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february 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Author : uppy
Category : Science & Technology Current
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february 2nd week 2015 current affairs

1) Delhi, Pune Get Mobile App to Check Air Pollution

  • India`s earth sciences ministry on 17th February launched the country`s first air quality mobile application to provide the forecast for air quality and corresponding health advisories in real time. The service is presently for Delhi and Pune.
  • Available on Android at present, SAFAR-AIR will provide current and one to three day forecast based on a color-coded system indicating air quality, where red would mean "very poor".
  • Developed by scientists at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology that had earlier designed country`s first air quality forecasting scheme - system for air quality forecasting and research (SAFAR) – The users in Delhi and Pune, the first two cities to get the service, would now be able to plan their personal outdoor activities based on the advisories on the app. SAFAR-AIR was an effort by the government to generate consciousness among people and orient them towards a sustainable lifestyle low on carbon emissions.Delhi would have air quality information and advisories available for five locations - west, east, north, south, and central while it would be four - in Pune.

2) India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile

  • India on 19th February successfully conducted user trial of indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II surface-to-surface missile, from a test range at Chandipur off Odisha coast. The state-of-the-art missile, which is capable of carrying 500 to 1000 kg of warheads, was test-fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch pad number 3 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) The launch of the sophisticated missile was conducted as part of operational exercise by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Defence services.
  • Prithvi-II has a strike range of 350 km and is 8.56 meters in length, 110 cm in girth and weighs 4,600 kg. It is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines and uses advanced inertial guidance system with maneuvering trajectory. The Prithvi-II missile, developed by the DRDO, has already inducted into the Indian Armed forces.

3) CSE report on Indian energy

  • A staggering 90 per cent of coal-based thermal power plants in India fare unsatisfactorily on the environmental front, shows a recent analysis. While state-owned power generation companies are among the worst performers, plants owned by private firms have performed better on environmental and energy parameters.
  • In a report released by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) on 21st February, the plants rated the best were owned by firms from the private sector. These facilities included CESC’s Budge Budge (West Bengal), JSW Energy’s Torangallu (Karnataka) and three from Maharashtra — Tata Power’s Trombay plant, JSW Energy’s Ratnagiri facility and Reliance Infrastructure’s Dahanu plant. Among the top 10 performers, eight were private companies.
  • The plants that fared the worst were Jharkhand State Electricity Board’s Patratu, Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam’s Obra, Damodar Valley Corporation’s Bokaro B, Tenughat Vidyut Nigam’s Lalpania and Karnataka Power Corporation’s Raichur facilities.
  • National Thermal Power Corporation, India’s largest power producing company, was among the worst performers, with scores of 16-28 per cent for six of its plants that the CSE rated. The analysis and ratings of the firms were conducted through a green rating project, initiated by the CSE in 1997. For this, it examined 47 thermal power plants from 2010-11 to 2012-13. These plants, accounting for 55 per cent of the total power generation capacity, were rated on the basis of parameters such as resource-efficiency (land, water and energy), pollution (water, solid waste and air) and compliance.
  • The average score of the thermal power sector stood at 23 per cent, compared to a score of more than 80 per cent for any plant following best practices. About 40 per cent of the power plants monitored by the CSE had very low ratings (less than 20 per cent), as these were found non-compliant and had “poor performance and management practices”.
  • More than half of these plants were violating air pollution norms and the units were withdrawing “half of India’s domestic water needs” annually (22 billion cubic metres).
  • The CSE said though most of its environmental indicators were being noted by monitoring agencies, no action was taken against them. The CSE said India`s energy policy should move away from thermal power generation and seek to improve the low power load factor of coal-based plants. It recommended the closure of old or inefficient plants and rationalization of the process of securing environmental clearances.

4) India to deploy global calculator to study climate impact


  • India will deploy a global calculator, similar to those launched in London and Beijing. It is to calculate climate impact scenarios in their territories. Some have already developed the calculator and others are in the process of creating their own versions of it.
  • The calculator could illustrate climate impacts based on different choices and was linked to the latest, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • The idea was to introduce three main principles in calculating the impacts of climate change: transparency, collaboration and simplicity. The calculator could look at transport efficiency, renewable energy, crop yields and forests, but the world obviously needed to change the way it powered its lifestyle.
  • A newer version of the Indian Energy Security Scenarios (IESS) would be out soon. The tool was an improved version, which looked at all options in India, including emissions while calculating scenarios.
  • Colombia had developed a country calculator to present its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) later this year before the climate change talks at Paris. The calculator allowed for the use of temperature as a factor, but could not, however, make calculations based on how much developed countries needed to do or pay.




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