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1. Talanoa Dialogue Synthesis Report And Yearbook Of Global Climate Action 2018

WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

  • Published annually, the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

  • It is based on observations from the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW), which tracks the changing levels of greenhouse gases as a result of industrialization, energy use from fossil fuel sources, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation.


Key Findings of the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin-2018

  • Carbon dioxide is the main long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Concentrations reached 405.5 ppm in 2017, 146% of the pre-industrial era (before 1750).

  • Methane (CH4) is the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas and is now 257% of the pre-industrial level.

  • Atmospheric concentration of Nitrous oxide (N2O) in 2017 was 329.9 parts per billion. This is 122% of pre-industrial levels.

  • CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane): Since 2012 its rate of decline has slowed to roughly two thirds of its rate of decline during the preceding decade.

  • Emissions Gap Report 2018: This is the 9th edition of the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report.

  • It focuses on the “gap” between the emissions reductions necessary to achieve the agreed targets at lowest cost and the likely emission reductions from full implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement.

  • It is prepared by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


Major Findings

  • Pathways reflecting current NDCs imply global warming of about 3°C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards.

  • Global greenhouse gas emissions show no signs of peaking. Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry increased in 2017, following a three year period of stabilization.

  • UNFCCC released two key publications, Talanoa Dialogue Synthesis Report and Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2018.


Highlights of the Report

  • Both the reports are based on various studies and climate reports such as IPCC report, Emission Gap Report, WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and other inputs received from across the globe.

  • It highlights that success in tackling the global climate crisis can be achieved, but only if public and private sector actions are urgently stepped up.

  • The reports aim to respond to the three Talanoa Dialogue questions in regards to the progress on Climate actions.

  • Where are we?

  • As of 18 November 2018, 184 Parties to the UNFCCC (over 90 per cent) had ratified the Paris Agreement; 180 had formally recorded their NDC in the registry; 10 had communicated a long‐term, low‐emission development strategy; and 91 were working on a national adaptation plan.

  • National governments have taken steps to strengthen national policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks to address climate change. Climate‐related laws come to a total of 1,500.

  • Action under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol up to 2020 is under way; however, much more of global effort is still required to deliver the expected level of action and support.

  • Perceived trade‐offs of the changes towards transition to low‐emission development with competing national priorities (e.g. poverty alleviation, job security) or competitiveness, misalignments between national and sectoral policies, insufficient leadership as well as cultural and psychological barriers are the major challenges.

  • Overall, climate action is on the rise, generating momentum throughout the planet and providing opportunities and experiences that can be replicated. However, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still increasing, as is the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere (See Box- WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin).

  • Where do we want to go?

  • It is imperative to keep global warming to below 1.5 °C, as a matter of life and death for small islands and other vulnerable communities.

  • CO2 emission reductions that limit global warming to 1.5 °C involve different portfolios of measures, striking different balances between lowering energy and resource intensity, rate of decarbonization and the reliance on CO2 removal; different portfolios face different challenges and potential synergies and trade‐offs with sustainable development.

  • How do we get there?

  • Strict adherence to climate goals as committed in NDCs and various global forums such as Doha Amendment to Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable

  • Virtual Climate Summit: Also called as the 2018 CVF Summit is organized as part of the Talanoa Dialogue, which serves as an agreed mechanism for the promotion of enhanced national action by all nations party to the Paris Agreement by 2020. • It is a Heads of Government level conference held entirely online as the first Virtual Summit (#VirtualClimateSummit) of global political leaders, eliminating emissions and promoting inclusive dialogue.

  • It was organised by the Climate Action Network (CAN) and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

  • Objectives of the Summit

  • Sustain and amplify support and momentum for the successful conclusion to the 2018 UNFCCC's Talanoa Dialogue;

  • Provide a unique internet- and social media- based opportunity to raise awareness on the risks of climate change and the opportunities related to the tackling of climate change;

  • Development.

  • Private sector actors continue, and step‐up, initiatives and concerted action to reduce emissions and enhance resilience in line with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

  • Civil society groups strengthen their collective contribution and active engagement to promote climate action at the regional, national, State and local level.

  • Finance: Solutions lie in investments in ex ante climate resilience building, as much as in scaled‐ up adaptation financing.

  • Technological Innovations: This could be achieved by developing a strong and diversified entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters and protects innovation and fair competition, e.g. through incentive programmes and the establishment and strengthening of incubators and accelerators and appropriate schemes for intellectual property rights.

  • Capacity Building: According to the IPCC, international cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions. This can be achieved by

  • Establishing and strengthening national frameworks for the governance and monitoring of climate action, and develop and implement policies and measures relating to mitigation and adaptation action;

  • Support the establishment and enhancement of South–South cooperation initiatives, in particular those with the potential to facilitate research and development and large‐ scale deployment of low‐emission and climate‐resilient technologies;

  • The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, established at the CoP22 (UNFCCC), aims to mobilize climate actions quickly and to reap the benefits in efficiency and effectiveness through partnerships and coordination between different actors.

  • It lists out some of the progressive steps taken and benefits of Climate action in the Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2018:

  • About 60 per cent of the initiatives are producing outputs that put them on a path to achieving their desired environmental or social outcomes.

  • The outputs from cooperative initiatives are increasingly being delivered in low- or middle-income countries. This reflects increased climate action in developing countries and increased international cooperation.

  • Climate action is re-shaping the financial sector to help transition to a net-zero carbon and resilient society. Businesses and investors are also reporting on and are managing climate risks and opportunities and implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

  • Increasingly mainstreaming of climate change into financial institutions’ operations and investment decisions. E.g. the green bond market. In 2018, the total value of climate-aligned bonds peaked at USD 1.45 trillion.


2. Montreal Protocol Assessment

​​Key findings of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018

  • Actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and the start of the recovery of stratospheric ozone.

  • The atmospheric abundances of both total tropospheric chlorine and total tropospheric bromine from long-lived ODSs controlled under the Montreal Protocol have continued to decline since the 2014 Assessment.

  • Outside the Polar Regions, upper stratospheric ozone layer has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000.

  • The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering, while continuing to occur every year. As a result of the Montreal Protocol much more severe ozone depletion in the Polar Regions has been avoided.

  • At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely (i.e. equivalent to 1980 values) by the 2030s followed by

  • the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060.

  • The Kigali Amendment is projected to reduce future global average warming in 2100 due to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from a baseline of 0.3–0.5 degree Celsius to less than 0.1 degree Celsius.


Ozone change and its influence on climate

  • Ozone is important in the climate system and its changes can influence both the troposphere and the stratosphere.

  • Influence on stratospheric climate: Decreases in stratospheric ozone caused by ODS increases have been an important contributor to observed stratospheric cooling.

  • New studies find that ODSs thereby contributed approximately one third of the observed cooling in the upper stratosphere from 1979 to 2005, with two thirds caused by increases in other GHGs.

  • Influence on surface climate and oceans: Lower stratospheric cooling due to ozone depletion has very likely been the dominant cause of late 20th century changes in Southern Hemisphere climate in summer. These changes include the observed pole ward shift in Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation, with associated impacts on surface temperature and precipitation.

  • Changes in tropospheric circulation driven by ozone depletion have contributed to recent trends in Southern Ocean temperature and circulation; the impact on Antarctic sea ice remains unclear.

  • Future Global Ozone changes: The key drivers of future ozone levels continue to be declining ODS concentrations, upper stratospheric cooling because of increased GHGs, and the possible strengthening of the Brewer-Dobson circulation (a model which attempts to explain how tropical air has less ozone than polar air, even though the tropical stratosphere is where most atmospheric ozone is produced) from climate change.

  • CO2, CH4, and N2O will be the main drivers of 60°S–60°N stratospheric ozone changes in the second half of the 21st century. These gases impact both chemical cycles and the stratospheric overturning circulation, with a larger response in stratospheric ozone associated with stronger climate forcing.

  • Given that ODS levels are expected to decline slowly in coming years, a large enhancement of stratospheric sulphate aerosol in the next decades would result in additional chemical ozone losses. Possible sources of additional stratospheric sulphate aerosol include volcanic eruptions (like Mt. Pinatubo in 1991) and geoengineering.

  • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer [1985]:

  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer.

  • It paves the way for a legally binding treaty through protocol called Montreal protocol.

  • Montreal Protocol [1987]

  • It aims at reducing the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS).

  • It has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in United Nations history.

  • Kigali agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol [2016]

  • Its aim is to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.

  • It will be binding on countries from 2019.

  • Why Montreal Protocol Worked?

  • The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful and effective environmental treaties ever negotiated and implemented. No single factor led to its success.

  • Approach of Cooperation: From the start, negotiation relied heavily on leadership and innovative approaches. Much negotiation was held in small, informal groups. This enabled a genuine exchange of views and the opportunity to take some issues on trust, such as the subsequent development of the Multilateral Fund. The people negotiating the treaty also included scientists, which lent credibility.

  • Principles based: The “precautionary principle”, and the concept of common, but differentiated, responsibility took root in the Montreal Protocol when developing countries were given longer time to phase-out ODS.

  • Flexibility to accommodate newer information: This flexibility meant the protocol could be amended to include stricter controls: more ozone-depleting substances added to the control list and total phase-out, rather than partial phase-out, called for. Starting out modestly also encouraged a greater confidence in the process.

  • Trade Provisions and restrictions: These limited the signatories to trade only with other signatories. This increasingly limited the supplies of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to non-signatories countries which forced them to ratify the Protocol.

  • Clear List of Targeted Sectors: The chemicals and sectors (refrigeration, primarily) involved are clearly articulated. This let governments prioritise the main sectors early.

  • Incentive to Industry: The Montreal Protocol also provided a stable framework that allowed industry to plan long-term research and innovation. Transitioning to newer, reasonably priced formulations with lower- or no-ozone depleting potential benefited the environment and industry.

  • Institutional Support: Another feature of the protocol has been the expert, independent Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (and its predecessors). These have helped signatories reach solid and timely decisions on often-complex matters. They have given countries confidence to start their transition.

  • The Multilateral Fund has been another reason for the protocol’s success.

  • It provides incremental funding for developing countries to help them meet their compliance targets.

  • Concerns expressed in the Assessment Report

  • The decrease of chlorine from controlled substances has partly been offset by increases in the mainly natural CH3Cl and mainly anthropogenic very short-lived gases, which are not controlled under the Montreal Protocol.

  • Global CFC-11 emissions, increased after 2012.

  • Unexpected stable or even increasing emissions of some of the low abundance (less than 20 ppt) CFCs (CFC-13, CFC-113a, CFC-114, CFC-115) between 2012 and 2016.

  • Total chlorine from HCFCs has continued to increase in the atmosphere since the last Assessment and reached 309 ppt in 2016.

  • Halogenated VSLS substances contribute to stratospheric chlorine and bromine loading and are not controlled by the Montreal Protocol. Chlorinated VSLSs are predominantly of anthropogenic origin, while brominated VSLSs have mainly natural sources.

  • Significantly, it has also provided institutional support. This helps countries build capacity within their governments to implement phase-out activities and establish regional networks so they can share experiences and learn from each other.


Compliance Procedure:

  • This was designed from the outset as a non-punitive procedure. It prioritised helping wayward countries back into compliance.

  • Developing countries work with a UN agency to prepare an action plan to get themselves back into compliance. If necessary, resources from the Multilateral Fund are available for some short-term projects.

  • It is telling that all 142 developing countries were able to meet the 100% phase-out mark for CFCs, halons and other ODS in 2010.


Way Forward:

  • The Assessment, which is intended to add to the scientific basis for decisions made by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, also presents updated scenarios for hastening ozone recovery through:

  • Complete elimination of controlled and uncontrolled emissions of substances such as carbon tetrachloride and dichloromethane.

  • Bank recapture and destruction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

  • Elimination of HCFC and methyl bromide production.

  • Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions.

  • Focus on achieving the Kigali Targets.


3. Convention On Biological Diversity

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • Aim: To promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

  • It’s a near universal convention with a participation of 196 member countries.


Protocols adopted under the Convention.

  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.

  • Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing: It aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.


Highlight of COP-14

  • Adoption of Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration on Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet.

  • Governments commit to mainstream biodiversity through, integrating biodiversity values in legislative and policy frameworks, and development and finance plans.


Other Important Highlight

  • New Deal for Nature: It is an agreement on a comprehensive and participatory process to develop post-2020 global biodiversity framework to further achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.

  • Launch of International Alliance of Nature and Culture to advance work on biological and cultural diversity in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and indigenous peoples and local communities.

  • It called for UN General Assembly to designate 2021 to 2030 as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.


4. Effects Of Climate Change On The Ocean


  • According to IPCC Fifth Report, world’s oceans have absorbed 90% of the temperature rise caused by man-made carbon emissions, while only 1% in the atmosphere.

  • IPCC had recommended a 20 per cent cut in climate emissions by 2030 and then finishing them completely by 2075 to keep global warming from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.


Way forward

  • Limiting greenhouse gas emissions: There is an urgent need to achieve the mitigation targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This will help prevent the massive and irreversible impacts of growing temperatures on ocean ecosystems and their services.

  • Protecting marine and coastal ecosystems: Well-managed protected areas can help conserve and protect ecologically and biologically significant marine habitats. This will regulate human activities in these habitats and prevent environmental degradation.

  • Restoring marine and coastal ecosystems: This can include building artificial structures such as rock pools that act as surrogate habitats for organisms, or boosting the resilience of species to warmer temperatures through assisted breeding techniques.

  • Improving human adaptation: for example by setting precautionary catch limits and eliminating subsidies to prevent overfishing. Coastal setback zones which prohibit all or certain types of development along the shoreline can minimise the damage from coastal flooding and erosion. New monitoring tools can be developed to forecast and control marine disease outbreaks.

  • Strengthening scientific research: Governments can increase investments in scientific research to measure and monitor ocean warming and its effects. This will provide more precise data on the scale, nature and impacts of ocean warming, making it possible to design and implement adequate and appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.


5. Drought Declaration In India

More on news

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared that 255 districts (31% of the districts in India) of the country recorded deficient (-59 to -20 per cent) or scanty (-99 to -60) rainfall, thus facing drought like conditions.

  • More than 50 per cent of the districts in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa received deficient rainfall.

  • Some states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand declared drought.

  • However, Gujarat, where 67 per cent of districts received deficient rainfall, is yet to declare a drought. Assam has received -26 per cent of deficit rainfall but not yet declared drought districts.


Reason behind unwillingness of states to declare drought

  • The 2016 manual not only has made the parameters to declare drought complex and stringent, but has also limited Centre’s scope to offer financial assistance to states in the eventuality of a drought. The Centre will only provide funds under National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to state governments in case of "Severe" drought.

  • Since the yardstick to measure the severity of drought is stricter, the new conditions make it more difficult for the states to prove "severe" drought and get relief from the Centre. This is a double whammy for most states as they lack drought early warning systems.

  • The 2009 norms were supportive of states as they could get the Centre’s assistance even if they suffered "moderate" drought. Although the new norms don’t prevent states to put a drought-hit region under the "moderate" category, the states, however, will have to pay for the relief from their own budget.

  • After protest by various states, however, a 29th May 2018 Amendment to the Drought Manual, 2016 says that a state can ask for assistance for even a moderate category drought provided it is unable to meet drought relief through SDRF.


Declaration of Drought

  • The Manual for Drought Management, released in December 2016 by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, prescribes “new scientific indices and parameters” for a “more accurate assessment of drought” in the country. 64  

  • The manual lists five categories of indices, which include rainfall, agriculture, soil moisture, hydrology, and remote sensing (health of crops).

  • Rainfall is considered to be the most important indicator and therefore related meteorological data should be mandatorily considered in making any assessment of drought. The other indices are to be evaluated in conjunction with the rainfall related data to assess the impact of rainfall deficiency.

  • The States may consider any three of the four types of the Impact Indicators (one from each) for assessment of drought, the intensity of the calamity and make a judgement.

  • The intensity of the drought will be contingent upon the values of at least three out of four Impact Indicators viz, Agriculture, Remote Sensing, Soil Moisture and Hydrology in the following manner:

  • Severe drought: if at least 2 of the selected 3 impact indicators are in Severe category and one is in Moderate category

  • Moderate drought: if at least two of the selected 3 impact indicators are in ‘Moderate’ category.

  • Normal: for all other cases.

  • The State Governments declare drought through a notification specifying clearly the geographical extent and administrative units such as Gram Panchayats, Blocks, Mandals, Taluks, Subdivision, Districts. Such notification should also indicate the level of severity of the drought (moderate or severe).

  • The State has an option to reduce the drought category by one rank (i.e. Severe to Moderate) if the irrigation percentage of the administrative region (District/Taluk/Block/Mandal), for which drought is being declared is more than 75%. However, in such a situation of reduction of drought intensity from ‘Moderate’ to ‘Normal’, the State Government will still be required to conduct field verification.


Characteristics of Drought that make it a challenging Hazard

  • Drought is a complex phenomenon as it involves elements of meteorology like precipitation, evaporation, evapotranspiration, ground water, soil moisture, storage and surface run-off, agricultural practices, particularly the types of crops grown, socio-economic practices and ecological conditions. Drought differs from other natural hazards such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis in that:

  • Lack of Uniform Definition: There is no universally accepted definition that can encapsulate the complexity of this phenomenon adequately.

  • Forecasting: It is difficult to determine the beginning and end of a drought episode because of the slow, ‘creepy’ onset, silent spread and gradual withdrawal. In India, it is generally considered to be coterminous with the monsoons.

  • An episode could spill over months or even years with or without any accompanying shift in the geographical arena. o Spatial expanse tends to be far greater than in the case of other natural calamities, which when compounded by the difficulties associated with the impact assessment of the disaster, makes effective response highly challenging.

  • There is no indicator or index which can precisely forecast the advent and severity of a drought event, nor project its possible impacts.

  • Impacts are generally non-structural and difficult to quantify e.g. the damage to the ecology, the disruption of socio-economic fabric of communities, the long term effects of mal-nutrition on health and morbidity etc.

  • The impact tends to get magnified in the event of successive droughts.

  • For agriculture, Climate is not always the immediate reason for drought, though it can aggravate the drought precipitation. Some of the factors which can decide drought vulnerability and potential crop losses include-

  • Crop MSP (Minimum Support Prices), availability of Credit and Crop Insurance;

  • Alternative livelihood, in particular, non-farm employment avenues (e.g. MGNREGA);

  • Development of Water Storage Infrastructure, in particular, farm ponds and water harvesting infrastructure;

  • Drought forecasting and interventions to deal with water shortages.

  • In short, drought vulnerability depends on socio- economic factors and status of farmers, and the institutional support extended to them. All of these are now part of National Policy on Sustainable Agriculture.


6. Water Use In India’s Power Generation

  • Summary of the Study: It examines the impact of changes in cooling technologies mandated for thermal power plants and an increased share of renewable energy, on freshwater use (excluding hydropower) and on carbon emissions to year 2030.

  • The power sector contributes to and is affected by water stress in the areas where plants are located. Power generation is expected to account for nearly 9% of national water consumption by 2050 (in a business as-usual scenario). Coupled with continuing thermal and renewable capacity development, total water consumption in 2030 is estimated to increase by up to 4 billion cubic metres.

  • There is a mismatch between water demand and supply considering usable surface water capacity and replenishable groundwater levels.

  • The combination of improved power plant cooling technologies and renewable energy technologies, especially solar PV and wind, could lessen the intensity of freshwater use and carbon intensity of the power sector as shown in infographic.

  • Simultaneously, phasing out once-through cooling technologies at existing power plants and restricting their installation at new thermal plants, through enforcement of the announced regulatory water use standards, will substantially reduce water withdrawal.

  • Energy and Water Interlinkages: A major share of India’s electricity (85%) is generated from fossil fuel (coal and natural gas) and nuclear plants, which rely significantly on freshwater for cooling purposes.

  • As per the World Resources Institute (WRI) working paper published in January'18,

  • India's 90% thermal plants rely on freshwater for cooling and 40 per cent of these plants are located in areas of high or extremely high water stress.

  • Freshwater consumption from Indian thermal utilities grew by 43 percent from 2011-2016, from 1.5 to 2.1 billion cubic meters a year.

  • In 2016 alone, water shortages cost India about 14 terawatt-hours of potential thermal power generation, cancelling out more than 20 percent of the growth in the country’s total electricity generation from 2015.


Why it's a concern?

  • Natural water supply sources are subject to increased overuse leading to resource depletion. WRI’s India Water Tool 2015 shows that 54% of India’s groundwater wells face high to extremely high water stress. This is caused by erratic rainfall, irrigation pumps that run on subsidised electricity and unsustainable management of groundwater.

  • According to Central Water Commission, 2015 Report, the energy sector’s relative water consumption is projected to grow from 1.4% to 9% between 2025 and 2050 (from 15 billion m3 to 130 billion m3 annually).

  • The mismatch between demand and supply could affect the availability of water for different end uses, increasing risk of competition, particularly in water-constrained areas. Furthermore, as demand increases, water will need to be pumped from sources further away or from deeper underground, thus increasing energy demand. In India, for example, energy now comprises about 90% of the cost of groundwater.


Government Initiatives

  • In response to growing concern over water shortage, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF& CC) published the rules in 2015 to reduce and standardize the water consumption by all existing as well as future thermal power plants.

  • In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India committed to increasing the share of non-fossil sources in its installed power capacity to 40% by 2030. India has a related target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar PV and 60 GW of wind.

  • If these ambitious policies are enacted and enforced, the WRI estimates that India will save 12.4 billion cubic meters of freshwater from being withdrawn by power plants.


Way Forward:

  • India’s energy demand is expected to double, while electricity demand is expected to almost triple by 2030 compared to 2014 leading to absolute increases in water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. However, the lower intensity values achieved through improved cooling technologies and higher shares of solar PV and wind will help realise relative savings in both water and carbon.

  • The current water withdrawal intensity of India’s power sector (excluding hydroelectricity) is largely driven by thermal power plants using once-through cooling systems. Withdrawal intensity could be reduced by upgrading plant cooling technology such as dry cooling and by supporting the development of less water-intensive generation technologies.

  • For instance, the operational withdrawal intensity of solar PV in India is around 0.08 m3 /MWh (primarily related to panel cleaning), which is only 0.5% of the thermal average, while for wind, the water withdrawal is zero.

  • Power plant efficiency improvements, based on India’s new draft National Electricity Plan, 2016, also contribute, although less significantly than other factors.

  • Power plants should also be located in places where they will rely not on freshwater resources, but instead on saline, brackish, or reclaimed water.

  • It is also important to select the right types of plants at the planning stage. Alternative cooling technologies for power generation, including dry or hybrid cooling, can reduce water consumption (though the use of such technologies currently is constrained by efficiency losses and higher costs).


7. Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (Across)

  • 9 Sub-scheme Under ACROSS

  • • Atmospheric, Climate Science and Services

  • • Numerical Modeling of Weather & Climate

  • • Physics and Dynamics of Tropical Clouds

  • • Agro Meteorology

  • • Aviation Services

  • • Center for Atmospheric Technology

  • • High Impact Severe Weather Warning System

  • • Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather Service

  • • Monsoon Mission of India

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved continuation of the scheme "Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)" during 2017-2020 and establishment of National Facility Airborne Research during 2020-21 and beyond.


What is ACROSS?

  • ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc. It was started in 2012.

  • Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme "ACROSS" and is implemented in an integrated manner through the four institutes - India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (NCOIS).


National Facility for Airborne Research (NFAR)

  • NAFR comes under Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM), Pune. Under this a state of the art research aircraft equipped with instruments will be used for atmospheric research.

  • It will take simultaneous measurements of aerosols, trace gases, cloud microphysics and large scale meteorological parameters at high temporal resolution and at different altitudes in different seasons over the Indian sub-continent.

  • Significance of NAFR lies in the fact that it deals with airborne measurements which are extremely important for aerosol sampling, measurement of cloud properties, cloud physics, etc. which in turn is used for assessing air pollution and its associated impacts. Also, Aircraft probing and surveillance enables the observation of upper air phenomena, especially cloud aerosol interaction.


8. Measuring Natural Capital

Natural Capital

  • It includes those elements of the nature that provide valuable goods and services to humans, such as the stock of forests, food, clean air, water, land, minerals, etc.

  • It incorporates a broad perspective on the set of services provided by ecosystems assets.

  • It is essential for economic growth, employment, and, ultimately, prosperity.


Natural Capital Accounting, or environmental-economic accounting

  • It is a tool that can help to gain an understanding of the interaction between the economy and the environment.

  • It can be used to measure the state of ecosystems, flows of ecosystem services as well as changes in stocks and flows of natural resources in relation to economic changes.


System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)

  • It is a statistical system that brings together economic and environmental information into a common framework to measure the condition of the environment, the contribution of the environment to the economy and the impact of the economy on the environment.

  • It organizes and presents statistics on the environment and its relationship with the economy.


Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services

  • The United Nations Statistics Division, UNEP, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the European Union have launched this project.

  • The project is funded by the European Union, aims to assist the five participating partner countries, namely Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental and ecosystem accounting.

  • The project review policy demands, data availability and measurement practices in order to advance and mainstream natural capital accounting and initiate pilot ecosystem accounts in each of the five strategic partner countries.

  • Envistats India 2018 report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), it had revealed that India’s economic growth took a toll on its natural assets like forests, food and clean air.


More on news

  • The average growth rate of gross state domestic product (GSDP) during 2005-15 for almost all the states was around 7-8 per cent but 11 states registered a decline in their natural capital.

  • This model of economic growth may not let the country sustain the rate of development for long. Monitoring the natural capital is important and should be one of the determiners for sustainable development.

  • According to MOSPI, the assessment of natural assets is a reminder of how important is sustainable use of natural resources and is likely to propel India on the path of compilation of ecosystem accounts.

  • The natural capital accounting (NCA) method has been used in this report, to account for income and costs associated with natural resource used, based on a framework approved by the United Nations in 2012 called the System of Environmental Economic Accounts (SEEA).


Why does natural capital matter for economic growth?

  • GDP only looks at one part of economic performance output but tells us nothing about income in the long term, thus is an incomplete assessment of country’s economic wellbeing. For example, when a country exploits its minerals, it is actually using up its finite mineral wealth.

  • A full picture of a country’s wealth obtained through a methodology called ‘wealth accounting’ (including natural capital accounting) includes all assets that contribute to our economic wellbeing, from buildings and factory machines, to infrastructure, human and social capital, and natural capital.

  • Natural capital is especially important to many developing countries because it makes up a large share of their total wealth some 36 percent and the livelihoods of many subsistence communities depend directly on healthy ecosystems.

  • Currently GDP ignores natural capital. In forestry, for example, timber resources are counted, but forest carbon sequestration is not. Other services, like water regulation that benefits crop irrigation, are hidden and the value is (wrongly) attributed to agriculture in a country’s GDP.

  • Several countries are compiling natural capital accounts (NCA) to make economic decision making on natural resources an informed process. They want to use NCA as the basis for compiling indicators to monitor progress of sustainability policies.

  • India is participating in the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services project.

  • How are natural capital accounts used?

  • Support inclusive development and better economic management: For example, land and water accounts can help countries interested in hydropower to assess the value of competing land uses and find the optimal solution.

  • For Economic Growth: Ecosystem accounts can help biodiversity-rich countries manage the tradeoffs between ecotourism, agriculture, subsistence livelihoods, and ecosystem services like flood protection. In this way, ecosystem accounting is a tool for maximizing economic growth while identifying who benefits and who bears the cost of ecosystem changes, helping governments gauge whether their growth is inclusive.


Inclusive wealth report

Highlights of the Report

  • About the Index: The Inclusive Wealth Report is a biennial report that seeks to evaluate and report on a country’s wealth and wellbeing through the Inclusive Wealth index (IWI). IWI is intended as a replacement to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) which assesses a nation’s ability to look after its wealth in a way that is sustainable and safeguards its future generations.

  • Methodology: It does this through tracking the progress of 140 countries that make up the lion’s share of the global economy and population. The changes in the inclusive wealth of 140 countries are calculated by annual average growth rates over the past 25 years, and 1990 is set as a base year.

  • Inclusive Wealth and SDG: The report demonstrates that assessing and valuing natural capital and the change in per capita inclusive/comprehensive wealth over time has the potential to keep track of progress on most Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It considers the relationship between inclusive

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

  • It is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

  • Its headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • wealth and the SDGs, arguing that governments need to have a way to check whether or not the economic measures they take to meet the SDGs jeopardize the sustainability of the Goals.

  • Global Structure of Capital: As of 2014 has composed of produced capital (21%), human capital (59% of which 26% education induced human capital and 33% is health induced human capital), and natural capital (20%).

  • Growth rate: The global level growth of each of the three capitals over the study period indicate that produced capital was growing at an average rate of 3.8% per year and health and education induced human capital was growing at 2.1%. Contrary, natural capital was decreasing at a rate of 0.7% per annum.


9. Pollinators

  • Pollination: It’s a process is based on the ecological principle of species inter-relationship known as protocooperation, between plants and pollinators.

  • Pollinators are external agents which help in the transfer of pollen grains from one flower to another of the same or another plant of the same species. There are two types of crop pollinators found in nature:

  • Abiotic pollinating agents are wind, water, and gravity. Many agricultural crops, especially those that produce dry pollen such as rice, wheat, maize, millet, chestnuts, pecan nuts, and walnuts are successfully pollinated by wind.

  • Biotic pollination agents include insects, birds, and various mammals. Among insects, bees, flies, beetles etc.



  • Often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body comprising 129 member Governments.

  • It provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems and the contributions they make to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and sustainably use these vital natural assets.

  • According to a recent studies, high levels of pollution is having negative effects on plants and insects, resulting into decline of pollinator species.


Importance Of Pollinators And Pollination

  • Regulating ecosystem service in nature: Globally, nearly 90 per cent of wild flowering plant species depend, at least in part, on the transfer of pollen by animals.

  • Food Security: Pollinator-dependent crops contribute to 35 per cent of global crop production volume.

  • Health: Pollinator-dependent food products are important contributors to healthy human diets and nutrition.

  • Cultural Importance: Pollinators serve as important spiritual symbols in many cultures. Sacred passages about bees in all the worlds’ major religions highlight their significance to human societies over millennia.

  • Economic Importance: According to Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), pollinator contributed $0.831-1.5 billion annually for just six vegetable crops in India.


Sources of Threats to Pollinators

  • Environment pollution: Pollutants in the air, water and land affect the physiology and behavior of the insects.

  • Anthropogenic factor like disturbance, degradation, fragmentation, shrinkage, and the loss of habitat

  • Impact of introduced species: Alien invasive plants may impact negatively on insect biodiversity by changing habitat quality, outcompeting native host plants, and interrupting vital ecological interactions.

  • Increase in mono-cropping: The transformation of agriculture from traditional mixed crop farming to high value cash crop farming has led to an increase in monocrop agriculture, resulting in reducing the food sources for natural insect pollinators.

  • Forest fires: It destroy the habitat, food sources and pollinators nesting in the area.

  • Honey hunting: An increase and ruthless hunting of the nests of wild honeybees is contributing to the decline in the population of indigenous honeybees.

  • Pesticides: Use of pesticides, including insecticides and herbicides, is detrimental to a healthy community of pollinators.


Way Forward

  • Enabling policies and strategies: Develop and implement coherent and comprehensive policies that enable and foster activities to safeguard and promote wild and managed pollinators, to be integrated into the broader policy agendas for sustainable development

  • Protect and promote indigenous and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices related to pollinators and pollination and support participatory approaches to the identification of diagnostic characteristics for new species and monitoring.

  • Control the trade and movement of managed pollinators: Monitor the movement and trade of managed pollinator species, sub-species and breeds among countries and within countries to Prevent and minimize the risk of introducing invasive alien species.

  • Promote connectivity, conservation, management and restoration of pollinator habitats by preserving pollinators and habitats distributed in natural areas, including forests, grasslands and agricultural lands, urban areas and natural corridors, to enhance the availability of floral resources and nesting sites over time and space.

  • Promote sustainable beekeeping and bee health: By promoting better availability and husbandry of floral resources, therefore improving pollinator nutrition and immunity to pests and diseases.

  • Practicing Sustainable Agriculture Practices: Exposure of pollinators to pesticides can be decreased by promoting Integrated Pest Management supported by educating farmers, organic farming and policies to reduce its overall use.

  • Ecological Intensification: Managing nature’s ecological functions to improve agricultural production and livelihoods while minimizing environmental damage.

  • Strengthening Existing Diversified Farming Systems: to foster pollinators and pollination through practices validated by science or indigenous and local knowledge (e.g., crop rotation

  • Investing in ecological infrastructure by protecting, restoring and connecting patches of natural and semi-natural habitats throughout productive agricultural landscapes.


10. Greater Flamingoes

About Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWLS):

  • It is situated in Andhra Pradesh near confluence of Godavari and Bay of Bengal and houses the second largest mangroves forest in India.

  • The Hope Island, Kakinada Port and CWLS come within Coastal Circuit theme of Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism.

  • Historically, Coringa has been a major port city which was used for the export of manpower during the time of British to Malaysia. The successors of those migrants are called Korangis there.


About Greater Flamingoes

  • These come under ‘Least Concern’ category of IUCN Red List.

  • They prefer shallow brackish lakes & use mudflats & saltpans for nesting.

  • They are the indicators of healthy coastal environment.

  • They are filter feeders (take prey and water together and then filter out water) and get their characteristic pink colour from their diet of brine shrimps and algae available in the coastal wetlands.

November Environmental Issues

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