- Coastal Adaptation Initiatives: A ‘Moderate-to-High’ Rating
- Tectonic Activity on Venus
- PM’s Emphasis on Self-Reliance in Cybersecurity
- Commodity Markets Outlook Report
- Carbon Nanoflorets
- Rajaji Tiger Reserve
A study in the journal Nature Climate Change has assessed the coastal adaptation efforts in various regions, including Indian coastal areas like Mumbai, Ghoramara in Sundarbans, Puri in Odisha, and the Konkan regions.
The study classifies these initiatives as ‘moderate-to-high’ concerning their adaptation measures.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Key Findings of the Study
- Coastal Adaptation
- Indian Government Initiatives for Coastal Management
Key Findings of the Study
Global Vulnerability and Economic Impact
- Approximately 11% of the world’s population resides in low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to flooding.
- These regions contribute around 14% to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Adaptation Gap Assessment
- Almost 50% of the surveyed regions showed significant gaps in adaptation efforts, with a focus on individual risks rather than addressing root causes of vulnerability.
- About 13% of the case studies demonstrated high-to-very-high levels of adaptation, primarily observed in Europe and North America.
- The remaining regions fell into the moderate category, including Australia and New Zealand.
Specific Region Assessments
- In India, Mumbai, Puri, Konkan, and the Ghoramara region in Sundarbans displayed varying levels of adaptation measures.
- Ghoramara exhibited generic adaptation plans but lacked locally tailored state-agency-specific strategies.
- The Konkan region also lacked adaptation plans, failing to address multiple coastal hazards in the state’s action plan.
- Mumbai possessed a climate action plan but faced challenges in accurately assessing risks and addressing the specific needs of vulnerable residents.
- Puri, despite having action plans, lacked sector-specific adaptation strategies and the identification of high-risk communities.
- Coastal adaptation involves a set of strategies and actions aimed at mitigating the impact of natural hazards and climate change on coastal regions.
- Its primary objectives include safeguarding communities and infrastructure from rising sea levels, erosion, and extreme weather events.
Advantages of Coastal Adaptation
- Economic Growth: Implementing coastal adaptation initiatives can stimulate economic growth by fostering climate-resilient infrastructure, renewable energy, and eco-tourism industries. This, in turn, generates employment and business prospects.
- Ecosystem Restoration: Effective coastal adaptation can inadvertently lead to the restoration and preservation of natural ecosystems. This helps protect indigenous species and create habitats for endangered or vulnerable wildlife.
- Disaster Resilience: Coastal adaptation plays a pivotal role in reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural disasters. Measures such as resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and natural barriers help mitigate the impact of events like storms, tsunamis, and sea-level rise, protecting lives, property, and livelihoods.
- Food Security: Effective coastal adaptation practices, including aquaculture, sustainable fishing, and integrated farming, ensure a reliable supply of seafood and agricultural produce. This secures livelihoods for coastal communities and contributes to global food security.
Challenges in Coastal Adaptation
- Coastal adaptation involves various stakeholders, including government bodies, local communities, businesses, and environmental groups.
- Coordinating these diverse interests and ensuring effective collaboration among them is often challenging due to differing priorities, leading to delays and conflicts.
- Predicting future climate scenarios, such as sea-level rise and extreme weather events, is challenging.
- Adapting to uncertain climate projections while planning long-term strategies can be complex, resulting in uncertainties in infrastructure and development planning.
- In some cases, coastal adaptation initiatives necessitate relocation or changes in land use, potentially fragmenting communities.
- Dispersing or relocating populations may disrupt social structures and community cohesion, affecting their resilience and cultural practices.
Indian Government Initiatives for Coastal Management
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) established a hazard line for India’s coast to manage shoreline changes resulting from climate change.
Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019
- The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019, aims to conserve coastal areas and livelihoods. It allows erosion control measures while defining No Development Zones.
Coastal Management Information System (CMIS)
- The Coastal Management Information System (CMIS) collects near-shore coastal data to design and maintain protection structures at vulnerable stretches.
- Successful coastal erosion mitigation measures were demonstrated in Puducherry and Kerala, contributing to the restoration and protection of coastal areas.
-Source: The Hindu
A recent study suggests that Venus, often considered Earth’s sister planet, might have undergone tectonic activity roughly 3.5 to 4.5 billion years ago.
GS I: Geography
Dimensions of the Article:
- Venus’ Tectonic History: Unveiling Earth’s “Sister”
- Plate Tectonics’ Impact on Venus
- About Venus
Venus’ Tectonic History: Unveiling Earth’s “Sister”
Plate Tectonics on Earth
- Plate tectonics is a fundamental theory explaining the division of Earth’s outer shell into plates that float on the mantle, shaping our planet’s features and sustaining life.
Venus: Earth’s Enigmatic Twin
- Venus, a celestial sibling to Earth in size, mass, density, and volume, remains relatively mysterious compared to other terrestrial planets.
Implications of Venus’ Tectonic History
- Venus’s tectonic history holds significant implications for its atmospheric composition and the potential existence of ancient microbial life.
- Similarities to Earth’s plate tectonics may have played a vital role in shaping Venus’s atmosphere, rich in carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
- Understanding Venus’s atmospheric makeup, with around 96.5% carbon dioxide and less than 3.5% nitrogen, is of utmost importance.
- The study raises the possibility that Venus could have hosted microbial life billions of years ago, influenced by tectonic activities.
Plate Tectonics’ Impact on Venus
Cessation of Plate Tectonics
- On Venus, plate tectonics may have ceased due to factors like water loss and an increasingly hot and dense atmosphere, potentially depleting the prerequisites for tectonic movements.
Dynamic Planetary States
- The study suggests that planets can transition in and out of different tectonic states, challenging the idea that tectonics are either entirely present or absent during a planet’s history.
Reevaluating Tectonic Paradigms
- This realization redefines the conventional binary perspective of tectonics as either true or false throughout a planet’s history.
Future Prospects with DAVINCI
- To validate their findings and delve deeper into Venus’s tectonic past, researchers anticipate insights from NASA’s upcoming mission to Venus, DAVINCI.
- This mission holds the potential to offer crucial clues and enhance our understanding of Venus’s geological evolution.
Uncovering Reasons for Tectonic Shift
- Additionally, researchers aim to elucidate the reasons behind Venus losing its plate tectonics over time, furthering our knowledge of the planet’s geology.
- Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is the brightest natural object in Earth’s night sky after the Moon. It can cast shadows and can be seen with the naked eye on rare occasions, even during daylight.
- Venus has a unique rotation pattern, where the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east. This is because it rotates in the opposite direction (East to West/Clockwise) to all but Uranus.
- Venus has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. This causes a strong greenhouse effect, making Venus the hottest planet in the Solar System despite being farther from the Sun than Mercury.
- The atmospheric pressure at the planet’s surface is about 92 times that of Earth’s sea level pressure.
- Venus is covered by an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds made of sulfuric acid, which prevents its surface from being seen in visible light.
- The planet lacks a planetary magnetic field, which caused the water to photo dissociate and the free hydrogen to be swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind.
- Venus has been a significant fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed.
-Source: Down To Earth
During the 7th edition of the India Mobile Congress, the Prime Minister of India highlighted the critical significance of self-reliance in cybersecurity.
GS III: Security Challenges
Dimensions of the Article:
- Self-Reliance in Cybersecurity
- The Necessity of Self-Reliance in Cybersecurity
- Challenges of Cyber Security in India
- Cybersecurity refers to the measures taken to protect computer systems, networks, devices, and data from various threats, including theft, damage, unauthorized access, and malicious actions.
- It involves a broad spectrum of technologies, procedures, and strategies aimed at ensuring the security of digital data and the infrastructure responsible for its storage, processing, and transmission.
Self-Reliance in Cybersecurity
- Self-reliance in cybersecurity refers to a nation’s capability to independently develop, sustain, and secure its digital infrastructure, data, and information systems. It involves reducing dependency on foreign technology and external assistance.
Relying on Indigenous Solutions
- It emphasizes the creation and adoption of homegrown cybersecurity solutions and practices, reducing reliance on foreign sources for cybersecurity tools and expertise.
The Necessity of Self-Reliance in Cybersecurity
- Cybersecurity is crucial for safeguarding a nation’s critical infrastructure, such as energy grids, transportation networks, and communication systems.
- Modern military operations rely heavily on digital technology, making cybersecurity a cornerstone of national security.
- Depending on foreign technology, particularly from countries with which a nation has strained relations, can pose security risks.
- Reducing reliance on external sources for technology minimizes vulnerabilities.
- Self-reliance stimulates innovation and research in cybersecurity.
- It grants greater control over the technology supply chain, reducing potential risks associated with foreign technology.
Challenges of Cyber Security in India
- Data colonization: India is net exporter of information however data servers of majority of digital service providers are located outside India. Also, data is being misused for influencing electoral outcomes, spread of radicalism etc.
- Digital Illiteracy: Widespread Digital illiteracy makes Indian citizens highly susceptible to cyber fraud, cyber theft, etc.
- Substandard devices: In India, majority of devices used to access internet have inadequate security infrastructure making them susceptible to malwares such as recently detected ‘Saposhi’. Also, rampant use of unlicensed software and underpaid licenses make them vulnerable as well.
- Lack of adoption of new technology: For example – The Banking infrastructure is not robust to cop-up with rising digital crime as 75% of total Credit and Debit card are based on magnetic strip which are easy to be cloned.
- Lack of uniform standards: There are variety of devices used with non-uniform standards which makes it difficult to provide for a uniform security protocol.
- Import dependence: Import dependence for majority of electronic devices from cell phones to equipment’s used in power sector, defence, banking, communication and other critical infrastructure put India into a vulnerable situation.
- Lack of adequate infrastructure and trained staff: There are currently around 30,000 cyber security vacancies in India but demand far outstrips supply of people with required skills.
- Under-reporting: majority of cases of cybercrime remains unreported because of lack of awareness.
- Unsynchronised Agencies: Lack of coordination among various agencies working for cyber security. Private sector, despite being a major stakeholder in the cyberspace, has not been involved proactively for the security of the same.
- Anonymity: Even advanced precision threats carried out by hackers is difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or nonstate.
-Source: Indian Express
The World Bank has published the Commodity Markets Outlook report.
GS III: Indian Economy
Dimensions of the Article:
- Commodity Markets Outlook Report
- Key Highlights of the CMO Report (October Edition)
- Conclusion: Impacts of the West Asia Conflict on Commodity Prices
Commodity Markets Outlook Report
The Commodity Markets Outlook report offers insights into various commodity groups, including energy, metals, agriculture, precious metals, and fertilizers. This report serves as a valuable resource for understanding and analyzing global commodity markets. Key points about the report include:
- Commodity Coverage: The report encompasses a wide range of commodities, providing market analysis for major categories.
- Price Forecasts: It offers price forecasts for 46 significant commodities, assisting stakeholders in making informed decisions based on anticipated price movements.
- Publication Frequency: The report is released by the World Bank biannually, with editions published in April and October each year. This regular publication schedule ensures that the latest market trends and price projections are available to the public.
Key Highlights of the CMO Report (October Edition)
The October edition of the Commodity Markets Outlook (CMO) report provides essential insights into the global economic landscape and its relationship with commodity markets. Here are the key highlights from the report:
Global Economic Resilience:
- The report acknowledges that the current global economy is better equipped to handle a major oil-price shock than it was during the 1970s.
Potential for Commodity Market Disruption:
- Ongoing and escalating conflicts, including the West Asia conflict and the repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine war, pose potential disruptions to global commodity markets.
Commodity Price Projections for 2024:
- The report projects an overall decline of 4.1% in commodity prices in the upcoming year.
- Agricultural commodity prices are expected to decrease due to rising supplies.
- Base metal prices are also anticipated to drop by 5% in 2024.
- The report predicts that commodity prices will stabilize in 2025.
Impact of West Asia Conflict Escalation:
- The outlook for commodity prices would worsen if the West Asia conflict escalates.
- The extent of disruption to oil supplies would determine the effects.
- Scenarios are outlined based on different degrees of disruption and their impact on oil prices.
- A “small disruption” scenario, similar to the Libyan civil war in 2011, would lead to an initial oil price increase of 3% to 13%.
- A “medium disruption” scenario, equivalent to the Iraq war in 2003, would result in an initial oil price increase of 21% to 35%.
- A “large disruption” scenario, comparable to the Arab oil embargo in 1973, would lead to an initial oil price increase of 56% to 75%.
- Food security is defined as ensuring that all people have access to sufficient safe and nutritious food for a healthy life.
- By the end of 2022, more than 700 million people, almost 10% of the global population, were undernourished.
- The escalation of ongoing conflicts could exacerbate food insecurity, affecting regions within the conflict zones and worldwide.
Conclusion: Impacts of the West Asia Conflict on Commodity Prices
The Commodity Markets Outlook (CMO) report highlights the relatively modest impacts of the West Asia conflict on commodity prices, suggesting that the global economy has developed greater resilience to absorb oil price shocks. Several key conclusions from the report are as follows:
- Improved Global Resilience:
- The global economy’s ability to withstand oil price shocks has significantly improved since the energy crisis of the 1970s.
- Reduced Dependence on Oil:
- Countries worldwide have actively reduced their dependence on oil as an energy source.
- The report notes that the amount of oil required to generate $1 of GDP has decreased by over half since 1970.
- Diversification of Energy Sources:
- The global energy landscape has diversified with a broader base of oil exporters and the incorporation of renewable energy sources.
- Strategic Petroleum Reserves:
- Various countries, including India, the USA, and China, have established strategic petroleum reserves to manage potential oil shortages effectively.
- Coordination and Futures Markets:
- Countries have set up arrangements for the coordination of supply and developed futures markets to mitigate the impact of oil shortages on prices.
-Source: Business Standard
Carbon nanoflorets made by IIT Bombay researchers can convert incident sunlight to heat with 87% efficiency.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Carbon nanoflorets
- Key Observations
- Properties Contributing to High Efficiency
About Carbon nanoflorets
Carbon nanoflorets are unique structures resembling tiny marigold flowers made entirely of carbon. These nanoflorets exhibit remarkable properties related to their efficiency in absorbing sunlight and converting it into heat. The process of synthesizing carbon nanoflorets involves specific steps:
- Researchers start with a special form of silicon dust known as DFNS (dendritic fibrous nanosilica).
- This DFNS material is heated in a furnace.
- Acetylene gas is introduced into the heated chamber.
- The white DFNS powder turns black during the process, indicating the deposition of carbon onto the DFNS.
- The resulting black powder is collected.
- The black powder is treated with a strong chemical that dissolves the DFNS, leaving carbon particles behind.
- Carbon nanoflorets exhibit remarkable capabilities for absorbing sunlight at various frequencies and converting it into heat with high efficiency.
- They are effective in retaining the heat generated without dissipating it into the environment, making them promising materials for heat-related applications.
- These nanoflorets achieve solar-thermal conversion with an extraordinary efficiency of 87%.
Properties Contributing to High Efficiency:
- Carbon nanoflorets can absorb sunlight across multiple frequencies, including infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet, unlike other common materials that mainly absorb visible and ultraviolet light.
- The specific shape of carbon cones minimizes light reflection, ensuring that a significant portion is absorbed.
- The structure of carbon nanoflorets incorporates long-range disorder, meaning that different regions of the material possess distinct physical properties. This feature helps limit the transmission of heat over long distances within the material, thereby reducing heat dissipation.
-Source: The Hindu
The Uttarakhand government recently decided to establish Rajaji Tiger Reserve Conservation Foundation to accelerate the ecological, economic, social, and cultural development of the landscapes in and around the reserve.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
About Rajaji Tiger Reserve:
Rajaji Tiger Reserve, formerly known as Rajaji National Park, is a significant wildlife reserve located in the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, covering an extensive area of approximately 820 square kilometers. Here are some key details about Rajaji Tiger Reserve:
- Situated in the Shivalik range of the Himalayas.
- Spreads across three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun, and Pauri Garhwal.
- Established in 1983 by merging three sanctuaries: Rajaji Sanctuary and National Park (established in 1948), Motichur Sanctuary (established in 1964), and Chilla Sanctuary (established in 1977).
- Renamed as Rajaji Tiger Reserve on 20 April 2015, in honor of the prominent freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari, commonly known as “Rajaji.”
- Renowned for its thriving elephant population, with approximately 600 elephants residing within the reserve.
- Geographically located in a transition zone between the temperate western Himalaya and central Himalaya, contributing to a diverse range of species.
- Encompasses a variety of vegetation, including semi-evergreen, deciduous, mixed broad-leaved, and Terai grassland, categorized as the Indus-Ganges Monsoon Forest type.
- Dominated by towering Sal trees (Shorea Robusta) in many areas.
- Other prominent plant species found in the reserve include Rohini, Palash, Shisham, Sandan, Khair, Arjun, Baans, Semul, Chamaror, among others.
- Home to a substantial population of Tigers and Asian Elephants.
- Houses a diverse range of wildlife, including Leopards, Jungle Cats, Himalayan Black Bears, Sloth Bears, Striped Hyenas, Gorals, Sambars, Wild Pigs, Spotted Deer, and Barking Deer, to name a few.
- Rajaji Tiger Reserve stands as a vital wildlife conservation area in the Himalayan region, known for its rich biodiversity and remarkable natural beauty.
-Source: The Hindu