Top 10 issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change September – 2016

To make this compilation we have used the following sources –

  • PIB
  • AIR
  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • Economic Times
  • Other References

So be assured about quality and authenticity and just focus on preparation.

In this article, we have shared  issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change (current affairs notes) which are helpful for UPSC Mains and UPSC Prelims. These notes are also available in the form of Book and ebook.

These current events are also useful and helpful for SSC, Banking and state level PCS examination, but we have specially crafted and edited the notes for UPSC Mains and UPSC prelims.

Here we have listed the 10 most important events related to Environment & Ecology for the month of September 2016. You may also download the full magazine here.

Here is the quick list of Environment & Ecology  events for the month of September 2016, scroll down for detailed news.

Sl No

List of Events

1.

Environmental impact of GM crops unveiled

2.

Ken-Betwa river link gets wildlife nod

3.

Paris climate treaty clears first hurdle

4.

India flips on ratify Paris Agreement

5.

New species of pika found

6.

WHO Report on Air Pollution 2016

7.

India ratifies Paris Agreement

8.

How ‘green energy’ is ‘evergreen pain’

9.

Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER)

10.

NDRF getting trained to rescue animals in disasters

 


1. Environmental impact of GM crops unveiled

Widespread adoption of genetically modified crops has reduced the use of insecticides, but increased the use of herbicides as weeds become more resistant, according to the largest study of GM crops and pesticide use to date. Researchers studied annual data from more than 5,000 soybeans and 5,000 maize farmers in the US from 1998 to 2011, far exceeding previous studies that have been limited to one or two years of data.

What

  1. Despite the decrease in insecticide use, continued growth in herbicide use poses a significant environmental problem as large doses of the chemicals can harm biodiversity and increase water and air pollution, researchers said.
  2. Since 2008, genetically engineered crops have accounted for more than 80 per cent of maize and soybean crops planted in the US.
  3. Maize seeds are modified with two genes: one kills insects that eat the seed and other allows the seed to tolerate glyphosate, a herbicide commonly used in weed killers.

2. Ken-Betwa river link gets wildlife nod

The Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers has got nod from the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife.

The panel headed by the Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave has agreed to submerge more than 100 square kilometres of one of country’s prime tiger habitat, the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh for the project that NDA government had put its weight behind.

What

  1. In a meeting held on August 23, the standing committee, chaired by Dave cleared the project after some deliberations. Immediately upon taking charge as the Union environment minister, and well before the project had got mandatory clearances, had repeatedly said that India should go ahead with at least one interlinking of river project to assess its consequences.
  2. Projects that specifically eat into tiger habitats need a positive recommendation from the National Tiger Conservation Authority on the basis of which the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife accords the wildlife clearance.
  3. Minutes of the meeting show that the group contended with and rejected the idea of bringing own the reservoir levels to protect some wildlife areas.The meeting of ministry experts and others concluded that bringing down the reservoir level by even 10 meters would reduce the reservoir storage capacity by 32%.

3. Paris climate treaty clears first hurdle

Thirty-one countries submitted their ratification instruments for the Paris climate treaty to the UN on 21 September 2016, bringing the total count of countries that have endorsed the treaty to 60, accounting for nearly 48 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. At a ratification ceremony for the Paris agreement held in the UN headquarters on 21 September 2016, the countries that endorsed the treaty helped clear the first hurdle of 55 countries required for its early entry into force by 2016. However, the total global emissions count currently falls short of the requisite 55 per cent for the treaty to enter into force. Fourteen more countries will join the agreement later in 2016, virtually assuring entry into force, an official statement from the UN said.

What

  1. Eager to leave behind a legacy of positive climate action, before he exits office next year, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon pushed countries to come forward and ratify the treaty at the earliest possible during the second day of the 71st UNGA underway now. The U.S. government too has been keen to see through the treaty before President Barack Obama exits office next year.
  2. Ban observed that the continued strong global momentum for climate action was unprecedented. Most international treaties take several years to enter into force. The Kyoto Protocol had entered into force eight years after it was first signed in 1997.

4. India flips on ratify Paris Agreement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 September 2016 announced that the country would ratify the Paris Agreement on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth date. This marked an end to uncertainty and flip flops that had gripped India’s climate change diplomacy ever since the failure to attain Nuclear Supply Group membership in June this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his government’s decision speaking in Kozhikode, Kerala at a conclave of the BJP.

What

  1. The ratification requires a simple cabinet approval at a time of the Prime Minister’s choosing and not a Parliamentary approval.
  2. The announcement comes after the government’s attempt to link country’s ratification of Paris Agreement with the US putting its weight behind India’s bid to win a NSG membership came to naught.
  3. After linking the ratification to producing more nuclear power, implying the need for NSG membership (and a more robust support from the US for it), the government changed its tone in September.

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5. New species of pika found

A new species of a small mammal in the rabbit family has been discovered in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas in Sikkim, a study has claimed, saying it is an important part of the ecosystem. Identified as ‘Ochotona sikimaria’ — the new pika species was discovered by the study based on genetic data and skull measurements. The study has been published in the journal ‘Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution’.

What

  1. These members of the rabbit family look like tailless rats and have been in the news in North America for their sensitivity to impacts of climate change, like increasing temperature, which has caused several of the populations in pika series go extinct.
  2. Pikas are among the most fascinating mammalian species. Unlike other mammalian species inhabiting such harsh environments, pikas do not hibernate. They prepare for winter by collecting and storing hay piles for their winter food.

6. WHO Report on Air Pollution 2016

Air pollution is killing nearly eight lakh people annually in the South East Asian Region with India alone accounting for over 75 per cent of the casualties caused by cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer, according to a new WHO report on 27 September 2016.

The report said

  • Nine out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air while nearly 90 per cent of air pollution related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, with nearly two out of three occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia including India and Western Pacific regions.

7. India ratifies Paris Agreement

The Union Cabinet on 28 September 2016 passed the decision to ratify the Paris Agreement, but with conditions. The Cabinet decided India would ratify the global climate change pact ‘in the context’ of its development agenda, availability of means of global climate finance, an assessment of how the rest of the world is doing to combat climate change, and predictable and affordable access to cleaner source of energy.

What

  • The caveat leaves the window open for India to rethink its ratification or targets, in case the commitments from the developed world on providing finance and technology to developing countries do not come through.
  • It also leaves the option open for India to revisit the ratification and its commitments under the agreement, in case any key country reviews or revises its commitments under the agreement, such as the United States.

8. How ‘green energy’ is ‘evergreen pain’

A vast majority the 909 wind power projects commissioned in the state listed on the website of the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited are in Jaisalmer district, which is now home to one of the largest wind farms in the world. By March 2015, over 3,000 MW of power were generated from the state’s windmills. In the 15 years since the first windmills were erected, however, there has been no study of the environmental or social impact of the windmills.

What

  1. Villagers say the sound is a constant presence, and a great disturbance in the night when everything else falls silent.
  2. Villagers have petitioned local authorities and even sat in a 100-day dharna in 2011. They have suggested that the windmills be forced to stop production at night, so the elderly can sleep in peace.
  3. In December 2014, Gajraj Singh of the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur who serves as state convenor for Intach (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), wrote to chief minister Vasundhara Raje seeking her intervention.

9. NDRF getting trained to rescue animals in disasters

  1. As animals are often forgotten victims of natural disasters, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is now getting trained to rescue livestock also, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
  2. Since disasters have the potential to affect livestock adversely, the minister called for “collective efforts” to adopt a “holistic approach” in addressing issues of animals, for which sensitisation of all the related stakeholders is very essential.
  3. “It is important to note that animals are often the forgotten victims of disasters and thousands of animals suffer and perish each year.
  4. No doubt, prevention of loss of human lives has to be the top priority, however, livestock protection is no way less important,” Singh said addressing a workshop on ‘Management of Animals in Emergencies’ organised by National Institute of Disaster management (NIDM)
  5. The disaster management has emerged as one of the most critical aspects of administration in recent years.

 

 


10. Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER)

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has introduced a new star rating methodology called Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) for air conditioners. This evolved rating methodology factors in variance in higher temperature in India and rates air conditioners accordingly. Consumers can now purchase air conditioners with higher efficiency leading to lower electricity bills. Consumers can now purchase air conditioners with higher efficiency leading to lower electricity bills.

What

  1. Keeping the performance of air conditioners during higher temperature in mind, ISEER will address the different climatic zones in India and higher temperature. ISEER measures energy efficiency of air conditioners based on a weighted average of the performance at outside temperatures between 24 and 43-degree C based on Indian weather data.
  2. As per Indian Weather Data Handbook, 2014, weather profile of 54 major cities shows that 65% of the total number of hours in a year have a temperature above 24 deg C (5778 hours out of 8760). Air conditioners in India have hitherto been tested under the IS 1391 at a standard operating conditions of outside temperature of 35-degree C. Star rating is given to manufacturers based on the test results provided by them as tested on the above standard.



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