Contents

  1. China launches biodiversity fund
  2. Seas will rise for centuries to come
  3. Centre announces plastic waste recycling targets
  4. Retail inflation falls & industrial output growth up

China launches biodiversity fund

Context:

China pledged to inject $233 million into a new fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries during a key UN conservation summit, despite disagreements among major donors on the initiative.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of the Environment, International Treaties and Agreements), GS-II: International Relations (India’s neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key UN summit in China
  2. About China’s biodiversity fund
  3. ‘30 by 30’ agenda

Key UN summit in China

  • A key UN summit tasked with protecting biodiversity opened in China as countries meet to protect ecosystems and prevent mass extinction weeks before the COP26 climate conference.
  • The online summit — setting the stage for a face-to-face meeting in April — will see parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) discuss new targets for protecting ecosystems by 2030.
  • Up for debate are the “30 by 30” plan to give 30% of land and oceans protected status by 2030 — a measure supported by a broad coalition of nations, as well as a goal to halve the use of chemicals in agriculture and stop creating plastic waste.

About China’s biodiversity fund

  • Beijing, the world’s biggest polluter, has sought to position itself in recent years as a world leader on environmental issues after Washington’s withdrawal from international commitments under former President Trump’s administration.
  • China pledged $233 million, asked other countries to contribute to a new fund (Kunming biodiversity fund) to protect biodiversity in developing countries.

‘30 by 30’ agenda

  • A key proposal being debated at the conference is the “30 by 30” agenda that would afford 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans protected status by 2030.
  • Global spending to protect and restore nature needs to triple this decade to about $350 billion annually by 2030 and $536 billion by 2050 to meet this target, a UN report said in May 2021.
  • But some rich country donors say a new fund for conservation is unnecessary because the United Nations’ Global Environment Facility already helps developing nations finance green projects.

-Source: The Hindu


Seas will rise for centuries to come

Context:

Researchers reported in Environmental Research Letters that even  if humanity beats the odds and caps global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, seas will rise for centuries to come and swamp cities currently home to half-a-billion people.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate Change and its issues, Environmental Pollution and Degradation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Sea Level Rise, its impact & the Factors leading to Sea Level Rise
  2. Highlights of the warnings heeded by researchers
  3. Highlights of the Greenpeace report on Rising Sea Levels

Click Here to read about what is Sea Level Rise, its impact and what are the Factors leading to Sea Level Rise?

Highlights of the warnings heeded by researchers

  • Most projections for sea level rise run to the end of the century, however, oceans will continue to swell for hundreds of years beyond 2100 — fed by melting ice sheets, heat trapped in the ocean and the dynamics of warming water — no matter how aggressively greenhouse gas emissions are drawn down.
  • In a world that heats up another half-degree above that benchmark, an additional 200 million of today’s urban dwellers would regularly find themselves knee-deep in sea water and more vulnerable to devastating storm surges.
  • Worst hit in any scenario will be Asia, which accounts for nine of the 10 mega-cities at highest risk.
  • Land home to more than half the populations of Bangladesh and Vietnam fall below the long-term high tide line, in a world with even a 2 degrees Celsius rise.
  • Built-up areas in China, India and Indonesia would also face devastation.

Highlights of the Greenpeace report on Rising Sea Levels

  • The report analysed 7 cities that are economic centres and are located on or close to the coast, which are: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul, Taipei and Manila.
  • In Asia, coastal cities are at high risk from rising sea levels and intensifying storms. Approximate 600 million people, mostly live in low-lyingcoastal regions in Asia, are at risk of flooding due to sea level rise.
  • An estimated $724 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) could be impacted due to extreme sea-level rise and coastal flooding by 2030, according to the report.
  • The estimated GDP impact accounted ranged from 0.4 per cent to 96 per cent of each city’s entire GDP.
  • The report did not take into account the effect of levees or seawalls some cities have built or could be building until 2030, which could minimise the flood risk.
  • The report urged for faster and more ambitious climate action. It urged the governments to commit to achieving ‘net zero’ by 2050.

Major findings of seven Asian cities

  • More than 96 per cent of Bangkok’s land area could be flooded in 2030 and could put $512.28 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity and 10.45 million people at risk.
  • The analysis projected that in Hong Kong, extreme sea-level rise and any subsequent flooding in 2030 could put $2.24 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity and 90,000 people at risk.
  • Extreme sea-level rise and any subsequent flooding in 2030 in Tokyo could put $68.19 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity 0.83 million people at risk.
  • Almost 17 per cent of Jakarta’s total land area is below the level to which sea water could rise, leading to GDP risk of $68.20 billion and 1.80 million people at risk.
  • Approximately 3 per cent of Seoul’s land area is below the level to which sea water could rise by 2030. The report suggested the affected areas would mainly be residential and agricultural, leading to $4.69 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity risk and put 0.13 million people at risk.
  • In Taipei, extreme sea-level rise and any subsequent flooding in 2030 could put $29.64 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity and 0.43 million people at risk.
  • Almost 87 per cent of Manila’s land area is below the level to which sea water could rise in 2030. Up to 1.54 million people and a total of $39.24 billion of GDP at purchasing power parity could be affected.

-Source: The Hindu


Centre announces plastic waste recycling targets

Context:

The Environment Ministry has issued draft rules that mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of Environment, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India’s Plastic pollution problem
  2. Highlights of the draft rules released by Environment Ministry
  3. Plastic packaging categories under the rules and their targets
  4. What happens when there is a non-compliance?

India’s Plastic pollution problem

  • India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually of which 40% plastic waste goes uncollected.
  • Also, out this approx. 10 million tonnes, 43% are used for packaging, with a majority of them being single-use.
  • Plastic is a huge problem as it is so cheap and convenient that it has replaced all other materials from the packaging industry leading to production at unprecedented levels – but it takes hundreds of years to disintegrate.
  • Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.

Highlights of the draft rules released by Environment Ministry

  • The draft rules mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024.
  • The draft rules also require the producers of plastic packaging materials to ensure that a minimum percentage of plastic is being recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.
  • Producers of plastic will be obliged to declare to the government, via a centralised website, how much plastic they produce annually. Companies will have to collect at least 35% of the target in 2021-22, 70% by 2022-23 and 100% by 2024.
  • It has also specified a system whereby makers and users of plastic packaging can collect certificates — called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates — and trade in them.
  • Based on the new rules – only a fraction of plastic that cannot be recycled — such as multi-layered multi-material plastics — will be eligible to be sent for end-of-life disposal such as road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil and cement kilns.
  • Even in end-of-life disposal, only methods prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board will be permitted for their disposal.
  • From July 2022, the manufacture of a range of plastic products will be banned. These include ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, thermocol for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, and stirrers.

Plastic packaging categories under the rules and their targets

  • Plastic packaging, as per the rules made public fall into three categories:
    1. The first is “rigid” plastic;
    2. category 2 is “flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags (including carry bags made of compostable plastics), plastic sachet or pouches;
    3. the third category is called multi-layered plastic packaging, which has at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic.
  • In 2024, a minimum 50% of their rigid plastic (category 1) will have to be recycled as will 30% of their category 2 and 3 plastic.
  • Every year will see progressively higher targets and after 2026-27, 80% of their category 1 and 60% of the other two categories will need to be recycled.

What happens when there is a non-compliance?

  • If entities cannot fulfil their obligations, they will on a “case by case basis” be permitted to buy certificates making up for their shortfall from organisations that have used recycled content in excess of their obligation. The CPCB will develop a “mechanism” for such exchanges on a centralised online portal.
  • Non-compliance, however, will not invite a traditional fine. Instead an “environmental compensation” will be levied, though the rules do not specify how much this compensation will be.
  • Were they to meet their targets within three years, they stand to get a 40% refund. Beyond that, however, the money will be forfeited. Funds collected in this way will be put in an escrow account and can be used in collection and recycling/end of life disposal of uncollected and non-recycled/ non-end of life disposal of plastic packaging waste on which the environmental compensation is levied.

-Source: The Hindu


Retail inflation falls & industrial output growth up

Context:

India’s retail inflation cooled off to a five-month low of 4.35% in September 2021.

The industrial output growth accelerated to 11.9% in August 2021.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Inflation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?
  2. What is Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
  3. About the recent data on Retail Inflation and Industrial Production

What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
  • It is compiled and published MONTHLY by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Base Year for IIP is 2011-2012.
  • IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
  • Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
  • Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods
  • The Eight Core industries of IIP are:
    1. Coal
    2. Crude Oil
    3. Natural Gas
    4. Refinery Products
    5. Fertilizers
    6. Steel
    7. Cement
    8. Electricity.

Significance of IIP:

  • IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
  • It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, etc., for policy-making purposes.
  • IIP remains extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advance GDP estimates.

What is Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.
  • CPI is released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • Base Year for CPI is 2012 and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) uses CPI data to control inflation.
  • The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
  • The CPI has several sub-groups including food and beverages, fuel and light, housing and clothing, bedding and footwear.
  • Four types of CPI are as follows:
    1. CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
    2. CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
    3. CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
    4. CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
  • Of these, CPI for Industrial Workers (IW), CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL) and CPI for Rural Labourer (RL) are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined) is compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

About the recent data on Retail Inflation and Industrial Production

  • The drop in India’s retail inflation (to a five-month low of 4.35% in September 2021) is due to a sharp dip in food price inflation.
  • The acceleration of industrial output growth to almost 12% is driven largely by a statistical effect of a low base — August 2020 had recorded a 7.1% contraction.
  • Food inflation based on the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) fell to just 0.68% in September 2021 after having declined to a seven-month low of 3.1% in August 2021.
  • However, core inflation which doesn’t include food and fuel price trends, remained elevated at 5.8% for the third month in a row, and economists said the moderation in the inflation rate could be transient, with rising energy, metals and logistics costs being key risk factors.
  • Commodity prices, particularly of crude oil and their partially offsetting impacts on inflation and consumption demand at a time when the economy’s aggregate demand is still below the pre-pandemic level will also be crucial.
  • Economists cautioned against reading too much into these encouraging official data prints yet, with adverse headwinds lurking on both fronts.

-Source: The Hindu

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