned plans to build a second coal power station, choosing to focus on renewable energy instead in the state of Gujarat. Chimanbhai Sapariya, the country’s energy minister, said in an interview with the Business Standard that 4,000 Megawat ultra-mega power project (UMPP) was rejected because “Gujarat had proposed the UMPP last year but we now feel we do not need more […] We already have more than sufficient generation capacity.” The region already has one such plant existence.

India One Solar Thermal Power Plant. Image Credit: Bkwcreator, Wikimedia
India One Solar Thermal Power Plant. Image Credit: Bkwcreator/Wikimedia

Sapariya also said in the interview that, “Our focus is now on renewable energy. The government will encourage solar power.”

India agreed at the Paris climate change conference in 2005 to derive a much higher percentage of its power from green sources by 2030. This transition could have a global impact, as the Hindustan Times reported in 2016 that India was the fourth biggest polluter worldwide.

India agreed to extract 40 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels, and planned to do this by producing one terawatt of energy through solar power — this is four times the worldwide total currently produced. In addition, the country aims to become a nation that only uses electric cars by 2030.

The Indian government has been extremely successful in pursuing these aims. Recently, the price of solar-produced energy dropped below the price of energy produced by fossil fuels, the Kumuthis power plant has shown that it can produce as much energy as most coal and nuclear plants, and the country is exceeding its predictions by three-and-a-half years — on track to produce 60 percent of energy through green sources by 2027.

The post India Is Scraping a Major Coal Project in Favor of Renewables appeared first on Futurism.

Going Electric

India’s coal and mines minister, Piyush Goyal, just revealed some exciting new plans: by the year 2030, every car sold in India will be electric. The aim of this move is to lower the costs of running electric vehicles and importing fuel, and to improve population health.

“We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way,” minister Piyush Goyal remarked at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi. Speaking with reporters, he compared the initiative to the successful 2015 promotion of LED lightbulbs, which was intended to reduce energy bills: “We are going to make electric vehicles self-sufficient. The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country.”

According to The Independent, Mr. Goyal estimated that the electric car industry would require government assistance initially, but for only two to three years. After that, the Indian government expects the production of electric vehicles will be “driven by demand and not subsidy.”

“The cost of electric vehicles will start to pay for itself for consumers,” he said according to the International Business Times. “We would love to see the electric vehicle industry run on its own,” he remarked.
Via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/
Via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/

Crisis On Multiple Fronts

In India, air pollution has become a public health crisis as well as an economic one. This is only poised to get worse without immediate, meaningful intervention. While India is somewhat ahead of the curve on this issue — feeling the pressure first due to high-density areas — it isn’t the only country in this position. China is making new strides in sustainable energy for similar reasons.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace released a report that attributed as many as 2.3 million deaths annually to air pollution in India. The report— entitled “Airpocalypse” — calls air pollution a “public health and economic crisis” for Indians, pointing out that the number of air pollution deaths in the nation are only “a fraction less” than the number of tobacco deaths. Furthermore, a full 3 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is devoured by toxic smog in the form of healthcare and other remediation costs.

Finally, the report indicates that without immediate action and a “robust monitoring system,” the problem will worsen: “India’s pollution trends have been steadily increasing, with India overtaking China in number of deaths due to outdoor air pollution in 2015.” For example, Delhi — India’s most polluted city — was found to have particulate matter concentrations 13 times the yearly limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Apparently, the Indian government knows that now is the time to act, and will target dense urban centers first. Mr. Goyal indicated that the electric car plan would focus on “larger consumer centers, where pollution is at an all-time high,” first.

The post Every Single Car Sold In India Will Be Electric By 2030 appeared first on Futurism.

In India, glaciers, lakes, and forests have the same rights as people.

The post India Grants Human Rights to Nature appeared first on Futurism.

Better, Faster, Stronger

A fast internet connection is a necessity in today’s world. Currently, the fastest available internet runs on what’s known as fourth generation — or 4G — technology. The fastest among 4G technology is called LTE, which is capable of delivering download speeds of 50mbps. However, a number of telecommunication companies (or telcos) all over the world are testing the next generation of internet technology; the so-called 5G. In India, telcos are working with Nokia to make 5G a reality.

India’s top telco, Bharti Airtel, together with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nokia to convert existing network infrastructure to support 5G.

“Thoughts behind these MoUs would be to introduce 5G here, and what are the steps required for the same, besides identifying applications to define the target segment, which will lead to a complete 5G strategy for telcos,” explained Sanjay Malik, Nokia’s head of India market, speaking to the Economic Times. “It is more of a preparatory phase for getting into 5G.”

Field, content, and application trials are scheduled to begin in 2018.

This is the Fastest Internet on Earth
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Much Needed Speed Upgrades

In India, where network carriers have been criticized for not upgrading their technology fast enough, this effort by Airtel and BSNL is a welcome change. It’s certainly a long-sought upgrade — as internet speed in the country is still relatively slow. Market research firm Counterpoint noted that more than 90 percent of India’s existing mobile subscribers — exceeding a billion in total — were still on 2G networks at the end of 2016.

Commercial access to 5G technology might take about four to five years more, given the necessary infrastructure preparations, as well as overall viability. But it will be worth the wait: 5G internet can go 30 to 50 times faster than existing 4G technology. Access to uberfast internet speeds will make for a world of a difference in overall user experience. For example, downloading videos online — which often takes minutes, if not hours on very slow networks — would talk a matter of seconds with 5G.

But more than just for its entertainment and recreational value, 5G internet can actually save lives. It will boost the performance of self-driving softwares in autonomous cars and improve remote tele-surgery, among other technology that relies on the internet to facilitate operation.

The post Nokia Begins Work to Bring 5G Technology to the World appeared first on Futurism.

This ranks among the most generous leave policies of any country in the world.

The post India Has Become A Leader In Maternity Leave appeared first on Futurism.

A Ban On Plastic

India’s capital, Delhi, is taking a drastic stand against one of the biggest pollutants in the world: plastic.

Humanity produces 78 million tons of plastic packaging. Of that number, 32 percent ends up in our waters — roughly the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic per minute. And according to the a study published in Science, the amount of plastic waste that India dumped in the world’s oceans in 2010 was 12th highest of the 192 countries analyzed. China took the first position in that ranking, and the U.S. took the 20th.

You Can No Longer Use Disposable Plastics in This Country’s Capital
Credit: Science, Vol 347, Issue 6223, 2015

Adding to this are recent complaints about three local dump sites intended to operate as waste-to-energy plants, but were cited for illegal mass-burning of plastic and other waste, which added to the city’s air pollution.

This has prompted the National Green Tribunal to impose a ban on disposable plastic in the country’s capital city. Inhabitants of New Delhi are no longer permitted to use plastic bags, cups, or cutlery.

Deteriorating Environment

India’s continuously deteriorating environment is prompting government agencies and regulatory boards to enforce stricter rules on the country.

Apart from being a major contributor to pollution in oceans, India has also been cited for its waste-burning processes that pollute the air. A World Health Organization study notes that such practices cause premature deaths in the country due to the fine particles they releases, which can cause fatal respiratory infections, especially in children.

While India isn’t the first country to ban use of plastic, the country’s efforts are more comprehensive. Greenpeace hopes that this initiative will lead a much needed charge limiting global use of plastic.

The post You Can No Longer Use Disposable Plastics in This Country’s Capital appeared first on Futurism.

From its record-shattering single-day launch of 104 satellites to hosting the world’s largest solar farm, India has been making headlines lately. Now, another big development is on the horizon, and this one involves a hyperloop.

*3* Hyperloop Might Just Change the Face of India
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Hyperloop One is set on revolutionizing the way we transport everything from people to cargo. The company believes in a simpler, tube-based mode of transportation that ramps up to speeds rivaling that of an airplane with the fees of a bus ticket, and India might find itself one of the lucky few countries where the company builds a hyperloop transportation system.

According to Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd, the company has been in communication with the ambitious government on ways to optimize a public-private partnership, with the Los Angeles-based company expecting to raise more than $100 million to invest in the country. For reference, Hyperloop One has already raised $32 million for its current projects in the U.S., Slovenia, and the U.A.E. — a third of the amount needed for the deal with India.

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Hyperloop Concept for India

However, the government of India is willing to spend $59 billion to transform and modernize its transportation systems, which may just benefit the Hyperloop One team after all. A project of this scale would fit right into India’s “make in India” country-building initiative. The increase in business and manufacturing would put the hyperloop’s 1,000 kph (621 mph) speeds to great use by significantly decreasing transportation times between India’s major cities. For example, a ride from Delhi to Mumbai, which currently takes about a day, would be cut to just 80 minutes on a hyperloop.

The post Meet the 700 MPH Hyperloop That’s Breaking Into Another Country appeared first on Futurism.

China may be the largest producer of solar energy in the world, but neighboring India is no less ambitious when it comes to renewable energy. Expected to become the world’s third-biggest solar market after China and the USA, it is putting its money where its mouth is. A case in point: the country has just put the world’s largest solar power plant into service.

This is good news not just for India’s future energy security but also for its people’s short-term energy needs.

Beating Records

The Adani Group’s new site in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu covers an area of 10 square kilometers and has a capacity of 648 megawatts (MW). This is nearly 100 MW more than the previous record-holder, the Topaz Solar Farm in California.

The plant was built in only eight months, comprises 2.5 million individual solar modules and cost $679m to build. It is estimated that it will produce enough electricity to power about 150,000 homes at full capacity.

Made up of five plants in a single location, the solar photovoltaic project has helped push India’s total installed solar capacity across the 10 gigawatt mark, which only a handful of countries can claim.

 Installed solar capacity and cost in India
Installed solar capacity and cost in India. Image: Bridge to India

Leading the World in Renewables

A signatory of the Paris Agreement, India is forecast to meet its renewable energy commitments three years early and exceed them by nearly half. The country is aiming to generate nearly 60% of its electricity from non-fossil sources by 2027.

Solar is a particular focus: it makes up only 16% of renewable energy capacity now but is set to contribute over half of the renewables target by 2022: 100 gigawatts of 175 GW. Large installations will be key to achieving this, and the government is planning 33 solar parks in 21 states, with a capacity of at least 500 megawatts each.

Plugging a Gap

Prioritizing solar is not just an investment in the future, though. India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and its energy use has doubled since 2000, according to the International Energy Agency.

Last year, the country declared that it had a power surplus for the first time ever, though The Hindu reported that 300 million people still don’t have access to electricity and power cuts continue to be ‘rampant.’ The issue, it appears, is that capacity remains unused in the grid because some state power companies simply cannot afford to buy sufficient electricity.

The Indian government has recently launched an energy ‘blueprint’, and raised its investment target for solar energy to $100 billion in an attempt to address both these near-term issues as well as securing its energy supply far into the future.

This will be important even if China is about to overtake India with an even larger solar power plant which is capable of producing 850 MW of power, enough to supply up to 200,000 households.

The post India Just Broke a World Record With Its New Solar Farm appeared first on Futurism.

From a Disease to a Disability

Human innovation continues to push forward in so many directions. In all walks of science, researchers are achieving new “firsts” in the pursuit of a better life for the people of the world. Now, doctors in India, a country that has been basking in its recent record-breaking satellite launch, have completed the nation’s first 3D-printed spinal restoration surgery.

human evolution
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The patient, a 32-year-old Indian woman, lost her ability to walk due to a severe case of tuberculosis. The disease commonly affects the lungs, but it traveled to the woman’s spinal cord when her immune system was particularly weakened by drugs she was prescribed for infertility. The tuberculosis compromised her first, second, and third cervical vertebrae, removing support for both her skull and lower spine.

The damaged spinal cord resulted in a curved posture, weakness in her limbs, and an involuntarily sliding of the head. If left untreated, her condition would have been essentially a death sentence. However, a team of surgeons at Gurgaon Hospital had an interesting solution.

To Print a Spine

A team of surgeons led by Dr. V Anand Naik, a senior consultant of spine surgery from the Medanta Bone and Joint Institute, replaced the damaged vertebrae with a 3D-printed titanium copy. Using CT and MRI scans as reference, they first 3D printed a dummy spine that was perfectly sized for the patient’s needs. After much testing by design teams from India, the U.S., and Sweden for biomechanics and stress resistance, the final titanium implant was created.

Photo Credit: Sanjay Kumar Pathak
Photo Credit: Sanjay Kumar Pathak

Naik and his team then inserted the replacement between the first and fourth vertebrae, bridging the gap within the damaged spine. The surgery was completed over an intense 10-hour period, and afterward, Dr.Naik told the Hindustan Times, “It was a very complex surgery and the patient’s condition was deteriorating by the day. It would not have been possible to do it without 3D-printing technology.”

The woman is expected to recover fully in two weeks and live a normal life. Her journey is truly one for the history books. What seemed like an impossible case was resolved with multinational efforts that went beyond traditional medical thinking. Today’s “first” in a field could eventually become a common practice that saves many lives, but for now, just saving one is enough.

The post Doctors 3D Printed a Replacement for This Woman’s Damaged Spine appeared first on Futurism.

Doomsday_Clock

The post The Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight appeared first on Futurism.

An Official Endorsement

With Finland implementing a universal basic income (UBI) experiment that will run for the next two years, it seems that UBI is getting more attention as a viable system. Now, a leading advocate of UBI has said that the government of the world’s largest democratic country, India, is going to release a report endorsing UBI as “basically the way forward.”

The report, which will be part of the Ministry of Finance’s annual Economic Survey, is expected to be released this month. India has had considerable experience with UBI pilot programs in the country. Behind these programs is Guy Standing, a founding member of the Basic Income Earth Network, and he is the UBI advocate who says that India’s report will endorse the system.

According to Standing, the results of the UBI trials they’ve conducted were “remarkably positive.” Speaking to Business Insider, he said:

The most striking thing which we hadn’t actually anticipated is that the emancipatory effect was greater than the monetary effect. It enabled people to have a sense of control. They pooled some of the money to pay down their debts, they increased decisions on escaping from debt bondage. The women developed their own capacity to make their own decision about their own lives.

Standing isn’t the only person who supports UBI in India. Arvind Subramanian, a top Indian economic advisor, previously announced his support for the program.

With a population of 1.3 billion people, India has a growing economy despite a slight setback last year. Still, around 29.5 percent of the population lives in poverty, concentrated especially in rural areas. “People are dragged into poverty due to droughts, declining agriculture opportunities, disease, and so on,” Subramanian said at a university forum, quoted by The Times of India. “So the safety net provided by the government should be quite wide, and that is why [basic income] has some merit.”

Credits: Getty
Credits: Getty

An Answer to Unemployment

Standing, however, doesn’t think that India will implement a wide-scale program at the onset. “I don’t expect them to go the full way, because it’s such a dramatic conversion,” he said. But the government now sees UBI as feasible, and that’s the first hurdle to implementation.

The recent spotlight on UBI and countries’ willingness to give it a shot isn’t random — it’s closely linked to the rise of automation. Experts see the system as a potential solution to expected unemployment due to a predicted increase in job automation. According to a study by Oxford University and the Oxford Martin School, around “47 percent of jobs in the US are ‘at risk’ of being automated in the next 20 years.”

This has led Tesla CEO Elon Musk to comment in a CNBC interview that “there is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

Under a UBI program, citizens are given a fixed income regardless of their economic status and employment conditions, and the money can also be non-taxable, like in Finland’s version. The system can actually take the place of existing social service platforms, which are often more expensive for governments to sustain, so not only would individuals benefit financially, entire economies could as well. The only way to know for sure whether UBI will work is to try it on larger and larger scales, so we’ll have to wait and see what India has planned for its UBI program.

The post World’s Largest Democratic Country to Endorse Universal Basic Income appeared first on Futurism.

How Mankind Viewed the Universe from Ancient to Modern Times

The post The Evolution of Human Understanding of the Universe [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Futurism.