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NEWS UPDATE #197


HIGHLIGHTS: *NITI Aayog proposes green cess for the Himalayan region *Maharashtra heads towards a drier drought *Met dept calls Titli, Luban cyclones “rarest of rare” occurrences *Clean energy may save 11 mn life-years in India: Study *Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says *Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé worst plastic polluters globally

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IPCC SPECIAL REPORT

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
The New York Times
A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. (Related: Science pronounces its verdict: World to be doomed at 2°C, less dangerous at 1.5°C)

In-depth Q&A: The IPCC’s special report on climate change at 1.5C
Carbon Brief
The IPCC is a body of scientists and economists – first convened by the United Nations (UN) in 1988 – which periodically produces summaries of the “scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation”. The reports are produced, in the first instance, to inform the world’s policymakers. In this detailed Q&A, Carbon Brief explains why the IPCC was asked to produce a report focused on 1.5C of global warming, what the report says and what the reaction has been…

Kolkata, Karachi to face increased threat of heatwaves, warns IPCC report
Down to Earth
Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal in India, and Karachi, the capital of Sindh in Pakistan could see increased heat waves in the near future, a pattern that would be replicated across the rest of India and Pakistan respectively, the IPCC Special Report released on October 8, warned. “In fact, even if global warming is restricted to below 2°C (degrees Celsius), taking into consideration ‘urban heat island effects’, there could be a substantial increase in the occurrence of deadly heat waves in cities, with the impacts similar at 1.5°C and 2°C, but substantially larger than under the present climate. (Related: World’s most vulnerable nations demand rich countries must act now over climate change)

INDIA

Maharashtra heads towards a drier drought
Down to Earth
The Maharashtra government has identified 201 talukas in 32 districts that are facing water scarcity owing to deficient rainfall in the southwest monsoon season. As per a preliminary list of drought-affected areas, which is available with the Down To Earth, maximum drought-affected talukas are in Jalgaon district (13) followed by Ahmednagar (12), Beed (11) and Solapur (11). The situation is grim as only four of the total 36 districts in the state are out of the drought’s purview, for now. According to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, more than 20,000 villages in the state are facing drought-like conditions.

IMD calls Titli, Luban cyclones “rarest of rare” occurrences
Down to Earth
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday called the formation of the two very severe cyclones—Titli and Luban—on two sides of the Indian mainland as ‘rarest of rare’ occurrences. The IMD also said the movement of both these storms was unique. While Titli changed its direction and moved towards the northeast after making a landfall, Luban too kept going in different directions over the 9 days that it travelled through the south-eastern Arabian Sea towards Yemen and Oman on the Gulf coast and then made landfall on October 13.

Clean energy may save 11 mn life-years in India: Study
Deccan Herald
India could save an estimated 11 million life-years annually by replacing coal-fired power plants with clean, renewable energy, according to a Harvard study. The 2.7 billion people who live in India and China — more than a third of the world — regularly breath some of the dirtiest air on the planet, said researchers from the Harvard University in the US. In the study, published in the journal Environment International, researchers wanted to know how replacing coal-fired power plants in China and India with clean, renewable energy could benefit human health and save lives in the future.

Get set for those doctor visits as Delhi, Mumbai AQI reach ‘unhealthy levels’
DNA
Delhi’s air quality has been slipping repeatedly since the beginning of October. Data collated by apex body Central Pollution Control Board shows an average variation of 270 to 320 AQI every day. PM 2.5 (particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5) and PM 10 (particles with diameter less than 10 micrometers) have been sharing space amongst themselves as primary pollutants, recording their presence manifolds beyond permissible limit. As neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab start stubble burning in their fields, Delhi is gasping for breath.(Related: “What Kind Of Pollution Control Are You Doing?” Supreme Court Asks Centre)

NITI Aayog proposes green cess for the Himalayan region
Mongabay
The Indian Himalayan Region every year records about 100 million tourists and the number is expected to increase to 240 million by 2025, putting huge pressure on resources. The high number of tourist inflow can have negative impacts like inadequate solid waste management, air pollution, degradation of water sources, loss of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services. To address such issues and ensure comprehensive development of the IHR, NITI Aayog recently released a set of five reports emphasising on a series of measures to sustainably develop the region. The reports include detailed measures including the introduction of a green cess.

Ganga warrior GD Agarwal passes away after 111-day fast to save the river
Down to Earth
Veteran environmentalist GD Agarwal passed away in Rishikesh today at 1.11pm after a 111-day fast to save the Ganga. 86-year-old Agarwal, former IIT-Kanpur professor, had given up solids on June 22. Subsequently, he also gave up water on October 9, 2018. “Yesterday night, the administration picked up Guruji and he was sent to AIIMS-Rishikesh. Today morning, he was administered salts via drip. He refused to take glucose,” says Jagat Narayan Mishra, Agarwal’s aide. As his condition deteriorated, the doctors decided to send him to AIIMS-Delhi. He refused that too. “I spoke to him last at 12.30pm and left. He also got an interview recorded saying that the central government has failed to meet his demands, and therefore, he would not give up his fast. He breathed his last about an hour later. The AIIMS-Rishikesh director has said that he died of heart attack,” he adds. (Related: Read: G.D. Agarwal’s Third and Final Letter to PM Modi on Saving the Ganga)

Ganga’s minimum flow notification too vague to be implemented: Scientists
Down to Earth
The central government recently released a notification setting limits for minimum flow of water in River Ganga no matter how many projects consume its water. But, Vinod Tare, one of the members of the committee formed by the government to study it precisely, is not happy with it. Tare, who headed the consortium of seven IITs on the Ganga said the limits given by the goverment don’t conform to the recommendation of the committee. Scientists and activists have been continuously contending that if the flow is not maintained due to umpteen hydroelectric and other projects that consume the water of the river, all the money that is being sent on cleaning the river will go down in drain because the river itself will cease to exist.

Groundwater near Trichy landfills toxic: Study
Times of India
Waste dumped in landfill sites is contaminating surrounding groundwater in the Tricity, according to a PGI study published recently in an international journal. Scientists fear non-segregation and unregulated dumping of the garbage has deteriorated the quality with the passage of time, an alarming sign. Experts say that once the groundwater becomes polluted, contamination persists and becomes difficult to treat due to physical inaccessibility.

CSIR develops technology for disinfecting water at Rs 2/litre
Down to Earth
Scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR) have developed a technology for disinfecting water that promises to provide safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just two paise per litre. The technology is based on the principle of anodic oxidation. Raw water is passed through a chamber and disinfection occurs with the help of singlet oxygen species generated at the anode. The technology has been named Oneer – ‘O’ for singlet oxygen species and `neer’ for water.

Enforcement Directorate freezes Greenpeace India’s 12 bank accounts, searches its Bengaluru offices
Scroll
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday searched the premises of environmental non-profit Greenpeace India in Bengaluru for allegedly violating foreign exchange rules, PTI reported. The officials also froze Greenpeace India’s 12 accounts with different banks and the accounts of its linked entity, Direct Dialogue Initiatives India Pvt Ltd. The Enforcement Directorate said the non-profit incorporated DDIIPL in 2016 after the Centre cancelled its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence in September 2015 for allegedly violating norms. The agency has alleged that the company received about Rs 29 crore under Foreign Direct Investment since December 2016, The Hindu reported.

Tamil Nadu’s Chembarambakkam Lake Foretells an Aridity in the Sands of Time
The Wire
“It takes a lot of time for a tropical region to turn into a desert but we are facilitating it through human intervention in more ways than one,” said Arun Krishnamurthy, a 32-year-old activist who studies the Chembarambakkam lake and has revived a few of its surrounding water bodies. He added that the vegetation is transforming as well – from a landscape of neem trees, to one cluttered with thorny shrubs of an invasive, arid species.

Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy acquitted of all charges
Kracktivist
The court of Additional Sessions and District Judge Mohammad Gulzar today acquitted CPI (Maoist) ideologue Kobad Ghandy of all charges. He was booked by the Patiala police under Sections 10,13,18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sections 419 and 120-B of the IPC for “anti-national” speeches at two meetings on the premises of Punjabi University in April and May 2009. Ghandy’s defence counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi brought to the fore the ‘shoddy’ credentials of one of the prosecution witnesses, who he claimed was facing multiple cases and had been awarded life sentence in one case.

India’s First Wild Orchid Conservation Trail Launched in Ziro
Northeast
India’s first wild orchid conservation trail was inaugurated by Environment & Forests Minister Nabam Rebia here in Lower Subansiri district on Monday, marking the 64th National Wildlife Week celebration, stated an official release. He also inaugurated a tourist felicitation centre, and released a book titled Medicinal Plants of Talle Wildlife Sanctuary, co-authored by Hapoli Forest Division DFO Koj Rinyo and Dr Dekbin Yomgam. Pange is located around 15 kms from district headquarters Ziro and is the gateway to the Talle valley wildlife sanctuary. (Also read: 3 wildlife species not spotted in Maha census 3 yrs in row)

WORLD

Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
The Guardian
Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report. The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute. Traditionally, large scale greenhouse gas emissions data is collected at a national level but this report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it is intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change. (Also read: Shell boss says mass reforestation needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5C)

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé worst plastic polluters in global cleanups, brand audits
Down to Earth
In a global plastic audit spanning 42 countries and six continents, Coca-Cola was found to be the top polluter with Coke-branded plastic pollution found in 40 countries. The most comprehensive snapshot of the worst plastic polluting companies around the world audited more than 187,000 pieces of plastic trash apart from identifying thousands of brands that use single-use packaging, harmful for health and environment. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé were declared the most frequent companies identified in 239 cleanups and brand audits, by the Break Free From Plastic, a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. (Related:1) Plastic pollution: Scientists identify two more potential ‘garbage patch’ zones in world’s oceans 2) 90% of Table Salt Is Contaminated With Microplastics)

Carbon emissions from Amazonian forest fires up to four times worse than feared
Phys.org
Carbon losses caused by El Niño forest fires of 2015 and 2016 could be up to four times greater than thought, according to a study of 6.5 million hectares of forest in Brazilian Amazonia. New research, published in a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, has revealed that the aftermath of 2015 and 2016 forest fires in the Amazon resulted in CO2 emissions three to four times greater than comparable estimates from existing global fire emissions databases. (Also read: Climate change kills 98% insects in Puerto Rico’s rainforest: study)

Deforestation-linked palm oil still finding its way into top consumer brands: report
Mongabay
A new report by Greenpeace finds that palm oil suppliers to the world’s largest brands have cleared more than 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles) of rainforest — an area the size of the city of Los Angeles — since the end of 2015. Greenpeace says palm oil-fueled deforestation remains rampant in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia because global consumer brands like Unilever, Nestlé and PepsiCo continue to buy from rogue producers. These brands have failed to commit to their zero-deforestation pledges and are poised to fall short of their own 2020 deadlines of cleaning up their entire supply chain from deforestation, Greenpeace says.

What’s at Stake in Brazil’s Election? The Future of the Amazon
The New York Times
The presidential election in Brazil will not only shape the destiny of Latin America’s largest country. It is also a referendum on the fate of the Amazon: the world’s largest tropical forest, sometimes known as the lungs of the Earth. The stakes for the planet are huge. The front-runner for the presidency, Jair Bolsonaro — a far-right congressman who has said Brazil’s environmental policy is “suffocating the country” — has promised to champion his country’s powerful agribusiness sector, which seeks to open up more forest to produce the beef and soy that the world demands.

World Bank dumps Kosovo plant, ending support for coal worldwide
Climate Home News
The World Bank has abandoned the last coal project on its books, with its president publicly dumping the Kosova e Re plant. Speaking at a town hall event in Bali, Jim Yong Kim was asked by civil society representatives from Kosovo whether the bank was still considering guaranteeing loans to the plant. “On the Balkans, yes, we have made a very firm decision not to go forward with the coal power plant,” he said. Climate Home News reported in June that World Bank officials had met minister of economic development Valdrin Lluka, amid rumours that a bank review had rejected the project on the grounds that there were cheaper options to solve Kosovo’s energy crisis.

UK government backs creation of Antarctic wildlife reserve
The Guardian
The UK government has thrown its weight behind the creation of the world’s biggest environmental sanctuary, covering a huge swathe of the Antarctic ocean. The massive 1.8m sq km reserve – five times the size of Germany – would ban all fishing in a vast area of the Weddell Sea and parts of the Antarctic peninsula, safeguarding species including penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and blue whales. Experts say it would also play a key role in tackling climate change, pointing out that the seas around the Antarctic – if protected and viable – soak up huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Dehcho First Nations and Government of Canada announce first of new Indigenous protected areas in Canada: Edéhzhíe Protected Area
Canada.ca
The Dehcho First Nations Assembly has designated the Edéhzhíe Protected Area as an Indigenous protected area that will protect water, conserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and ensure that the Dehcho Dene relationship with the lands of Edéhzhíe is maintained for present and future generations through Dehcho-led stewardship, monitoring, and cultural activities. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian welcomed the Edéhzhíe Protected Area designation in a ceremony held in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories. Minister McKenna announced that the Edéhzhíe Protected Area will be the first of many new Indigenous protected areas in Canada, established in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and supported through the Government’s historic 2018 budget investment in protecting nature. (Related: Grassy Narrows First Nation declares historic ban on logging)

 

 

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