Climate Change

CLIMATE CHANGE

To prepare for ENVIRONMENT  for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Climate Change.  Here we will study Climate Change in details. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Governance syllabus (GS-II.). Ecosystem and its functions terms are important from Environmental perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

 

Introduction
  • Climate change is periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.
  • In 2018, the IPCC issued a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, finding that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.
  • According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
  • It predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels will produce beneficial impacts in some regions and harmful ones in others.
  • Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase.
  • Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid-20th century to present.

 

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • In 2013 the IPCC in its Fifth Assessment Report has identified that climate change is real and human activities are the main cause.
  • From 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
  • Fifth Assessment Report: provides a comprehensive assessment of sea level rise, and its causes, over the past few decades.
  • It also estimates cumulative CO2 emissions since pre-industrial times and provides a CO2 budget for future emissions to limit warming to less than 2°C. About half of this maximum amount was already emitted by 2011.
  • Oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and the sea level has risen.
  • Given current concentrations and ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century global mean temperature will continue to rise above the pre-industrial level.

 

Impact of climate change

  • There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planetary climate system, may already have been reached or passed.
  • Extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts can be seen as the climate changes.
  • Rising temperatures: Average temperature has risen by around 0.7°C during 1901–2018.

– As compared to 1976-2005 period, by the end of 21st century, it is projected that: o temperature may rise by approximately 4.4°C. o frequency of summer heat waves over India may be 3 to 4 times higher

  • Mountain glaciers are in alarming retreat and the downstream effects of reduced water supply in the driest months will have repercussions that transcend generations.
  • Change in Rainfall pattern: Summer monsoon rainfall has declined by 6%, over India between 1951-2015 especially in the densely populated Indo-Gangetic plains and the Western Ghats.

 

The frequency of localized heavy rain occurrences as well as dry spells has significantly increased.

  • Drought : The area affected by drought has also increased by 1.3% per decade during 1951–2016.
    • Areas over central India, southwest coast, southern peninsula and north-eastern India have experienced more than 2 droughts per decade, on average, during this period
  • Floods: Flooding events have increased since 1950, in part due to enhanced occurrence of localized, short-duration intense rainfall events.
  • Melting of glaciers: The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. Average sea level rise is predicted to be 24–30 cm by 2065 and 40–63 cm by 2100 relative to the reference period of 1986–2005. (IPCC)
    • The sea ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 × 106 km² of ice loss per decade. (IPCC report)
  • Rise in sea level: From 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
  • It occurred at a rate of 1.06–1.75 mm per year during 1874–2004 and has accelerated to 3.3 mm per year between 1993 and 2017, which is comparable to the current rate of global mean sea-level rise.
  • Also, Sea surface temperature (SST) of the tropical Indian Ocean has risen by 1°C on average during 1951–2015, markedly higher than the global average SST warming of 0.7°C.

 

Implication of climate change

  • Health: The changing environment is expected to cause more heat stress, an increase in waterborne diseases, poor air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Extreme weather events can compound many of these health threats.
  • Agriculture: NITI Aayog document, of the total pulses, oilseeds and cotton produced in the country, 80% pulses, 73% oilseeds and 68% cotton come from rain-fed agriculture.
  • Repeated crop failures add to the burden of already distressed farmers who then resort to suicides
  • Rising temperatures are likely to increase energy demand for space cooling, further adding to the global warming by increasing GHG emissions.
  • Biodiversity: Increase in the concentration of CO, would affect photosynthesis by agricultural plants, increasing the foliage and the biomass of plants and vegetation.

-marine ecosystem, including corals and phytoplankton, and fisheries are being impacted by a rise in heat waves in the ocean, known as marine heat waves.

  • Economic impact: According to the International Labour Organization, the loss in productivity by 2030 because of heat stress could be the equivalent of India losing 34 million full-time jobs.

-According to Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Desertification, land degradation and drought cost India about 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2014-15.

Health-care costs and productivity losses from pollution are as much as 8.5% of GDP, according to the World Bank.

In India, climate change led to the displacement of 2.7 million Indians in 2019 (highest in the world).

 

Causes of Climate Change:

  • The causes of climate change can be broadly divided into 2 categories-

NATURAL CAUSE  – There are number of natural factor responsible for climate change. Some of the major ones are continental drift, volcanoes etc.

1-  Continental Drift-

  • It suggests that glaciations are linked to continental drifting. The Ewing-Donn theory proposes that Pleistocene glaciations were initiated when the North Pole reached its present position in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and Antarctica became coincident with the South Polar Region.
  • These theories are based on the presumption that some 300 million years ago all the continents were joined together to form the super-continent ‘Pangaea’ which was located at high latitudes far to the south of their present position.
  • This revolutionary theory emerging from eology explains how large fragments of glaciated terrain reached their scattered subtropical locations
  • Since the plates move at a very slow rate of only a few centimeters per year, significant changes in the positions of continents occur over large scales of geological time. Therefore large-scale climatic changes also happen in millions of years.

 

2- Volcanoes –

  • Volcanoes can impact climate change. During major explosive eruptions huge amounts of volcanic gas, water vapor, dust particle, and ash are injected into the stratosphere.
  • Injected ash falls rapidly from the stratosphere — most of it is removed within several days to weeks — and has little impact on climate change.
  • Volcanic gases like sulfur dioxide can cause global cooling, while volcanic carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has the potential to promote global warming.
  • Volcanic dust particles, deflects light of short wavelengths coming from the sun. But long wave terrestrial radiation can easily pass through volcanic dust without any loss and large-scale volcanic dust may lower down the earth’s temperature to a certain extent.

 

ANTHROPOGENIC CAUSES

  • Scientists, since the beginning of the 20th century, have studied the impact of climate change caused by human activities, such as emission of heat trapping gases (green house gases) and changes in land use pattern that make land reflect more or less sunlight.

 

Greenhouse Effect & GHGs:
  • The greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat. This process makes Earth much warmer than it would be without an atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is one of the things that make the Earth a comfortable place to live.
  • As the name depicts, the greenhouse effect works like a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a building with glass walls and a glass roof. Greenhouses are used to grow plants, such as tomatoes and tropical flowers.
  • A greenhouse stays warm inside, even during the winter. In the daytime, sunlight shines into the greenhouse and warms the plants and air inside. At nighttime, it’s colder outside, but the greenhouse stays pretty warm inside. That’s because the glass walls of the greenhouse trap the Sun’s heat.
  • The greenhouse effect works much the same way on Earth. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat just like the glass roof of a greenhouse. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases.
  • During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth’s surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth’s surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That’s what keeps our Earth a warm and cozy.

 

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs):

 

  • Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
  • Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.
  • Fluorinated gases: Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), and Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases.
  • Water vapour (H2O): Water vapour is the biggest overall contributor to the greenhouse effect and humans are not directly responsible for emitting this gas in quantities sufficient to change its concentration in the atmosphere. However, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are increasing the amount of water vapour in the air by boosting the rate of evaporation.
  • Black Carbon: Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. During this short period of time, black carbon can have significant direct and indirect impacts on the climate, glacial regions, agriculture and human health.
  • Brown Carbon:
  • Brown carbon (light-absorbing organic carbon) has attracted interest as a possible cause of climate change. This class of organic carbon, known for its light brownish color, absorbs strongly in the ultraviolet wavelengths and less significantly going into the visible.
  • Types of brown carbon include breakdown products from biomass burning, a mixture of organic compounds emitted from soil, and volatile organic compounds given off by vegetation.
  • Brown carbon is generally referred for greenhouse gases and black carbon for particles resulting from impure combustion, such as soot and dust

 

GLOBAL WARMING:

 

Gas GWP (100-year) Lifetime (years)
Carbon Dioxide 1 100
Methane 21 12
Nitrous Oxide 310 120
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 140-11,700 1-270
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) 6,500-9,200 8000-50,000
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) 23,900 3,200

 

  • Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Since the pre-industrial period, human activities are estimated to have increased Earth’s global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), a number that is currently increasing by 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade.
  • Most of the current warming trend is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) the result of human activity since the 1950s and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate over decades to millennia.

 

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

 

  • The Global Warming Potential (GWP) was developed to allow comparisons of the global warming impacts of different gases. Specifically, it is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). The larger the GWP, the more that a given gas warms the Earth compared to CO2over that time period. The time period usually used for GWPs is 100 years

 

Question

  • The increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the air is slowly raising the temperature of the atmosphere, because it absorbs:
    1. The water vapour of the air and retains its heat
    2. The ultraviolet part of the solar radiation
    3. All the solar radiations
    4. The infrared part of the solar radiation

Answer: D

 

  • Consider the following:

1) Rice fields

2) Coal mining

3) Domestic Animals

4) Wetlands

Which of the above are sources of methane, a major greenhouse gas?

  1. 1 and 4 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: D

 

Impacts of Climate change:
  • Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities. According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
  • The IPCC predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels will produce beneficial impacts in some regions and harmful ones in others. Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase.
  • “Taken as a whole,” the IPCC states, “the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.”

 

Rise in sea level:

  • An increase in the temperature of the Earth leads to a rise in sea level due to the thermal expansion (a condition wherein the warm water takes up more area than cooler water). The melting of glaciers adds to this problem.
  • The population living in under-lying areas, islands and coasts are threatened by the rising sea levels.
  • It erodes shorelines, damage properties and destroys ecosystems like mangroves and wetlands that protect coasts from storms.

 

Ocean Acidification:

  • The increase in the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased the CO2 absorption in the ocean. This makes the ocean acidic. The increase in the acidification of the ocean can be harmful to many marine species like plankton, molluscs, etc.
  • The corals are especially susceptible to this as they find it difficult to create and maintain the skeletal structures needed for their survival.

 

Agriculture productivity and food security:

  • The crop cultivation is dependent on solar radiation, favourable temperature and precipitation. Hence, agriculture has always been dependent on climate patterns. The current climate change has affected agricultural productivity, food supply and food security.
  • Melting ice: Perhaps the most visible effect of climate change so far is the melting of glaciers and sea ice.
  • The ice sheets have been retreating since the end of the last ice age, about 11,700 years ago, but the last century’s warming has hastened their demise.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem services: Change in climate has consequences on the biophysical environment such as changes in the start and length of the seasons, glacial retreat, and decrease in Arctic sea ice extent and a rise in sea level.
  • These changes have already had an observable impact on biodiversity at the species level, in term of phenology (study of periodic events in biological life cycles), distribution & populations, and ecosystem level in terms of distribution, composition & function.

 

Health Related Issues:

  • Allergies, asthma, and infectious disease outbreaks will become more common due to increased growth of pollen-producing ragweed, higher levels of air pollution, and the spread of conditions favorable to pathogens and mosquitoes.

 

7- Impact of Climate Change on

International Trade –

 

  • Changes in the climate system, not least sea level rise and the increasing frequency of extreme events, will modify transport routes and infrastructures, thereby changing the access and possibilities for the international transport of goods and services.
  • Other types of climate impacts, such as those on agriculture and labour productivity, will cause changes in production and specialisation, which will also affect trade.

 

8- Impact of Climate Change on Atmosphere and Wind Belts :

  • Change in pressure belts and atmospheric circulation. The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) may movie northward in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Change in the direction of permanent and periodic winds.
  • Change in the directions of warm and cold water currents. Increase in the frequency of tropical and temperate cyclones, cloud cover, tornadoes and storms.
  • Desertification resulting in Expansion of deserts.
  • The frequency of El Nino and La-Nina are increasing.
  • Extreme events that have an immediate impact and long-term effect of rising temperatures can be observed, during summer in Chennai, locals were praying for some rain; in Mumbai, people were reeling under a deluge.
  • Untimely heavy snow fall, Cloudbursts and flesh floods are becoming more frequents in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand.

 

9- Impacts of Climate Change on Gender: Poverty, Wellbeing and the MDGs

 

CLIMATE CHANGE IN INDIAN CONTEXT

 

  • India’s average temperature rose by around 0.7 degree Celsius between 1901 and 2018. It is projected to rise further by approximately 4.4°C by the end of this century, according to the report by researchers from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
  • As per Global Climate Risk Index (released by Germanwatch), India’s rank has worsened from 14th spot in 2017 to 5th most vulnerable country to climate change in 2018.
  • India has also recorded the highest number of fatalities due to climate change and the second highest monetary losses from its impact in 2018.
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences’ (MoES) recently released a report titled ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’.
  • The report highlights the observed and projected changes in various climatic dimensions over the Indian region, their impacts and various policy actions to deal with the regional climate change.
  • This increase in surface temperatures will result in droughts for some regions. It will also intensify rainfall and severe cyclones in others — causing large parts of India to experience floods.
  • Experts suggest that these changes in climate will have a long term socio-economic impact on the lives of Indians and also affect the country’s relationship with its neighbours.

 

6.11- Consequences of climate change in India

1-Extreme Heat:

 

What we know
  •          India is already experiencing a warming climate.
What could happen
  •          Unusual and unprecedented spells of hot weather are expected to occur far more frequently and cover much larger areas.
  •          Under 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India are projected to shift to new, high-temperature climatic regimes with significant impacts on agriculture.
What can be done
  •          With built-up urban areas rapidly becoming “heat-islands”, urban planners will need to adopt measures to counteract this effect.

 

2- Changing Rainfall Patterns

 

What we know
  •          A decline in monsoon rainfall since the 1950s has already been observed. The frequency of heavy rainfall events has also increased.
What could happen
  •          A 2°C rise in the world’s average temperatures will make India’s summer monsoon highly unpredictable.
  •         At 4°C warming, an extremely wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of the century.
  •          An abrupt change in the monsoon could precipitate a major crisis, triggering more frequent droughts as well as greater flooding in large parts of India.
  •          India’s northwest coast to the south eastern coastal region could see higher than average rainfall.

Dry years are expected to be drier and wet years wetter.

What can be done
  •          Improvements in hydro-meteorological systems for weather forecasting and the installation of flood warning systems can help people move out of harm’s way before a weather-related disaster strikes.
  •          Building codes will need to be enforced to ensure that homes and infrastructure are not at risk.

 

 

3-Droughts

 

What we know
  •          Evidence indicates that parts of South Asia have become drier since the 1970s with an increase in the number of droughts.
  •         Droughts have major consequences. In 1987 and 2002-2003, droughts affected more than half of India’s crop area and led to a huge fall in crop production.
What could happen
  •          Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially in north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
  •          Crop yields are expected to fall significantly because of extreme heat by the 2040s.
What can be done
  •          Investments in R&D for the development of drought-resistant crops can help reduce some of the negative impacts.

 

4- Groundwater

 

What we know
  •          More than 60% of India’s agriculture is rain-fed, making the country highly dependent on groundwater.
  •          Even without climate change, 15% of India’s groundwater resources are overexploited.
What could happen
  •          Although it is difficult to predict future ground water levels, falling water tables  can be expected to reduce further on account of increasing demand for water from a growing population, more affluent life styles, as well as from the services sector and industry.
What can be done
  •          The efficient use of ground water resources will need to be incentivized.

 

5- Glacier Melting

 

What we know
  •         Glaciers in the northwestern Himalayas and in the Karakoram Range – where westerly winter winds are the major source of moisture – have remained stable or even advanced.
  •          On the other hand, most Himalayan glaciers – where a substantial part of the moisture is supplied by the summer monsoon – have been retreating over the past century.
What could happen
  •          At 2.5°C warming, melting glaciers and the loss of snow cover over the Himalayas are expected to threaten the stability and reliability of northern India’s primarily glacier-fed rivers, particularly the Indus and the Brahmaputra.  The Ganges will be less dependent on melt water due to high annual rainfall downstream during the monsoon season.
  •          The Indus and Brahmaputra are expected to see increased flows in spring when the snows melt, with flows reducing subsequently in late spring and summer.
  •          Alterations in the flows of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers could significantly impact irrigation, affecting the amount of food that can be produced in their basins as well as the livelihoods of millions of people (209 million in the Indus basin, 478 million in the Ganges basin, and 62 million in the Brahmaputra basin in the year 2005).
What can be done
  •          Major investments in water storage capacity would be needed to benefit from increased river flows in spring and compensate for lower flows later on.

 

6- Agriculture and food security

 

What we know
  •        Even without climate change, world food prices are expected to increase due to growing populations and rising incomes, as well as a greater demand for biofuels.
  •         Rice: While overall rice yields have increased, rising temperatures with lower rainfall at the end of the growing season have caused a significant loss in India’s rice production. Without climate change, average rice yields could have been almost 6% higher (75 million tons in absolute terms).
  •         Wheat: Recent studies shows that wheat yields peaked in India and Bangladesh around 2001 and have not increased since despite increasing fertilizer applications. Observations show that extremely high temperatures in northern India – above 34°C – have had a substantial negative effect on wheat yields, and rising temperatures can only aggravate the situation.
What could happen
  •         Seasonal water scarcity, rising temperatures, and intrusion of sea water would threaten crop yields, jeopardizing the country’s food security.
  •         Should current trends persist, substantial yield reductions in both rice and wheat can be expected in the near and medium term.
  •         Under 2°C warming by the 2050s, the country may need to import more than twice the amount of food-grain than would be required without climate change.
What can be done
  •         Crop diversification, more efficient water use, and improved soil management practices, together with the development of drought-resistant crops can help reduce some of the negative impacts.

 

7- Health

 

What we know
  •         Climate change is expected to have major health impacts in India- increasing malnutrition and related health disorders such as child stunting – with the poor likely to be affected most severely. Child stunting is projected to increase by 35% by 2050 compared to a scenario without climate change.
  •        Malaria and other vector-borne diseases, along with and diarrheal infections which are a major cause of child mortality, are likely to spread into areas where colder temperatures had previously limited transmission.
  •         Heat waves are likely to result in a very substantial rise in mortality and death, and injuries from extreme weather events are likely to increase.
What could happen
  •         Health systems will need to be strengthened in identified hotspots.
What can be done
  •         Improvements in hydro-meteorological systems for weather forecasting and the installation of flood warning systems can help people move out of harm’s way before a weather-related disaster strikes.
  •         Building codes will need to be enforced to ensure that homes and infrastructure are not at risk.

 

8- Migration and conflict

 

What we know
  •         South Asia is a hotspot for the migration of people from disaster-affected or degraded areas to other national and international regions.
  •        The Indus and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basins are major Trans Boundary Rivers, and increasing demand for water is already leading to tensions among countries over water sharing.
What could happen
  •         Climate change impacts on agriculture and livelihoods can increase the number of climate refugees.
What can be done
  •        Regional cooperation on water issues will be needed.

 

STRATEGIES FOR MITIGATNG CLIMATE CHANGE:

 

1- Carbon Sequestration

  • Carbon sequestrationdescribes long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid harmful effect of climate change. In other words pumping carbon into carbon sink (sinks: an area that absorbs carbon) may carry out as carbon sequestration.
  • Natural Sinks- Oceans, Forests, soil etc
  • Artificial Sinks Depleted oil reserves, un-mineable mines, etc

 

2- Carbon Sink:

  • Unlike black and brown that contribute to atmospheric green house gases, green and blue carbon sequestrate the atmosphere green house

 

Green Carbon

  • Green carbon is carbon removed by photosynthesis and stored in the plant and soil of natural ecosystem and is a vital part of global carbon cycle.
  • Afforestation and reforestation are the measure that can be taken to enhance biological carbon sequestration.

 

Blue Carbon

  • Blue carbon refers to costal, aquatic and marine carbon sink held by indicative vegetation, marine organism and sediments
  • Costal ecosystem such as tidal marshes, mangroves, and sea grasses remove carbon from atmosphere and ocean, storing it in plants and depositing it in the sediments below them equivalent by natural processes.

 

3- Carbon Credit:

  • Carbon credit is a tradable certificate or permit representing to right to emit one ton of carbon.
  • Earning carbon credit: An organization, which produces one ton less of carbon equivalent than the standard level of carbon emission allowed for its outfit or activity, earns a carbon credit.

 

4- Carbon Tax:

  • Carbon tax is based on the amount of carbon contained in the fuel such as coal etc.
  • The aim of this tax is to cause less fossil fuel use and hopefully cause incentive to use other sources of energy.

 

5- REDD & REDD+

  • REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is the global endeavour to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and save their forest resources, thus contributing to the global fight against climate change.
  • REDD+ goes beyond merely checking deforestation and forest degradation, and includes incentives for positive elements of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
  • Note- Recently, Ugandahas become the first African country to submit results for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

 

India REDD+ strategy:

  • As per UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy. The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC

 

Climate risk insurance

  • It is an important tool for providing security against loss of livelihoods and of assets as a consequence of disasters.
  • Thus, given the significant contribution of the agricultural sector in the Indian economy, coupled with looming “climatic aberrations,” crop insurance becomes a necessity to mitigate the risks associated with a majority of the country’s farmers.

 

Question

  • The scientific view is that the increase in global temperature should not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial level. If the global temperature increases beyond 3°C above the pre-industrial level, what can be its possible impact/impacts on the world?

1) Terrestrial biosphere tends toward a net carbon source.

2) Widespread coral mortality will occur.

3) All the global wetlands will permanently disappear.

4) Cultivation of cereals will not be possible anywhere in the world.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. l only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1,2,3 and 4

Answer: B

 

  • In the context of mitigating the impending global warming due to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, which of the following can be the potential sites for carbon sequestration?

1) Abandoned and uneconomic coal seams

2) Depleted oil and gas reservoirs

3) Subterranean deep saline formations

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: D

 

  • Which of the following statements is/are correct?

Proper design and effective implementation of UN REDD+Programme can significantly contribute to

1) Protection of biodiversity

2) Resilience of forest ecosystems

3) Poverty reduction

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

 

INDIA’S NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
  • Dealing with the challenge of climate change, India acts on fronts in a focused manner simultaneously.

The National action plan hinges on the development and use of new technologies, and the implementation of the plan would be through appropriate institutional mechanisms suited for effective delivery of objectives of each Individual Mission

  • The focus will be on promoting understanding of climate change adoption and mitigation, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation

 

1 National Solar Mission:

  • The national solar mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge.
  • Objective: To establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible.

 

2 The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency:

  • The National Mission for enhanced energy efficiency (NMEEE), which seeks to strengthen the market for energy efficiency by creating conducive regulatory and policy regime.
  • NMEEE has been envisaged to foster innovative and sustainable business models to the energy efficiency sector
  • Objective: Promoting innovation policy and regulatory regimes, financing mechanisms, and business models, which not only create, but also sustain markets for energy efficiency in a transparent manner with clear deliverables to be achieved in a time bound manner

3 National Mission on Sustainable Habitat:

Objective

  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat seeks to promote sustainability habitats through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, urban planning improved management of solid and liquid waste, modal shift towards public transport and conservation through appropriate changes in legal and regulatory framework.

 

4 National Water Mission (NWM)

Objective

  • Integrated water resource management for conservation of water, minimization of wastage and equitable distribution.
  • Framework to increase water use efficiency by 20% through regulatory mechanisms with differential entitlements and pricing, taking the National Water Policy (NWP) into consideration.
  • Meeting part of urban water needs through recycling.
  • Meeting water requirements of coastal cities through the adoption of new and appro-priate technologies such as low temperature desalination technologies.
  • Ensure basin-level management strategies to deal with rainfall variability, rainwater harvesting and establishment of equitable and efficient management structures.
  • Optimize efficiency of existing irrigation systems to rehabilitate run-down systems and to expand irrigation to increase storage capacity
  • Promotion of water-neutral and water-positive technologies for recharging of underground water sources and adoption of large-scale irrigation programme.

 

5 National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem

Objective

  • The most crucial and primary objective of the mission (NMSHE) is to develop a sustainable National capacity to continuously assess the health status of the Himalayan Ecosystem and enable policy bodies in their policy formulation functions and assist states in the Indian Himalayan region with their implementation of actions selected for sustainable development.

 

6 National Mission For a Green India

Objective

  • Increased forest-based livelihood income of about 3 million households, living in and around the forests.
  • Enhanced annual CO2, sequestration by 50 to 60 million tones in the year 2020.

 

7 National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)

Objective

  • To devise strategic plans at the agro-climatic zone level so that action plans are contextualized to regional scales in the areas of research and development (R&D), Technology and practices, infrastructure and capacity building.

8 National Mission on Strategic Knowledge For Climate Change (NMSKCC)

Objectives:

  • Formation of knowledge networks among the existing knowledge institutions engaged in research and development relating to climate science and facilitating data sharing and exchange through a suitable policy framework and institutional support.

 

Question

Mains

  • Examine the cause and the extent of desertification’ in India and suggest remedial measures. 2012
  • What are greenhouse gases? What impact do they have on the Earth’s climate and with what consequences? Elaborate. 2000
  • ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? 2017

 

OZONE DEPLETION:

 

Introduction:

  • Ozone (O3) is a gas which is present naturally within Earth’s atmosphere. It is formed of three oxygen atoms (giving it the chemical formula, O3). Its structure means that it’s much less stable than oxygen (O2), and is therefore much more reactive; this means it can be more easily formed and broken down through interaction with other compounds.
  • The ozone layer is a natural layer of gas in the upper atmosphere that protects humans and other living things from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Although ozone is present in small concentrations throughout the atmosphere, most (around 90%) exists in the stratosphere, a layer 10 to 50 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. The ozone layer filters out most of the sun’s harmful UV radiation and is therefore crucial to life on Earth.
  • Ozone plays a different role in atmospheric chemistry at different heights in the Earth’s atmosphere. We can differentiate this profile into two key zones:

 

Tropospheric ozone:

  • It is that which is present in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere; with a height of 5km to 15km depending on your latitude). Throughout most of the troposphere, ozone concentrations are relatively low.
  • However, concentrations of ozone can be higher very close to the surface at local levels; there it forms as an air pollutant and can negatively impact on human health.
  • Ground-level ozone can form through chemical reactions between local air pollutants such as nitrous oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sunlight.
  • These air pollutants are emitted from motor vehicle exhausts, industrial processes, electric utilities, and chemical solvents.
  • Ground-level ozone can have negative impacts on human health; breathing ozone is particularly harmful for the young, elderly and people with underlying respiratory problems. It is therefore commonly referred to as ‘bad’ ozone.

 

Stratospheric ozone:

  • It is that which is present in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere; typically extending from around 10 to 15km up to 50km depending on latitude).
  • Concentrations of ozone are higher in the stratosphere than in the troposphere.
  • The stratosphere includes the zone termed the ‘ozone layer’. Ozone in the stratosphere plays a very different role to that in the layer below.
  • In the ozone layer, it is often referred to as ‘good’ ozone since it plays a crucial role in absorbing potentially dangerous ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation from the sun.
  • The ozone layer typically absorbs 97-99 percent of incoming UV-B radiation.
  • Higher concentrations of ozone in the stratosphere is therefore crucial to ensure life (including humans) at Earth’s surface are not exposed to harmful concentrations of UV-B radiation.
  • Ozone depletion, gradual thinning of Earth’s ozone layer in the upper atmosphere caused by the release of chemical compounds containing gaseous chlorine or bromine from industry and other human activities.
  • The thinning is most pronounced in the polar-regions, especially over Antarctica. Ozone depletion is a major environmental problem because it increases the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches Earth’s surface, which increases the rate of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and genetic and immune system damage.

 

Ozone Depleting Substances:

  • Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are halogen gases containing chlorine and/or bromine which have the potential to break down ozone in the stratosphere. There are a significant number of ODS, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), methyl chloride and bromide, and halons.
  • These gases, emitted at the surface, are distributed globally through the lower atmosphere through wind transport patterns. From there, they can be transported into the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) where they can form highly reactive chlorine or bromine gases in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Reactive halogen gases can then destroy stratospheric ozone, resulting in depletion of the ozone layer.

 

CAUSES OF OZONE LAYER DEPLETION:
  • The ozone layer depletion is a major concern and is associated with a number of factors. The main causes responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer are listed below:

Natural Causes:

  • The ozone layer has been found to be depleted by certain natural processes such as Sun-spots and stratospheric winds. But it does not cause more than 1-2% of the ozone layer depletion.
  • The volcanic eruptions are also responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.

Man Made Causes:

  • Human activities are the main cause of the depletion of the ozone layer. It occurs due to the excessive use of the man-made chemicals that are bromine and chlorine which release from the man-made compounds such as:
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Halons
  • CH3CCl3 (Methyl chloroform)
  • CCl4 (Carbon tetrachloride)
  • HCFCs (hydro-chlorofluorocarbons)
  • Methyl bromide
  • Chlorofluorocarbons:
  • Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are the main cause of ozone layer depletion. These are released by solvents, spray aerosols, refrigerators, air-conditioners, etc.
  • The molecules of chlorofluorocarbons in the stratosphere are broken down by the ultraviolet radiations and release chlorine atoms. These atoms react with ozone and destroy it.
  • Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons have over the years served in place of Chlorofluorocarbons. They are not as harmful as CFCs to ozone layer.
  • Halons: It’s especially used in selected fire extinguishers in scenarios where the equipment or material could be devastated by water or extinguisher chemicals.
  • Carbon Tetrachloride: Also used in selected fire extinguishers and solven
  • Methyl Chloroform: Commonly utilized in industries for cold cleaning, vapor degreasing, chemical processing, adhesives and some aerosols.

 

EFFECTS OF OZONE DEPLETION:

  • Damage to Human Health: If the ozone layer is depleted, it means humans will be overly exposed to strong UV light. Overexposure to strong UV light causes skin cancer, cataracts, sunburns, weakening of the immune system and quick aging.
  • The Devastation to the Environment: Many crop species are vulnerable to strong UV light and overexposure may well lead to minimal growth, photosynthesis and flowering. Some of the crop species vulnerable to UV light include barley, wheat, corn, oats, rice, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower just to name a few. Forests equally bear the brunt of ozone depletion.
  • The Threat to Marine Life: Certain marine life, especially planktons, is greatly impacted by exposure to strong ultraviolet rays.
  • In the aquatic food chain, planktons appear high up. If planktons decrease in number due to ozone layer destruction, the marine food chain would be disrupted in many ways.
  • Also, overexposure of sun rays could reduce the fortunes of fishers. On top of that, certain species of marine life have been greatly affected by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation at their early stage.
  • Effect on Animals: In domesticated animals, too much Ultraviolet radiation could also lead to skin and eye cancer.
  • Impacts Certain Materials: Materials like plastics, wood, fabrics, rubber are massively degraded by too much ultraviolet radiation.

 

SOLUTIONS TO OZONE DEPLETION:

  • Desist From Using Pesticides: Pesticides are great chemicals to rid your farm of pests and weeds, but they contribute enormously to ozone layer depletion. The surefire solution to get rid of pests and weeds is to apply natural methods. Just weed your farm manually and use alternative eco-friendly chemicals to alleviate pests.
  • Discourage Driving of Private Vehicles: The easiest technique to minimize ozone depletion is to limit the number of vehicles on the road. These vehicles emit a lot of greenhouse gases that eventually form smog, a catalyst in the depletion of the ozone layer.
  • Utilize Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products: Most household cleaning products are loaded with harsh chemicals that find way to the atmosphere, eventually contributing to the degradation of the ozone layer. Use natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products to arrest this situation.
  • Prohibit the Use of Harmful Nitrous Oxide: The Montreal Protocol formed in 1989 helped a lot in the limitation of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). However, the protocol never covered nitrous oxide, which is a known harmful chemical that can destroy the ozone layer. Nitrous oxide is still in use today. Governments must take action now and outlaw nitrous oxide use to reduce the rate of ozone depletion.

HCFC Phase out Management Plan (HPMP).

  • The (MoEF&CC) through its Ozone Cell implements the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) as per the reduction schedule agreed with the Montreal Protocol.
  • It aims to phase out use of HCFCs by switching to nonozone depleting and low GWP technologies by 2030.
  • The Government of India has now launched Stage II of HPMP for the 2017-2023 period which has a strong focus on HCFC phase out in building sector.
  • HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January, 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. It is one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). (HCFC)-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.
  • Nearly, 50 % of the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals in the country was attributable to HCFC-141 b in the foam sector

Reason for the closing of Ozone Layer Hole

  • As per the reports by the scientists, the reason for the healing of a 1- million square kilometer wide hole in the ozone layer is the polar vortex.
  • It is a high-altitude current that is responsible for bringing cold air to the polar regions.
  • The report also added that the closing of the hole in the Ozone layer is not due to the reduced level of pollution during COVID-19 lockdown.
  • The signs of a hole forming in the Ozone layer above the North Pole were noticed in March by the scientists.
  • It was thought that it was the result of low temperature. It was projected that the largest hole in the Ozone layer would have led to a bigger threat, had it been moved to the south.

 

GLOBAL EFFORTS TO CONTROL OZONE LAYER DEPLETION:

 

VIENNA CONVENTION:

  • The Vienna Convention (First conceived in 1985) was the first convention of any kind to be signed by every country involved, taking effect in 1988 and reaching universal ratification in 2009.
  • This agreement is a framework convention that lays out principles agreed upon by many parties. It does not, however, require countries to take control actions to protect the ozone layer.
  • The Convention aimed to promote cooperation among nations by exchanging information on the effects of human activities on the ozone layer. In doing so, the creators of the Convention hoped policymakers would adopt measures to combat those activities responsible for ozone depletion.
  • Today, the Vienna Convention is still making progress. The countries involved meet once every three years to make decisions on important issues including on Research and Systematic observations as well as financial and administrative matters.

 

MONTREAL PROTOCOL:

  • It seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.
  • The Montreal Protocol (MP) aims at phasing out ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that were mostly used in air conditioning, refrigerating and foam industry. However, HFCs are not ozone depleting, but have a high global warming potential.
  • It also aims at phase out HCFCs by 2030. It came into force in 1989 and has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history.
  • It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.

 

Kigali Amendment to Montreal protocol:

  • It aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.
  • Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
  • The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • Thus, amended Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer now includes HFCs responsible for global warming.
  • This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.
  • The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction is to be binding on countries from 2019. It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance.
  • HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) are not Ozone Depleting Substances but still they are included in Montreal Protocol via Kigali Agreement because they are potent global warming substances.
  • Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally.
  • All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.
  • First group: It includes developed countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
  • Third group: It includes countries India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.

 

Question

  • Explain the phenomenon of ozone depletion, its cause and effects. What efforts are needed to reduce it 2007
  • What is ozone hole? How it caused and what is are its implications for life on Earth? 1999
  • What are the main recommendations of the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone layer? What are the implications for India of the latest convention held at London? 1990
  • Which one of the following is associated with the issue of control and phasing out of the use of ozone-depleting substances?
  1. Bretton Woods Conference
  2. Montreal Protocol
  3. Kyoto Protocol
  4. Nagoya Protocol

Answer: B

 

  • Consider the following statements:

Chlorofluorocarbons, known as ozone-depleting substances, are used.

1) In the production of plastic foams

2) In the production of tubeless tyres

3) In cleaning certain electronic components

4) As pressurizing agents in aerosol cans

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: C

 

  • The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctic region has been a cause, of concern. What could be the reason for the formation of this hole?
    1. Presence of prominent tropospheric turbulence; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons
    2. Presence of prominent polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons
    3. Absence of polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of methane and chlorofluorocarbons.
    4. Increased temperature at polar region due to global warming

 

Answer: B

 

GLOBAL INITIATIVES TO CONTROL CLIMATE CHANGE

 

UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC):

 

  • UNFCCC and the Rio Convention (UN Summit Conference on Environment and Development), 1992 at Brazil:
  • The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of two opened for signature at the “Rio Earth Summit” in Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The three are intrinsically linked.
  • The Convention acknowledges the vulnerability of all countries to the effects of climate change and calls for special efforts to ease the consequences, especially in developing countries which lack the resources to do so on their own.
  • Industrialized nations agree under the Convention to support climate change activities in developing countries by providing financial support for action on climate change– above and beyond any financial assistance they already provide to these countries.
  • A system of grants and loans has been set up through the Convention and is managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Industrialized countries also agree to share technology with less-advanced nations.
  • By 1995, countries launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, two years later, adopted the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the international climate change negotiations, particularly the Conference of the Parties (COP), the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CMP), the subsidiary bodies (which advise the COP/CMP), and the COP/CMP Bureau (which deals mainly with procedural and organizational issues arising from the COP/CMP and also has technical functions).

 

Global Environment Facility (GEF):

  • The GEF was established by in 1991 by the World Bank in consultation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to provide funding to the global environment.

The GEF now has six focal areas:

  • Biological Diversity
  • Climate Change
  • Land Degradation, primarily desertification and deforestation
  • Ozone layer depletion
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • International Waters

 

KYOTO PROTOCOL:

  • The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed country Parties to emission reduction targets.
  • The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
  • The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020.
  • The Kyoto Protocol (at COP-3) was adopted in Japan in December Owing to a complex ratification process, it entered into force in February 2005. Currently, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • There are now 197 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • In short, the Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets.
  • The Convention itself only asks those countries to adopt policies and measures on mitigation and to report periodically.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is based on the principles and provisions of the Convention and follows its annex-based structure.
  • It only binds developed countries, and places a heavier burden on them under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities”, because it recognizes that they are largely responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere.
  • In its Annex B, the Kyoto Protocol sets binding emission reduction targets for 37 industrialized countries and economies in transition and the European Union.
  • Overall, these targets add up to an average 5 per cent emission reduction compared to 1990 levels over the five year period 2008–2012 (the first commitment period).

 

THE KYOTO MECHANISMS:

  • One important element of the Kyoto Protocol was the establishment of flexible market mechanisms, which are based on the trade of emissions permits.
  • Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms:
  • International Emissions Trading
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  • Joint implementation (JI)
  • These mechanisms ideally encourage GHG abatement to start where it is most cost-effective, for example, in the developing world.
  • It does not matter where emissions are reduced, as long as they are removed from the atmosphere. This has the parallel benefits of stimulating green investment in developing countries and including the private sector in this endeavour to cut and hold steady GHG emissions at a safe level.
  • It also makes leap-frogging—that is, the possibility of skipping the use of older, dirtier technology for newer, cleaner infrastructure and systems, with obvious longer-term benefits—more economical.

 

The objectives of Kyoto Mechanisms:

 

The Clean Development Mechanism:

  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.
  • Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.
  • It is the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing standardized emissions offset instrument known as CERs.
  • A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers.

 

Joint implementation:

  • The mechanism known as “joint implementation”, defined in the Kyoto Protocol, allows a country with an emission reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) from an emission-reduction or emission removal project in another Annex B Party, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting its Kyoto target.
  • Joint implementation offers Parties a flexible and cost-efficient means of fulfilling a part of their Kyoto commitments, while the host Party benefits from foreign investment and technology transfer.
  • The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.

 

CARBON TRADING:

  • It is the name given to the exchange of emission permits. This exchange may take place within the economy or may take the form of international transaction. There are two types of carbon trading:
  • Emission Trading
  • Offset Trading.

International Emissions Trading-  Greenhouse gas emissions a new commodity:

  • Parties with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Parties) have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions. These targets are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or assigned amounts, at over the 2008-2012 commitment period. The allowed emissions are divided into assigned amount units (AAUs).
  • Emissions trading, as set out in the Kyoto Protocol, allows countries that have emission units to spare – emissions permitted them but not “used” – to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.
  • Thus, a new commodity was created in the form of emission reductions or removals. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, people speak simply of trading in carbon.
  • Carbon is now tracked and traded like any other commodity. This is known as the “carbon market.”

 

Offset Trading/ Base-line and Credit Trading:

  • In the voluntary markets, the carbon credit buyer acquires a number of Verified Emission Reduction (VERs) or carbon offsets corresponding to the volume of GHG emissions that it wishes to offset. The amount paid for this purpose – which can vary – contributes directly or indirectly to the funding of a specific carbon emissions reduction project.
  • Project developers working with the voluntary markets can produce offsets from a variety of activities, from the installation of renewable energy infrastructure like wind turbines or solar panels to planting trees that remove and store carbon from the atmosphere.

 

BALI ROAD MAP:

  • Bali Action Plan or Bali Roadmap was adopted after the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-13/ MOP-3) on the island Bali in Indonesia in December, 2007. This was a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen.
  • The Bali Road Map includes the Bali Action Plan, which charts the course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change.
  • The Bali Action Plan is a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012, in order to reach an agreed outcome and adopt a decision.
  • The Bali Action Plan is divided into five main categories:
  • Shared vision: The shared vision refers to a long-term vision for action on climate change, including a long-term goal for emission reductions.
  • Mitigation: Enhanced national/international action on mitigation of climate change.
  • Adaptation: Enhanced action on adaptation.
  • Technology: Enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation.
  • Financing: Enhanced action on the provision of financial resources and investment to support action on mitigation and adaptation and technology cooperation.

 

COPENHAGEN SUMMIT- COP15 (2009):

  • The 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC took place in Copenhagen and was hosted by the Government of Denmark. A legally binding agreement could not be arrived in this meeting due to discord between developing and developed countries.
  • The Copenhagen Accord contained several key elements on which there was strong convergence of the views of governments. This included the long-term goal of limiting the maximum global average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, subject to a review in 2015. There was, however, no agreement on how to do this in practical terms. It also included a reference to consider limiting the temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees – a key demand made by vulnerable developing countries.
  • Other central elements included:
  • Developed countries’ promises to fund actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change in developing countries. Developed countries promised to provide US$30 billion for the period 2010-2012, and to mobilize long-term finance of a further US$100 billion a year by 2020 from a variety of sources.
  • Agreement on the measurement, reporting and verification of developing country actions, including a reference to “international consultation and analysis”, which had yet to be defined.
  • The establishment of four new bodies: a mechanism on REDD-plus, a High-Level Panel under the COP to study implementation of financial provisions, the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, and a Technology Mechanism.

 

CANCUN SUMMIT- COP16

  • The sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol took place in Cancun and was hosted by the Government of Mexico.
  • The meeting produced the basis for the most comprehensive and far-reaching international response to climate change the world had ever seen to reduce carbon emissions and build a system which made all countries accountable to each other for those reductions.
  • The Parties agreed:
  • to commit to a maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to consider lowering that maximum to 1.5 degrees in the near future.
  • to make fully operational by 2012 a technology mechanism to boost the innovation, development and spread of new climate-friendly technologies;
  • to establish a Green Climate Fund to provide financing to projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries via thematic funding windows;
  • on the Cancun Adaptation Framework, which included setting up an Adaptation Committee to promote the implementation of stronger, cohesive action on adaptation.
  • On the mitigation front, developed countries submitted economy-wide emission reduction targets and agreed on strengthened reporting frequency and standards and to develop low-carbon national plans and strategies. Developing countries submitted nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), to be implemented subject to financial and technical support.

Outcomes of COP-16:

Green Climate Fund:

  • In order to scale up the provision of long-term financing for developing countries, Governments at COP 16 in Cancun decided to establish a Green Climate Fund.
  • The fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows.
  • A Transitional Committee selected by Parties to the UNFCCC will design the details of the new fund, which will be designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention and will be accountable to the COP.

Technology Mechanism:

  • The new Technology Mechanism is expected to facilitate enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation.
  • The Mechanism consists of two key components: a Technology Executive Committee and a Climate Technology Centre and Network.
  • Cancun Adaptation Framework:
  • The objective of the Cancun Adaptation Framework is to enhance action on adaptation, including through international cooperation and coherent consideration of matters relating to adaptation under the Convention.
  • Ultimately enhanced action on adaptation seeks to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in developing country Parties, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of those developing countries that are particularly vulnerable.

 

DOHA AMENDMENT TO KYOTO PROTOCOL- COP 18 (2012):

  • The Doha Amendment refers to the changes made to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, after the First Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol concluded. The Amendment adds new emission reduction targets for Second Commitment Period (2012-2020) for participating countries.
  • The amendment includes:
  • New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020;
  • A revised list of GHG to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and
  • Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.
  • During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and economies in transition and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels.
  • During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.

COP 20– 2014 – Lima Outcome

  • GCF initial – $10bn funding will be provided
  • Proposal for 2015 New deal & Concept of “Nationally appropriate mitigation action”

Establishment of Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage

  • The aim of the L&D Mechanism is to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change, including extreme events (such as hurricanes, heat waves, etc.) and slow onset events (such as desertification, sea level rise, ocean acidification, etc.) in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The L&D Mechanism will promote the implementation of approaches to addresses loss and damage in three ways:
  • Enhancing knowledge and understanding of comprehensive risk management approaches;
  • Strengthening dialogue, coordination, coherence and synergies among relevant stakeholders;
  • Enhancing action and support, including finance, technology and capacity–building

 

PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE COP-21, 2015:

  • At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
  • The Paris Agreement is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts.
  • The deal aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
  • The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate-altering pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time.
  • The pact provides a pathway for developed nations to assist developing nations in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, and it creates a framework for the transparent monitoring, reporting, and ratcheting up of countries’ individual and collective climate goals.

Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC)

  • It is a voluntary initiative that catalyzes action towards the successful implementation of carbon pricing around the world.
  • The CPLC brings together leaders from government, business, civil society and academia to support carbon pricing, share experiences and enhance the global, regional, national and sub-national understanding of carbon pricing implementation.
  • The CPLC Secretariat is administered by The World Bank
  • A key aspect of carbon pricing is the “polluter pays” principle. Indian Railways is partner to CPLC.

 

India’s Nationally Determined Contributions:

 

  • Countries across the globe committed to create a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
  • India has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Key elements and focus areas of India’s INDC:
  • Sustainable Lifestyles – To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
  • Cleaner Economic Development – To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
  • Reducing Emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • Increasing the Share of Non Fossil Fuel Based Electricity – To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
  • Enhancing Carbon Sink (Forests) – To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • Adaptation – To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
  • Mobilizing Finance – To mobilize domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building – To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.

 

Green Climate Fund (GCF)

  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest dedicated fund helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.
  • It was set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010.
  • GCF has a crucial role in serving the Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C.
  • It does this by channelling climate finance to developing countries, which have joined other nations in committing to climate action.The Fund pays particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and African States.

 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.
  • Through its assessments, the IPCC determines the state of knowledge on climate change.
  • It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community on topics related to climate change, and where further research is needed. The reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
  • The IPCC does not conduct its own research. IPCC reports are neutral, policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive.  The assessment reports are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change.

 

MARRAKECH CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE- COP 22,  2016:

  • COP 22 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was held in Marrakesh, Morocco. About 200 nations attended the conference and adopted the Marrakesh Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development.
  • The purpose of the conference was to deliberate on the plans to combat climate change and implement those plans.
  • Some of the important outcomes from the conference are throwing more light on the Adaptation of African Agriculture to combat the impending problems in Africa due to climate change, International Solar Alliance, a Mission focusing on Innovation, long term targets for the year 2050 and a platform for group of most vulnerable nations due to climate change.
  • Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA): The triple-An initiative seeks to climate-proof agriculture in Africa by promoting sustainable soil management, better water management, and risk mitigation strategies. 27 African countries are already on the platform.
  • Climate Vulnerable Forum: Member countries stressed that the target should be to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 (not 2) degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times. They vowed to update their climate action plans before 2020 to bring in greater ambition, and prepare a long-term low-carbon development strategy for 2050 with a 1.5-degree target in mind. They also said they would strive to reach 100% renewable energy production between 2030 and 2050.
  • 2050 Pathway Platform: This is an effort to get countries, cities and businesses to accept long-term targets for climate action. Countries have submitted 5-year or 10-year action plans as part of their commitments under the Paris deal.
  • Mission Innovation: There will be greater research collaborations between these countries, which together account for almost 80% of all investments into clean energy research. The mission has identified 7 innovation challenges, including smart grids, carbon capture and sequestration, building of storage cells for solar energy, clean energy materials and sustainable biofuels. Science Based Targets initiative got a boost in Marrakech when over 200 companies worldwide committed to emissions reductions targets.

 

25th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 25)

  • The COP 25 decision text, titled ‘Chile Madrid Time for Action’, emphasized the continued challenges that the developing countries face in accessing financial, technology and capacity building support.
  • It recognized the urgent need to enhance the provision of support to the developing country Parties to enable them to strengthen their national adaptation and mitigation efforts.
  • The decision also recalled the commitment made by the developed country Parties to the goal of mobilizing jointly US$ 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of the developing country Parties.
  • On the issue of global ambition for combating climate change, the decision adopted provided for a balanced and integrated view that includes not only efforts for climate change mitigation, but also for adaptation and ‘means of implementation’ support from the developed country Parties to the developing country Parties.

 

‘RACE TO ZERO’

  • It is a global campaign to rally; leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
  • Race To Zero mobilizes actors outside of national governments to join the Climate Ambition Alliance, which was launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit 2019 by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.
  • The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of COP26, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement.
  • This will send governments a resounding signal that business, cities, regions and investors are united in meeting the Paris goals and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.

 

Green Building

  • Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
  • This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.

 

Green building rating systems in India

Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)

  • It is India’s own rating system jointly developed by TERI and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.
  • It is a green building design evaluation system where buildings are rated in a three-tier process.
    The GRIHA Rating System contains 34 evaluation criteria with 100 points. These criteria have been categorized into

(i) Site Planning including conservation and efficient utilization of resources, health and wellbeing during building planning and construction stage

(ii) Water Conservation

(iii) Energy Efficiency including energy embodied & construction and renewable energy

(iv) Waste Management including waste minimization, segregation, storage, disposal and recovery of energy from waste

(v) Environment for good health and wellbeing.

 

Carbon Neutrality

  • Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether (the transition to the “post-carbon economy”).
  • Note:Bhutan and Suriname are the only carbon neutral countries in the world.
  • Carbon neutrality can be achieved by enhancing energy efficiency of the buildings as well as purchasing the remaining energy need from carbon neutral sources.
  • News- Assam government has initiated a project to make river island Majuliis the country’s first ever Carbon Neutral district by 2020.

 

Climate Vulnerable Forum(CVF)

  • The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international cooperation group of developing countries tackling global climate change.
  • The CVF was founded by the Maldives government before the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which sought to increase awareness of countries considered vulnerable.
  • United Nations agencies collaborate in implementing activities linked to the CVF with the UNDP, the lead organization supporting the forum’s work.
  • The CVF was formed to increase the accountability of industrialized nations for the consequences of global climate change.

 

Vulnerable Twenty (V20)

  • It is a group ofMinisters 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.
  • It’s primary objective is to promote the mobilisation of climate finance

 

START

  • START is a core international partner of the United States Global Change Research Program and works closely with universities and research institutes in Africa and Asia, United Nations agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations.
  • Focus in advance knowledge and action on issues including land-use/land-cover change, biodiversity, agriculture and food security, urbanization, human health, water resource management, and climate change. They work globally, connecting experts and organizations across countries and regions, with a particular focus on Africa and Asia.
  • At the intersection of science, policy and practice, START programs link science with society to advance locally and regionally-driven actionable knowledge.

 

CLIVAR (climate variability and predictability)

  • It is a component of the World Climate Research Programme.
  • Its purpose is to describe and understand climate variability and predictability on seasonal to centennial time-scales, identify the physical processes responsible for climate change and develop modelling and predictive capabilities for climate modelling.

 

World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)

  • The World Climate Research Programme is an international programme that helps to coordinate global climate research.
  • The WCRP was established in 1980, under the joint sponsorship of the World Meteorological Organization(WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), and has also been sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO since 1993.
  • The programme is funded by its three sponsors and additional contributions by nation-states or other donors.
  • WCRP uses these funds to organize science workshops or conferences and support collaboration between climate scientists at an international level.
  • Its expert groups also develop international standards for climate data and propose future emphasis areas in international climate research, among others.

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN NEWS

 

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

In News-

  • An amendment made in the International Solar Alliance(ISA) agreement has allowed all 192 member countries of the United Nations to join the Alliance.

About ISA

  • It is a multilateral forum jointly launched by India and France on the side-lines of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
  • To work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

 

Objectives

  • To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs
  • To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
  • To bring about a major decrease in the cost of solar energy
  • To scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries and facilitate collaborative
  • Research and development (R&D).
  • Headquarters ➔ Gurugram, India.

 

India’s Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)

In News:-

  • India’s Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) has received appreciation from the UN on World Ozone Day.
  • Significance of ICAP:- India is the first country in world to develop such a document
  • The goals stated in ICAP are:-
  • Reduction of cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25 % by year 2037- 38.
  • Reduction of refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by year 2037-38.
  • Reduction of cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by year 2037-38.
  • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by the year 2022-23, in synergy with Skill India Mission.
  • Recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under the national S&T Programme.

Objectives:

  • Assessment of cooling requirements across sectors in next 20 years and the associated refrigerant demand and energy use.
  • Map the technologies available to cater the cooling requirementincluding passive interventions, refrigerant- based technologies and alternative technologies such as not-in-kind technologies.
  • Suggest interventions in each sector to provide for sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all.
  • Focus on skilling of RAC service technicians.
  • Develop an R&D innovation ecosystem for indigenous development of alternative technologies.

 

Climate vulnerability assessment map

  • For preparing communities and people to meet the challenge arising out of climate changes, a pan India climate vulnerability assessment map is being developed. Such climate vulnerability atlas has already been developed for 12 states in the Indian Himalayan Region, using a common framework.
  • The map is being developed under a joint project of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
  • This research programme of DST is being implemented as part of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) and National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC)

 

Sea Level Increase

News-

  • If global warming exceeds 2⁰C by 2100, about 80 % of global coastline could see a 6-ft rise in sea levels.
  • It is said to be linked with global warming and as per the fifth assessment report of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC), the global sea level was rising at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over the last century.
  • According to the data from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, four ports namely Diamond Harbour, Kandla, Haldia, and Port Blair recorded a higher sea-level rise than the global average.

 

New IPCC report warns of a dire threat to ocean

  • News-The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its special report underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers, and ice-deposits on land and sea.
  • IPCC in its ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ found that over the 21st century, the ocean is projected to transition to unprecedented conditions with increased temperatures, further ocean acidification, marine heatwaves and more frequent extreme El Niño and La Niña events.
  • The report was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to determine the impact on the world’s oceans and ice-covered regions.
  • Rising seas are already threatening low-lying coastal areas that today are home to 680 million people, about 10 percent of the world’s population.
  • The Southern Ocean accounted for 35%–43% of the total heat gain in the upper 2,000 m global ocean between 1970 and 2017, and its share increased to 45%–62% between 2005 and 2017.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE PERFORMANCE INDEX -2020

  • News- The Climate Change Performance Index was recently released.
  • Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is published by Germanwatch, Climate Action Network International and the New Climate Institute, annually.
  • It aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
  • The Index covers 57 countries and the EU.
  • The ranking results are defined by a country’s aggregated performance in 14 indicators within the four categories:-
  • GHG Emission- 40%
  • Renewable Energy – 20%
  • Energy Use- 20%
  • Climate Policy- 20%
  • Findings of the CCPI 2020
  • Emissions decreased in 31 out of 57 High Emitting Countries, The major reason being, falling global coal consumption.
  • The G20 countries, UK (7th rank) and India (9th rank) are “High” Category
  • India’s ranking improved two places, from 11th (CCPI 2019) to 9th (CCPI 2020) entering into top ten rankings for the first time.

 

Australian Bushfires

  • News-Australia is witnessing its most devastating bushfire season in at least 20 years, All this has been exacerbated by persistent heat and drought, and many point to climate change as a factor making natural disasters go from bad to worse.

 

Causes for bushfires:

Natural Causes:

  • Lightning which set trees on fire
  • High atmospheric temperatures and dryness (low humidity)
  • In the dry season, friction leading to sparks by rolling stones in the mountainous areas may lead to forest fires
  • In bamboo areas, forest fires may occur by the rubbing together of clumps of dry bamboo.
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • The presence of El Nino conditions affecting the monsoon movements

Man-made causes:

  • Practice of shifting cultivation
  • The use of fires by villagers to ward off wild animals
  • Forest fires are started by smugglers and poachers to hide the stumps of illicit felling.
  • Gatherers of various forest products start small fires to obtain good grazing grass as well as to facilitate gathering of minor forest produce like flowers of Madhuca indica.
  • Accidentally discarded cigarette butts
  • Stubble burning – when these fires are not put out completely, it may spread to the adjoining forest areas.
  • Climate change and bushfires:
  • Bushfires are exacerbated by the effects of global warming. The Climate Council, an independent, community-funded climate organization, suggests that drought conditions and record-breaking temperatures have contributed to the fires’ unprecedented scale and intensity.

 

CARBON PRICING:

  • News-A Report of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Pricing and Competitiveness by Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition makes a strong case for carbon pricing.
  • Carbon pricing is an instrument that captures the external costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—the costs of emissions that the public pays for, such as damage to crops, health care costs from heat waves and droughts, and loss of property from flooding and sea level rise—and ties them to their sources through a price, usually in the form of a price on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.
  • There are several paths governments can take to price carbon, all leading to the same result. They begin to capture what are known as the external costs of carbon emissions – costs that the public pays for in other ways, such as damage to crops and health care costs from heat waves and droughts or to property from flooding and sea level rise – and tie them to their sources through a price on carbon.
  • There are two main types of carbon pricing: emissions trading systems (ETS) and carbon taxes.
  • An ETS– sometimes referred to as a cap-and-trade system – caps the total level of greenhouse gas emissions and allows those industries with low emissions to sell their extra allowances to larger emitters.
  • By creating supply and demand for emissions allowances, an ETS establishes a market price for greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The cap helps ensure that the required emission reductions will take place to keep the emitters (in aggregate) within their pre-allocated carbon budget.
  • A carbon taxdirectly sets a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or – more commonly – on the carbon content of fossil fuels.
  • It is different from an ETS in that the emission reduction outcome of a carbon tax is not pre-defined but the carbon price.

 

Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF 2.0)

  • News-The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0.

About CSCAF 2.0

  • A framework is a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
  • ​It was developed after a review of existing frameworks and assessment approaches adopted throughout the world.
  • It followed a series of an extensive consultative process with more than 26 organizations and 60 experts from different thematic areas.
  • The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.

Various indicators of the framework

  • The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely:
  • Energy and Green Buildings
  • Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity
  • Mobility and Air Quality
  • Water Management
  • Waste Management

 

Arctic Heatwave warming up Siberia

  • News- The Arctic Circle has recorded temperatures reaching over 38 degrees Celsius in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, likely an all-time high. The temperatures seem to have been 18 degree Celsius higher than normal in June according to the BBC.
  • Reason for Arctic Heat Wave
  • The rising temperatures are attributed to large-scale wind patterns that blasted the Arctic with heat, the absence of sea ice, and human-induced climate change, among other reasons.
  • There has been an increase of heat wave occurrences over the terrestrial Arctic. These frequent occurrences have already started to threaten local vegetation, ecology, human health and economy.

 

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

  • The CDRI was launched by the Prime Minister of India during his speech at the UN Climate Action Summit on 23rd September 2019
  • It is a multi-stakeholder global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and academic and knowledge institutions.
  • It is not an inter-governmental organisation, which are ordinarily treaty based organizations With the increasing demands of a growing global population and unpredictable hazard patterns, the existing infrastructure will be put under additional stress and new infrastructure will be built in hazardous areas.
  • The CDRI is a global partnership that aims to promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development
  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) highlights the role of improved disaster resilience of infrastructure as a cornerstone for sustainable development.

 

Greenco Certification

  • On March 19, 2020, the Ministry of Railways presented the details of Greenco System in the country in Lok Sabha.
  • The Greenco Certification or rating is provided by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • The factors considered while providing the certification is greenhouse gas mitigation; zero waste; recycling and material conservation; world class energy efficiency and toxicity reduction. It also helps to track the environmental impact caused by the infrastructural projects undertaken
  • The Greenco rating was acknowledged in the INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted by India to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015.

 

Nagar van scheme

  • Nagar van scheme to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years with a renewed focus on people’s participation and collaboration between Forest Department, Municipal bodies, NGOs, Corporates and local citizens Moefcc celebrates World Environment Day focusing on the them declared by United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP) and organizes several events.
  • Warje Urban Forest or Smriti Van in Pune now a role model for the Maharashtra Forest Department joined hands with TERRE Policy, a city based NGO, Tata Motors and Persistent Foundation to turn the barren hill into a green forest.

 

Question:

Q. Consider the following statements:

1) The International Solar Alliance was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015.

2) The Alliance includes all the member countries of the United Nations.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

 

Q. With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

    1.  The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017
    2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C or even 1.5°C above preindustrial levels
    3.  Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

    1. 1 and 3 only
    2. 2 only
    3. 2 and 3 only
    4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

 

Q. The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of

    1. Pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East
    2. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change
    3. Capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
    4. Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals.

Answer: B

 

Q. Consider the following statements:

1) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in respect of carbon credits is one of the Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms.

2) Under the CDM, the projects handled pertain only to the Annex-I countries.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

      1. 1 only
      2. 2 only
      3. Both 1 and 2
      4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

 

Q. Regarding “carbon credits”, which one of the following statements is not correct?

    1. The carbon credit system was ratified in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol
    2. Carbon credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced greenhouse gases below their emission quota
    3. The goal of the carbon credit system is to limit the increase of carbon dioxide emission
    4. Carbon credits are traded at a price fixed from time to time by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Answer: D

 

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Terms some times Seen in the news   Their Origin

1) Annex-1 Countries : Cartagena Protocol

2) Certified Emissions : Nagoya Protocol Reductions

3) Clean Development : Kyoto Protocol Mechanism

Which of the pairs given above is/ are correctly matched?

    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 2 and 3 only
    3. 3 only
    4. 1, 2 and 3

 Answer: C

 

Q. Which of the following statements regarding ‘Green Climate Fund’ is/are correct?

1) It is intended to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

2) It is founded under the aegis of UNEP, OECD, Asian Development Bank and World Bank.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

 

Q. With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

    1. It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’.
    2. It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level
    3. It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment
    4. Both a and b

Answer: D

 

Q. BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes’ is managed by the

    1. Asian Development Bank
    2. International Monetary Fund
    3. United Nations Environment Programme
    4. World Bank

 Answer: D

 

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