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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Special PEER-PIRE Cycle (June 2012 Deadline)

NSF-PIRE collaboration: developing low-carbon cities in India: focus on urban infrastructures, climate risks, and vulnerability

PI:  Sachchida Nand Tripathi, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K)
U.S. Partner: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Project Dates: January 2013 - January 2017

Project Overview 

This project addresses climate change, renewable and sustainable energy interventions, water sustainability, human development co-benefits and climate risks, and environmental engineering solutions in cities in India, covering several key USAID priorities. The PI and his team will conduct field research on human development risks and climate risks associated with current and future infrastructure trajectories in Indian cities. The proposal explores the extent to which low carbon infrastructures in India can improve human well-being in cities, thereby motivating low-carbon development trajectories. To address this issue, the research will develop analytic tools to help quantify human co-benefits of low-carbon interventions in Indian cities. The tools include: (1) using satellite data to estimate airborne Particulate Matter (PM) concentrations in Indian cities and relating these to fossil energy use and human development impacts; (2) quantifying the Wastewater-Energy-Greenhouse Gas (GHG) nexus to assess GHG and human well-being co-benefits of improved sanitation and wastewater treatment in Indian cities; and (3) downscaling climate models to incorporate human development impacts from extreme climate events in cities related to flooding, extreme heat, or cold. The research team will also help the U.S. and Indian student cohorts involved to conduct the above field research in Indian cities. IIT-K will further host the International Summer School on Sustainable Cities in 2013 and will send a team of three faculty and students for training and reciprocal experiences in the United States. Finally, IIT-K will  host a professional workshop to enhance science capacity in air pollution modeling, climate modeling, and human development impact assessment. 

Summary of Recent Activities

In the first quarter of 2016, the project team made great strides in data collection and dissemination. Team member Harishankar collected an E-BAM from Hyderabad which will allow the team to accurately conduct real time measurements of fine particulate matter. Students on the team started conducting quality analysis and data maintenance using the instrument. In terms of data dissemination and information sharing, Dr. Tripathi attended multiple workshops and conferences including: (1) The High level Policy Workshop on Developing Smart, Healthy and sustainable Cities: Learnings from US, China and India in New Delhi on January 11 and 12; (2) The 3rd PMC meeting in Mumbai. (3) The INCOMPASS meeting in MoES, New Delhi; and (4) The Surya Roundtable: Climate Credit Pilot Project meeting in IIC, New Delhi.

This year, the team plans to host Eric Svingen of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities at IIT Kanpur as part of a collaborative exchange with the US team. Additionally, Dr. Tripathi will visit the UK as part of a research exchange and will attend the 2016 European Aerosol Conference in Tours, France on September 4 to 9.