Environment - Current Affairs for December, 2015

Environment Current Affairs for December, 2015

Month wise coverage of Environment Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

Preparing Environment Current Affairs December, 2015

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▼ Union Cabinet gives approval for Raptor MoU   [12-31-15]

Union Cabinet has approved the signing of an MoU on Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia referred to as Raptor MoU with Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species. With this, India became the 54th signatory to the MoU. Raptor MoU was concluded on 22nd October 2008 and came into effect from November 1st, 2008. Raptor MoU is in conformity with provisions of the existing Wild Life Protection Act 1972. CMS or Bonn Convention under UNEP aims for the conservation of migratory species. India became a signatory in 1983.

▼ Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launches environment friendly measures in Indian Railways   [12-31-15]

Stepping up the ecological initiatives, two environment friendly measures were announced by Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu namely a 26MW wind mill plant in Jaisalmer and a HOG or Head on Generation System in Mumbai Rajdhani. Prabhu also said there is need to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. Wind mill plant has been set up by REMCL or Railways Energy Management Company Ltd, a JV of Indian Railways and RITES Ltd at a cost of INR 160 crore. HOG system will reduce power cost by more than INR 1 crore each year. Within the HOG system, power supply for train lighting and air conditioning in coaches is taken from head power lights, preventing the use of diesel generators in power cars and consequent noise pollution.

▼ 8th National Steering Committee on Climate Change approves projects   [12-29-15]

8th National Steering Committee on Climate Change has approved 4 projects from TN, Punjab and Kerala and also a single project submitted by MP government.Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by Government of Tamil Nadu and Government of Kerala for funding under the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC) and demonstration projects submitted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, Government of Punjab and Government of Tamil Nadu under Climate Change Action Programme (CCAP) were submitted.

▼ GoI informed that energy sector in nation biggest GHG emitter   [12-23-15]

Government informed Parliament that energy sector in the nation was the second biggest emitter of GHG emissions. Energy sector contributed to 58% of the overall emissions in the nation while the share of industry was pegged at 22% followed by 17% from the agriculture sector. As per a report 'India: Greenhouse Gas Inventory-2007', the net GHG emissions from India in 2007 with Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) were 1727.71 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

▼ US will place a breed of lion found in India and Africa in endangered species list   [12-23-15]

US has placed a breed of lion found in India and Africa in the endangered species list to curb dramatic decline of their population. US Fish and Wildlife service has placed a sub-species of lion Panthera leo leo located in India and western and central Africa as endangered. The US has also placed Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, to be listed as threatened.

▼ Jharkhand government collaborates with XLRI   [12-23-15]

For aligning thinking, functioning and decision making of forest personnel with international and national practices, Jharkhand state government has tied up with XLRI for introducing a 2 day programme on good governance for sustainable forest management.

▼ Scientists discover 2 critically endangered species of sea snakes   [12-22-15]

Scientists have discovered two critically endangered species of sea snakes off the coast of Western Australia thought to be extinct after they were no longer in their natural habitat fifteen years ago. Both the leaf scaled and short nosed sea snakes are rare and now scientists have the chance to protect these two endemic West Australia sea snake species.The discovery was made 1700 kilometres south of the snakes only known habitat on Ashmore Reef.

▼ Prague Zoo has longest Chinese salamander on earth   [12-21-15]

Prague Zoo has announced on 20th December 2015 that it has the longest Chinese giant salamander on earth. This critically endangered animal is the biggest amphibian on the globe. Karl, the Chinese giant salamander was received 19 months ago from a German museum. His length is 1.58m and he weighs 35 kgs. His age is estimated at 37 to 38 years.

▼ Emissions from vehicles have increased up to 3 times in 10 years   [12-21-15]

An 8 year study conducted by IIT Roorkee, University of Minnesota and University of Surrey have shown that emissions from vehicles in Delhi rose up to 3 times between 1991 and 2011. This is projected to rise by 19 times by 2020. Private vehicles emissions have increased by 2 to 12 times in 2011 and 2 to 16 times in 2015 over 1991 levels.

▼ NGT directs Easter Zone bench to map the Sunderbans   [12-21-15]

NGT on 18th December 2015 directed the Eastern Zone bench to map the Sunderbans, making out 3 zones. The Sunderbans is a Biosphere Reserve and must have 3 distinct zones namely transient, buffer and core. Human activity may be going on in the core area According to global standards, transition zone of area of cooperation is a larger outer area of a biosphere reserve where people live, work and use natural resources in a sustainable way.

▼ Justice Virendra Singh appointed UP Lokayukta   [12-17-15]

SC on 16th December 2015 appointed retired judge Justice Virendra Singh as the Lokayukta of UP. A lokayukta is a anti corruption ombudsman. Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana gave approval for the appointment. This is the first time SC has exercised powers to appoint a Lokayukta after orders that a person must be appointed for the position. Current Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra has been given multiple extensions before this.

▼ Green Peace India releases NAQI report   [12-17-15]

Green Peace India on 15th December 2015 released a report on 17 cities’ National Air Quality Index. This is the first analysis of air pollution levels in Indian cities carried out by the NGO. Around 13 Indian cities figured in the 20 most polluted cities of the world. Delhi was listed as the most polluted city of the world.

▼ Meat consumption increases percentage of emissions: FAO   [12-17-15]

Burning of fossil fuels is one of the biggest causes for climate change. Another point is the high level of meat consumption. FAO scientists have estimated 15% of emissions or 7.1 billion tonnes of C02 come from worldwide livestock. Emissions can be cut by reducing meat consumption, according to FAO. Meat consumption is projected to rise to 460 million tonnes by 2050.

▼ Typhoon Melor hits Philippines   [12-15-15]

Typhoon Melor struck Phillippines on 14th December 2015, ranked as a category 3 storm. It is believed to be causing flooding, landslides and 4 meter storm surges within the coastal region. People have been evacuated to protect them from torrential rain and high winds.

▼ 248 of 2018 glaciers or 12.3% of Himalayan glaciers retreating   [12-15-15]

Close to 248 of 2018 or 12.3% of Himalayan glaciers are retreating. Around 18 are advancing and a majority or around 86% are stable. This result is based on an ISRO-MoEF study conducted between 2004 and 2011 in the Himalayas.

▼ Scientists : Melting glaciers across earth’s pole leading to longer days   [12-14-15]

Melting of glaciers near the poles of the earth and rise in sea level has slowed down the earth’s rotation, increasing the length of the days. Scientists are studying past changes in sea level to make accurate future predictions. Melting water from glaciers not only causes a rise in sea levels, but also leads the shift of the mass from the poles to the equator. Gravity from the moon also leads to the slowdown. Consequently, the length of the days is slowly rising and in a century from now, it will increase by 1.7 milliseconds.

▼ Paris agreement formed, 189 countries submit INDC   [12-14-15]

189 nations have so far submitted their nationally determined contributions on climate actions. Paris agreement will be open for signature in the UN NY HQ from 22nd April 2016 and will entrant force on the 30th day after 55 parties to the UNFCC estimated as being emitters of GHG by estimated 55 percent ratified their acceptance, accession, approval. Another critical step is that Palestine joined the UN convention aligning itself with G77 and China. It also submitted its instrument of accession to UNFCC.

▼ Historic climate change accord reached at Paris   [12-14-15]

A historic climate change deal was reached in Paris. The draft decision stipulates that USD 100 billion will be a floor and not ceiling as a fresh quantified target needs to be established by 2025. The legally binding climate deal released on 12th December 2015 forms the crux of the deal and it has 31 pages, 21 of which are legally binding once ratified. This text has zero dissent and India’s concerns have been met. Climate action sharing responsibilities between developed and developing countries will be addressed. Long term goal of climate change efforts are within 2 degree celsius and efforts will be made to pursue a target of 1.5 degree C.

▼ FSI : Forest cover of Uttarakhand has decreased    [12-14-15]

According to a report submitted by Forest Survey of India, forest cover of Uttarakhand has lowered by 268 sq km in past two years having total area of 24,240 sq km currently. Main reason for this fall in forest cover has been described as rotational felling and diversion of forest land for development activities in the report. FSI has reported only 12 states presently and the total states will be covered by the next survey. The state of Uttarakhand has total geographical area of 53,483 sq km from which 34561 is recorded forest area.

▼ COP21 releases new version of Paris agreement draft   [12-11-15]

French presidency of COP21 or 21st Conference of Parties on 10th December released a new and shorter version of the draft text of the Paris agreement. This 27 page draft text will be placed before negotiators now. Fresh text incorporates demand of India to recognise sustainable lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production in combating climate change. The new draft is an improved version with 50 brackets and 13 options. The deal will be sealed in New York in April 22, 2016 if all goes well.

▼ Plastic in all its forms banned from Gomukhi to Haridwar by NGT   [12-11-15]

A complete ban has been placed on the use of plastic of any kind from Gomukhi to Haridwar along the Ganga river w.e.f February 1st according to the NGT while a penalty of INR 5000 has been imposed on hotels, dharamshalas and ashrams which violate the order. The green panel also divided the cleaning campaign of the river into different segments namely Gomukhi to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal. Apart from plastic ban, NGT has also prohibited the throwing of municipal, construction and demolition waste into the river. The bench also said that seriously polluting industries operating without the consent of the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board shall be closed with immediate effect.

▼ Union Cabinet gives approval for renewable energy MoU between India & Indonesia   [12-10-15]

Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved an MoU between India and Indonesia in the field of renewable and new energy. The MoU aims to establish a cooperative institutional framework for encouraging bilateral cooperation in the field of renewable energy. Capacity building and generation of renewable energy are the main focus of this MoU.

▼ Storm Desmond devastates Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland   [12-9-15]

Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in parts of Northern Ireland, north Wales, southern Scotland and north-west England in the first week of December 2015. The worst affected were Cumbria and Lancashire. It brought heavy rainfall leading to flooding and causing 1000s to flee from their homes. There were also landslides and high winds.

▼ I-LTEO/ Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories launched   [12-9-15]

The initiative was launched on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties-21 (COP-21) of UNFCCC in Paris. The programme aims to identify and monitor targeted socio-ecological challenges and help build capacity within India. The studies under the programme will indicate the need for imminent adaptation measures.

▼ Beijing issues first ever red alert for smog   [12-8-15]

The red alert which is the most serious warning on a 4 tier system adopted in recent times was announced on 7th December 2015. Authorities have forecasted more than 3 consecutive days of severe smog. Reading of PM 2.5 rose to 300 micrograms per cubic meter on this day.

▼ AFR100 scheme launched for increasing productivity of land    [12-8-15]

AFR100 scheme launched will be backed by USD 1 billion from WB and additional funds from Germany as well as USD 545 in private sector investment. Forest landscape restoration will result from rise in agricultural yields in rural communities to diversify livelihood. Countries taking part in this scheme include Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda.Implementing those pledges starting in 2020 would reduce Africa's annual emissions by 36 percent, or 0.25 percent of global emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

▼ Mangrove cover in Maharashtra rises by 20% since 2013   [12-7-15]

Biennial survey conducted by the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun has found that the mangrove cover in the state, which remained static at 186 sq km between 2005 and 2013 has reached 222 sq km. This is the biggest rise in mangrove cover recorded by any Indian state in the 2 year period from 2013 to 2015.

▼ Forest cover in key states increased : Forest Survey of India   [12-7-15]

Forest cover in UP has shown a marginal rise within the past two years, as per latest report of Forest Survey of India. Report indicated that India’s forest cover rose by 3775 square km since 2013 taking the total to 701,673 sq km equalling 70.17 mha or 21.34% of the nation’s geographical area. Increased forest cover was observed in the following states : Kerala, TN, J&K and Karnataka. As against 2013, there has been a rise of 572 sq km in dense forest area and 30 sq km in open forest in the current year, while the area of moderately dense forest fell by 490 sq km. UP also entered the Guinness Book of World Records for planting the highest number of saplings in a single day.

▼ Negotiators from 195 nations formulate blueprint to combat global warming    [12-7-15]

195 nations delivered a blueprint for a pact for saving mankind from global warming raising hopes of a historic agreement in Paris. Planned deal will break the dependence of the world on fossil fuel energy. Around 50 personalities indicated that they would fight climate change including US actor Sean Penn and Internet tycoon from China, Jack Ma.

▼ India to achieve larger green cover : India State of Forest Report 2015   [12-7-15]

India will attain larger green cover and more potential for carbon absorption as part of the INDC or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions as the India State of Forest Report 2015 was released. As per the INDC, India has committed the creation of additional carbon sink for 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equal to 2030 through a planned afforestation drive. In INDC, a target of 250 crore tonnes of carbon sink will be created.

▼ Oxfam : Richest 10% of people produce half of earth’s carbon emissions    [12-4-15]

Richest 10% of people produce half of the carbon emissions on earth, while the 50% poorest contribute a mere 10%, according to UK charity Oxfam. Richest 10% have carbon footprint which is 11 times that of poorest 3.5 billion persons on the planet. The biggest challenge facing climate change initiatives is funding for developing nations.

▼ Air Quality of Delhi worsens to PM 2.5   [12-3-15]

In seven out of 10 monitoring stations of the Central Pollution Control Board, PM 2.5, particulate matter having the size equal to or less than 2.5 micron, came out to be the major pollutant. PM 10 had greater presence in some areas such as Anand Vihar. Air Quality Index (AQI) of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations, located across the city, also remained between very poor and poor. Permissible levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively and consistent exposure to any value above this is harmful as particles embed themselves deep inside the lungs.

▼ COP 21 : Water systems more resilient to climate impacts   [12-3-15]

A massive coalition of nations including India, river basin organisations and business as well as civil societies from around the world have announced the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation to make water systems more resilient to climate impacts. This represents USD 20 million in technical assistance and USD 1 billion in financing. India has committed improvement in the ground water management of the nation as part of this pact. The announcement was part of the "Water Resilience Focus" event under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) on climate change which is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP (conference of parties) presidencies, the Office of the secretary-general of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat.

▼ UN Chief launches climate initiative Anticipate, Absorb Reshape   [12-2-15]

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon along with the agencies of the UN system on 30th November 2015 launched initiative titled Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape to build climate resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries. This initiative will strengthen the ability of countries to anticipate hazards, absorb shocks, and reshape development to reduce climate risks and address the needs of the nearly 634 million people, or a tenth of the global population who live in at-risk coastal areas just a few meters above existing sea levels. It will also monitor and prevent extreme weather events.

▼ Scientists discover rare fossil in Ceratopsis eastern North America   [12-2-15]

Scientists have discovered a rare fossil of a dog sized horned dinosaur in eastern Northern America which roamed the earth 100 million years ago. Fossil identified by University of Bath researchers have found a east west divide in North American dinosaur evolution. During the Late Cretaceous period, 66-100 million years ago, the land mass that is now North America was divided in two continents by a shallow sea, the Western Interior Seaway, which ran from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Dinosaurs lived in the western continent called Laramidia were similar to those found in Asia. Fossils from the lost continent of Appalachia have been lower with the exception of this are fossil found to belong to the horned dinosaurs Ceratopsis. The study highlights it as the first fossil from a ceratopsian dinosaur identified from this period of eastern North America.

▼ Bill Gates launches clean tech initiative   [12-1-15]

Microsoft founder Bill Gates on 30th November 2015 launched a Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an international group of 28 titans of industry who will invest in technologies that will bring affordable, reliable and carbon free power from the research lab to the market including business leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, Jack Ma and Mark Zuckerberg and is expected to give a huge push to clean energy. Coalition has University of California US as its partner and was part of 'Mission Innovation', an initiative of 19 governments including US, India, Germany, China, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Denmark, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Japan, UAE and UK.

▼ More than 100 sunshine countries join hands for International Solar Alliance    [12-1-15]

Indian PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande launched the International Solar Alliance on the sidelines of the climate summit at Paris. This group of more than 100 sunshine countries will work together to get better deal in the growing renewable energy market.