11th December 2020

Emission Gap Report 2020

Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released its annual Emissions Gap Report 2020.

GHG emissions continued to increase in 2019

  • Global GHG emissions continued to grow for the third consecutive year in 2019, reaching a record high of 52.4 without land-use change (LUC) emissions and 59.1 when including LUC.
    • Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions including LUC (65 per cent) and consequently the growth in GHG emissions.
  • Over the last decade, the top four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55 per cent of the total GHG emissions without LUC.
    • The top seven emitters (including the Russian Federation, Japan and international transport) have contributed to 65 per cent, with G20 members accounting for 78 per cent.
  • The GHG emissions are declining in Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economies and increasing in non-OECD economies.
  • In the 2000s, the gap between consumption and production was growing in rich countries but stabilized following the 2007–2008 global financial crisis.

CO2 emissions could decrease by about 7 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019 emission levels

  • The reduction in GHG emissions in 2020 due to COVID-19 is likely to be significantly larger than the 1.2 per cent reduction during the global financial crisis in the late 2000s.
  • Although CO2 emissions will decrease in 2020, the resulting atmospheric concentrations of major GHGs (CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) continued to increase in both 2019 and 2020.

COVID-19 crisis offers only a short-term reduction in global emissions

  • The assessments of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recovery measures on emissions by 2030 are still few and highly uncertain.
  • The impact of the general slowdown of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated rescue and recovery responses is expected to reduce global.
  • The decrease in global emissions by 2030 is projected to be significantly smaller at around 1.5 GtCO2e and may actually increase by around 1 GtCO2e.
  • The Global GHG emissions are only projected to be significantly reduced by 2030 if COVID-19 economic recovery is used as an opening to pursue strong Decarbonization.

Net-zero emissions goals of number of countries

  • The growing number of countries that are committing to net-zero emissions goals by around mid-century is the most significant and encouraging climate policy development of 2020.
    • 126 countries covering 51 per cent of global GHG emissions have net-zero goals that are formally adopted.
  • There has been limited progress of G20 members in terms of providing formal submissions to the UNFCCC by 2020 of mid-century, long-term low GHG emission development strategies and new or updated NDCs.

2020 Cancun Pledges of G20 Economies

  • The G20 members are projected to over-achieve their 2020 Cancun Pledges, even without considering the expected impact of COVID-19.
  • The G20 members are not on track to achieve their unconditional NDC commitments based on pre-COVID-19 projections.
  • The impacts of COVID-19 and economic recovery measures on 2030 emissions of individual G20 members may be significant, although estimates are still highly uncertain and vary across the few studies available.

Consumption-based emissions

  • There is a general tendency that rich countries have higher consumption-based emissions than territorial-based emissions, as they typically have cleaner production, relatively more services and more imports of primary and secondary products.

Recommendation of Emission Gap Report 2020

  • The Emissions Gap Report states that stronger action must include facilitating, encouraging and mandating changes in consumption behaviour by the private sector and individuals.
  • The report recommends governments to:
    • Enable and encourage consumers to avoid high-carbon consumption including replacing domestic short haul flights with rail;
    • Incentives and infrastructure to enable cycling and car sharing;
    • Improving energy efficiency of housing;
    • Renewable energy defaults from grid providers; and
    • Policies to reduce food waste
  • The post-COVID recovery needs to focus on low carbon, ideally decarbonisation by moving away from fossil fuels.

Emission Gap Report

  • It is an annual report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The annual report from UNEP measures the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
  • The report assesses the gap between estimated future global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if countries implement their climate mitigation pledges and the global emission levels from least-cost pathways that are aligned with achieving the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.


Climate Change Performance Index

Recently, the Climate Change Performance Index 2021 was released by Germanwatch.

  • It highlighted that no country was doing enough to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • It found out that six G20 countries were ranked among very low performers and the United States, with a rank of 61, was the worst performer.

India’s position in Climate Change Performance Index 2021

  • India, for the second time in a row, continued to remain in the top 10 as the country scored 63.98 points out of 100.
  • India is ranked high along with the European Union and the United Kingdom in the latest edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).
  • India received high ratings on all CCPI indicators except ‘renewable energy’, where it was categorised as having a ‘medium’ performance.
  • The report recommended that the country needed to focus more on renewable energy, both, as a mitigation strategy and for its post-novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) green recovery.
  • India had one of the largest growth trends, per capita emissions stayed at a comparatively low level, rated very high for their well-below 2 degrees celsius compatibility.
  • India, along with Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Germany, was raked ‘high’ for its performance in the ‘Energy Use’ category.

India’s performance under renewable energy category

  • India has been ranked at 27th out of 57 countries under the category of renewable energy.
  • India’s performance has been rated as ‘medium’ for its current share of renewable energy.
  • India’s improved policy framework has been responsible for the country’s good performance in this global index.
  • India’s renewable energy uptake and targets scored ‘low’ and ‘medium’ respectively for their compatibility being well below 2.0 degrees celsius.

Climate Change Performance Index

  • The CCPI is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance which has been published annually since 2005.
  • It helps to access and judge countries’ climate policy, their recent development, current levels and well-below-2 degrees celsius compatibility of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energies, energy use and their targets for 2030.
  • The climate change performance is assessed under four categories i.e. GHG emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.


Aerosols in Indo-Gangetic Plain

Recently, the scientists have found out that the Aerosols which make the Indo-Gangetic Plain one of the most polluted regions of the world, have led to increased incidents of high rainfall events in the foothills of the Himalayan Region.

  • The study was conducted by National Institute of Technology Rourkela, Leipzig Institute for Meteorology (LIM), University of Leipzig, Germany, Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.
  • The study was conducted under DST Climate Change program which has highlighted the crucial role of the aerosol direct radiative effect on high precipitation events over the Himalayan region.
  • The Indo-Gangetic Plain is located south and upwind of the Himalayan foothills which is the region of high aerosol loading such as black carbon and dust.
  • The study highlighted that particulate emissions can alter the physical and dynamical properties of cloud systems and, in turn, amplify rainfall events over orographic regions downwind of highly polluted urban areas.
  • The study used 17 years (2001–2017) of rainfall rate, aerosol measurements called aerosol optical depth (AOD), meteorological reanalysis fields such as pressure, temperature, and moisture content at different altitudes.
  • It is used to compute the thermodynamic variable “moist static energy” and outgoing long-wave radiation from Indian region to investigate high precipitation events on the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • The team found clear associations between high precipitation events, high aerosol loading and high moist static energy (MSE) values.

Significance of Aerosol study in Indo-Gangetic Plain

  • The results of the study indicate that aerosols can play a vital role in exciting high precipitation (HP) events over the Himalayas during the monsoon season.
  • The aerosols, including chemistry, are essential to consider when forecasting HP events over the Himalayan region in regional modelling studies.

Impact of Aerosols

  • The aerosols can influence climate by scattering light and changing Earth’s reflectivity and they can also alter the climate via clouds.
  • Natural aerosols (sulfates, sea salt or ammonium salt) are the most common condensation nuclei in pristine environments.
  • It forms the brighter clouds which block the sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and this cloud albedo effect may have a big impact on the climate.
  • The aerosol can influence precipitation by either modifying cloud microphysical processes through aerosol activation, or by modifying local thermodynamical profile, facilitating an on-site impact on clouds overlapping with the aerosol population.



Beresheet 2

Recently, Israel has announced its plan to send a second spacecraft i.e. Beresheet 2 to the moon, following the crash landing of the original Beresheet probe in 2019.

  • Beresheet 1 was developed in response to the Google Lunar X Prize competition which challenged non-governmental groups to land a spacecraft on the moon.
  • The original Beresheet was a tall, oddly shaped 585-kilogram spacecraft built by Israeli NGO SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • Beresheet was Israel’s first lunar mission and the first attempt by a private company to land on the Moon.

Beresheet 2

  • It is a collaborative effort of Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, Israel Aerospace Industries and the Israeli Space Agency.
  • The mission is scheduled to be launched in 2024.
  • The term Beresheet means beginning and is also the Hebrew name for the Book of Genesis.


Rise in Artificial Intelligence adoption in India

Recently, a study by PwC India has revealed that the highest increase in use of artificial intelligence (AI) during Covid-19 times has been witnessed in India.

  • India reported a 45% increase in the use of AI, the highest among all countries, while the US recorded s 35% rise, UK 23% and Japan 28% after the virus outbreak.
  • The report also showed that 94% of organisations now believe that AI will help create more opportunities instead of being a threat to their industry.
  • The report stated that around 70% of enterprises adopted AI as compared to around 62% last year.
  • India still lags behind global firms when it comes to scaling up AI across the organisation with only 5% doing so as compared to 25% globally.

Reasons for growth in Artificial Intelligence in India

  • The report attributes the growing AI adoption to the shift in buying behaviour and new business challenges.
  • The far-reaching consequences of the global pandemic have driven organisations to balance the competing priorities of safeguarding health and ensuring business continuity.
  • AI is now regarded as a key enabler for organisations to repair (emerge from the present crisis), rethink (plan for transformation) and reconfigure.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence on different sectors

  • In the travel and hospitality sector 89% firms have implemented AI in some form.
  • According to PWC India, the sector is looking at AI solutions to reconfigure business processes and offer contactless experiences.
  • The telecom, medicine and tech with 86% adoption, financial services with 82% and pharma with 73% are the sectors where AI adoption has been higher.


PM-WANI Scheme

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the PM-WANI Scheme.

  • The idea of a public data office (PDO) was first floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2017.
  • The TRAI had set up the initial pilot project for PDO, in which companies such as Facebook, and government’s C-DOT had participated.
  • In 2018, when TRAI had floated the test model, it mooted that the users should be able to buy “sachet-sized” internet plans that varied between Rs 2 and Rs 20, and can be used anytime.

PM-WANI Scheme

  • It is the Prime Minister WiFi Access Network Interface (PM- WANI) scheme to set up public WiFi networks across the country.
  • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
  • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
  • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs and the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

Significance of PM-WANI Scheme

  • Under the scheme, the aggregators will provide services utilising telecom companies’ optical fibre network.
  • It will create millions of inter-operable Wi-Fi hotspots in the country and democratize content distribution and broadband access to millions at affordable rates.
  • The scheme would enable the small shopkeepers to provide Wi-Fi service and it will boost incomes as well as ensure the youth gets seamless internet connectivity.
  • No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country.


Indus Valley Civilisation diet had dominance of meat

Recently, a new study published in the ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’ has found out that diet of the people of Indus Valley civilisation had a dominance of meat, including extensive eating of beef.

  • The study, titled “Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India” highlighted the food habit of the people of that era on the basis of lipid residue analysis found in pottery from Harappan sites in Haryana.
  • It finds dominance of animal products such as meat of pigs, cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat, as well as dairy products, used in ancient ceramic vessels from rural and urban settlements of Indus Valley civilisation in northwest India.
  • The study revealed that the high proportions of cattle bones may suggest a cultural preference for beef consumption across Indus populations, supplemented by consumption of mutton/lamb.
  • It says that at Harappa, 90% of the cattle were kept alive until they were three or three-and-a-half years, suggesting that females were used for dairying production, whereas male animals were used for traction.


Satellite-based narrow band-Internet of Things network

Recently, BSNL, in partnership with Skylotech India, announced a breakthrough in satellite-based NB-IoT (Narrow Band-Internet of Things).

  • It is the world’s first satellite-based NB-IoT network.
  • It is a new ‘Made in India’ Solution which is indigenously developed by Skylo.
  • It will connect with BSNL’s satellite- ground infrastructure and provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas.

Significance of Satellite-based narrow band-Internet of Things network

  • It is in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s vision of a truly Digital India starting with fishermen, farmers, construction, mining and logistics enterprises.
  • It will provide India the access to a ubiquitous fabric of connectivity for millions of yet unconnected machines, sensors and industrial IoT devices.
  • The coverage will be so vast that it will not leave any dark patch within the boundary of India, from Kashmir &Ladakh to Kanyakumari, and from Gujarat to the North East, including the Indian seas.
  • The solution is in line with BSNL’s vision to leverage technology to provide affordable and innovative telecom services and products across customers segments
  • It supports the Department of Telecom and NITI Aayog’s plan of bringing indigenous IoT connectivity to India’s core sectors.


India Water Impact Summit (IWIS)

Recently, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti inaugurated the 5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS).

  • It is organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga and Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (c-Ganga).
  • It began with the theme of comprehensive analysis and holistic management of local rivers and water bodies with focus on Arth Ganga-river conservation synchronised development.
  • The 5th IWIS will forge greater interaction between investors and stakeholders in the water sector.
  • It will promote international cooperation between India and many foreign countries for water and river management.
  • The summit is aimed at discussing and disseminating the needs for the modalities of embracing Arth Ganga and the vision of the prime minister in sectors that closely interweave with river conservation.

Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies

  • It was established at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) in 2016.
  • It is a Centre of Excellence for data collection, the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information for the sustainable development of Ganga River Basin.
  • The centre acts in the capacity of a comprehensive think-tank to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR).
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