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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 14 September 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. India, U.S. to collaborate on green energy
  2. Israeli armed robots to patrol borders
  3. World Bank on Climate Change and Migration

India, U.S. to collaborate on

Context:

Official visit of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate to India for the launch of the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD).

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Treaties and Agreements), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and degradation, Conservation of Environment and Ecology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD)
  2. Significance of the deal
  3. Opportunity for India

About the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD)

  • The Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) is one of the two tracks of the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021. Prior to this, the revamped US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership SCEP (first track) was launched.
  • CAFMD will provide both countries an opportunity to renew collaborations on climate change while addressing financing aspects and deliver climate finances primarily as grants and concessional finance as envisaged under the Paris Agreement.
  • CAFMD will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.
  • Pillars to the CAFM are:
    1. Climate Action Pillar- It would have joint proposals looking at ways in which emissions could be reduced in the next decade.
    2. Finance Pillar- Through this the US will collaborate in attracting capital and enhancing the enabling environment to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy capacity in India and demonstrate and scale innovative clean energy technologies and promote bilateral clean energy investment and trade.
    3. Adaptation and Resilience- The two countries will collaborate in building capacities to “measure and manage climate risks”.

Significance of the deal

  • The United States will collaborate with India to work towards installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 by helping in bringing finance, technology and other elements needed to achieve the goal. This will help speed India’s clean energy transition.
  • The visit of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate to India is aimed at helping raise global climate ambition with support from the developed countries to developing countries in the form of finance and technology transfer. The CAFMD is a step in this direction.
  • A key mission for the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate is to build global support for ‘Net Zero’ or carbon neutrality by 2050. A major theme building ahead of the climate talks is Carbon Neutrality. (As of now a little over 120 countries have committed, with varying degrees of firmness, to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. India however has not committed to a 2050 plan for Carbon Neutrality.)

Opportunity for India

  • There’s never been a better time to invest in the energy transition. Renewable energy is cheaper than ever.
  • In fact, it is cheaper to build a solar farm in India than anywhere else on the planet.
  • Investors are now moving to clean energy all around the world and the energy transition is already rebounding after the worst of the pandemic and is now on track to smash the pre-pandemic record of 8.4 billion USD invested in one year.
  • The International Energy Agency forecasts that if India seizes the clean energy opportunity, it could become the world’s largest market for batteries and solar panels.

-Source: The Hindu


Israeli armed robots to patrol borders

Context:

State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled a four-wheel-drive remote-controlled armed robot- “REX MKII” which is capable of patrolling battle zones, tracking infiltrators and opening fire.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology, GS-IV: Ethics

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Benefits of using robots in war
  2. Disadvantages of robots in war
  3. Ethicality of using Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)

Benefits of using robots in war

  • Autonomous robots, because they are not physiologically limited, can operate without sleep or food, perceive things that people do not, and move in ways that humans cannot. The use of a broad range of robotic sensors is better equipped for battlefield observations than human sensory abilities.
  • The robots provide following benefits: faster, cheaper, better mission accomplishment; longer range, greater persistence, longer endurance, higher precision; faster target engagement; and immunity to chemical and biological weapons.
  • Robots do not need to protect themselves in cases of low certainty of target identification. Autonomous armed robotic vehicles do not need to have self-preservation as a foremost drive, if at all. They can be used in a self-sacrificing manner if needed and appropriate, without reservation by a commanding officer.
  • Reducing loss of human lives forms one of the core principles of ethics of war, which can be accomplished by the use of the robots.

Disadvantages of robots in war

  • The use of robot soldiers will cheapen the cost of war, making future wars more likely. The threshold of entry into warfare may be lowered as we will now be risking machines and fewer human soldiers. This could violate the conditions of just warfare.
  • Such weapons are worrisome because they can’t be trusted to distinguish between combatants and civilians or make proper calls about the harm attacks may do to nearby civilians.
  • Machines cannot understand the value of human life, which in essence undermines human dignity and violates human rights laws. Therefore, machines are likely to commit atrocities and violate the basic rules of war like the Hague Conventions, and other declarations delimiting how a war should be fought.
  • There will always be risks like proliferation of the technology to other nations and terrorists. Also, the robotic machines are prone to cyber-security attacks or hacking and they can be used against their own people.

Ethicality of using Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)

  • On the international stage, the phrase “meaningful human control” is discussed as a key component of the ethical development of LAWS. Yet no consensus has been reached as to what “meaningful human control” would look like in reality.
  • Many philosophers—and probably most ordinary people—believe that morality cannot be boiled down to a list of instructions. This view goes back to Socrates—that acting morally is a “craft” that takes experience, practice and nuance. And it requires something else—judgment or intuition or a moral sense—that is not expressible in words. If that’s right, then morality could never be captured in a set of requirements and just handed over to a machine to follow perfectly.
  • No matter how complicated a machine becomes, it will never be able to act for the right reasons. “Acting for the right reasons” is important as it has a strong intuitive appeal. There’s a difference between someone who saves a drowning child out of pure selflessness, and someone who does it because they hope to be rewarded handsomely. The difference in these cases is that one action is performed for the right reasons and the other one is not. There is also a long history in the military ethics tradition of people arguing that soldiers should fight in war only for the right reasons.
  • Naturally, some people will liken autonomous weapons to simply very smart cruise missiles – but this comparison is faulty: cruise missiles and bullets do not make the decision that specific people should die. For every cruise missile and bullet, there is some human behind it that made that decision, who then transmits their intention through that weapon. That human acts for reasons; their weapon does not decide anything. – Autonomous weapons are not like that—they make lethal decisions on their own.

-Source: The Hindu


World Bank on Climate Change and Migration

Context:

The second part of the Groundswell report examined how the impacts of slow-onset climate change such as water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels could lead to millions of what it describes as “climate migrants” by 2050 under three different scenarios with varying degrees of climate action and development.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions, Important Reports), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate Change and its impact)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the report Groundswell report

Highlights of the report Groundswell report

  • The report warns that the impact of slow-onset climate change, such as water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels, could lead to millions of “climate migrants” by 2050.
  • Under the most pessimistic scenario of climate change, with a high level of emissions and unequal development, the report forecasts up to 216 million people to leave their homes in the next three decades.
  • In the most climate-friendly scenario, with a low level of emissions and inclusive, sustainable development, the world could still see 44 million people being forced to leave their homes.
  • The report analysed six regions – Latin America; North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; and East Asia and the Pacific.
  • The report considers three different scenarios with varying degrees of climate action and development. These include:
    1. Most pessimistic scenario with a high level of emissions and unequal development: The report forecasts up to 216 million people moving within their own countries across the six regions analysed. Those regions are Latin America; North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; and East Asia and the Pacific.
    2. In the most climate-friendly scenario, with a low level of emissions and inclusive, sustainable development, the world could still see 44 million people being forced to leave their homes.
    3. In the worst-case scenario, Sub-Saharan Africa — the most vulnerable region due to desertification, fragile coastlines and the population’s dependence on agriculture — would see the most migrants, with up to 86 million people moving within national borders.
  • North Africa is predicted to have the largest proportion of climate migrants, with 19 million people moving, equivalent to roughly 9% of its population.
  • In South Asia, Bangladesh remains the most vulnerable.
  • The findings of the report indicate the potency of climate to induce migration within countries.
  • The report also calls for urgent action to reduce global emissions and bridge the development gap to reduce the vulnerability of the poor.

-Source: The Hindu

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