ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
1. THE ADAPTATION GAP REPORT 2021
THE CONTEXT: ‘The Adaptation Gap Report 2021: The Gathering Storm’ released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the ongoing COP26 at Glasgow.
- The report found that the costs of adaptation are likely in the higher end of an estimated $140-300 billion per year by 2030 and $280-500 billion per year by 2050 for developing countries only.
- Even if the world limits warming to 1.5°C, many climate risks remain and will be irreversible, while warning that the gap between costs of adaptation and the current financial flow is widening.
- It found that the opportunity to use the fiscal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritise green economic growth that also helps nations adapt to climate impacts such as droughts, storms and wildfire is largely being missed.
- Around 79% of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, such as a plan, strategy, policy or law. This is an increase of seven per cent since 2020.
- Nine per cent of countries that do not have such an instrument in place are in the process of developing one. At least 65% of the countries have one or more sectoral plans in place, and at least 26% have one or more sub-national planning instruments.
- Despite this progress, the report finds that further ambition is needed in financing and implementation.
2. COMPARISON OF INDIA’S NET-ZERO GOAL TO OTHER COUNTRIES
THE CONTEXT: India was the only one among the major greenhouse gas emitters that hadn’t specified a so-called net-zero year.
- PM in setting an outer limit of 2070 by which India’s emissions would effectively be zero means that it is asking Western developed countries to do more, or undertake sharper cuts.
- China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have committed to net-zero by 2060.
- The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have committed to a 2050 target.
- But only 12 countries have enshrined this commitment in law. These are Germany, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Denmark, New Zealand, Hungary, and Luxembourg.
- The European Union has a collective target of 2050 and Germany and Sweden have a 2045 target.
- An analysis by the World Resources Institute notes “steady progress” in the number of countries reaching peak emissions over time.
- By 1990, 19 countries had peaked (representing 21 per cent of global emissions) and by 2030 this number is likely to grow to 57 countries (representing 60 per cent of global emissions).
- By 2020, 53 countries representing 40 per cent of global emissions (based on 2010 emissions data rather than 2020 projections) peaked or have a commitment to peak by 2020.
- By 2020, almost all developed countries are expected to have peaked.
ABOUT NET ZERO
- ‘Net zero’ is a globally agreed-upon goal for mitigating global warming in the second half of the century, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that for temperature rise to be restricted to 1.5C it was necessary for global carbon dioxide emissions to halt by 2050.
- It would also be necessary to use other methods to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
3. COAL TRANSITION PROGRAMME
THE CONTEXT: India, Indonesia and the Philippines will join South Africa as the first recipients of a multibillion-dollar pilot programme aimed at accelerating their transition from coal power to clean energy, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).
- The four countries account for 15% of global emissions related to coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.
- The new programme has been endorsed by the Group of Seven advanced economies and is supported by financial pledges from the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada and Denmark.
- It will invest in projects ranging from bolstering countries’ domestic capacity to manage energy transitions to repurposing or decommissioning coal assets and creating economic opportunities for coal-dependent communities.
- The project will work with six multilateral development banks to offer coal-transitioning countries a comprehensive financial toolkit that includes low-income loans and technical assistance.
4. PLI SCHEME FOR WHITE GOODS
THE CONTEXT: The proposal of DPIIT for the PLI Scheme for White Goods for the manufacture of components and sub-assemblies of ACs and LED Lights was approved by the Union Cabinet.
- The Scheme is to be implemented over a seven-year period, from FY2021-22 to FY2028-29 and has an outlay of Rs. 6,238 crore.
- The investments in Air Conditioners will lead to manufacturing components across the complete value chain including components that are not manufactured in India with sufficient quantity.
- This is a huge step forward for Atmanirbhar Bharat in important sectors of the economy
ABOUT WHITE GOODS
- White goods are major consumer durables or household appliances that were previously exclusively accessible in white.
- Air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, dishwashers, and LED lights are all part of the white goods business.
5. CENTRE CUTS EXCISE DUTY ON PETROL AND DIESEL
THE CONTEXT: The Government slashed excise duties on petrol and diesel by Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 per litre respectively, citing the need to help farmers with the rabi crop, ease inflation and give the economy a consumption boost.
- The Centre has urged the States to ‘commensurately reduce’ the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel to give relief to consumers.
- Even if the States don’t act, the actual amount of VAT levied by them on fuels is expected to reduce immediately because they levy varying tax rates on an ad-valorem basis after central excise duties are levied.
6. 75 TONNES MORE GOLD IN FOREX
THE CONTEXT: India is adding more gold to its rising foreign exchange kitty of $640 billion. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has acquired 75.59 tonnes of gold in the last 12 months.
- Data from the Reserve Bank shows that the central bank held 743.84 metric tonnes of gold as of September 2021, more than 11 per cent compared to 668.25 tonnes of the yellow metal held in September 2020.
- The RBI’s gold holding has gone up by 125.6 tonnes in the last two years, making India the world’s ninth-largest holder of gold reserves.
- While 451.54 metric tonnes of gold is held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 292.30 tonnes of gold is held domestically
- Although gold no longer plays a direct role in the international monetary system, central banks and governments still hold extensive gold reserves to preserve national wealth and protect against economic instability.
- According to the 2021 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR) survey, 21 per cent of central banks intend to increase their gold reserves over the next 12 months.
- Central banks are also increasingly valuing gold’s performance during periods of crisis as this attribute now tops their rationale for holding gold.
- The RBI says the major sources of market risk for central banks are currency risk, interest rate risk and movement in gold prices.
7.US PUTS NSO GROUP ON TRADE BLACKLIST
THE CONTEXT: Israeli spyware company NSO Group, the maker of phone-hacking tool Pegasus, has been added to a federal blacklist by the US Department of Commerce, thereby restricting it from accessing America-made technologies.
- The US government has added Israel’s NSO Group and Candiru, alongside Russian cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies and Singapore-based Computer Security Initiative Consultancy Pte, to its Entity List.
- Being added to the Entity List means the companies will not be able to access American hardware and software
- Trade experts, though, have argued that this is an important flag planted by the US, given that most decisions earlier to put companies on the Entity List involved China. However, this time, the US has taken a stance on a company being operated out of Israel — a long time US ally.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1 The Adaptation Gap Report is released by?
d) World Bank
ANSWER FOR NOVEMBER 2nd, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Sources of methane include:
- Cow’s digestive system
- Paddy farms
- Oil & Natural gas production
- Landfills waste