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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

09 Jul, 2020

74 Min Read

UN Report on Zoonotic Diseases

GS-II :

UN Report on Zoonotic Diseases

Part of: GS-III- Health (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

According to a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), about 60% of known infectious diseases in humans and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic.

**The report was released on 6th July 2020, observed as ‘World Zoonoses Day’. It focuses on the context and nature of potential future zoonotic disease outbreaks, during the Covid-19 pandemic by identifying the anthropogenic (changes in environment due to human activity) factors.

Zoonoses or Zoonotic Disease:

It is a disease that passes into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species.

Zoonotic infections can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in nature, with animals playing a vital role in maintaining such infections. Examples of zoonoses include HIV-AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, and the current Covid-19 disease.

Anthropogenic Factors:

  • Increased Use of Wildlife: Exploitation of wildlife for hunting, harvesting of wild animals for meat and research or medical purposes can bring humans in closer contact with wild animals, thus increasing the risk of zoonotic disease emergence.
  • Changes in Food Supply Chains: The popularity of food products with animal source and the need for immediate delivery to consumers is driving major changes in the food supply chain.
  • Increased Demand for Animal Protein: This has encouraged the intensification and industrialisation of animal production, wherein a large number of genetically similar animals are bred in for higher productivity.
  • Intense and Unsustainable Farming: Intensive farm settings cause animals to be raised in close proximity to each other characterised by poor waste management. This makes them more vulnerable to infections, which can further lead to emergence of zoonotic diseases.
  • Use of Antimicrobials: High use of antimicrobials in farm settings is contributing to the burden of AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

Recommendations:

  • One Health Approach: One Health is a multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. It aids a coordinated response to future pandemics and is a key to zoonoses risk reduction and control.
  • Expanding Scientific Enquiry: This is a crucial element of AMR containment efforts since waste from intensive farms using antimicrobials paves way for AMR determinants (e.g. antibiotic residues, resistant bacteria) in the environment.
  • Strengthening Monitoring: It would help in regulating practices associated with zoonotic diseases.
  • Sustainable Land Management Practices: It would help in developing alternatives for food security and livelihoods that do not rely on the destruction of habitats and biodiversity. It would also enhance sustainable co-existence of agriculture and wildlife.
  • Identifying Key Drivers: It would encourage management and control measures for emerging zoonotic diseases in animal husbandry.

United Nations Environment Programme

  • The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established on 5th june 1972.
  • Functions: It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • Major Reports: Emission Gap Report, Global Environment Outlook, Frontiers, Invest into Healthy Planet.
  • Major Campaigns: Beat Pollution, UN75, World Environment Day, Wild for Life.
  • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

International Livestock Research Institute

The ILRI is an international agricultural research institute formed in 1994 through the merger of the International Livestock Centre for Africa and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases situated in Nairobi, Kenya.

Functions:
It focuses on building sustainable livestock pathways out of poverty in low-income countries. It works with partners worldwide to help poor people keep their farm animals alive and productive and find profitable markets for their animal products.

Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

The report is one of the first to focus on the environmental side of the zoonotic dimension of disease outbreaks during the Covid-19. There is an immediate need to invest in in-depth understanding of environmental linkages with zoonotic diseases and monitoring of such diseases in human-dominated environments.

There is an urgency for adoption of sustainable methods of food production and to reduce dependence on intensive systems to preserve health and ecosystems.

Source: DTE

CAATSA and USA

GS-II : International Relations U.S.A

CAATSA and USA

Part of: GS-II- International Relation USA (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act: CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. It includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors.

Recently, the USA has reiterated its position and asked all its allies and partners, including India, to stop transactions with Russia. It can risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

  • USA’s Stand: The USA has reiterated its position on CAATSA in the context of India’s planned jet fighter deal with Russia at an estimated Rs. 18,148 crores. Recently, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 21 MiG-29 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF), an upgrade for 59 of these Russian aircraft and the acquisition of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft.
  • India could also face USA sanctions for purchasing the S-400 Triumf missile defense system from Russia under the CAATSA.
  • The USA suspended Turkey from its F-35 aircraft programme and barred it from purchasing the jet, following Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 from Russia. However, this was done without invoking CAATSA.
  • Major Defence Partner: The USA recognised India as a Major Defence Partner in 2016.
  • The designation allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from America at par with that of the USA’s closest allies and partners.
  • Issues with Purchase from Adversary: The USA fears that acquisitions by countries like India on significant systems would either expose or put at risk platforms and their technologies to an adversary.
  • It has declared that the S-400 purchase by Turkey from Russia has put a risk to its F-35 aircraft system.
  • Waiver Criteria under CAATSA: The USA President was given the authority in 2018 to waive CAATSA sanctions on a case-by-case basis. However, the USA has repeatedly stated that India should not assume it will get a waiver.

**The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 for the system.

The defence procurement for India has become significant amid deadly clashes with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Russia is an all-weather defence partner of India. However, India needs to balance its relationship with both Russia and USA, so that its national interest is not compromised.

Source: TH

Freedoms of the Air

GS-II :

Freedoms of the Air

It is recognised by the ICAO

  1. First Freedom of the Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State or States to fly across its territory without landing (also known as a First Freedom Right).

  1. Second Freedom of the Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State or States to land in its territory for non-traffic purposes (also known as a Second Freedom Right).

  1. Third Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to put down, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from the home State of the carrier (also known as a Third Freedom Right).

  1. Fourth Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic destined for the home State of the carrier (also known as a Fourth Freedom Right).

  1. Fifth Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to put down and to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or destined to a third State (also known as a Fifth Freedom Right).

ICAO characterizes all "freedoms" beyond the Fifth as "so-called" because only the first five "freedoms" have been officially recognized as such by international treaty.

  1. Sixth Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, of transporting, via the home State of the carrier, traffic moving between two other States (also known as a Sixth Freedom Right). The so-called Sixth Freedom of the Air, unlike the first five freedoms, is not incorporated as such into any widely recognized air service agreements such as the "Five Freedoms Agreement".

  1. Seventh Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State, of transporting traffic between the territory of the granting State and any third State with no requirement to include on such operation any point in the territory of the recipient State, i.e the service need not connect to or be an extension of any service to/from the home State of the carrier.

  1. Eighth Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, of transporting cabotage traffic between two points in the territory of the granting State on a service which originates or terminates in the home country of the foreign carrier or (in connection with the so-called Seventh Freedom of the Air) outside the territory of the granting State (also known as a Eighth Freedom Right or "consecutive cabotage").

  1. Ninth Freedom of The Air - the right or privilege of transporting cabotage traffic of the granting State on a service performed entirely within the territory of the granting State (also known as a Ninth Freedom Right or "stand alone" cabotage).

Source: WEB

F-1 and M-1 Visa Holders in USA

GS-II : International Relations U.S.A

F-1 and M-1 Visa Holders in the USA

Part of: GS-II- USA Visa issue (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, the USA has announced that F-1 and M-1 visa holders who are planning to take online-only models will not be allowed to stay in the USA. Many universities in the USA are planning to shift all their classes online for the fall semester due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fall semester starts in late August and ends in late December or early January whereas the Spring semester begins in January and ends in early May.

***F-1 visas are issued to study in the USA for full-time students whereas M-1 visas are issued to students engaging in vocational or non-academic studies.

The announcement comes weeks after the USA President suspended H1-B highly skilled worker visas through the end of the year. Most of these visas go to Indian citizens each year.

Announcements Made:

  • The students outside the USA planning to take all courses online in the fall semester would not be permitted entry into the country.
  • The USA would not issue visas to students who are going to take all their classes online due to the pandemic.
  • It also stated that the active students under F-1 and M-1 visas in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.
  • The USA regulations do not allow students in F-1 status to be in online classes but normally F-1 students are allowed to take one class or three credit hours online.

Affected Population:

  • There were more than one million international students in the United States for the 2018-19 academic year. That accounted for 5.5% of the total USA’s higher education population.
  • Also, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the USA’s economy in 2018.
  • India is the second largest source of foreign students in the USA after China.
  • The largest number of international students come from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Consequences:

If alternative measures are not opted then these students may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings. It is a difficult situation for students as international travel already faces disruption due to Covid-19.

Available Alternatives: Affected students may switch to visitor status but it is not a long-term solution as visitor status is short term and there is no guarantee that it will be approved.

Considering the unprecedented pandemic scenario, the USA can amend the regulation for F-1 and M-1 students. The one-size-fits-all approach will create more havoc and complexities not only in the USA administration but also in diplomatic relations with countries like India and China.

Source: TH

PARIS commitment: Climate Change  COP21

GS-III :

PARIS commitment: Climate Change COP21

Part of: GS-III- Climate CHANGE (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aimed at keeping global warming below 2°C.

The key vision of Paris Agreement was to keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “seek to limit” even more, to 1.5C.

  • It pledged to curb emissions. Before the conference started, more than 180 countries had submitted pledges to cut or curb their carbon emissions (intended nationally defined contributions, or INDCs, in the UN jargon). The INDCs were recognized under the agreement, but are not legally binding
  • A long-term global goal for net zero emissions: Countries have promised to try to bring global emissions down from peak levels as soon as possible. More significantly, they pledged “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”.
  • The deal includes loss and damage, a mechanism for addressing the financial losses vulnerable countries face from climate impacts such as extreme weather.
  • Raising money to bring in necessary changes. Finance to help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy was an important point in the negotiations. This part of the deal has been made non-legally binding on developed countries.

What is COP 24- Katowice?

  • COP24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • In accordance with a decision of the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention (COP22) in Marrakesh in November 2016, Poland was selected to host this event within the framework of the Eastern European Group (EEG).

Agenda of COP24

  • Determining the accounting standards of the whole process: to devise a process of measurement to calculate countries achievements. This agenda will not face much difficulty because with time there has been a gradual convergence of opinion.
  • MRE- Monitoring, Review, Evaluation: This agenda has always been a bone of contention because many countries fear that this provision might become intrusive.
  • Institutional structure for technology: a world body which will see the adequate transfer of technologies from the ‘Haves’ to the ‘Have-nots’.
  • Institutional structure for finance: to see the flow of finance from the developed to the developing and underdeveloped countries.

Key Issues

  • Many developing countries are reluctant to give up coal and hence weaken the commitment. The discussion is around the logistics to implement the Paris Agreement. However, the chief concern is that the Paris Agreement which talks of keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees is grossly inadequate.
  • The IPCC report of 2018 has cautioned that human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
  • Keeping this trajectory, a report suggested that by the end of the century the temperature rise can be as high as 3 to 4 degree Celsius.
  • Another concern is the decision of US. As the largest emitter of Carbon dioxide, the US withdrawal from the Agreement is a mighty set back. Besides, China’s peaking period is 2030, and many experts say that by the time China lowers its emission it will be too late.
  • The most important challenge is the transfer of technology and finance to the developing and underdeveloped countries. The industrialized countries are reluctant to share either of the resources without a tradeoff. On the other hand, the rest of the world has limited resources to purchase such sophisticated technologies.
  • The effects of climate change have begun to surface. Migration related to climate change has destabilized many countries and have also led to the emergence of new populist movements.

Way Forward

  • Most importantly, environmental ethics should take precedence over other issues like national and strategic interest or economic interest.
  • COP24 would demonstrate how climate neutrality can be reached by using innovation and a technique for CO2 sequestration by soils and forests. Such innovative techniques have to be adopted and practiced.
  • The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ought to be ambitious and the countries should not only commit to larger goals but achieve the same in time.
  • Alternative sources of energy have to be explored. India’s Solar Alliance is a positive step in this direction. The transition of the vehicles from fossil fuel to electric or hybrid is the need of the hour.
  • Adequate finance and technologies should be transferred from developed countries to developing countries. In the long run, it would yield rich dividends. Long-term, low-interest loans can be one solution. In this regard the World Bank’s commitment of $200 billion over the next five years is noteworthy.

Source: PIB

Virtual Climate Action

GS-III :

Virtual Climate Action

Part of: GS-III- Climate change (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, the 4th edition of the virtual Ministerial on Climate Action was organised to advance discussions on implementation of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Ministerial:

  • It was co-chaired by European Union, China and Canada.
  • The participating countries exchanged their views on how they are aligning economic recovery plans amid Covid-19, with the Paris Agreement.
  • India highlighted that developed country parties have not fulfilled their promise for extending financial and technological support to developing countries as envisaged under UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.
    India hopes that in the remaining 5 months of 2020, the promised amount will be mobilized and delivered, for further strengthening climate actions in developing countries.
  • The developed countries had promised to provide USD 1 trillion by 2020.

India’s Efforts in Combating Climate Change:

  • India has provided 80 million LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in rural areas, providing the people with clean cooking fuel and a healthy environment.
  • It has distributed more than 360 million LED bulbs under the UJALA scheme, which has led to energy saving of about 47 billion units of electricity per year and reduction of 38 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • India has also shifted from Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) to Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norm from 1st April 2020 which was earlier to be adopted by 2024.
  • It had levied a coal cess as part of one of the most explicit green initiatives.
  • Under Smart Cities Mission, Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework 2019 has been launched which intends to provide a clear roadmap for cities and urban India towards combating climate change through adoption of both mitigation and adaptation measures.

Achievements of India in Combating Climate Change:

  • India has achieved a reduction of 21% in emission intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2005 and 2014, thereby on its way to achieving its voluntary target under its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).
  • India had pledged to cut emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 below 2005 levels.
  • Its renewable energy installed capacity has increased by 226% in the last 5 years and stands more than 87 gigawatts (GW).
  • India has a target of installing 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022 under its INDC.
  • The share of non-fossil sources in installed capacity of electricity generation increased from 30.5% in March 2015 to 37.7% in May 2020.
  • It has further announced the aspirational target of increasing its renewable energy capacity to 450 GW.
  • India has pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuels-based electricity to 40% by 2030 under INDC.
  • India’s total forest and tree cover is 8,07,276 sq. km. which is 24.56% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • India has agreed to enhance its forest cover which will absorb 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

Paris Agreement- COP 21

  • Conference of Parties (COP) 21, also known as the Paris Climate Conference is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts.
  • It aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to well below 2°C above pre industrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5°C.
  • Countries have promised to try to bring global emissions down from peak levels as soon as possible. However, the USA has withdrawn from the agreement.
  • The deal includes loss and damage, a mechanism for addressing the financial losses vulnerable countries face from climate impacts such as extreme weather.
  • Raising money to help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy was an important point in the agreement.
  • This part of the deal has been made non-legally binding on developed countries.
  • Before the conference started, more than 180 countries had submitted pledges to cut their carbon emissions (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs). The INDCs were recognized under the agreement, but are not legally binding.

Conclusion

India has to make a huge effort to achieve its target of 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022. It is way behind its target. The funding commitment made by developed countries has become more important due to the economic challenge posed by Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: PIB

National Gene Bank

GS-III :

National Gene Bank

Part of: GS-III- Bio-diversity (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under the Ministry of AYUSH and the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The purpose of this MoU is to conserve the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs) in the National Gene Bank (NGB).

Establishment: The National Gene Bank was notified in 1996-97.

Hosted By: National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi.

Purpose: To conserve the Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations in the form of seeds, genomic resources, pollen etc.

Functioning:
The NGB has four kinds of facilities, namely, Seed Genebank (- 18°C), Cryogenebank (-170°C to -196°C), In vitro Genebank (25°C), and Field Genebank, to cater to long-term as well as medium-term conservation. It stores different crop groups such as cereals, millets, medicinal and aromatic plants and narcotics, etc.

Other Facilities: (PT SHOT)

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway houses the world’s largest collection of seeds.

India’s seed vault is at Chang La (Ladakh) in the Himalayas.

National Animal Gene Bank, established at the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR - Karnal, Haryana), has the objective of conserving the indigenous livestock biodiversity. NBAGR is one of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes.

National Medicinal Plants Board

  • In order to promote the medicinal plants sector, the Government of India set up the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) on 24th November 2000.
  • Currently the board is working under the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy).
  • The primary mandate of NMPB is to develop an appropriate mechanism for coordination between various ministries/ departments/ organizations and implementation of support policies/programs for overall (conservation, cultivation, trade and export) growth of medicinal plants sector both at the Central /State and International level.

National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources

  • The ‘National Bureau of Plant Introduction’ was renamed as ‘National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources’ (NBPGR) in January 1977.
  • It is one of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institutes. ICAR is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
  • It is a nodal organisation in India for management of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR).
  • It has played a pivotal role in the improvement of various crop plants and diversification and development of agriculture in India through germplasm introduction from various institutes/organizations located in foreign countries and germplasm collection from within the country and abroad and conservation thereof.

***Germplasm is a live information source for all the genes present in the respective plant, which can be conserved for long periods and regenerated whenever it is required in the future.

The NBPGR has linkage with National Active Germplasm Sites (NAGS) for the management of active germplasm of field and horticultural crops. NAGS are located at NBPGR regional stations, other crop-based ICAR institutes or State Agricultural Universities.

It is headquartered in New Delhi and has 10 regional stations.

Source: PIB

Climate Vulnerable Forum

GS-III :

Climate Vulnerable Forum

It is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet. The forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change.

The Forum first met in the Maldives in November 2009.

Other initiatives are taken by CVF to deal with climate change:

**Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance of the Climate Vulnerable Forum is a dedicated cooperation initiative of economies systemically vulnerable to climate change. It was established on 08 October 2015 at Lima, Peru. Its primary objective is to promote the mobilisation of climate finance.

**Survive Thrive #1.5C aims to promote actions to keep warming below 1.5°C and urges people to get involved and keep updated on limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Source: TH

World’s First Online Climate Summit

GS-III :

World’s First Online Climate Summit

World leaders are set to participate in an innovative climate change summit that will take place entirely online which makes it a carbon-neutral summit.

  • By contrast, the UN's COP21 climate talks in Paris in 2015 generated about 43,000 tons of carbon dioxide, although much of this was later offset through carbon-credit schemes.
  • The Virtual Climate Summit is the brainchild of Marshall Islands President, whose nation is facing the worst impacts of climate change.
  • With participants including French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, this will be the first global political meeting to be held online.
  • It will consist of a rolling, 24-hour Livestream that will begin in the Marshalls' capital Majuro, then include addresses from leaders and panel discussions before delivering a declaration.

Objectives

  • The virtual summit's main aim is to encourage the international community to restrict global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.
  • The immediate objective is to cut carbon emissions since flying is among the most harmful activities for the climate, accounting for about 2.5% of the world’s carbon emissions. Also, the online platform will not put additional pressure on an already resource constraint nation.
  • A virtual summit also flattens the playing field, and removes barriers like plane tickets and conference passes that inevitably leave out those most impacted by climate change. It is more participative.
  • It is the first time that leaders from the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), have come together, and therefore it is also a chance for those on the front line of climate change to make their voices heard.

Source: TH

Stars and Lithium Production

GS-III :

Stars and Lithium Production

Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have provided evidence for the first time that Lithium (Li) production is common among low mass Sun-like stars during their Helium (He) core burning phase.

IIA is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

Findings of the Study:

Scientists performed a large-scale systematic investigation of the ‘He-flash’ (on-set of He-ignition at the star's core via violent eruption), at the end of the star’s core hydrogen-burning phase

Hydrogen burning is the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into a helium nucleus. This He-flash has been identified as the source of Li production suggesting that all low-mass stars undergo Li production.

Our Sun will reach this phase in about 6-7 billion years and will manufacture Li. The study challenges the long-held idea that stars only destroy lithium and indicates that there is some physical process missing in stellar theory.

Earlier, it was believed that a vast majority of stars with a mass similar to that of the Sun destroy Li gradually over the course of their lives, via low-temperature nuclear burning.

The study also suggests new limits (A(Li) > -0.9~dex) for classifying stars as Li-rich, which is 250 times below the threshold (A(Li) > 1.5~dex) used till now.

Origin of Lithium:

  • The origin of much of the Li can be traced to the Big Bang which happened about 13.7 billion years ago.
  • Over the course of time, Li content in the physical universe has increased by about a factor of four, which is meagre compared to the rest of the elements which grew about a million times.
  • Stars are primary contributors to the significant enhancement of heavier elements through mass ejections and stellar explosions. Li, however, was thought to be an exception till now.

Usage of Lithium: (PT SHOT)

  • Lithium is a light inflammable metal which is mainly used in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and has brought a transformation in modern communication devices and transportation.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of aircraft.
  • It is also used in mental health. Lithium carbonate is a common treatment of the bipolar disorder, helping to stabilize wild mood swings caused by the illness.

Source: PIB

Marmots and Plague

GS-III :

Marmots and Plague

Recently, reports of an outbreak of bubonic plague in Mongolia, China and far east Russia have emerged, caused mainly by Tarbagan Marmot (a species of Marmot). It has been compared to the Covid-19 pandemic which was apparently spread by the consumption of bat meat.

Marmot (genus Marmota) belongs to the squirrel family (Sciuridae) within the order Rodentia. These have almost 15 species and the closest living relatives of marmots are ground squirrels and prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America.

Marmots are well suited for life in cold environments and have small fur-covered ears, short, stocky legs, and strong claws for digging. Marmots are diurnal (active during the day) and are almost entirely vegetarian.

Habitat: They are found primarily in the continents of Europe, Asia and North America. South Asia or the Indian Subcontinent is home to the Himalayan Marmot and the Long-tailed Marmot (both are Least Concerned in the IUCN Red List).

Tarbagan or Mongolian Marmot (Endangered) is found in Mongolia, China and parts of Russia.

Plague

Plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis usually found in small mammals and their fleas. It is transmitted between animals and humans by the bite of infected fleas, direct contact with infected tissues and inhalation of infected respiratory droplets. It is one of the examples of bacterial zoonoses.

There are two main clinical forms of plague infection:

  • Bubonic plague is the most common form and is characterized by painful swollen lymph nodes or 'buboes'. Highly infectious bubonic plague killed about 50 million people across Africa, Asia and Europe in the 14th century. Over 3,200 people were infected worldwide between 2000-15, resulting in 584 deaths. The bacterial disease was named the Black Death after the dark swellings or buboes that victims suffered.
  • A pneumonic plague is a form of severe lung infection.

Antibiotic treatment is effective against plague bacteria, so early diagnosis and early treatment can save lives. However, if left untreated, the fever can kill a victim in a very short time.

Source: DTE

India's Largest Butterfly

GS-III :

India's Largest Butterfly

Recently, a Himalayan butterfly known as Golden Birdwing (Troides Aeacus) has been discovered as India’s largest butterfly after 88 years. It has replaced an unknown specimen that a British army officer Brigadier Evans had recorded in 1932.

Discovery: The female was recorded from Didihat in Uttarakhand, the male was from the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Characteristics: With a wingspan of 194 mm, the female of the species is marginally larger than the Southern Birdwing (190 mm). Earlier, the largest Indian butterfly that was recorded in 1932 was an individual of the Southern Birdwing (Troides minos), which was then treated as a subspecies of the Common Birdwing (Troides Helena).

However, the specimen that Evans measured was unknown and no other butterfly measured as much as the 190 mm that he recorded. The male Golden Birdwing is much smaller at 106 mm.

Measurement: The only measurement used in the study of Lepidoptera is wingspan in which butterflies are measured from the wing base to the tip.

Butterfly

  • Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera of phylum Arthropoda which also includes moths.
  • Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.

Significance:

Rich Biodiversity: The abundance of butterflies in any area represents rich biodiversity. Indicator Species: The butterfly acts as an indicator species.
An indicator species provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem. They reflect the quality and changes in environmental conditions as well as aspects of community composition. Pollinator: It acts as a pollinator by helping in pollination and conserving several species of plants.

Other butterflies in NEWS

Striped Hairstreak: Scientific Name: Yamamotozephyrus kwangtugenesis Discovery: It is found in Vijaynagar village of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Myanmar.

It was a subject of interest for the lepidopterists as its genus is diversified into several genera (i.e. sub-divisions) and thus, difficult to trace.

Habitat: It was first recorded in the Hainan province of China. It is also found in North America, from the Rocky Mountains

Elusive Prince: Scientific Name: Rohana tonkiniana Discovery: It is found in Miao subdivision situated on the periphery of the Namdapha National Park.
In India, only a male specimen of the Elusive Prince was found. Initially, it was considered a variant of the Black Prince, but the study revealed that it is different and has not been recorded in India before.

Habitat: It was first recorded in Tonkin in North Vietnam. The Rohana Genus: It has been represented in India by two species — the Black Prince (Rohana parasites) and the Brown Prince (Rohana parvata).

Significance for Arunachal Pradesh: These discoveries from Arunachal Pradesh indicate the rich biodiversity of the State. The government thus needs to focus on helping volunteers or citizen scientists by providing the support needed. This will help in boosting eco-tourism apart from regular scientific research.

Papilio polymnestor, the blue Mormon, is a large swallowtail butterfly found in south India and Sri Lanka. It is the "state butterfly" of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Source: TH

UNFCCC

GS-III :

UNFCCC

Part of: GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

The UNFCCC, signed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as the Earth Summit, the Rio Summit or the Rio Conference. The UNFCCC entered into force on March 21, 1994, and has been ratified by 197 countries.

The WMO and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988, to assess the magnitude and timing of changes, estimate their impacts, present strategies for how to respond and to provide an authoritative source of up-to-date interdisciplinary knowledge on climate change.

Objective

  • According to Article 2, the Convention’s ultimate objective is “to achieve, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
  • This objective is qualified in that it “should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”.

Institutional Arrangements

The Conference of the Parties (COP)

Article 7.2 defines the COP as the “supreme body” of the Convention, as it is its highest decision-making authority. The climate change process revolves around the annual sessions of the COP.

COP President and Bureau

The office of the COP President normally rotates among the five United Nations regional groups. The President is usually the environment minister of his or her home country. S/he is elected by acclamation immediately after the opening of a COP session. Their role is to facilitate the work of the COP and promote agreements among Parties.

The work of the COP and each subsidiary body is guided by an elected Bureau. To ensure continuity, it serves not only during sessions, but between sessions as well.

Subsidiary Bodies (SBs)

The Convention establishes two permanent subsidiary bodies (SBs), namely the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), by Article 9, and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), by Article 10. These bodies advise the COP.

The SBSTA’s task is to provide the COP “with timely advice on scientific and technological matters relating to the Convention”. The SBI’s task is to assist the COP “in the assessment and review of the effective implementation of the Convention”

The Secretariat

The secretariat, also known as the Climate Change Secretariat, services the COP, the SBs, the Bureau and other bodies established by the COP.

Other Bodies

Other bodies have been set up by the COP to undertake specific tasks. These bodies report back to the COP when they complete their work

COP 1 established two ad hoc groups to conduct negotiations on specific issues.

COP 11 established the “Dialogue” to exchange experiences and analyse strategic approaches for long-term cooperative action to address climate change.

Timeline of Important Events

1979

First World Climate Conference (WCC)

1988

IPCC established

1990

In November IPCC and second WCC call for global treaty on climate change and in December UN General Assembly Negotiations on a Framework Convention Begin.

1992

The text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is adopted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

1994

UNFCCC enters into force

1995

COP 1 (Berlin, Germany)

1996

August

  • The UNFCCC secretariat relocates from Geneva to its current home in Bonn(Germany), paving the way for the city to become an international sustainability hub and home to 18 UN organizations.

1997

COP 3 (Kyoto, Japan)

  • Kyoto Protocol adopted- The Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.

1998

Buenos Aires Plan of Action

2001

COP 6-2(second part of 6th COP)

  • The COP 6-2 took place from 16 to 27 July 2001 in Bonn, Germany.
  • A major breakthrough is achieved at the second part of the sixth Conference of the Parties meeting in Bonn, with governments reaching a broad political agreement on the operational rulebook for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

2001

COP 7 (Marrakesh, Morocco)

  • Resulted in the Marrakesh Accords, setting the stage for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. This formalized the agreement on operational rules for International Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation along with a compliance regime and accounting procedures.

2002

COP 8 (New Delhi, India) Delhi Declaration. The Delhi Declaration focuses on the development needs of the poorest countries and the need for technology transfer for mitigating climate change.

2005

(February 16) Entry of Kyoto Protocol into force with the Russian Federation ratification to the Kyoto Protocol, sealing its entry into force.

2005

COP11/CMP1 (December)

  • The first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) takes place in Montreal.

2006

In January the Clean Development Mechanism, a key mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, opens for business.

  • The CDM is one of the Flexible Mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol that provides for emissions reduction projects which generate Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs) which may be traded in emissions trading schemes.

2007

COP13

  • Parties agreed on the Bali Road Map and Bali action plan, which charted the way towards a post-2012 outcome. The Plan has five main categories: shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing.

2008

COP 14, Poznan (Poland)

  • The launch of the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol and
  • The Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer.

2009

COP15 (Copenhagen)

  • Copenhagen Accord drafted. Developed countries pledge up to USD 30 billion in fast-start finance for the period 2010-2012.

2010

COP 16 (Cancun)

  • Resulted in the Cancun Agreements, a comprehensive package by governments to assist developing nations in dealing with climate change.
  • The Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and the Cancun Adaptation Framework are established.

2011

COP 17 (Durban)

  • Governments commit to a new universal climate change agreement by 2015 for the period beyond 2020.(Resulted in the Paris Agreement of 2015)

2012

COP18/CMP8 (Doha)

  • The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is adopted.
  • COP18 also launched a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

2013

COP19/CMP9 (Warsaw)

  • Key decisions adopted include:
    • Further advancing the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance,
    • The Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

2015

COP 21 (Paris)

  • Paris Agreement adopted. It aims:
    • To keep global temperatures "well below" 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavor to limit" them even more, to 1.5C
    • Rich countries should help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.
    • The agreement requires rich nations to maintain a $100bn a year funding pledge beyond 2020.

2016

COP22 (Marrakech)

  • A crucial outcome of the Marrakech climate conference was
    • To move forward on writing the rule book of the Paris Agreement.
    • Launched the Marrakech Partnership for Climate Action.

2017

COP23, Bonn (Germany)

  • Countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement will work from 2020 onwards.
  • First set of negotiations since the US, under the presidency of Donald Trump, announced its intention earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris deal.
  • It was the first COP to be hosted by a small-island developing state with Fiji taking up the presidency, even though it was being held in Bonn.

2018

COP 24, Katowice (Poland)

2019

COP25, Madrid Spain (Earlier: Chile)

2021

COP26, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Organized by UK and Italy

President Alok Sharma

Shortcomings

  • Non-inclusive: Most scientists agree the most dangerous environmental air pollutants today are microscopic particulates that come from car engines and combustion-based power plants, but these pollutants are largely ignored by the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Slow progress: It took a long time for COP to bring Russia to agree into participating in the Kyoto Protocol. (until 2005)
  • UNFCCC failed to persuade USA to ratify the Kyoto protocol thereby keeping one of the largest emitter of greenhouse gases away from commitments.
  • Unsustainable targets: The world reached at almost 1degree Celsius warming post industrialization and the Paris contributions are not enough to maintain 2 degree Celsius levels.
  • Unsatisfactory Response: Many countries argued for a tougher target of 1.5C - including leaders of low-lying countries that face unsustainable sea levels rises in a warming world.
  • Financial Constraints: The agreement requires rich nations to maintain a $100bn a year funding pledge beyond 2020, which is not enough as highlighted by several pacific island countries.
  • Non-binding agreement: The US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, citing, that the deal punished" the US and would cost millions of American jobs”, has created new barriers and more pressure on rest of the nations in achieving the targets of Paris agreement. As part of the US withdrawal, USA has stopped the payment of the extra $2bn that had been promised in to the Green Climate Fund.
  • No enforcement mechanism: Under the Paris agreement, each country determines, plans, and reports its own efforts to mitigate global warming. The only penalty for non-compliance is a so-called “name and shame” — or “name and encourage” — system whereby countries that fall out of compliance are called out and encouraged to improve.

Achievements

  • Kyoto protocol only required wealthy nations to cut emissions, which was a bone of contention; however this anomaly was corrected with the signing of Paris agreement in 2015.
  • UNFCCC initiatives helped create Public awareness regarding climate change, which is much higher today than in the late 90s.
  • Although climate science in the late 90s was certainly strong enough—to negotiate an international treaty, it is hard to deny that the scientific understanding of the climate crisis has improved considerably over the past two decades in which UNFCCC played a significant role.
  • UNFCCC has enabled planning and implementation of concrete adaptation activities under the National Adaptations Programme of Action (NAPAs) and the Nairobi work programme.
  • UNFCCC helped create innovative ideas in mitigating climate change like the Clean Development mechanism (CDM) under which developing country’s projects that reduce emissions earn credits that can be sold to countries or companies with a commitment to reduce emissions.
  • Since the establishment of UNFCCC national governments have encouraged and increased cooperation on the development and transfer of technology.
  • UNFCCC efforts support the developing countries in combating climate change by providing a platform for finance, technology transfers, discussions, global partnerships, etc.

Source: WEB

National Action Plan on Climate Change

GS-III :

National Action Plan on Climate Change

Part of: GS-III- Climate change (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008 by the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change. It aims at creating awareness among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it.

There are 8 national missions forming the core of the NAPCC which represent multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in climate change. These are-

    • National Solar Mission
    • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
    • National Water Mission
    • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
    • National Mission for A Green India
    • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
    • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

Salient Features

NAPCC is guided by following principles-

    • Protection of poor and vulnerable sections of society through inclusive and sustainable development strategy, sensitive to climate change.
    • Achievements of national growth through qualitative changes enhancing ecological sustainability.
    • Deployment of appropriate technologies for both adaptation and mitigation of GreenHouse Gases emissions extensively and at an accelerated pace.

GreenHouse Gases (GHG)

These are gases that absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. Primary GHGs are water vapour, carbondiaoxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

Earth’s surface temperature would be −18 °C instead of the present average of 15 °C without GHGs. GHGs create Green House Effect which is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface.

Regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to promote sustainable development and engineering new and innovative forms of market. Effective implementation of plans using unique linkages like civil society and local governments through public-private partnership.

Invite international cooperation for research, development, sharing and transfer of data and technologies enabled by sufficient funding and backed up by a global IPR regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Approach

  • NAPCC addresses the country’s critical and urgent needs by directionally shifting the development path and enhancing the current and planned programmes and technologies.
  • It identifies measures that promote our developmental goals and co-benefits by addressing climate change also.

UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Climate Change)

  • It was established in 1992 when countries adopted the UNFCCC.
  • Located in Bonn, Germany.
  • Focuses on facilitating intergovernmental climate change negotiations.
  • Provides technical expertise and assistance on analysis and review of climate change reports presented by the parties.
  • Plays a crucial role in implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

  • Governed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • It was launched in 2010 with the primary aim of achieving grid parity by 2022 and with coal-based thermal power by 2030.
  • Aims to increase the share of solar energy in India's energy mix.
  • It takes the measures of increasing R&D efforts, promoting decentralised distribution of energy by creating cheaper and more convenient solar power systems.
  • Emphasis on manufacturing solar panels at the local level and to tie up local research with international efforts.
  • Seeks to reduce the absolute cost of solar energy to bring it down and make it affordable.

Functions and Goals

  • Making solar water heaters mandatory in buildings to promote the already proven and commercially viable solar heating systems.
  • By the remote village electrification programme, using solar power as an off-grid solution to provide power to the power deprived poor.
  • Creating conditions for research and application in the field of solar technology and support & facilitate the already on-going R&D projects.
  • The ultimate objective is to develop a solar industry in India, capable of delivering solar energy competitively again the fossil fuel options.
  • It is hoped that by the end of the third phase, 2022, India should have installed 20,000 MW of solar power.

National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency

  • Governed by the Ministry of Power.
  • Based on the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • It creates a market based mechanism to enhance cost effectiveness of improvements on energy efficiency. Switching to cleaner fuels, commercially viable technology transfers, capacity building needs etc are the way forward for this mission.
  • Development with energy efficiency as a key criterion.

Functions and Goals

  • Spread awareness about the efficacy and efficiency of energy efficient products and create demand.
  • Ensure adequate supply of energy efficient products, goods, and services by forming a cadre of energy professionals.
  • Create financing platforms which can make risk guarantee funds, financial derivatives of performance contracts.
  • Formulate well thought out evaluation and monitoring mechanisms to capture energy savings in a transparent manner.
  • Overcome market failures through regulatory and policy measures.
  • Key areas to work upon are Energy, Efficiency, Equity and Environment.

National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

  • Governed by the Ministry of Urban Development.
  • Manifold agenda mission because it looks at energy efficiency within buildings, waste disposal from these buildings and betters the public transport system.
  • Plans to make urban areas more climate friendly and less susceptible to climate change by a multi-pronged approach to mitigate and adapt to it.

Functions and Goals-

  • To create and adopt a more holistic approach for solid and liquid waste management, ensuring their full potential for energy generation (conversion of solid waste into energy), recycling, reusing and composting.
  • To encourage alternative transport systems and establish fuel efficiency standards and reduce fuel consumed per passenger travel by the provision of pedestrian pathways.
  • To provide for adoption and creation of alternative technologies mitigating climate change and to encourage community involvement for it.
  • Creation of one building code for the entire nation.
  • A system to enforce law and order.
  • Establish financial incentives based on green rating.
  • Reduce need for pumping of water, proper treatment of waste water and use of better designed toilets.
  • Promote use of natural gas and alternative & renewable fuels.
  • Comprehensive urban renewal master plan proposals with sustainable designs.

A master plan is a dynamic long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development.

  • Better enforcement of Urban Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (UDPFI) guidelines.

National Water Mission

  • Governed by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • Ensures better integrated water resource management leading to water conservation, less wastage, equitable distribution forming better policies.
  • Looks into the issues of groundwater and surface water management, domestic and industrial water management, improvement of water storage capacities and protection of wetlands.

Functions and Goals

  • Review and data collection on the network of hydrological, automatic weather and automated rain gauge stations.
  • Expeditiously implement water projects in climate sensitive regions.
  • Promotion of water purification and desalination techniques.
  • Enactment of a bill for the regulation and management of groundwater sources.
  • Research in water use efficiency in industry, agriculture and domestic sectors.
  • Providing incentives for water neutral & positive technologies.
  • Review National Water Policy to include integrated water resources management, evaporation management and basin level management.
  • Water data base in the public domain and the assessment of impact of climate change on water resource
  • Promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation.
  • More focused attention to over-exploited areas.
  • Improving water use efficiency by 20% through regulatory and pricing mechanisms.

National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem

  • Governed by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • Created to protect the Himalayan ecosystem. The mandate is to evolve measures to sustain and safeguard the Himalayan glaciers, mountain ecosystems, biodiversity and wildlife conservation & protection.

Functions and Goals

  • Human and knowledge capacities- appointing trained personnel who can capture, store and apply knowledge relating to vulnerability and changes in the region.
  • Institutional capacities- creating capability to conduct long term observations, studies to understand and warn of changes in the Himalayan ecosystem
  • Evidence based policy building and governance- creating a platform for Himalayan states and the Centre to interact with various bodies.
  • Continuous self learning for balancing between forces of Nature and actions of mankind by creating strong linkages with community based organisations.
  • Establishing of a modern centre of Glaciology, standardisation of data collection to ensure interoperability and mapping of natural resources in the area.
  • Identification and training of experts and specialists in the area relevant to sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem.

National Mission for Green India

  • Governed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It has the mandate of reviving degraded forest land with a focus on increasing forest cover & density and conserving biodiversity.
  • Works towards reducing fragmentation of forests, enhancing private public partnerships for plantations, improving schemes based on joint forestry management etc.
  • Makes plans to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.

Functions and Goals

  • Enhancing carbon sinks in sustainably managed forests.
  • Enhancing the resilience of vulnerable species and ecosystems to adapt to climate change.
  • Enabling forest dependent communities to adapt to climate variability.
  • Double the area to be taken up for afforestation.
  • Increase greenhouse gas removals by Indian forests.
  • Enhance resilience of forests and ecosystems falling under the mission.

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Governed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • It works towards devising strategies to make Indian agriculture less susceptible to climate change.
  • It would identify and develop new crop varieties, use traditional and modern agricultural techniques.
  • This mission sees dry land agriculture, risk management, access to information and use of biotechnology as areas of intervention.

Functions and Goals

  • Strengthening agricultural insurance, develop a system based on Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing to map soil resource and land use.
  • Providing information and collation of off-season crops and preparation of state-level agro-climatic atlases.
  • Strategise to evolve low input agriculture with enhanced water and nitrogen efficient crops.
  • Nutritional strategies to manage heat stress in dairy animals.
  • Using of micro irrigation systems.
  • Promotion of agricultural techniques like minimum tillage, organic farming and rain water conservation.
  • Capacity building of farmers and other stakeholders.
  • Production of bio-fertilizer, compost along with subsidies for chemical fertilizers.
  • Strengthening of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme.

National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

  • Governed by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • It identifies challenges and requisite responses to climate change. This will be done through open international collaboration and would ensure sufficient funding for this research.
  • There is a need for strong strategic knowledge system on climate change.

National Bio-Energy Mission-2017

  • The aim of the mission is to push sustainable development of the renewable energy sector.
  • The national mission will aim at improving energy efficiency in traditional biomass consuming industries, seek to develop a bio-energy city project and provide logistics support to biomass processing units.
  • It will also propose a GIS-based National Biomass Resource Atlas to map potential biomass regions in the country.
  • According to estimates, biomass from agro and agro-industrial residue can potentially generate 25,000 MW of power in India.

Functions and Goals

  • Develop regional climate science.
  • Leverage international cooperation.
  • The efforts undertaken here would feed into the Indian National Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) which is a stock taking exercise conducted every two years as part of the national obligations under UNFCCC.
  • Creation of a data generation and sharing system by mapping resources on knowledge relevant to climate change.
  • Identifying knowledge gaps and inspiring from global technological trends to select and test technologies.
  • Creating new centres dedicated to climate research within existing institutional framework.

Achievements

  • The World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) feels that the National Action Plan is fairly comprehensive and has cross-sectoral links through the eight National Level Missions. The focal point is India's impetus on following on a low carbon energy path without impending economic growth and quality of life of people.
  • NAPCC brings a balanced perspective on mitigation and adaptation through some new dimensions like creation of National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change as this would ensure exchange of knowledge and informed research in India.

Challenges and Suggestions

  • India has the potential to do things differently because it is in an early stage of development and it contributes very little to the changing climatic conditions. It can leapfrog to a low carbon economy by using high-end and emerging technologies.
  • The plan report makes no commitment to cut the country's carbon emission which should have been an integral part of it.
  • The focal point of NAPCC seems to be solar power mission only and the government’s efforts to maximise the solar energy seemingly approve it. Equal emphasis on all missions with equal inputs would have enabled the county to yield fast and visible results.
  • Missions related to sustainable habitat, water, and agriculture and forestry are multi-sectoral, overlapping, multi-departmental, advisory and very slow moving in nature. Several ongoing activities are in principle aligned with the objectives of these missions which should either be integrated with the missions or scrapped to save the time and cost.
  • Another challenge is the monitoring systems, which are either ineffective or absent. Progress reports for NSM, NMEEE, and NWM are currently available but mapping of progress for other missions has been difficult due to their cross-cutting nature.
  • Ministries are required to report progress and have regular meetings with the PM’s Council on Climate Change.
  • Finally, it can be said that institutional, systemic and process barriers— including financial constraints, inter-ministerial coordination, lack of technical expertise and project clearance delays—stand as major challenges in the efficient implementation of the missions.
  • The cross-cutting subjects of the missions have not yielded any positive results on grounds yet so a new approach is needed to solve this and bring the agenda of climate change to the mainstream.
  • While these challenges have drawn criticisms, they also provide us with the opportunity for discussion on the approaches to deal with climate change in India and understand the best way ahead to mainstream climate change.

Way Forward

  • Recognising that climate change is a global challenge, the plan promises that India will engage actively in multilateral negotiations in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in a positive, constructive and forward-looking manner.
  • It is now clear that initiatives to prevent climate change have been started but, most importantly, these initiatives must be continuous and sustainable and every individual of every country will need to contribute to prevent climate change.
  • By releasing the NAPCC, the Indian government has shown its commitment to address climate change issues and also sent a positive message to the public, industries, and civil society about the government's concern to address the climate change issue through concerted action.
  • Issues related to the awareness regarding global warming and climate change among the general population and the issue related to agriculture and health hazards due to climate change must be addressed strongly and effectively.

Source: PIB

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