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Union Cabinet approves ratification of International Solar Alliance

The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the proposal of Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) for ratification of International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement by India.

The Agreement was opened for signature on the sidelines of 22nd Conference of Parties (CoP) meeting United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Agreement invokes the Paris Declaration on ISA and encapsulates the vision of the member nations. Till now, 25 nations have signed the Framework Agreement. World Bank and UNDP also have announced their partnership with the ISA.

About International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • ISA was launched jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of France François Hollande in November, 2015 at Paris on the side-lines of the 21st CoP meeting of UNFCCC.
  • It is brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is also India’s first international and inter-governmental organization comprising 121 Countries.
  • ISA strives to bring together more than 121 solar resource rich tropical nations lying fully or partially between two tropics for coordinated research, low cost financing and rapid deployment.
  • Its headquarters are located in Gwal Pahari, Guragaon in Haryana. The institutional structure consists of an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat (to be located in India).
  • Its members will take coordinated actions through programmes and activities that will aggregate demands for solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D and capacity building.
  • India has already committed the required support of operationalization of ISA. It will put India globally in a leadership role in climate and renewable energy issues.

For more details: International Solar Alliance (ISA)

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Union Government to invest Rs 15000 crore to increase Panipat oil refinery capacity

The Union Government has decided to invest 15,000 crore rupees to increase the capacity of Panipat refinery in Haryana to 25 Million Tonnes from existing 15 Million Tonnes.

It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan at a function in Panipat.

Key Facts

  • The expansion of Panipat refinery will help raise specifications of fuel quality from BS-IV to BS-VI to meet future demand.
  • It will also create employment opportunities for the people and also help in raising quality of fuel in the country by the year 2020.
  • Besides, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will also set up bio-ethanol plant in Panipat to generate alternative fuel from agricultural residue which would boost agriculture sector.

What is Bioethanol?

  • It is an alcohol derived by process of fermentation mostly from carbohydrates of agricultural residue and feedstocks.
  • As a quasi-renewable energy, ethonal can be blended with petrol or diesel making it a sustainable transport fuel. It will help to reducing emissions and dependency on imported fuel.

Benefits of bio-ethanol plant

Help in solving the chronic problem of straw burning of leftover agro-based produce especially from wheat and rice feedstocks. Benefit farmers economically, as they would be paid for their agro-based produce to extract bio-ethanol. It would also help in preventing the loss of fertility of soil and damage to environment by reducing air pollution.

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Arctic Region hits record high temperature over land: NOAA

The average temperature over Arctic land for the year ending in September 2015 was the highest on record indicating that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as other parts of the Earth.

It was revealed by the annual Arctic Report Card of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency of US for monitoring condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.

Key facts

  • The temperatures in areas at latitude 60 degrees north and higher i.e. over Arctic were 1.3 degrees Celsius above average for the year ending in September 2015.
  • The recorded temperature rise is the warmest since observations began in 1900. Due to temperature rise the ice in this region is growing thinner each year.
  • The sea ice coverage in the Arctic has reached its peak in February 2015 and marked the lowest extent since record-taking began in 1979.
  • The newly formed thin ice comprises about 70 per cent of the winter ice cover in the Arctic Ocean compared to about half that in the 1980s.
  • The rising temperatures are melting snow and ice cover in this region causing the ground and sea surface to absorb more heat.

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