Japan Current Affairs - 2019

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IMD confirms weak El Nino Conditions

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has finally declared that weak El Nino conditions are prevalent in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. IMD predicts that these conditions are likely to persist in the early part of the summer season and likely to weaken thereafter.

The initial impact of a weak El Nino can already be seen with the rising temperatures and heat waves across the country.

Till Mid March IMD was maintaining that “warm ENSO neutral conditions are prevailing over equatorial Pacific Ocean” and that they are likely to remain near to the El Nino threshold value during the next two months. The current declaration marks the departure from its earlier predictions.

It is said that the prediction for El Nino has come after a delay since weather agencies in other countries had declared weak El Nino conditions at the beginning of 2019 viz.

  • Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) in January had said that El Nino conditions were prevailing and that there was 80 per cent chance of an El Nino phenomenon staying till spring season of 2019.
  • Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) of the National Weather Service in the United States of America also concluded that weak El Nino conditions had formed in the equatorial Pacific Ocean around the same time as Japan.

Further an update by the CPC on March 14, 2019 states that “weak El Niño conditions are likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2019 with an 80 per cent probability and summer with a 60 per cent probability”.

Month: Categories: EnvironmentUPSC

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India gains access to Bolivian Lithium Reserves

India and Bolivia have signed an agreement for the development and industrial use of lithium, a prime component used to power electric vehicles and cell phones during the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia.

Forging Partnerships

  • India and Bolivia agreed to forge a mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium Carbonate to India and foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India. This agreement will make Bolivia, which is known to have one-fourth of the world’s lithium reserves, one of the major provider of metal for India’s e-mobility and e-storage needs.
  • The agreement facilitates mechanisms for the commercialization of Lithium Carbonate and Potassium Chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporación (YLB – Corporación).

Why the agreement can be a game changer?

  • Bolivia is estimated to hold over 60 per cent of the world’s reserves for lithium, which is required for lithium-ion batteries for portable electronics, and electric vehicles, but has not yet started producing it commercially.
  • India is the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world and has the ambitious goal of 30 per cent electric vehicles by 2030. But India imports all its lithium-ion batteries since India has no known sources of lithium, and zero lithium-ion battery manufacturing capabilities currently.
  • As a result, India is heavily dependent on China, Taiwan and Japan for import, especially of batteries required for portable electronics.
  • With the MoU number of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia goes up, as well as the import of lithium to India. Domestic production is also set to see a boost, from the automotive perspective. Further, the arrival of hybrids and electric vehicles from as early as 2020 onwards, will force manufacturers to look at local production.

This agreement could turn out to be the backbone for the recently launched FAME India policy (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) and will also give a substantial push to India’s ambition to have at least 30 per cent of its vehicles run on electric batteries by 2030.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC

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