Environment, GS-3, Uncategorized

Environment Digest – 16 April – 23 April 2016

[1] Hotter, longer, deadlier summers

Context

Climate change is affecting the changing pattern in heat waves, and India needs to be prepared for it

What are the problems being faced

  • Since 1901, 2015 was the 3rd most hottest year
  • Hospitalisations due to heat-heat strokes
  • Extreme temperatures can exacerbate pre-existing cardiovascular and respiratory illness.

What the summer is going to be like

  • Joint study by CEEW, IIM(Ahmedabad), IIT(Gandhinagar) say that more than 300 districts are likely to have temperatures risen by 2°C and India will have annual mean temperatures increased 1°C-1.5°C and also increase in nighttime temperature
  • High nighttime temperature is related to heat related illness

CEEW-Council on Energy, Environment and Water- for sustainable growth and development through the holistic management of energy, environment and water resources.
How can heat causing incidents be mitigated

  • Warning systems should issue warnings promptly to provide readiness of emergency response system, preparing doctors and health facilities to handle sudden influx of patients, coordination among emergency response systems and health facilities is missing
  • Preventing temperature related mortality under National Action Plan on Climate Change could be a key programme
  • Water conservation and ensuring adequate supply of water for drinking and other purposes will mitigate dehydration and keep good health, water is used for electricity production by which fans and air conditioners provide coolness to address the increased heat wave, so strategic planning of water resources is required
  • Power supplied to reduce heat stress(water coolers and AC’s) and medical centres which require electricity is of main importance, even to draw water from the ground pumps use electricity and many communities rely on electricity to pull water from the ground, solar based systems should be used and encouraged. Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Tripura have already deployed such systems

[2] Paris treaty: a lot of cost for doing very little

Context

Paris treaty on carbon emissions to lower emissions sufficiently to keep global warming below the 2°C threshold that scientists say is necessary for the health of the planet.

Comments for counter argument

  • Controlling temperature under 2 degrees is a myth
  • If every country fulfils its promise between now and 2030 only 4.8% of a degree will be reduced by 2100
  • If they are extended till 2100 temperature will be reduced by 17% of a degree by 2100 which is very less as against seen in Paris talks

What will it cost us

  • By 2030 it is estimated that total cost would rise to $2 trillion annually, which is higher than India’s GDP
  • It is a very expensive treaty for a nation who is powered majorly by coal, unlike China who has lifted 680 million people out of poverty in the last 30 years
  • International Energy Agency does not expect India to achieve 100GW of solar by 2022 and 60 GW of wind because generation cost will be higher even in 2040
  • In optimistic scenario, India will get 1.3 per cent of its energy from wind and 1.3 per cent from solar — all in all 2.6 per cent.
  • This emphasises that for the coming decades, India’s growth and development will be focussed on cheap, reliable power, often from coal.

See previous articles about COP21 in Paris

Paris climate draft goes into final round / Climate negotiators release shorter draft

And

Paris pact will secure earth for future, says Obama as world leaders hail deal

[3] Acting together on climate change

Context

Countries who had agreed to climate change will sign the Paris Accord on Climate Change

What is an accord

The process of universal, self-proposed “ratcheted” pledges—each country will pledge national actions which address climate change over an agreed time period (in the first instance from 2020 to 2030, and then every five years after that), and then pledge to do more over the next time period.

What is the key to to the accord

  • Pledging to do extra which includes national pledging and achieving them, other than accomplishing the goal of limiting temperatures less than 2 degrees
  • A transparency mechanism by which reports of countries which facilitates checking upon each other and between govt. and its citizens, to achieve their pledges

[4] UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All)

National programme to promote LED lighting, programmes like these if properly conducted will help us achieve our targets and reduce carbon emissions

Under UJALA

  • Purchase LED bulbs at Rs.10 per month
  • Charged through their electricity bills
  • Together with a no-questions-asked guarantee for replacement of failed bulbs.
  • Since Jan 2014 price has dropped from Rs.310 of a 7watt led bulb to Rs. 55 for a 9 watt bulb in March 2016, because many people are buying in this scheme
  • Over 100 million LED bulbs have already been sold under this programme
  • UJALA is a great example of how we can align our actions to address climate change

Municipalities and ministries of the central and state governments also need to take action, both to make it easy and convenient for us to follow up on our sensible, climate-friendly actions, as well as to ensure that the livelihood of the poorest Indian is protected from droughts, floods and other climatic events, and that he, too, has access to adequate electricity, hopefully from solar energy.

[5] Bird hit: NGT halts Tawang hydro power project

News

Rs. 6400 crore hydro power project in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh has been put into suspension

Project

Project is planned on the Nyamjang Chhu river and is the largest of 13 hydro power projects to be built in the Tawang basin

Who has suspended

National Green Tribunal suspended Union Environment Ministry’s clearance for the project granted in 2012

Why

There is a threat to black-necked crane

Black-necked Crane

  • The black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) is a medium-sized crane in Asia that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and winters mainly in remote parts of India and Bhutan
  • The bird, most commonly found in China, is legally protected in Bhutan and India and is considered sacred to certain Buddhist traditions.
  • The black-necked crane is rated as ‘Vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of endangered species and is listed in India’s Wildlife Act as a Schedule 1 species, which gives animals and birds the highest legal protection.

Other species that are found in the region include the red panda, the snow leopard and the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, a recently-described primate species in the area.

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