Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 09 June 2023
- Cyclones and Monsoon Onset: Global Warming Effects
- Moving towards Low-Carbon Cities
Cyclones and Monsoon Onset: Global Warming Effects
- The impact of global warming on cyclonic activity over the Pacific and North Indian Oceans, as well as the warming of the North Indian Ocean itself, has added new complexity to the dynamics of the monsoon season.
- The occurrence of pre-monsoon cyclones and typhoons has shifted closer to the monsoon onset, possibly as a result of the impact of a warmer Arctic Ocean on winds over the Arabian Sea.
- The Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, as well as atmospheric and oceanic links with the Southern Ocean, all have an impact on the monsoon’s behaviour.
GS Paper 1 : Global Warrming and Mansoon
Discuss how global warming affects the Indian monsoon’s start, withdrawal, and seasonal total rainfall. (150 words)
Recognizing certain terms
- Cyclone: In the Northern Hemisphere, cyclones rotate anticlockwise, while in the Southern Hemisphere, they rotate clockwise, around a powerful centre of low atmospheric pressure.
- Typhoon: A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Northern Hemisphere between 180° and 100°E.
- Mansoon trough: The monsoon trough is a zone of low pressure that is a defining aspect of the monsoons.
The Importance of cyclone and its Position
- The placement of cyclones in the North Indian Ocean can have both favourable and unfavourable effects on the beginning of the monsoon.
- For example, if a cyclone is located further north in the Bay of Bengal, the southwesterly back-winds can pull the monsoon trough forward and help with the monsoon’s timely arrival.
- Because cyclonic winds circulate anticlockwise, the location of a cyclone plays a crucial role in influencing the transition of the monsoon trough, a low-pressure region characteristic of the monsoons.
Impact of Recent Cyclones:
- Recent Bay of Bengal occurrences have shown how significantly cyclones affect the start of the monsoon season. Cyclone Mocha, which developed in May, briefly became a “super cyclonic storm” before weakening as it approached land.
- Mocha’s trajectory over the Bay of Bengal was influenced by unusual anticyclones over the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal since March.
- Mocha’s dissipation, along with the help of backwinds, facilitated the timely arrival of the monsoon over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Role of global warming:
- Since March, abnormal anticyclones have caused temperatures in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal to rise by over 1°C during the pre-monsoon season.
- Typhoons in the northern Pacific Ocean are responsible for delaying the creation of Cyclone Biparjoy, which is currently churning in the warm Arabian Sea and may intensify quickly before making landfall. The monsoon trough is being hampered by the southwesterly winds brought on by typhoon Mawar, which was designated a “super typhoon,” and tropical storm Guchol.
Complex Interactions and Uncertain Predictions:
- The complex interactions between cyclogenesis, typhoon activity, and global warming in the Pacific and North Indian Oceans make it difficult to anticipate when the monsoon will start and how it will develop.
- However, a late monsoon onset does not necessarily signify a deficit in rainfall, although this year’s looming El Nino adds more complexity.
- The monsoon trough, formerly thought of as a reliable mechanism, is now subject to the vagaries of climate change. Hopes are high as the country waits for the monsoon and plans are being made for all possible outcomes.
- As a result of global warming, the influence of cyclones on the beginning of the monsoon is becoming more and more obvious.
- The location of cyclones and their impact on the monsoon trough are key factors in deciding when and how the monsoon will occur.
- Accurate forecasting has grown increasingly difficult due to the changing monsoon dynamics brought on by climate change. But it’s crucial to remember that a delayed monsoon doesn’t always mean there won’t be much rain.
- As the nation awaits the coming of the monsoon, optimism and readiness are in high need.
Moving towards Low-Carbon Cities
- As cities are major sources of carbon dioxide emissions, moving to low-carbon cities is crucial to reducing the effects of climate change. A staggering 29 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide were released into the sky by cities in 2020.
- The sector-coupling strategy is essential for decarbonizing urban systems since it incorporates mitigation and adaptation solutions from many sectors.
- Developing customised policies that take into account the distinctive qualities of each city, address energy justice and social fairness, and enable an inclusive and environmentally just transition to low-carbon cities is necessary.
GS Paper 1: Urbanisation GS Paper 3: Sustainable Economic Development
Describe the idea of energy justice and how it relates to the move to low-carbon cities. Describe how resolving these challenges would affect marginalised communities. (250 Words)
Importance of Energy system Transition
- Transitions in the energy system are important because they have the potential to cut urban carbon dioxide emissions by about 74%.
- The financial and technological constraints to implementing low-carbon solutions have been overcome thanks to developments in clean energy technologies and falling prices. Both the supply and demand sides of the energy equation are affected by this change.
- The “avoid, shift, improve” framework emphasises reducing energy and material demand, switching from fossil fuels to renewables, and implementing carbon-dioxide removal technologies to address residual emissions. On the supply side, it includes phasing out fossil fuels, increasing renewable energy sources, and using carbon capture and storage technologies.
Technologies for capturing carbon
- Technologies for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from diverse sources and preventing their release into the atmosphere are known as “carbon capture technologies.” The following list of frequently used carbon capture technologies
- Post-Combustion Capture: Using this method, carbon dioxide (CO2) is extracted from flue gases after fossil fuels have been burned in power stations or other industrial sites. The CO2 is selectively captured in the flue gases after they have been passed through an absorption solvent.
- Pre-combustion capture is generally employed in power plants that run on natural gas. Through the use of steam reforming, the fuel (natural gas) is changed into a mixture of hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is subsequently separated from the hydrogen using a variety of methods, including membrane separation or pressure swing adsorption.
- Oxy-Fuel Combustion: This process burns fuel with pure oxygen rather than air, producing a flue gas that is primarily made of CO2 and water vapour. By compressing the CO2 once the water vapour has condensed, the CO2 can be stored or used.
- Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU): CCU is the process of capturing CO2 emissions and using them to create goods that have commercial value. In order to produce synthetic fuels, chemicals, or building materials, CO2 can be utilised as a feedstock instead of fossil fuels.
Strategies for Mitigating and Adapting to Low-Carbon Cities:
- Depending on the characteristics of each city, several strategies are used to mitigate and adapt to low-carbon cities.
- For established cities, energy efficiency promotion, retrofitting and repurposing of infrastructure, and supporting sustainable modes of transportation like biking and walking are beneficial methods. Cities that are walkable and are built for people can drastically cut down on energy usage.
- New and emerging cities have the potential to implement energy-efficient infrastructure, people-centric urban design, and net-zero energy building codes while gradually transitioning to low-emission building materials.
- Rapidly growing cities can focus on colocating housing and jobs, adopting low-carbon technologies, and implementing renewable-based district heating and cooling networks.
Energy Transition and Equity:
- Energy systems affect people’s livelihoods, regional economies, and socioeconomic well-being directly and indirectly. It seems improbable that a one-size-fits-all strategy will lead to a transformation that is both socially and environmentally just.
- Particular populations and sectors dependent on fossil fuels may be disproportionately impacted by the switch to renewable energy sources, especially in emerging economies.
- For instance, exports of fossil fuels account for a sizeable portion of the GDP in developing nations like Nigeria, Angola, and Venezuela. A shift away from these sectors could ruin their economies.
- In addition, a lot of wealthy nations suffer from energy poverty and inequality.
- Strategic initiatives in governance, planning, behavioural changes, technological uptake, and institutional capacity building are required to guarantee an equitable transition.
- The key to tackling energy and environmental inequities is including a variety of stakeholders in energy governance, increasing energy efficiency, scaling up climate investments, and integrating a variety of knowledge sources, including indigenous and local experiences.
- A sector-coupling strategy that incorporates mitigation and adaptation alternatives from several sectors is necessary for the transition to low-carbon cities.
- In order to address energy justice and social fairness, tailored methods that take into account the unique characteristics of each city are required.
- Energy governance must be open to all parties and involve a variety of stakeholders, and initiatives to advance energy efficiency, strengthen climate investments, and incorporate alternative knowledge sources should be supported.
- We can transition to low-carbon cities in a way that is both socially and environmentally just, reducing the effects of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.