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December 1st week 2015 current affairs
Author : Amani Resu
Category : Science & Technology Current
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December 1st week 2015 current affairs

1) Paris package gets green light from 196 nations
  • On 5th December, after four years of negotiations that began in 2011, negotiators from 196 countries finally stamped their approval on the penultimate draft of 48 pages for a Paris agreement. It will now be taken up at the ministerial level for approving the final package and will set in place a new global regime to fight climate change starting 2020. 
  • The penultimate draft came through earlier than expected on 5th December. But, that happened as countries decided to postpone finding solution to almost all of the difficult questions which had plagued the negotiations, with the hope of resolving them once ministers arrive at France’s capital over the weekend. For a majority of the developing countries the one big and cross-cutting issue of operationalising the principle of differentiation across all elements of the Paris climate change package remained unresolved. The arguments over the week had been bitter and it got reflected even as the meeting on 5th December drew to a close while accepting the penultimate draft. 
  • Malaysia speaking on behalf of the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) and South Africa speaking for the larger G77 and China group, both reiterated that the final deal would necessarily have to see equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities deeply embedded in all its parts – mitigation, finance, adaptation, compliance, review, clean technology sharing and capacity building. 
  • The LMDC group warned that developed countries could not ignore all the scientific and economic data available which pointed to increasing inequality between developed and developing countries and how many of the latter were structurally locked in to staying either at low or at middle income levels even in future years. They warned that the claim that the world had changed since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was first agreed to in 1992 was an attempt to shift the developed world’s existing obligations on to developing countries under the new agreement.
 
2) Fund for developing countries deal with climate change
  • Commonwealth leaders have agreed to set up a 1 billion dollar green finance facility to support developing countries to access to funds in dealing with climate change. The decision is in sync with India`s demand for providing adequate financial resources to poor nations to reduce green house gas GHG emissions.
  • During Commonwealth Heads of Governments CHOGM meeting in Malta, outgoing Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said various island nations and small countries are facing difficulty in securing financial support to bring down emissions and this new climate change hub will provide funds to them. 
  • In talks on climate change, Indian officials argued that the Commonwealth must not pre-judge outcome of the negotiations leading to Paris climate conference starting on 30th November. India wishes that commitment of the rich nations towards small islands and poor countries must go beyond the current level. 

3) World leaders pledge climate action at COP21
  • World leaders from 195 countries are in Paris to try to find a way to tackle climate change. The meeting is hoping to agree a fixed target on reducing manmade gasses that scientists say cause extreme weather. Paris is described as a "turning point" but it`s leaving many people with a lot of questions. 
  • World leaders opened pivotal climate talks on 30th November in Paris saying the stakes are too high to end the conference without achieving a binding agreement to help slow the pace of global climate change. According to UN Secretary General it is a political moment like this may not come again 
  • The talks began with a moment of silence for victims of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, and the tragedy served as a touchstone for world leaders urging unity and action. 
  • Legally binding agreement: Leaders of 150 nations, along with 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, are attending the conference, called COP21. COP stands for Conference of Parties, an annual forum to try to tackle climate change on a global political level. 
  • The leaders have one mission: Agree on legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions meant to hold global average temperatures short of a 2 degrees Celsius increase over preindustrial global temperatures. 
  • The leaders of the main players necessary to achieve the ambitious goal -- China and the United States -- sat down together at the COP21. They are the largest producers of greenhouse gases.
  • PM Modi calls for comprehensive agreement: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement that respects equity and differentiated responsibility. Speaking during the formal launch of India Pavilion at the Paris summit, Mr Narendra Modi cautioned that climate change is a major global challenge and is the result of global warming that occurred because of the prosperity and progress of an Industrial Age powered by fossil fuels. He said the developed world should leave carbon space to the emerging economies to grow as this problem has not been created by developing world.
  • Quoting extensively from Vedas and Mahatma Gandhi he said that the Indian tradition is living with nature rather than to exploit it. Advising developed nations to leave carbon space for the developing countries he urged for partnership between technology and development. Prime Minister Modi also launched a book Parampara or Tradition,which is based on India`s culture of climate friendly sustainable practices. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that an innovation must be backed by means to make it accessible to all. He was speaking today during the launch of `Innovation Mission` hosted by US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of Paris Climate summit. Mr. Modi said access to energy and better life is universal aspiration and so are the clean environment and healthy habitats. He said we must come together in partnership to bring clean energy within reach to all.
 

 

4) India to reduce emissions intensity by 33% of its GDP: Indian Prime Minister

  • Narendra Modi has said that India will reduce its emissions intensity by 33 percent of its GDP by 2030 ,on the basis of 2005 levels. Outlining India`s initiatives and stand on climate issues,the Prime Minister tweeted that 40 percent of India`s installed power capacity would by non fossil fuels by 2022. Mr Modi hoped that the Paris climate conference will produce an agreement that restores balance between ecology and economy. 
  • PM emphasized on collective global commitment balancing responsibilities and capabilities with aspirations and needs. Referring to challenges faced by India, PM said India is also experiencing the impact of climate change and is concerned about our coast, island and glaciers, adding that since ancient times the Indians have seen humanity as part of nature and not superior to it. 
  • He said that India has imposed levied on coal and rationalized subsidies on petroleum products to finance clean and green energy. The statements of the PM just before the beginning of conference are of huge significance as India is a key stakeholder in the conference and clearly reflects India`s stand on common but differentiated responsibility which may not be puddings but the developed world to accede to. 
5) PM launches India Pavilion at Paris climate summit:
  • Prime Minister inaugurates India Pavilion in Paris, says pavilion is a window to our heritage where nature has been treated as mother and humanity as part of nature. 
  • He outlined the decisions taken by India to transition increasingly to renewable energy even as he emphasised that the choices that the world makes in Paris will have an impact on India`s development. The India Pavilion inaugurated at the Paris Climate Summit is where visitors can get a lot of information on India`s position with regard to climate change. 
  • The US, China and India are among the 19 countries who have come together for a "Mission Innovation" initiative that commits governments to doubling public investment in basic energy research over the next five years. 
  • Over 100 countries falling between tropics of Cancer and Capricorn have assured their participation in the alliance for which India will be providing the initial funding of Rs 175 crore. 
  • India`s national energy plan puts a special focus on solar energy. The aim is to reach capacity of 100 gigawatts by 2022, to be scaled up further in the future. Spearheading this the initiative places India in a more assertive and constructive position on the international stage as a country that shapes climate change action. It is a platform to benchmark low-cost solar solutions and will provide unique investment opportunity for the developing world. 
6) $7-bn pledge for clean energy research:
  • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other investors on 30th November pledged $7 billion for research and development of clean energy. Mr. Gates said they hoped to get others to pitch in more in the coming days. 
  • The offer from Mr. Gates and others was part of a larger initiative with world governments that promised to double spending on renewable energy research. The fund will support a wide range of technologies, Mr. Gates said. “Biofuels, carbon capture, high wind, fission, fusion — we’re unbiased but it has to be clean and possible to scale up cheaply.” 
  • In another announcement, the United States, Canada and nine European countries pledged nearly $250 million to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to rising seas, droughts and other consequences of climate change. Germany pledged $53 million, the U.S. $51 million and Britain $45 million.
 
7) $500-mn initiative to cut emissions in developing nations
  • Four European countries — Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland — have announced a $500 million initiative to find new ways to create incentives aimed at large scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries including India to combat climate change.
  • The World Bank Group worked with the countries to develop the initiative “Transformative Carbon Asset Facility”, which was launched at the COP21 climate summit. “This new initiative is planned to start operations in 2016 with an initial expected commitment of more than $ 250 million from contributing countries. The facility will remain open for additional contributions until a target of $500 million is reached,” the World Bank Group said in a statement.
  • It is expected that the new facility`s support will be provided alongside $2 billion of investment and policy- related lending by the World Bank Group and other sources. 
  • According to the World Bank, the initiative will help developing countries implement their plans to cut emissions by working with them to create new classes of carbon assets associated with reduced greenhouse gas emission reductions, including those achieved through policy actions. 
  • The facility will measure and pay for emission cuts in large scale programs in areas like renewable energy, transport, energy efficiency, solid waste management, and low carbon cities, it said. For example, it could make payments for emission reductions to countries that remove fossil fuel subsidies or embark on other reforms like simplifying regulations for renewable energy.
  • This facility will work alongside a range of global initiatives and national climate plans to help both developed and developing countries achieve their mitigation goals. 
  • It will pay for carbon assets with high environmental integrity and a strong likelihood to comply with future international rules, and will share its learning with the international community, the statement added.
 
8) Developing countries unite on CBDR principle
  • A full-blown argument between the developed and developing countries over the application of principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in the Paris Agreement rocked the summit as it drew closer to the end of the first week of negotiations.
  • After the developed countries blocked every proposal to incorporate CBDR in the Paris Agreement, developing countries came out with scathing comments in public.
  • CBDR establishes that every country is responsible for addressing climate change yet not equally responsible. It seeks to balance the need for all countries to take responsibility for climate change and the need to recognise the differences in levels of economic development between countries. This principle is enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and distinguishes between obligations of the rich countries, based on their historical responsibility in causing climate change, and the developing world. 
  • All countries had previously agreed that the Paris Agreement would be stitched under the UN Convention, which implied following its provisions and principles. But ever since the negotiations began in Paris, developed countries have steadfastly lobbied to do away with the differentiation. 
  • The previous four days had seen the developed countries blocking every proposal on implementing the differentiation principle in various elements of the proposed agreement. These elements of the agreement are about reducing emissions, adapting to inevitable climate change and providing means of implementation – technology, finance and capacity building. 

 

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