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02 July 2019


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Eight avian species declared “extinct” in new study

By Aspire IAS

1) Eight avian species declared “extinct” in new study

Context:

Scientists have declared eight species of birds to be extinct in what are being seen as the first avian extinctions of the 21st century

Which are these birds:

  • The Spix’s macaw, a type of parrot, was last sighted in the wild in 2000.
  • The Alagoas foliage-gleaner, a small forest bird, became extinct in 2011.
  • The cryptic treehunter has not been seen in the wild since 2007, when its forest home in Murici in north-eastern Brazil was destroyed and replaced with sugar cane plantations and pasture.
  • The fourth Brazillian species to go extinct is the Pernambuco pygmy-owl, a 15cm-tall owl that eats insects and hasn’t been seen in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco since 2002.
  • The fifth South American species on the list is the glaucous macaw, once found in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil before its palm grove habitat was destroyed to make space for farming.
  • Another non-South American species on the list is the poo-uli, or black-faced honeycreeper, which was found on the island of Maui in Hawaii but was last sighted in 2004.

Details

  • The study was conducted by non-profit “BirdLife International” and was published in the journal Biological Conservation.
  • Four out of the eight species declared extinct belong to Brazil.

Causes

Five of these new extinctions have occurred in South America and have been attributed by scientists to deforestation to make way for large-scale agriculture and industrial activities

2) Cloudy forecast

Theme: UNFCCC conference

The conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bangkok was to draft a rulebook for the Paris Agreement ran into predictable difficulties over the issue of raising funds to help poorer nations.

what is paris agreement:

  • Paris Agreementis an international agreement to combat climate change. It charts a new course in the global climate effort.
  • Paris Agreement comes under the broad umbrella of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC is a convention held in 1992 to combat climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. No mechanism forces a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets.
  • In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw his country from the agreement.

what issue Issue now:

  • some developed countries led by the U.S. — which, under the Trump administration, has rejected the Paris agreement — are unwilling to commit to sound rules on raising climate finance.
  • Under the pact concluded in Paris, rich countries pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aid populations to cope with extreme events such as floods, droughts and storms.
  • The Green House Gas emissions in the developed countries raised living standards for their citizens but contributed heavily to the accumulated carbon dioxide burden, now measured at about 410 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, up from 280 ppm before the industrial revolution.
  • China and India’s role in dealing with Climate change:
  • There is international pressure on China and India to cut GHG emissions. Both countries have committed themselves to a cleaner growth path.
  • India, which reported an annual CO2 equivalent emissions of 2.136 billion tonnes in 2010 to the UNFCCC two years ago, estimates that the GHG emissions intensity of its GDP has declined by 12% for the 2005-2010 period.
  • As members committed to the Paris Agreement, China and India have the responsibility of climate leadership in the developing world, and have to green their growth.
  • What developing countries need is a supportive framework in the form of a rulebook that binds the developed countries to their funding pledges, provides support for capacity building and transfer of green technologies on liberal terms. If scientific estimates are correct, the damage already done to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is set to raise sea levels; a 2° Celsius rise will also destabilise the Greenland Ice Sheet. Failed agriculture in populous countries will drive more mass migrations of people, creating conflict. A deeper insight on all this will be available in October when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its scientific report on the impact of a 1.5° C rise in global average temperature.

Way forward:

  • By trying to stall climate justice to millions of poor people in vulnerable countries, the developed nations are refusing to accept their responsibility for historical emissions of GHGs.
  • Developed nations must take the responsibility of Climate change due to high level of industrialisation as compared to the developing and the under-developed countries. Developed countries, especially the U.S., need to commit funds to limit climate change
  • Obstructing the transition to a carbon-neutral pathway and preserving the status quo is short-sighted, because the losses caused by weather events are proving severely detrimental to all economies.
  • This is the time for the world’s leaders to demonstrate that they are ready to go beyond expediency and take the actions needed to avert long-term catastrophe.