Environment Current Affairs - 2020

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2019 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2019.

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UN Climate Summit concludes

The longest climate talks in the history of United Nations that was held in Madrid, Spain, ended on December 15, 2019. The climate summit ended without crucial agreement on carbon market rules of the Paris Agreement.


The key issues that was aimed to get resolved at the summit was the regulation of carbon market. Carbon market puts prices on carbon dioxide emission. However, no conclusion was reached and the issue is to be taken at the next summit to be held at Glasgow in 2020. The summit failed to reach an agreement on the implementation of Article 6 of Paris Agreement.

The United Nations Environment Programme released its Emission Gap Report at the summit. Also, the report of Global Carbon Project was tabled at the summit.

The Presidency of the summit, Chile (though summit was held at Madrid, Spain), launched the Climate Ambition Alliance.

Article 6 of Paris Agreement

The article 6 aims at promoting approaches to implement the NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) through voluntary international cooperation. It also establishes a trading system where in the countries with low emission are allowed to sell their exceeding allowance to countries with larger emissions.


Last year at the COP24, countries US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia refused to welcome the IPCC 1.5C report. This year majority of the members are not willing to reduce their emissions at the pace suggested by the conference. According to World Resources Institute NDC tracker, only 80 countries have so far submitted proposals to enhance their NDCs. These countries are primarily small and developing. They represent only 10.5% of the world population.

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Ministry of Coal forms Sustainable Development Cell

On December 15, 2019, the Coal Ministry announced that it is to establish “Sustainable Development Cell” (SDC) to promote environment friendly and sustainable coal mining. The main objective of the cell is to address environmental concerns that arise during closure of mines. The cell will mentor, advise, plan and monitor mitigation measures to provide better environment to the people residing near the mines.


The cell will act as a nodal point to minimize the adverse impacts of mining. It will also formulate future policy framework focusing in environmental mitigation measures. The SDC will focus on sustainable mine tourism, mine water management, air quality and sustainable overburden management. The cell will also set up Mine Closure Fund.

Tasks of the cell

In India 2,550 square kilometres of land is under coal mines. The cell will help the mines locate land areas where afforestation can be done. It will advise the mines on air quality, noise management and emission. The cell will also suggest reuse and recycle of overburdened dumps in sustainable manner. It will help the mines to manage tourism and frame policies.

Mine Closure

The guidelines for mine closure was issued by the Ministry of Coal in 2012 and the idea was mooted in 2009. According to the guidelines, the mining authority will have to work on two plans namely concurrent mine closure plan and final mine closure plan. Under concurrent mine closure plan, there are activities that are to be done continuously during the entire period of mining operations. Under the final mine closure plan, the activities will start towards the end of the mine life.

Mine Closure Guidelines

The guidelines make it mandatory for the authority to mention the reason of closure such as lack of demand, exhaustion of minerals, uneconomic operations, etc. The authority should also include water quality management, air quality management, top soil management, management of coal rejects from washery, disposal of mining machinery, existing infrastructural facilities.

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