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Q.1 India and developing countries scored an important victory at the climate change conference as key demands on ‘pre-2020 actions’ was agreed. In context to this statement Discuss the significance of UN convention on climate change conference? Further discuss the various initiatives by India to achieve its commitments for climate change? (GS-3)

Introduction

  • India and developing countries scored an important victory at the climate change conference with some of their key demands on ‘pre-2020 actions’ getting agreed upon
  • India among other developing countries had demanded that ‘pre-2020 actions’ be included in the official agenda of discussions.

Significance of UN convention on climate change

  • The ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
  • Developing countries agreed to craft Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) that are in line with their national development objectives.
  • Through NAMAs, developing countries aim to reduce their emissions below business as usual by 2020.
  • The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Significance for India

  • India signed the UNFCCC on 10 June 1992 and ratified it on 1 November 1993.
  • Under the UNFCCC, developing countries such as India do not have binding GHG mitigation commitments in recognition of their small contribution to the greenhouse problem as well as low financial and technical capacities.
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency for climate change issues in India. It has constituted Working Groups on the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol.
  • Work is currently in progress on India’s initial National Communication (NATCOM) to the UNFCCC

Initiatives taken by India

National Communication to the UNFCCC

  • Preparation of the country’s initial National Communication to the UNFCCC by the Government of India
  • This exercise involved detailed work on estimation of sectoral GHG emissions and identification of country-specific emission factors.
  • Vulnerability and adaptation assessment is also part of the National Communication project.
  • ·Support of the Asian Least-cost Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy (ALGAS) study, by the Government of India.
  • The study developed a national inventory of GHG sources and sinks, and identified potential mitigation options. Country-specific emission factors have been developed for methane emissions from paddy cultivation, carbon dioxide emissions from Indian coal, etc.

Extensive methane measurement campaign

  • An extensive methane measurement campaign coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory in 1991.
  • Measurements were undertaken in major paddy growing regions of the country under different rice environs for the whole cropping period.
  • Emissions from paddy cultivation in India were estimated to be about 4 Tg/year
  • Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council
  • ·Establishment of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council under the Department of Science and Technology, which facilitates the transfer of environmentally sound technology.

Conservation of forests and biodiversity

  • The Participatory Forest Management Strategy of the Government of India secures rehabilitation of degraded areas, conservation of biodiversity, along with sharing of benefits with local people.
  • In situ conservation is undertaken through a system of protected areas, including 75 national parks and 421 wildlife sanctuaries, covering 146,000 square km.

Research

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) observes climatic parameters at surface and upper air observatories throughout the country. IMD’s network includes 559 surface observatories, more than 8000 rainfall monitoring stations, 100 satellite-based data collection platforms in remote areas, 203 voluntary observing ships, 10 cyclone detection radars, and 17 storm detection radars.

Q.2 The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that BS6 fuel might be available in Delhi from April 1, 2018 in order to try and curb the rampant air pollution crisis. In context to the above statement, discuss the major causes contributing to the pollution in Delhi and surrounding areas? Further discuss the ways to curb the problem. (GS-3)

Introduction

  • Environmentalists welcomed the Centre’s decision to advance the rollout of cleaner fuel, compliant to Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) norms, in Delhi by two years
  • The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that BS-VI fuel norms would be implemented in Delhi by April 1, 2018

Reasons contributing towards pollution:

Pollution caused by the traffic menace in Delhi is the prime reason contributing to air pollution and smog.

Stubble Burning

  • National capital shares its border with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. One of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in these states. Farmers burn rice stubbles in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It is estimated that approximately 35 million tonnes of crop are set afire by these states

Traffic menace.

  • The air quality index has reached ‘severe’ levels. Vehicular emission is increasing the hazardous effects of air pollution and smog.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have declared vehicular emission as a major contributor to Delhi’s increasing air pollution.

Ways to counter the menace

Promising start

  • While the complete gains of the BS-VI norms would only be seen when vehicles also moved from BS-IV to the new norms, the decision to advance the cleaner fuel standards should not be underestimated

Quality of fuel

  • Fuel quality plays a very important role in meeting the stringent emission regulation.
  • India had pledged to cut the intensity of its carbon emissions by 33-35 per cent and boost the renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent by 2030 in the target submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) on Climate Change for a global climate pact.

Transition to BS-6 fuel

  • The proposed BS-VI fuel limits the amount of sulphur to 10ppm from 50ppm in BS-IV.
  • Availability of BS-VI fuel ahead of BS-VI emission norms implementation will be a strong enabler for the auto industry’s ongoing development and testing activities

Expansion outside Delhi NCR

  • The government needs to expand the plan to other mega cities and across Northern India so there can be a more effective reduction of emissions
  • The Government further needs to enforce the order to remove old BS II and earlier vintage vehicles from plying in the National Capital

Q.3 China has recently advocated India to participate in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)and take benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In light of this statement discuss the various objectives of the China-Pakistan economic cooperation. Further discuss the various factors that has led to India’s disagreement towards OBOR. (GS-2)

Introduction

  • China counselled India to shed its objections to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

China-Pakistan economic cooperation

  • China-Pakistan cooperation projects are focused on four areas:
  • Energy projects, transport infrastructure, Gwadar Port, and industrial cooperation.
  • Major energy projects include construction of a 300 megawatt solar power plant by Chinese company Synergy, and work has already started on more than half of the remaining sixteen planned energy projects.
  • In terms of transport infrastructure, reconstruction and upgrade works of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) within Pakistan are underway
  • The construction of the Karachi-Lahore Motorway also started this March.
  • For the development of Gwadar Port, on November 11, 2015, Pakistan handed over 280 hectares of land use rights to a Chinese company for a term of forty-three years, and construction on new facilities is already underway.
  • Chinese projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor already employ more than 6,000 Pakistani workers, showing that the close relationship between China and Pakistan has already moved from the policy announcement to the project implementation stage.
  • The amount of funds involved, the depth of the exchanges, and the number of people participating is unprecedented in relations between these two countries.

Factors contributing to disagreement

  • For India, to be a part of OBOR or to not be, has been a dilemma for some year but in May the government decided not to.
  • The decision appears to be strong keeping sovereignty as the main agenda upfront.
  • Being part of OBOR would have raised several questions on connectivity, financial responsibility, transparency and the environment.
  • CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) already runs through the Indian Territory illegally occupied by Pakistan, signing OBOR at such violations would be disrespectful towards our own sovereignty.
  • It poses a major security threat to India as Beijing is trying to encircle New Delhi by undertaking construction projects in the neighbouring countries
  • Joining OBOR can give legitimacy to the alleged state-sponsored terrorism from Pakistan,that can now spread to the rest of J&K.
  • China is trying to connect railway lines to Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh primarily with a view to further create far greater difficulty for India from the security point of view
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