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Environment

Climate change may lead India to war: UN report

UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report evaluating affects of climate change on human health, settlements and natural resources issued a warning that if no actions are taken to limit the ill-effects of global warming, Asia may face pressure on water resources and food-grain production in the future, thereby mounting the risk of armed conflict amongst India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

Albeit the report doesn’t have any country-specific forecastings, the region-wise findings in the report have thrown many eye-opening conclusions for India. As per the Report, if steps are not taken to control the rise in temperature:

  • India might lose up to 1.7% of its GDP if the yearly mean temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrialization level.
  • India might face extreme weather events, viz. flash floods in Uttarakhand and cyclone Phailin in Odisha.
  • ‘Beach tourism’ in India, could be affected.
  • Increase in risk of armed conflict around the world as it aggravates poverty.

Key indications/findings from the report:

  • In most parts of the world, coming times experience more extreme weather events viz. floods, cyclones, cloud bursts, unseasonal excessive rains and drought, etc.
  • Amongst the most affected nations in Asia would be: Bangladesh, China, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Climate change will be an influential factor in designing of national security policies.
  • By middle of the 21st century, stern pressure on fresh water resources in South Asia and China (Himalayan river basins) may develop into a basis for armed conflict in the region.
  • Coastal flooding will affect tourism in India
  • Fall in food-grain production (wheat in India and Pakistan; wheat and maize in China)
  • Sea-level rise will affect coastal cities like Mumbai and Kolkata
  • Fishing community will be affected, as some marine fauna will face extinction by 2050
  • Himalayan Glaciers continue to shrink, affecting water resources downstream
  • Human health will be affected by climate change, mainly by exasperating health issues.

UN IPCC Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

(Source: http://www.ipcc.ch/)

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“Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020”-Launched by WHO-India to protect Vulnerable Rhinos

WHO-India launched Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme to protect and increase the population of the one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). IVR 2020 is a partnership among the Government of Assam, the International Rhino Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Bodoland Territorial Council, and the U.S. Fish & World Wildlife foundation.

Purpose: To attain a population of 3,000 wild one-horned rhinos in seven of Assam’s protected areas by the year 2020.

 Procedure to protect & increase the population of Rhinos

  • The horns of rhinos will be trimmed before their translocation to Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagaon district of the state.
  • The trimming will be done in a way that any damage is not done to their internal organs and the trimmed horns will grow back to their original shape within four to five months.
  • This action of trimming will also protect them from the poachers, who hunt them just to take away their horns.

Note: Rhinos are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species. To achieve the targeted number, the programme needs an increase by 600 over the existing population available in the state in next 8 years. It means an annual increase of about 3 %.

Environmentalist Ms. Almitra Patel

Environmentalist Ms. Almitra Patel is the member of Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management of India. She has a very strong technical background and experience in several engineering fields, good para-medical knowledge and on a wide variety of pollution-related issues.

 About Ms. Patel’s work in the field of environment & solid waste management practices

  • Honorary Tree Warden for Karnataka.
  • Founder Member of Swabhimana.
  • Fought a successful battle against poor solid waste management and filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to force the Union Government to put in place effective solid waste management rules in the country.
  • Designed and supervised construction of 41 low-cost homes, 22 poultry sheds and 2 large school buildings.
  • Designed and built a gender-friendly low-cost toilet to prevent blockage of sewers.
  • Convener, INTACH Waste Network.
  • Honorary Advisor / supporter / mentor of numerous students, entrepreneurs, individuals and NGOs in the fields of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Waste Water Management.
  • Award(s): Economic Times’ Achiever of the Year for Environment in Karnataka, Golden Jubilee Award for Environment from Bangalore City Corp’n,  Kempegowda Award-winner for Environment, etc.
  • Publications: Vacuum Concrete, Track Down Your Induction Furnace Lining Problems, Strategies for Slum – Free cities : A Discussion Paper, etc.

 Note: Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 apply to every municipal authority that would be responsible for the collection, segregation, processing, transportation and disposal of solid waste.

U.S. – India Energy Dialogue 2014 to advance clean energy access: Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE)

India and the USA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a joint implementation committee to regularly monitor and boost the PEACE (Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy) initiative in New Delhi. This new initiative PEACE was launched in 2013 under the India-US Energy Dialogue.

 Objective: To harness commercial enterprise to bring clean energy access to un-served and underserved Indian villages, capture lessons learned, and develop best practices.  Reliable and cost-effective off-grid clean energy solutions can significantly improve the quality of life and economic conditions in rural households and communities.

Focus Areas of Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE)

  • Sharing best practices and institutional and other approaches.
  • Finance.
  • Technology innovation, standards, testing, and certification.
  • Skill development and information sharing.

Under the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue 2014, both the Governments finalized an initial plan of activities viz.

  • To create a new “PACEsetter fund” to support the development of early-stage, innovative clean energy solutions for un-served and underserved populations in India.
  • To cooperate on a study to recommend the design of a smart micro-grid pilot to test and validate a business model for scaling up smart micro-grids commercially.
  • Will work with stakeholders to develop a quality assurance framework, including control standards and performance benchmarks, that can serve consumers better in terms of safety, reliability, performance and cost comparison, and facilitate the delivery of high quality products to the market.
  • Off-Grid Alliance: To establish an alliance of businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and government to strengthen India’s off-grid ecosystem, bring existing efforts to scale, and attract new businesses and commercial enterprises.

Note: The implementation of PEACE will be under the New Technology and Renewable Energy (NTRE) Working Group of the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue.