CAO The Hindu NOTES – 14th June, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

📰THE HINDU NEWSPAPER DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis

Date:- 14th June 2018


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Antarctic Ice loss has tripled in a decade (GS 3 Env)

  • Antarctica has lost a staggering three trillion tonnes of ice since 1992.
  • This is according to a landmark study that suggests the frozen continent could redraw the earth’s coastlines if global warming continues unchecked.

Details: Two-fifths of that ice loss occurred in the last five years, a threefold increase in the pace at which Antarctica is shedding its kilometers thick casing.

More than 90% of that frozen water sits atop East Antarctica, which has remained mostly stable even as climate change has driven up earth’s average surface temperature by a full degree Celsius.

West Antarctica, however, has proven far more vulnerable to global warming. Already floating, ice shelves breaking off into icebergs do not add to sea level. But massive glaciers in West Antarctica, slowly gliding seaward, hold enough water to push oceans up by 3.5 meters.

The findings also highlight the existential threat facing low-lying coastal cities and communities home to hundreds of millions of people.

Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world.

A separate study warns that unless urgent action is taken in the next decade the melting ice could contribute more than 25cm to a total global sea level rise of more than a meter by 2070. This could lead eventually to the collapse of the entire west Antarctic ice sheet, and around 3.5m of sea-level rise.

It shows that before 2012, the Antarctic lost ice at a steady rate of 76bn tonnes per year – a 0.2mm per year contribution to sea-level rise. However since then there has been a sharp increase, resulting in the loss of 219bn tonnes of ice per year – a 0.6mm per year sea-level contribution.

The study warns that time is running out to save the Antarctic and its unique ecosystem – with potentially dire consequences for the world.

The scientists assessed the probable state of Antarctica in 2070 under two scenarios. The first in which urgent action on greenhouse gas emissions and environmental protection is taken in the next few years, the second if emissions continue to rise unabated and the Antarctic is exploited for its natural resources.

The scenario which plays out largely depends on choices made over the next decade, on both climate-change and on environmental regulation.

As well as being a major cause of sea-level rise, scientists say the oceans around Antarctica are a key “carbon sink” – absorbing huge amounts of greenhouse gases helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The result also reinforces that nations have a short window — perhaps no more than a decade — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if they hope to avert some of the worst consequences of climate change.

Antarctica, the planet’s largest ice sheet, lost 219 billion tons of ice annually from 2012 through 2017 — approximately triple the 73 billion-ton melt rate of a decade ago, the scientists concluded. From 1992 through 1997, Antarctica lost 49 billion tons of ice annually.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a large tract of the ocean surrounding the Antarctic to be made into the world’s biggest ocean sanctuary.

National Dam Safety Authority (GS 2 Gov)

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a proposal for introduction of the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in Parliament.

Details: The Bill envisages a National Dam Safety Authority, which will liaise with State-level dam safety organizations and the owners of dams for standardizing safety-related data and practices.

The NDSA will investigate dam failures and have the authority to fine the States that are found remiss in implementing safety measures.

It will look into unresolved points of issue between the States which share dam territory and look to eliminating potential causes for inter-State conflicts.

A case in point is the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, which is a perennial flashpoint between the State and neighboring Tamil Nadu.

The Chennai floods of 2015 due to unusually heavy rain were thought to have been compounded by an unprecedented release of water from the Chembarambakkam dam into the Adyar.

Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is a perennial concern.

The bill will help states and union territories adopt uniform procedures to ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits of human life, livestock and property.

It also provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by state governments.

The State Committee on Dam Safety will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the respective state and ensure their safe functioning. Every state will establish a “State Dam Safety Organisation”, which will be manned by officers from the field of dam safety, preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.

India has over 5,200 large dams and around 450 of them are under construction. In addition, there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.

Biogas plants at cow shelters in Rajasthan (GS 3 Env)

  • Biogas plants with the capacity of over 100 cubic meters will be set up shortly at 25 gau-shalas in Rajasthan.
  • This will be done with 50% subsidy on investment costs paid by the State government’s Gopalan Department.

Details: Rajasthan will be the first State to produce manure from biogas plants at the cow shelters.

A subsidy up to Rs.40 lakh each would be paid to the gau-shalas by the department, while each biogas plant would produce 5 to 10 metric tonnes of manure every day.

The 25 plants will produce about 1 lakh metric tonnes of manure every year, proving a boon to farmers for cultivation of crops.

Following the implementation of the gau-shala biogas participation scheme announced by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the 2018-19 Budgets, 25 registered cow shelters running on the land measuring at least 25 bighas will be selected for installation of biogas plants.

The decision for manure production at gau-shalas would make them self-sufficient and establish a permanent source of income for them, besides supporting organic farming, promoting nonconventional sources of energy and giving refuge to the bovine animals.

The interested cow shelters will be required to submit their proposals to the district-level Gopalan Committee, which will recommend them to the department on the basis of their utility.

The department would issue administrative and financial approval after screening of proposals.

Downturn in ties with Maldives (GS 2 IR)

  • Since February, when Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen ordered an Emergency, which India took a strong position against, the Maldives Immigration Authority has reportedly held up thousands of work permits to Indians.

Details: More startling are public advertisements from companies that are hiring, but say clearly that “Indians need not apply”, as they would not be given work permits. The internationally renowned Marriott chain of hotels that advertised on Wednesday for 18 jobs said: “Please note that work permits are not currently being issued to Indian Nationals.”

Despite the increasing numbers of desperate jobseekers, the MEA has refused to take up the matter, and the Embassy of India in the Maldives (EoI) has replied to queries from the jobseekers by saying it cannot help.

India has taken up the issue through diplomatic channels urging the Maldives government to abide by the bilateral visa agreement, with the hope that the matter would be resolved soon.

Thousands of Indians face a squeeze on their work permits from the Maldivian government in place since February, and there appeared to be a “strict directive” from the Maldivian President’s office against work permits to Indians, as well as against facilitating other requests from Indian companies there.

Around 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives, and an estimated 2,000 have pending applications for work permits.

India-Maldives ties have been on the downswing since 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit to Male over the treatment of Opposition leaders by President Yameen.

Since then, China’s growing presence and a free trade agreement with Beijing as well as President Yameen’s emergency declaration and arrest of Opposition leaders have led to protests from India, further straining ties.

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