Climate Change Current Affairs - 2020

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Republic of Ireland declares Climate Emergency

Republic of Ireland has become only the second country in world to declare a climate emergency. Earlier on 1 May 2019, Britain’s parliament became the first in world to declare a climate emergency.

Key Highlights

  • The climate emergency declaration was passed by both the government and opposition parties of Ireland unanimously. Both agreed to an amendment to ‘Oireachtas report on Climate Action’ (a parliamentary report on climate action). The ammendement was accepted without a vote.
  • Targets: to be undertaken includes- becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, introduce electric car hubs or build sustainable homes to try to achieve that goal.
  • The Oireachtas Climate Action report that started the Irish declaration came from a Citizens’ Assembly report. The Citizens’ Assembly will next be considering the issue of a biodiversity emergency.
  • The Citizens’ Assembly: It is the Ireland’s citizens’ assembly which was established in 2016 for considering several political questions like referendums, abortion, population ageing, fixed term parliaments, and climate change etc. The report produced by it to be considered by the Oireachtas (Ireland’s Legislature).
  • Next Move: The Ireland will next vote on a Climate Emergency Measures Bill, which seeks to limit oil and gas exploration.
  • Criticism: declaring a climate emergency will mean absolutely nothing unless there is action taken to back it up. Also, there is no single definition of what a climate emergency actually means.

Ireland Legislature

  • The national parliament of Ireland is known as Oireachtas. It consists of, The President of Ireland and a bicameral chamber. It is the only body that has power to make laws.
  • The two houses of Oireachtas are
  1. Dáil Éireann (lower house)
  2. Seanad Éireann (Upper House)

About Britain’s Protest

  • Britain declared the climate emergency following the 11 days of street protests led by ‘Extinction Rebellion’ environmental campaign group in London, UK.
  • The ultimate goal of Extinction Rebellion’s is to cut down global greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions to zero by 2025 and to end biodiversity loss.
  • They have won the support of left-leaning politicians across the world.
  • The British government targets include reducing its carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. It seeks to achieve the target at a relatively low cost and without causing substantial economic damage.

Others

  • The targets are being set in Scotland to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net-zero by 2045.
  • Many local areas around the United Kingdom (UK) have also acknowledge that there is a climate emergency.

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40% of Amphibian Species threatened: IPBES Report

According to a study, called Global Assessment about 40% of amphibian species and more than a third (33%) of all marine mammals are threatened.

The report released by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries and supported by 130 countries (including the U.S., China and Russia). It contained a petition of estimates made after three-year review of about 15,000 scientific papers.

Key Highlights of Report

  • Up to one million of estimated eight million plant, insect and animal species on earth is at risk of extinction, with many within decades.
  • Up to 40% of amphibian species and more than a third (33%) of all marine mammals are threatened.
  • Cause: According to report species face risk because of relentless pursuit of economic growth, twinned with impact of climate change. Industrial farming and fishing are other major drivers of threat. It also shows deep impact of rise of globalised industrial society on earth over past half century (50 years). This loss is direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being through-out the world.
  • Recommendations:
    • Only a wide-ranging transformation of economic and financial system globally could pull our ecosystems back from brink of collapse.
    • It reiterates message by United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which stressed that profound economic and social changes would be needed to curb greenhouse gases (GHGs) quickly enough to avert most devastating consequences of warming in world.
    • It suggests that world may need to embrace a new “post-growth” form of economics if it is to avert existential risks posed by the mutually-reinforcing
  • Way Forward: The findings of Global Assessment will add pressure on countries to come out with a bold action plan to protect wildlife at 15th session of Conference of the Parties to the Conference on Biodiversity (CBD), taking place in China in October 2020.

About IPBES

  • It was founded by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 21 April 2012.
  • It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany.
  • It is a global scientific body similar in composition and functioning of IPCC.
  • Function: It is an intergovernmental body established by UN to assess state of planet’s biodiversity and of ecosystem services it provides to society, in response to requests from decision makers.
  • Members: At present over 130 governments are its member States. India is its founding member.

 

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