Baba’s Explainer – Year End Review-2022: Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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  • GS-3: Environment & Conservation
  • GS-3: Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

Context: The year 2022 saw the launch of Mission LiFE by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, a flagship programme to promote sustainable lifestyle across the globe.

  • The central elements of Mission LiFE i.e., sustainable lifestyle and sustainable patterns of consumption to address climate change were mentioned in the cover decision of Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan of COP 27.
  • Cheetah reintroduction in India by the Prime Minister was another important milestone in the global conservation efforts of the species.
What are India’s Achievements in Conserving the Environment?
  • Increase in Forest Cover:
    • India’s forest cover is increasing and so is the population of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos.
    • The total forest cover is 21.71% of the total geographical area in 2021, compared with 21.67% in 2019 and 21.54% in 2017.
  • Installed Electric Capacity:
    • India’s commitment to reach 40% of installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources has been achieved, 9 years ahead of schedule.
  • Ethanol Blending Target:
    • The target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol has been achieved 5 months ahead of the November 2022 target.
    • This is a major accomplishment given that blending was hardly 1.5% in 2013-14 and 5% in 2019-20.
  • Renewable Energy Target:
    • The country’s installed Renewable Energy (RE) capacity stands at 150.54 GW (solar: 48.55 GW, wind: 40.03 GW, Small hydro Power: 4.83, Bio-power: 10.62, Large Hydro: 46.51 GW) as on 30th Nov. 2021 while its nuclear energy based installed electricity capacity stands at 6.78 GW.
    • According to REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report (GSR 2022), India was ranked third in wind power, fourth in solar power and third in renewable power installed capacity in 2021.
What is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)?
  • The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008 by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
  • It aims at creating awareness among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it.
  • There are 8 national missions forming the core of the NAPCC which represent multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in climate change. These are-
    • National Solar Mission
    • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
    • National Water Mission
    • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
    • National Mission for A Green India
    • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
    • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
  • NAPCC addresses the country’s critical and urgent needs by directionally shifting the development path and enhancing the current and planned programmes and technologies.
  • NAPCC is guided by following principles-
    • Protection of poor and vulnerable sections of society through inclusive and sustainable development strategy, sensitive to climate change.
    • Achievements of national growth through qualitative changes enhancing ecological sustainability.
    • Deployment of appropriate technologies for both adaptation and mitigation of GreenHouse Gases emissions extensively and at an accelerated pace.
    • Regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to promote sustainable development and engineering new and innovative forms of market.
    • Effective implementation of plans using unique linkages like civil society and local governments through public-private partnership.
    • Invite international cooperation for research, development, sharing and transfer of data and technologies enabled by sufficient funding and backed up by a global IPR regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
What Lifestyle for Environment – LiFE?
  • The idea of LiFE was introduced by India during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021.
    • Subsequently, Mission LiFE was launched at Ekta Nagar by Prime Minister of India, on 20 October 2022, in the presence of United Nations Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres.
  • The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption.
  • The LiFE Movement aims to bring positive change in the environment by collective action.
  • – It aims to persuade individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives or adoption of environment-conscious lifestyle . Global leaders have applauded India for focusing on individual behaviour change towards Climate Change
  • It also seeks to make the best use of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate.
  • One of the most important objective of LiFE is to replace the prevalent ‘use-and-dispose’ economy with a circular economy.
    • ‘Use and dispose’ economy is governed by mindless and destructive consumption where as circular economy is defined by mindful and deliberate utilization.
  • P3 in LiFE movement
    • The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3)
    • P3 will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.
    • Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviors to be self-sustainable
  • India invited all countries to join the LiFE movement which is a pro-people and pro-planet effort. India participated in COP 27, with focus on mainstreaming the theme of LiFE – Lifestyle for Environment.
    • COP27 also notes the ‘importance of pursuing an approach to education that promotes a shift in lifestyles while fostering patterns of development and sustainability based on care, community and cooperation’.
What measures has government taken in recent year to promotie Circular Economy ?
  • The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum.
  • Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on the occasion of 75th Independence Day on 15.08.2021, highlighted India’s action on ‘Mission Circular Economy’.
  • NITI Aayog constituted 11 Committees for development of circular economy (CE) action plans for different categories of wastes.
  • Circular Economy Action Plans for 10 waste categories (Lithium-ion batteries; E-waste; Toxic and hazardous industrial waste; Scrap metal (ferrous and non-ferrous); Tyre and Rubber; End of Life Vehicles; Gypsum, Used Oil, Solar Panels and Municipal Solid Waste have been finalized, and are under implementation.
    • Respective Nodal Ministries are coordinating on progress of implementation of these action plans.
  • Regulations on market based Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle have been notified for four categories of wastes i.e. plastic packaging waste, battery waste, e-waste and waste tyre.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
    • Assigning such responsibility could in principle provide incentives to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals.
  • The Waste-to-Wealth Mission/ Mission Circular Economy is bound to create new business models as well as new employment opportunities. This will also result in integration of informal sector.
What is National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)?
  • It was launched by the MoEFCC in January 2019.
  • It is the first-ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.
  • It seeks to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter of diameter 10 micrometer or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometer or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
  • The programme aims:
    • To expand the national air quality monitoring network.
    • To build capacity for air pollution management
    • To raise public awareness about the hazards of air pollution
  • The NCAP also aims to have a feasible plan for the prevention, management and control of air pollution.
  • At the national level, the implementation of the programme will be done by an apex committee at the Environment Ministry level. At the state level, committees at the Chief Secretary level will oversee the implementation of the scheme.
  • It aims at achieving 20% to 30% reduction target in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 where 2017 is kept as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
    • Identification of 131 non-attainment cities across the country based on the 2014-2018 Air Quality data.
    • Non- Attainment Cities are the cities which do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • MoEF&CC has also launched “PRANA” a portal for monitoring implementation of NCAP in 2021.
  • The Swachh Vayu Survekshan guidelines for Ranking of cities under NCAP has been issued to cities
  • An overall improvement in ambient air quality has been observed in 95 cities during 2021-22 as compared to 2017. 18 cities were found to be within the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standard (PM10 less than 60^g/m3) in 2019-20 which has increased to 20 in year 2021-22.
What is National Ambient Air Quality Standards?
  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards are the standards for ambient air quality set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
  • The CPCB has been conferred this power by the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • Ambient Air Quality Standards contains 12 pollutants.
  • The pollutants that are covered under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards include:
    • Sulphur dioxide (SO2),
    • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
    • The particulate matter having a size less than 10 microns (PM10),
    • The particulate matter having a size less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5),
    • Ozone
    • Lead
    • Carbon monoxide (CO)
    • Arsenic
    • Nickel
    • Benzene
    • Ammonia, and
    • Benzopyrene
What are India’s updated pledges in UNFCCC?

The Government of India has articulated and put across the concerns of developing countries at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Further, India presented the following five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action:

  • Reach 500GWNon-fossil energy capacity by 2030.
  • 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  • Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030.
  • Reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels.
  • Achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.
What was the Cheetah Introduction project in India?
  • The last cheetahs in the Indian wilderness were recorded in 1947 where three cheetahs were shot in the Sal (Shorea robusta) forests of Koriya District, Chhattisgarh State.
  • The main reasons for the extinction of cheetah in India were large scale capture of animals from the wild for coursing, bounty and sport hunting, extensive habitat conversion along with consequent decline in prey base and in 1952 Cheetahs were declared as extinct by the Government.
  • The Government of India initiated G2G consultative meetings with Republic of Namibia which culminated in the signing of MoU between the two countries on 20th July 2022 for cheetah conservation.
  • Following the signing of MoU, in a historic first wild to wild intercontinental translocation, eight cheetahs were translocated from Namibia to India (Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh) on 17th September, 2022
  • The goal of Cheetah introduction project in India is to establish viable cheetah meta-population that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provide space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historic range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.
  • The major objective of the introduction project is restoring open forest and savannah grassland that will benefit biodiversity and ecosystem services from these ecosystems. Further, the project provides opportunity for eco-development and eco-tourism to enhance local community livelihoods.
What has been the measures taken in recent year with regard to wetland conservation?
  • On the eve of 76th Independence Day (15th August 2022), India added ten wetlands to the List of Wetlands of International Importance (also called Ramsar Sites) within the framework of the Ramsar Convention, taking the total number of Ramsar Sites in India to incredible 75, the highest in Asia, in the 75th year of its independence.
  • India ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1982. Keoladeo National Park (in Rajasthan) and Chilika (in Odisha) were the first two sites to be placed on the Ramsar List by the Government of India.
  • Till 1990, only four more sites were added to the list, and another 20 over the following two decades.
  • Since 2014, Ramsar Site designation has received a significant policy push from the MoEFCC, and 49 wetlands have been added to the list.
  • The network of Indian Ramsar Sites currently covers 1.33 million ha, which is approximately 8% of the known wetland extent of the country.
    • While the smallest Ramsar Site is just 19.75 ha in the area (Vembannur), the largest, the Sunderbans, spans 0.42 million ha
  • Ramsar Sites form an international network of wetlands which are important for conserving global biological diversity and sustaining human lives through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and services.
  • Ramsar Sites are one of the three pillars of the Ramsar Convention, the other two being working towards the wise use of wetlands and cooperating internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetlands and shared species.
  • Since 1986, the MoEFCC has been implementing a national scheme (presently known as the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems) to assist state governments in preparing and implementing integrated management plans for Ramsar sites and other priority wetlands.
  • Ramsar sites receive legal protection under Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

Main Practice Question: What measures have been taken by the government to conserve the environment and fulfill its commitments at international level? Have they been successful?

Note: Write answer his question in the comment section.

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