River Piracy, Climate change - GS questions based on daily current affairs

1)   The rise in sea level is due to

a. Melting of glaciers and ice-sheets
b. Oceans expand as they get warmer
c. Both a & b
d. None
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a & b

The two major causes of global sea-level rise are thermal expansion caused by the warming of the oceans (since water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice (such as glaciers and polar ice caps) due to increased melting.

2)   The UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (COP23)'s roadmap for  'Talanoa Dialogue', was established at which city?

a. Bonn, Germany
b. Berlin, Germany
c. Paris, France
d. Moscow, Russian
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bonn, Germany

The UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (COP23) was held in Bonn, Germany and was presided over by Government of Fiji.

It concluded with countries putting in place a roadmap for 'Talanoa Dialogue', a year-long process to assess countries' progress on climate actions.

The Conference also made progress on framing rules for implementing 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and brought rich nations on board on their pre-2020 commitments as demanded by developing nations.

Talanoa Dialogue: Know More

  • The 'Talanoa Dialogue' process would help them review their actions and discuss the way forward. Agreement on this stocktaking process is an important outcome of the Conference.

  • It will discuss pre-2020 actions of rich nations apart from looking at the climate actions of all nations under the Paris Agreement.

  • 'Talanoa' is a traditional approach used in Fiji and the Pacific to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.

  • As per the COP decision, it has been structured around three questions-where are we? Where do we want to go? And how do we get there? - to arrive at answers with consensus. "The dialogue will be conducted in a manner that promotes enhanced ambition.

  • The dialogue will consider, as one of its elements, the efforts of Parties (countries) on (mitigation) action and (financial and technical) support, as appropriate, in the pre-2020 period", says an approach paper, adopted by all the countries as part of the final decision.

  • The group could force the rich nations to agree for discussing their pre-2020 actions under the 'Talanoa Dialogue' (2018 facilitative dialogue) and bring them on board to get their performance reviewed next year and also in 2019.

3)   Name the MoEFCC campaign for land use science or Forest Plus?

a. Good Wood
b. Wood Good
c. Wood is Good
d. Good Earth
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Wood is Good

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched “Wood is Good” Campaign under Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus).

It was launched on sidelines of two-day conference on “Sustainable landscapes and forest ecosystems: Theory to Practice” in New Delhi.

Forests are integral part of Indian culture and tradition. Government is committed to increase forest cover from 24% to 33% of geographical area and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in forests, as reflected in Internationally Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

Dr. Harsha Vardhan launched the ‘Wood is Good’ campaign on the occasion under the Forest-Plus programme.

The purpose of the campaign is to promote wood as a climate-friendly resource and substitute to materials like steel and plastic as it is a renewable resource, having zero carbon footprint, unlike other materials that leave carbon footprint in their production.

While emphasising on the need to create an enabling environment through small steps such as planting more trees, the ministry also indicated the need for raising the forest cover much beyond the stipulated 33 percent.

Key Objectives of Conference to Launch Scheme

  • To explore issues and opportunities for ecosystem approach to land management in India.
  • To discuss how the approaches and tools developed under the Forest-PLUS programme can be used to improve forest management in India.
  • To document and disseminate that learning with a wider group.
About Forest-Plus
  • The Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus)is a joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.
  • The programme will bring together experts from both India and the United States to develop tools, technologies and methods of forest management in order to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of the ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood.
  • The REDD Programme is collaborative programme of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It was created in 2008 in response to UNFCCC decisions on Bali Action Plan and REDD at COP-13. Its goal is to reduce forest emissions and enhance carbon stocks in forests while contributing to national sustainable development.

4)   Union Environment ministry approved projects for climate change in which states?

a. Rajasthan
b. Gujarat
c. Manipur
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The Union Environment Ministry approved three projects for climate change adaptation in three states viz. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sikkim for funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

In this regard, the National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) headed by Environment Secretary has approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by these three state governments.

The investment aims to address the issue of water security which are directly identified as climate resilience building interventions under the SAPCC.

It also aims to bolster water security in villages under the Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan.

It aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of villages by making them self-reliant in terms of water requirement.

The project seeks enhance the adaptive capacity of natural resource dependent communities to climate change in targeted villages of Kachchh district.

NAFCC: Know More

  • NAFCC is a flagship Scheme of Union Government launched in 2015 to provide 100% central grant to the State Governments for implementing climate change adaptation projects.
  • The Scheme has been designed to fulfill the objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).
  • The objective of the fund is to assist states/UTs that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation.
  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the National Implementing Entity (NIE) responsible for implementation of adaptation projects under the NAFCC.
  • Under this scheme, Union Government encourages States to come up with innovative and scalable projects to develop resilience against climate change and mainstream it in the planning processes.

5)   According to a study by UK scientists, plant life in which region is growing rapidly due to climate change?

a. Arctic
b. Antarctic
c. Greenland
d. Australia
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Antarctic

According to a new study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK, plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change.

The scientists have observed a sharp increase in biological activity in Antarctica in the last 50 years.

For ascertaining the growth, the scientists conducted tests at five cores from three sites and observed the occurrence of major biological changes across the Antarctic Peninsula.

The scientists made use of 150 years’ worth of data to arrive at the conclusion.

The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.

According to the scientists, Antarctica will be much greener in the future and the continent’s plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming.

The continuous retreat of glaciers will make Antarctica much greener in the future.

As per the study, the growth of moss in the continent is a signifier that the region is already undergoing change.

At present, the plant life exists only in 0.3% of Antarctica.

With increase in land cover occurs decrease in snow and ice cover.

The thinner ice cover permits the penetration of sunlight into the previously dark areas allowing the planktons to grow.

This would bring ecosystem shift to Antarctica similar to what has happened in Arctic.

In March 2017, the US and European scientists had observed that the extent of sea ice at both poles has hit new record lows in this year’s season.

The disappearing sea ice comes as the Earth marks three consecutive years of record-breaking heat and temperature rise, raising fresh concerns about the accelerating pace of global warming.

Also, for the past two years, Antarctica saw record high sea ice extents and decades of moderate sea ice growth.

Recently, the researchers have also found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009.

But after 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean.

These glaciers measure around 750 km in length and are shrinking nearly at a constant rate of 60 cubic km and adding about 55 trillion litres of water each year.

With this level of shrinking, the region has become the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica causing small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.

Antarctica: Know More

  • Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass.
  • Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. It’s known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor, striking, iceberg-flanked passageways, and Port Lockroy, a former British research station turned museum.
  • The peninsula’s isolated terrain also shelters rich wildlife, including many penguins.
  • Area: 14 million km²
  • Population: 5,000 temporary residents

6)   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.

7)   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.

8)   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.

9)   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

10)   Which of the following is/are true?

1) Paris agreement though adopted has not yet been ratified by India
2) The Paris agreement is for post-2020 period only and not pre-2020.

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only 2


  • Paris Agreement pertains to post-2020 climate actions. In the pre-2020 period, developed countries are to act as per Kyoto Protocol and some developing countries have taken voluntary pledges.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016, the day of Gandhi Jayanti.
  • Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations last year on 12th December 2015 and India signed the Paris Agreement in New York early this year on 22nd April 2016.
  • A total of 191 countries have signed to the Paris Agreement so far. As per the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the treaty will come into force as and when 55 countries contributing to 55 % of total global emission ratify the agreement.
  • So far, 61 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 47.79% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India’s decision to ratify the agreement will take the number of cumulative level of emission of countries that have ratified the agreement so far to 51.89%.

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