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Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar) PDF Download

1. Glasgow Agreement

The Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or COP26, met in Glasgow for the 26th time. Every year, these meetings are convened to develop a worldwide response to climate change. Each of these sessions results in a collection of choices with various names. This has been dubbed the Glasgow Climate Pact in this edition. Previously, these sessions resulted in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015, both of which are treaty-like international accords
Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

Salient Features of Glasgow Accord

Mitigation

  • All the parties agreed that stronger action in the present decade is vital for meeting the 1.5-degree objective, according to the Glasgow Accord.

As a result, it has requested/decided:

  • By the end of the year, they should have strengthened their 2030 climate action plans, or NDCs (nationally determined contributions). to Create a work plan to increase mitigation ambition and implementation as soon as possible. 
  • Organise an annual summit of ministers to increase the ambition of climate action in 2030. 
  • Annual synopsis of individual countries cations. 
  • In 2023, a gathering of world leaders will be held to increase the ambition of climate action. 
  • Countries should make steps to limit coal use as a source of energy and eliminate "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies. 
  • Coal will be phased down, and fossil fuels will be phased out. This is the first-time coal has been mentioned clearly in a COP decision. Adaptation 
  • Adaptation is regarded as the most crucial component of climate action by most countries, particularly the smaller and poorer ones, as well as small island governments. 
  • They have demanded that adaptation efforts receive at least half of all climate money.

As a result, the Glasgow Climate Pact has the following provisions

  • Developed countries have been asked to at least double the amount of money allocated to adaptation by 2025, compared to current levels. 
  • Developed a two-year work plan to create a global adaptation goal. Finance 
  • Every step taken to address climate change has a monetary cost. It is now predicted that trillions of dollars will be required each year to pay all the initiatives required to meet the climate goals. 
  • As a result of their past culpability for greenhouse gas emissions, developed countries have a responsibility. 
  • They must help underdeveloped countries cope with climate change by providing funds and technology. 
  • Developed countries committed in 2009 that by 2020, they would raise at least $100 billion annually. Even though the 2020 deadline has passed, the $100 billion pledge has yet to be met. 
  • The industrialised countries have recently stated that they will raise this sum by 2023.

Carbon Markets

  • Carbon markets make trading emission reductions easier. 
  • They are regarded as a crucial and effective tool for reducing overall emissions. 
  • A carbon market existed under the Kyoto Protocol; however, it has since disappeared due to the Protocol's expiration last year. 
  • Because many countries abandoned their emission reduction commitments, developing countries such as India, China, and Brazil have substantial amounts of carbon credits left over. 
  • The Glasgow Pact has provided some relief to poor countries. 
  • It has enabled countries to use these carbon credits to satisfy their first NDC targets. 
  • Announcement of Parallel Processes: In Glasgow, a lot of important work was done in parallel procedures that were not part of the official COP debates. Prior failures in financing must be considered 
  • "Deep regrets" were expressed over the rich countries' failure to deliver on their $100 billion promise. 
  • It has requested them to put this money together as soon as possible, and to do so every year until 2025. 
  • Discussions on creating a new climate finance target beyond $100 billion for the period after 2025 have begun. 
  • The wealthy countries have been asked to offer transparent information about the funds they intend to provide. 

Loss and Damage 

  • Climate disasters are becoming more common, and many of them have resulted in widespread devastation. There is no institutional system in place to reimburse these countries for their losses or to assist them with relief and reconstruction. 
  • The Paris Agreement's loss and damage provision attempts to remedy this. Substantive discussions on loss and damage could take place in Glasgow, thanks to a push from numerous countries. 
  • A provision for the establishment of a facility to coordinate loss and damage actions was included in one of the earlier draughts. 
  • India has announced a Panchamrita (a five-point plan) to combat climate change. 
  • Brazil's net-zero target year would be pushed back from 2060 to 2050. 
  • China agreed to release a clear strategy for meeting its commitment to peak emissions in 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. Israel has set a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 
  • Over a hundred countries have committed to cutting methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to current levels. 
  • Over a hundred countries have pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. 
  • Over 30 countries signed a declaration vowing to work toward a transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2040, at least in the world's major car markets. Panchamrit Strategy of India Prime Minister of India announced a heightened commitment to address the issue of climate change. 
  • This was in line with the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC), wherein it is accepted that developed nations account for most of the legacy greenhouse emissions, which are the cause of present climate change. 
  • Hence, developing nations like India which have only very low per capita carbon emissions need lesser commitment. Also, developing countries like India need carbon space to pursue development path ensuring sustainable development of their country. 
  • The strategy includes: India will get its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030 
  • India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements till 2030 with renewable energy 
  • India will reduce its projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes by 2030 
  • India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030 
  • India will achieve net zero by 2070 ‘Panchamrita’ is a traditional method of mixing five natural foods — milk, ghee, curd, honey and jaggery. These are used in Hindu and Jain worship rituals. It is also used as a technique in Ayurveda.

2. Draft National Water Policy

The committee set up by the government of India to formulate national water Policy has submitted its draft to the ministry of Jal Shakti. According to recent predictions, approximately half of the country's water demand will remain unmet by 2030 if current trends continue. Water tables are dropping, and water quality is decreasing, necessitating a major shift in water management strategy.
Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

The water cycle no longer operates within an invariant range of prediction, as seen by changing precipitation patterns and intensity, as well as river discharge rate. This necessitates a greater focus on water management's agility, resilience, and flexibility to respond appropriately to the future's unpredictability increased.

Issues in Water Policy 2012

  • Water Governance uncertainty and the strategy proposes fundamental changes to the way water is managed, which is plagued by three types of challenges: That is, the distinction between irrigation and drinking water, surface and groundwater, and water and wastewater. 
  • Because of over-extraction of groundwater, rivers are drying up, reducing the base-flows required for rivers to have water following the monsoon. 
  • Dealing with drinking water and irrigation in silos has resulted in aquifers offering reliable sources of drinking water drying up because the same aquifers are also utilised for irrigation, which consumes far more water. 
  • Water quality suffers when water and wastewater are separated during planning.

Demand Management

  • The policy recognises that increasing water supply indefinitely has limits and argues for a shift to demand management. 
  • Irrigation: Rice, wheat, and sugarcane use most of India's water, which is consumed by irrigation. The basic water needs of millions of people cannot be addressed unless this pattern of water demand is drastically altered.

Groundwater

  • Sustainable and equitable groundwater management is a top concern for the NWP. 
  • The key is community-based groundwater management. Stakeholders selected as custodians of their aquifers would be able to adopt guidelines for effective groundwater management if they were given information about aquifer boundaries, water storage capacities, and flows in a user-friendly way. 

River

  • Historically, rivers have been viewed as primarily an economic resource. Despite the economic value of rivers, the NWP prioritises river protection and rehabilitation. 
  • The NWP lays forth a plan for drafting a River Rights Act, which would protect rivers' rights to flow, meander, and reach the sea. 

Water Quality 

  • It is the most critical neglected issue in India today. o It is proposed that a water quality department be included in every water ministry, both at the federal and state levels.

New Water Policy in Draft (NWP)

• The proposed NWP made two major recommendations: 

  • Shift the focus away from never-ending water supply increases and toward demand management strategies. In keeping with area agroecology, this entails changing our cropping pattern to incorporate fewer water-intensive crops. 
  • We must reduce our industrial water footprint, which is among the highest in the world, by switching to recycled water and reducing freshwater use. All non-potable applications, such as flushing, firefighting, vehicle washing, landscaping, gardening, and so on, must be shifted to treated wastewater by cities. 
  • A shift in concentration on the supply side is also since the country is running out of land for new major dams, and water tables and groundwater quality are declining in many locations. Trillions of litres of water are held in large dams but never reach the farmers who are supposed to benefit from them. 
  • The policy specifies how this can be accomplished using pressured closed conveyance pipelines, SCADA systems, and pressurised micro-irrigation. The case for "nature-based solutions" for water storage and supply is becoming increasingly compelling around the world. 
  • As a result, the NWP lays a strong emphasis on water supply through watershed rejuvenation, which must be rewarded with ecosystem services compensation, vulnerable communities in mountainous areas. particularly in for upstream.

Recommendations in Draft Water Policy

Crop Diversification 

  • It is the single most critical step in alleviating India's water crisis, according to demand side options. 
  • Diversifying public procurement activities to include Nutri-cereals, pulses, and oilseeds is suggested in the policy. The Integrated Child Development Services, the mid-day meal scheme, and the public distribution system are the primary outlets for these procured crops. Given the higher nutritional composition of these crops, establishing this link would also assist address the crisis of starvation and diabetes. 
  • Farmers should be encouraged to diversify their cropping patterns, resulting in significant water savings. 

Reduce-Recycle-Reuse 

  • This has been recommended as the basic motto of integrated urban water supply and wastewater management, with sewage treatment and ecorestoration of urban river sections achieved as far as practicable through decentralised wastewater management. Use of cleaned and treated wastewater for all non-potable purposes, such as flushing, firefighting, and vehicle washing. 

Supply Side recommendations

  • The policy recommends utilising water stored in large dams that are still not reaching farmers and explains how irrigated areas could be greatly expanded at a low cost by deploying pressurised closed conveyance pipelines, combined with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and pressurised micro-irrigation. 
  • The NWP lays a strong emphasis on water supply via "nature-based solutions" such as catchment area rejuvenation, which will be rewarded with ecosystem services compensation. 
  • Rain gardens and bioswales restored rivers with wet meadows, bio-remediation wetlands, urban parks, permeable pavements, green roofs, and other specially curated "blue-green infrastructure" are proposed for urban areas. 

Water Quality

  • The policy encourages the use of cutting-edge sewage treatment technology that are low-cost, low-energy, and environmentally friendly. 
  • The widespread use of reverse osmosis has resulted in significant water waste and harmed water quality. 
  • If the total dissolved solids count in water is less than 500 mg/L, the guideline states that RO units should be avoided. 
  • It proposes forming an emerging water pollutants task team to better understand and address the problems they are anticipated to pose. 
  • Re-vegetation of catchments, management of groundwater extraction, river-bed pumping, and sand and boulder mining are all steps in the process of restoring river flows.

3. Kuno to Get 13 Cheetahs Next Year Who Can Co-Exist with Leopards

Kuno was selected as the habitat for the African cheetah by a Supreme Court mandated expert committee in January 2021, constituted by the apex court to implement the Cheetah Translocation Project. Kuno was preferred over the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh because it was large enough for cheetahs to roam around and hunt freely, away from any human interference.

Need For Cheetah Reintroduction

  • Because the Cheetah species has got extinct in the country. 
  • And the plan is to revive the Indian Population of Cheetah.

Original Geographical Range

Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

Causes For Extinction of Cheetahs

Hunting 

  • They were hunted into extinction during and after the Mughal Period, largely by Rajput and Maratha Indian royalty and later by British colonialists, until the early 20th century when only several thousand remained. 

Captive (help in hunting) 

  • Trapping of large numbers of adult Indian cheetahs, who had already learned hunting skills from wild mothers, for assisting in royal hunts is said to be another major cause of the species rapid decline in India as they never bred in captivity with only one record of a litter ever. 
  • Reintroduction of the cheetah in India involves the re-establishment of a population of cheetahs into areas where they had previously existed: A part of the reintroduction process is the identification and restoration of their former grassland scrub forest habitats.

Methods of Reintroduction of Cheetahs

Biotechnology: Cloning 

  • India first proposed this method during the last decade but it didn't work. 
  • During the early 2000s, Indian scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, proposed a plan to clone Asiatic cheetahs obtained from Iran. 
  • Indian scientists requested Iran to allow them to collect some live cells of the cheetah pair in Iran itself, which can then be made into living cell lines. They planned to use the nucleus from these cells to manually reproduce their own cheetahs, over a significantly long amount of time. 
  • Iran refused to cooperate (would neither send any cheetahs to India nor would allow Indian scientists to collect their tissue samples) 
  • It is said that Iran wanted an Asiatic lion in exchange for a cheetah and that India was not willing to export any of its lions. 

Reintroducing live Cheetahs 

  • So, it was decided that African Cheetah would be introduced in protected areas in India.

Issues With Cheetah Reintroduction

Clash with lion and tiger conservation 

  • As the habitat for Asiatic lion and Tiger as well as the Cheetah is similar, many sites identified for Cheetah reintroduction clash with lion & Tiger conservation. As we know, that there is only a single population of Lion in India in Gir and that has become unsustainable due to rapid growth in their population and there is a need to relocate many lions from Gir. 
  • An expert panel formed by the government shortlisted a number of protected areas where cheetahs could be relocated. These were Kuno Palpur and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, Velavadar National Park in Gujarat and the Shahgarh bulge in Rajasthan. 
  • The Kuno reintroduction plan ran into trouble. The protected area had also been shortlisted for introduction of Asiatic Lions from heavily populated Gir in Gujarat. 
  • To not give lions to Kuno, Gujarat's legal counsel had put forward the argument that Kuno was being used for the introduction of African cheetah which might take several years to fully settle down and repopulate the area and hence reintroduction of lions should only be done after that. Perpetual problems with India’s wildlife 
  • As the import of the Cheetahs from Africa will be very limited, the problems being faced by the wildlife in the country might undo the efforts. 
  • It is advisable to resolve following issues first: Human-wildlife conflict, Loss of habitat and loss of prey Illegal trafficking. Climate change and growing human populations have only made these problems worse. With less available land for wildlife, species that require vast home range like the cheetah are placed in competition with other animals and humans, all fighting over less space.
The document Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar) is a part of the BPSC (Bihar) Course Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams.
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FAQs on Geography & Environment: December 2021 Current Affairs - Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

1. What is the Glasgow Agreement?
Ans. The Glasgow Agreement refers to an international agreement reached during the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, Scotland. It is a commitment made by various countries to take action in order to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
2. What does the Draft National Water Policy entail?
Ans. The Draft National Water Policy is a proposed policy framework that outlines the government's approach towards managing and conserving water resources in a country. It includes strategies and guidelines for water governance, water allocation, water quality management, and water conservation. The policy aims to ensure sustainable and equitable use of water resources for various sectors such as agriculture, industry, and domestic needs.
3. How many cheetahs are expected to be introduced in Kuno next year?
Ans. Kuno, a wildlife sanctuary in India, is set to receive 13 cheetahs next year. These cheetahs are being reintroduced in an effort to restore the population of this endangered species in the country. It is important to note that efforts are being made to ensure that these cheetahs can coexist with the existing leopard population in Kuno.
4. What is the significance of coexistence between cheetahs and leopards in Kuno?
Ans. The coexistence of cheetahs and leopards in Kuno is significant as it reflects the successful conservation efforts and ecological balance in the wildlife sanctuary. Both cheetahs and leopards are large carnivores and their ability to coexist indicates the availability of sufficient prey, suitable habitat, and minimal competition for resources. This coexistence is a positive outcome for biodiversity conservation in the region.
5. What are some key topics covered in the December 2021 Current Affairs related to Geography & Environment?
Ans. The December 2021 Current Affairs related to Geography & Environment cover a range of topics. Some key topics may include updates on climate change negotiations, environmental policies and initiatives, conservation efforts for endangered species, natural disasters and their impacts, sustainable development projects, and advances in environmental research and technology. These current affairs provide important insights into the ongoing environmental challenges and efforts to address them.
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