Climate change, GHG emissions - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   A programme to assess the status of Himalayan pheasants and finches is being carried out by _______.

a. Bombay Natural History Society
b. World Wildlife Fund
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bombay Natural History Society

The Bombay Natural History Society has launched a climate change programme. Under this, a study has been funded by Oracle and CAF-India to assess the state of Central Himalayan birds.

The programme will assess the status as well distribution and conservation of pheasants and finches in Central Himalayas.

Himalayas hold a rich natural heritage with biodiversity. The study will focus on conservation with the aid of community participation.

The Indian subcontinent is home to 50 species of pheasants and 62 species of finches. Several species have been listed in Globally Threatened category by IUCN.

Both these groups are spread across the Himalayas. Shrinking habitats have been combined with many biotic factors, along with trapping and poaching pressures pushing the species to extinction.

Climate change can influence vertical and horizontal distribution of groups. This makes boundaries of protected areas fuzzy.

Species may adapt to survive but those sensitive to the temperature will suffer following climate change.

Long term monitoring project also assesses the socio-economic activities of local communities and involve them in the conservation effort. The aim is to sensitize the local forest department staff.

The aim is to understand the impact of climate change on biodiversity of the Himalayas.

To conserve biodiversity, local communities play a critical role and their involvement is critical for project success.

Project will contribute to make the inventory of pheasants and finches. Documentation of local specific conservation issues is essential.

Species specific conservation action plan will also be formulated.

BNHS: Know More

  • The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883.
  • It is one of the largest NGOs in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • It supports many research efforts through grants.
  • It also publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
  • Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley, are part of BNHS.
  • BNHS is the partner of BirdLife International in India.
  • It has been designated as a 'Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation' by the Department of Science and Technology.

2)   Which climate change sceptic has been awarded the EPA leadership?

a. Scott Gleeson
b. Scott Johnson
c. Scott Hewitt
d. Scott Pruitt
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Scott Pruitt

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has picked climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt, a Republican, to head America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Currently Attorney-General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt prides himself in being “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

His appointment could undermine the proactive environmental programme pursued by President Barack Obama.

The selection has outraged environmental activists and organisations.

Mr. Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had sought to build the global climate regime as an opportunity to create jobs in America, in the renewable energy sector.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, appears to be focused on fossil fuel jobs that have been lost in America. Mr. Pruitt has been a strong supporter of fossil fuel industry in the country.

Trump Selects Military Generals

  • Trump on 7th Dec named retired four-star Marine general John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Retired general, David Petraeus, has been floated as a possible pick for secretary of state
  • Retired admiral Michael Rogers has been rumoured to be in the running for director of national intelligence.
  • Gen. Mattis has been chosen as head of Pentagon.
  • Having retired in 2013, Mattis needs a special waiver to serve.

3)   Climate change will cause escalation in migration according to which report?

a. Climate Change Knows No Borders
b. Climate Change Has No Borders
c. Climate Change With No Borders
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Climate Change Knows No Borders

Climate change will cause "uncontrollable" escalation in migration in South Asia, including India, 3 major international organisations working on the issue warned today.

Ahead of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which is scheduled to start from Dec 9 in Dhaka in Bangladesh, the study 'Climate Change Knows No Borders' by ActionAid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World (Brot Fuer Die Welt) stressed about the devastating and increasing impact of climate change on migration.

The study, which looks at climate change and its impact on migration in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, also underlined the need for action by all governments of the world to tackle the issue.

It held that the region is particularly vulnerable to climate change events, including droughts, heat waves, cyclones, rising sea levels, heavy rainfall, landslides and floods.

According to the study the study, the need for South Asian governments to monitor the specific impact of 'climate migration' on women and girls is highlighted as a critical concern which the region needs to address.

In May 2016, Cyclone Roanu ripped through Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh causing widespread damage and leaving in its wake reconstruction costs estimated at $1.7 billion.

A month later in 2016, temperatures reached a record-breaking 51 degrees Celsius at Rajasthan in India.

2015-16 brought with it extended drought and crop failure in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and across India. Around 330 million people were affected in India alone and many more across the region.

The Warsaw International Mechanism

  • Established in 2013.
  • Set up by the UN.
  • Affirmed by the last round of climate talks at Paris 2015.
  • Works for legal protection for people who are forced to migrate or are displaced by climate change.

4)   Dramatic climate cycles on early Mars may have caused canyon and _____ networks.

a. Rift
b. Valley
c. Peak
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Valley

Climate cycles on early mars, triggered by GHG build up, have caused liquid water to carve out canyons and valley networks on Martian surface, according to scientists.

Scientists have long debated how canyons and valley networks could form in Mars some 38 billion years ago at a time many hold that the Red Planet was frozen.

Researchers suggest a glacier covered early mars may have experienced long warm periods lasting up to 10 million years at a time, caused by a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Team found the warming cycles would have lasted long enough and produced enough water to create the features.

Previous research suggested that asteroid impacts warmed the planet, creating steam atmospheres leading to rain.

Warm periods would have much shorter durations and struggled to produce enough water.

Scientists have likened the valleys on the Martian surface are similar in width to the Colorado River Canyon. It took 16 million years for the Colorado River, swollen seasonally as snow melts in Rocky Mountains to carve the nearby Grand Canyon.

With the right choice of parameters caused by GHG reached a certain tipping point lasted millions of years on Mars - with the right choice of parameters, these warm periods last up to 10 million years.

5)   The North Pole has recorded temperatures at what degree above average?

a. 30 degree F
b. 36 degree F
c. 20 degree C
d. Both b and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both b and c

The North Pole has recorded temperatures 20 degree C (36 degree F) above average alongside a record low of sea ice for October, creating alarm for climate change scientists across the world.

  • The polar night in the region lasts for more than 24 hours and the Arctic is supposed to get super cold
  • October is the first full month when sea ice is supposed to grow; however, the ice area is 28.5 % below the 1981-2010 average
  • This is the smallest since the record was begun being estimated in the late 1970s
  • NOAA has declared October the third warmest on record in 2016 after 2014 and 2015
  • The Arctic has been more warm for a long period of time
  • Parts of Greenland including the top of Greenland’s ice sheet was 7 degree C warmer than the average the previous month, and there has also been rise in temperature on Alaska’s north slope

6)   First zero emission train powered by hydrogen has been unveiled by which company?

a. Schneider
b. Alstom
c. General Electric
d. General Motors
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Alstom


  • Alstom launched the zero emission train powered by hydrogen at Innotrains Trade Fair
  • The new train is CO2 emission free
  • It is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell stored in a hydrogen fuel tank on the roof of the train
  • Train produces water and steam as against GHG emissions and is less noisy than conventional trains
  • The technology in the field of clean transportation will complete the Coradia range of regional trains according to Alstom CEO and Chairman H. Poupart Lafarge
  • Hydrail technology has been developed for 25 years now, but the focus haas always only been on freight trains
  • East Japan Railway Company ran its first test for the hydrail railcard in 2006
  • Chinese company released the first hydrail tram
  • But Coradia will be the first hydrogen passenger train to run long distances
  • One full tank enables the new train to travel between 600-800 km
  • Other German states have shown interest in the train, along with Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands
  • The cost has not been revealed by Alstom yet

7)   India will ratify the Paris agreement on climate change on what date?

a. October 2
b. October 3
c. October 4
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: October 2

India will ratify the Paris agreement on climate change on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Country’s move will bring in a global deal to fight the menace of global warming

  • The announcement to this effect was made by PM Narendra Modi during his speech at the BJP party council meet
  • India had announced its climate action plan to fight challenges of climate change on October 2 in the past year.
  • It has submitted its INDC or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the UN Body on October 1, 2015 and made it public the next day coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
  • Around 60 countries including the two top polluters of the world- the US and China- have ratified the agreement adopted by 195 nations in Paris in December 2015
  • While China and US have ratified it on September 3, as many as 31 countries have formally joined the agreement through formal ratification or acceptance at a special event hosted by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in New York on September 21
  • Agreement will come into force 30 days after 55 countries, representing 55 percent of global emissions will deposit their instruments of ratification, accession or acceptance with the UN Secretary General
  • So fa national ratification has crossed 55 nations but only accounted for 47.62 percent of the global emission
  • Decision of India, which accounts for 4.1 percent of the global emission, will bring it within reach of the emission threshold of 55 percent
  • The magic figure of 55 percent will be reached in 2016 as 14 more countries, with 12.58 percent of the global emission on September 21, committed to join the agreement this year before the start of the next UN conference on climate change COP22 in Morocco in November 2016
  • Paris Agreement calls on nations to combat climate change and accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for sustainable low carbon future and adapting the increasing impact of climate change
  • Regular meetings are mandated every 5 years, starting in 2018 to review progress and consider how to strengthen the level of ambition as countries recognise present steps to counter climate change are not enough to save planet earth
  • Apart from India, other countries joining the Paris Agreement through formal ratification include:
    i. Austria,
    ii. Australia,
    iii. Bulgaria,
    iv. Cambodia,
    v. Canada,
    vi. Costa Rica,
    vii. France,
    viii. Germany,
    ix. Hungary,
    x. Kazakhstan,
    xi. New Zealand,
    xii. Poland and
    xiii. the Republic of Korea.

8)   Paris Agreement on Climate Change moved closer with how many countries joining the special event hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon?

a. 31
b. 32
c. 33
d. 34
Answer  Explanation 


Paris Agreement on climate change has moved closer to enter into force this year as 31 more countries on 21st Sept joined at a special event hosted by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

  • Number of countries which joined the Paris Agreement, has now reached 60- 5 more than the threshold of 55 nations required for bringing the agreement into force.
  • Paris Agreement will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries, representing 55% of the global emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession with the UN Secretary General
  • As the 60 countries that joined the agreement so far account for as much as 47.62 percent of the global emission, global deal needs to cover remaining 7.5 percent before it enters into force
  • Magic figure is 55 percent and the climate deal is now set to enter into force in 2016
  • Adopted by 195 parties to the UNFCCC last December in Paris, the Paris Agreement calls on nations to combat climate change and intensify the actions and investments for a sustainable low carbon future and adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change
  • Early entry into force of the Paris Agreement will trigger operational provisions of the agreement and accelerate efforts to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degree C and agree to build climate resilience.
  • Paris agreement mandates regular meetings every 5 years, starting in 2018 to review progress and consider how to strengthen the level of ambition as countries recognised the present level of climate actions will not suffice
  • The two biggest polluters, China and the United States have joined the agreement early this month and the third biggest polluter in the world accounting for 4.1 percent of the global emission, will ratify it next year.
  • Countries that deposited their instruments of ratification at NY included Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Dominica, Ghana, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Tonga, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Vanuatu.

9)   The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable was authored by which well known Indian novelist?

a. Amitav Ghosh
b. Upmanyu Chatterjee
c. VS Naipaul
d. Salman Rushdie
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Amitav Ghosh

Book entitled The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable was authored by Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh and was released on 12th July 2016.

  • Book addresses the challenges of representing climate change complexity in literature and responsibility of writers to document extreme reality faced by humans.
  • The inability in the level of literature, history and politics encompass the scale and violence of climate change.
  • History of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with contradictory and counterintuitive elements
  • The writer spoke of how climate change has become a personal moral reckoning rather than arena of collective action .

10)   Team of researchers from India and the UK have come together to develop new cereal crop varieties that use _____ lowering GHG emissions.

a. nitrogen
b. carbon
c. oxygen
d. sulphur
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: nitrogen

Team of researchers from India and the UK have come together to develop new cereal crop varieties that use nitrogen effectively reducing GHG emissions and ensuring profitability and sustainability of agriculture.

  • Partnership will go for natural variations of cereal and basic research in model plants to deliver new varieties of cereals with enhanced nitrogen use efficiency.
  • With a funding of 10 million pounds through the Newton Bhabha Fund, UK, Biotechnology and Biological Research Council, UK and the Department of Biotechnology/DBT of the Government of India, four new virtual joint centres in agricultural nitrogen will be created.
  • These are delivered in partnership with BBSRC, Natural Environment Research Council and the DBT.
  • Centre comprises multiple research organisations in India and the UK with centres receiving co-investment of around 2.5 million pounds according to an official statement by ICRISAT.
  • The Cambridge India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen is one of 4 centres led by National Institute of Agricultural Botany in the UK and ICRISAT in India.

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