Enviornment Current Affairs - 2020

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)

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.