Environment Current Affairs 2017

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Historic Global Greenhouse gas emission Agreement signed in Kigali

A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28).

The so called Kigali Amendment which amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.

Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.

What are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?

  • HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants in home, car air-conditioners and air sprays etc.
  • These factory-made gases had replaced CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over the Antartica.

Why they are harmful?

  • In recent times, it was found that HFCs have several thousand times capacity in retaining heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent GHG.
  • Thus, it can be said that HFCs have helped ozone layer but exacerbated global warming.
  • Currently, HFCs are currently the world’s fastest GHGs, with emissions increasing by up to 10% each year.

What is significance of the Kigali Amendment?

  • The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • Thus, amended Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer now includes HFCs responsible for global warming.
  • This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.
  • The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  • It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance. Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally.
  • The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017.

Different timelines under Kigali Amendment

  • All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.
  • First group: It includes richest countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
  • Third group: It includes countries India, Pakistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.

How it is different from Paris agreement?

  • The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions.
  • The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

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16 October: World Food Day

The World Food Day is observed globally on 16 October to mark foundation of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.

Significance of Day: It aims to raise public awareness about hunger challenges and encourage people around the world to take action in the fight against hunger.

2016 Theme:Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. It highlights the issue of food security related to climate change. It calls adopting sustainable practices for growing more food with less area of land and use natural resources wisely.

Background: The World Food Day was established in November 1979 by FAO’s Member Countries at the 20th General Conference of FAO to raise awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger. For the first time it was celebrated on 16 October 1981 and the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide was mooted by Hungarian Delegation to FAO.

About Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

  • FAO is an agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC).
  • It is neutral forum serving both developed and developing countries where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
  • Established: 16 October 1945.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy.
  • Motto: “Let there be bread“.
  • Members: 194 member states, along with the European Union (member organization)
  • FAO meet the demands posed by major global trends in agricultural development and challenges faced by member nations.
  • It helps countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.

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15 October: International Day of Rural Women

The International Day of Rural Women is observed annually across the world on 15 October to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women.

Significance of the day: Highlights the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing rural and agricultural development, eradicating rural poverty and improving food security.

2016 Theme:Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. It tries to bring focus on farmers, pastoralists and fishers who are standing on the frontlines of food insecurity due to climate changed due to temperatures rise.

The United Nations also calls for empowering rural women as a pre-requisite for fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) which aims at ending poverty and hunger, achieve food security and empower all women and girls.

Why International Day of Rural Women is celebrated?

  • Rural women, make up over a quarter of the total world population. Majority of them depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihood.
  • In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force. They produce, prepare and process much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
  • Thus it is important to recognise the contribution and significant role played by these rural women in food security and poverty elevation.
  • It is also necessary for ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty.

Background: The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. The day was constituted by the UN General Assembly by passing resolution 62/136 in December 2007.

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