E. Somanathan
Indian Statistical Institute
E. Somanathan received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1995 and taught at Emory University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor before joining the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi where he is a Professor in the Planning Unit.  His current research is in environmental and development economics. Ongoing research projects include the impact of global warming and aerosols on Indian agriculture and the distribution of income, and game-theoretic modeling of climate policies. Recent publications include Effects of Information on Environmental Quality in Developing Countries, (2010) Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 4(2): 275-292, and “Decentralization for cost-effective conservation” (2009) with R. Prabhakar and B.S. Mehta, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(11): 4143-4147. He is a Co-ordinating Lead Author for Working Group III of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Articles By E. Somanathan
The simple economics of clean air
Posted On: 01 Dec 2017

One of the main reasons why north-western India chokes on smog every November is the burning of residue from the rice crop by farmers. In this article, Somanathan and Gupta contend that public auctions to sell machines that weed out crop residue at a subsidised rate could help stop stubble burning. It will cost the agriculture ministry a fraction of its annual budget.
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Happy Seeder: A solution to agricultural fires in north India
Posted On: 12 Nov 2016

It is believed that much of the pollution in Delhi in November every year originates in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana where farmers burn their fields to dispose of crop residue. This column discusses a simple, practical and cost-effective solution to deal with the problem.
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Coal and the climate change debate
Posted On: 03 Dec 2015

Topics:   Environment

In the run-up to the Paris Climate Summit, there has been a growing call among advanced nations to phase out fossil fuels. In this article, Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India, argues that shunning coal is not viable for India. Instead, the world should come together to find effective techniques to ‘clean and green’ coal.

E. Somanathan, Executive Director, South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, contends that it makes no economic sense to make further investments in coal, and that public policy should now be focused on renewable sources of energy.

Milind Kandlikar, Professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, says that he is also not in favour of investing in coal, but is less optimistic about solar power in India in the medium term due to issues of grid integration and land requirements.

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Pricey diesel
Posted On: 31 Mar 2014

Topics:   Health

India was recently ranked 174th out of 178 countries, on air pollution. A key contributing factor is diesel vehicles. This column shows that diesel subsidies benefit the rich more than the poor, and emphasises the need to change current regulation to enforce fuel improvement measures. Although such policies seem expensive, the positive effects on sickness, health expenditures and productivity would outweigh the costs.
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Eliminating Delhi’s November smog
Posted On: 14 Dec 2012

Topics:   Environment , Health

Around this time every year, the air in Delhi becomes almost unbearable. As politicians and the press point fingers, this column offers up a happy solution.
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