Environment Current Affairs

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2015-16 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2015-2016 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2015-16.

Lok Sabha passes Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 for the establishment of funds under the public accounts of Centre and each State towards compensatory afforestation.

It also provides for additional afforestation and penal compensatory afforestation to regulate collected funds.

Salient features of the bill

  • It seeks to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • The payments into the funds include compensatory afforestation, net present value of forest (NPV), and any project specific payments.
  • The National Fund will get 10% of funds collected and the remaining 90% will go to respective State Fund.
  • The collected funds will be utilised for afforestation, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wild life protection and forest related infrastructure development.
  • The bill also seeks to establish National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the funds.
  • The determination of NPV will be delegated to an expert committee constituted by the central government.

Background

  • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) governs diversion or use of forest land for non-forest purposes such as industrial or infrastructure projects.
  • A company diverting forest land must provide alternative land for taking up compensatory afforestation.
  • For the afforestation purpose, the company should pay for planting new trees in the alternative land provided to the state. The loss of forest ecosystem must also be compensated by paying for (NPV).
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court of India observed that collected funds for afforestation were underutilised by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
  • The court had set up the ad hoc National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National CAMPA) to manage the Fund.
  • In 2009, states also had set up State CAMPAs that receive 10% of funds form National CAMPA to use for afforestation and forest conservation.
  • However, in 2013, a CAG report identified that the funds continued to be underutilised.

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Indian Railways ink MoU with Haryana and Punjab to plant trees alongside Railway Track

The Union Ministry of Railways and Forest Department of Haryana & Punjab have inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for plantation of trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary.

The MoU paves way for planting around 5 lakh trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary prior to Monsoon Season.

Key facts

  • This agreement paves way improvements with regard to afforestation on railway land.
  • With this Indian Railways can contribute substantially towards the Green India Mission.
  • Forest department of respective states will provide expertise in afforestation as well as in maintenance and disposal of trees.
  • The afforestation will help in protecting railway land from illegal encroachment.
  • Tree plantation will be done without declaring such land as protected forest, thus it will be no hindrance to railway works and developmental projects.

Union Ministry of Railways has asked all Zonal railways to execute similar agreement between their zones and concerned State Forest departments as early as possible.

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175 nations sign historic Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

175 nations including India have signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement at United Nations Headquarters in New York along marking a significant step to combat global warming.

On behalf of India, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement at a high-level ceremony hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of Earth Day (22 April).

The ceremony was attended by heads of governments, foreign ministers, corporate leaders and artists from across the world.

The agreement will come into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions ratify the agreement.

Key facts

  • The Paris Climate Agreement was formulated within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Facilitates enforcement of global GHGs reduction measures, adaptation and finance in the post-2020 i.e. in post Kyoto Protocol scenario.
  • The agreement was adopted by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC held in Paris (France) in December 2015.
  • In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Takes into account the principle of equity (climate justice) and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities.
  • The mitigation will be based on consensus among the members that have incorporated their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • Developed countries will provide 100 billion dollars annually to the developing counterparts beginning in 2020 and it would increase with time.

Comment

  • The signing of this agreement is the first step toward ensuring that it comes into force as soon as possible.
  • After the signing, countries must take the further national step of accepting or ratifying the agreement.

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