GHGs Current Affairs - 2019
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As per recently published US-based World Resources Institute (WRI) report, world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover in 2018. It is fourth largest annual decline since global satellite data become available in 2001. According to report, with such decline world’s forests entered in ‘emergency room’ implying that planet’s health is at stake and mere band-aid response will not help.
- Study showed new deforestation hotspots in Africa, like Ghana and Ivory Coast, the increase in tree loss was due to illegal mining, small-scale forest clearing and expansion of cocoa farms.
- Most destruction was seen in Brazil (13,500 sq-km), Congo (4,800 sq-km), Indonesia (3,400 sq-km), Colombia (1,800 sq-km), Bolivia (1,500 sq-km) and Madagascar lost 2% of its entire rainforest in 2018
- Only Indonesia showed reduction in loss of its primary forest from past 2 years. It has world’s 3rd largest total area of tropical forest and is biggest producer of palm oil. Therefore, forest destruction was mainly due to land clearance for oil-palm plantations, which was reduced once government imposed a moratorium on forest-clearing.
- According to annual assessment by scientists of Global Forest Watch ( which uses satellite imagery and remote sensing to monitor tree cover losses from Brazil to Ghana) almost 1/3rd of area destroyed (~36,000 square km) was pristine primary rainforest ( consists of mature trees that absorb more carbon and are harder to replace).
- According to Mighty Earth, (a global environmental campaign organization), deforestation causes more climate pollution than all world’s cars, trucks, ships and planes combined.
Importance of Forest
- Forests act as Carbon sink by absorbing about 30% of man-made GHG emissions (over 11 billion tons of CO2 per year) on other hand ocean soaks another 23%. So, losing vast tracts of tropical forest not only releases carbon into atmosphere, it also reduces size of carbon sink. Therefore, it is vital to protect what we still have.
- Because of deforestation, indigenous communities are most vulnerable to losing their homes and livelihoods, aggravates climate change (as absorb 1/3rd of planets greenhouse gas emissions produced globally), biodiversity loss.
About World Resources Institute
It is a global research non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was established in 1982. It works to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, human health and well-being. Its focuses on 7 key areas: food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate and ocean.
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs).
The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012 and is set to expire in 2020. So far, 75 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.
- This decision is considered as token measure to put pressure on developed countries to deliver on climate change commitments.
- It further underlines India’s leadership in the comity of countries committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.
- India’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise.
- It will attract some investments in implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with Sustainable Development priorities.
About Kyoto Protocol
- The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to fight global warming by reducing GHGs emission and came into effect in 2005. The 1st commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was from 2008-2012.
- The 2nd commitment period for the period 2013- 2020 was adopted in 2012 by the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol.
- The protocol is based on principle of Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR).
- It places obligations on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets to reduce emissions by 5.2% of 1990 levels during 2008-2012 period) and provide financial resources and technology to developing nations.
- Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.