greenhouse gas Current Affairs - 2019

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Royal Bengal Tigers may not survive Climate Change: UN Report

According to a recent UN report, Climate change and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out ‘The Sundarbans’, which is one of world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The studies of report rely on climate change scenarios developed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.

Key Findings of Report

  • As per UN findings if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.
  • In 2010, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, a Non-governmental organization) estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades.
  • By 2070, there will be not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
  • 70% of Sundarbans is just a few feet above sea level, thus faces grave threat due to climate changes. It is one of the prime habitats of Bengal tigers, who are among 500,000 land species whose survival is in question because of threats to their natural habitats due to climate change.
  • Once the Sundarbans are flooded it may lead to increased confrontations (conflict) between humans and tigers, as the latter would stray outside their habitat in search of new land.
  • Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn’t taken soon there won’t be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.

About Sundarbans

  • They are 10,000 square kilometres of marshy mangroves ecosystem shared between Bangladesh and India.
  • They hosts world’s largest mangrove forest and a rich ecosystem that supports hundreds of animal species, including Bengal tiger.
  • They are only mangrove forests in world where Bengal tigers are found.

About Bengal tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris)

  • It is national animal of India and Bangladesh.
  • It found predominantly in India with some populations in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar.
  • Initiatives by India: As Bengal tiger species is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies (about 2,500 left in wild) Indian government undertakes various initiave to in a bid to conserve species. The Project Tiger launched in 1973 was India’s first-ever tiger conservation programme.
  • IUCN Red List Status is endangered.
  • Since early 1900s, hunting, poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade of animal parts (to meet growing demand in Asia) have decreased global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000 and puy the species at risk.

State of the Global Climate in 2018

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) unveiled the State of the Global Climate in 2018 Report. The highlights of the report are:

  • Extreme weather events impacted close to 62 million people in 2018 and displaced more than two million as of September of that year.
  • The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels
  • 2018 witnessed a record sea level rise and high land and ocean temperatures.  2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and the four warmest years on record all took place between 2015 and 2018. The average global temperature is now around one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • 2018 also sets a new record for ocean heat in the top 700 meters (approximately 2,297 feet) and top 2,000 meters (approximately 6,562 feet).
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have jumped from 357 parts per million (ppm) in 1994 to 405.5 ppm in 2017.
  • Flooding which was the climate-related disaster that impacted the largest number of people in 2018 more than 35 million.
  • The global mean sea level hit a new record and was around 3.7 millimetres higher than in 2017.
  • Arctic sea ice extent registered record lows for February and January of 2018. The maximum extent in March of that year was the third lowest in the 1979 to 2018 satellite record.
  • Climate change could reverse progress made in fighting global malnutrition. In 2017, the number of people suffering from malnutrition increased to 821 million, and this was partly due to by droughts related to El Niño.
  • Around 125 million more people were exposed to heat waves between 2000 and 2016and the average heat wave grew 0.37 days longer compared to heat waves between 1986 and 2008.

WMO has warned that the world would witness temperatures increase 3-5C by the end of the century. Unveiling the report the UN Chief called on countries to come with concrete plans at an upcoming climate summit.