In today’s daily current affairs briefing for UPSC aspirants, we explore the latest developments that hold relevance for the upcoming civil services examination. Our focus today includes a critical analysis of recent policy changes, international affairs, and national developments, all of which play a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political and economic landscape of India. Stay informed and stay ahead in your UPSC preparations with our daily current affairs updates, as we provide you with concise, well-researched insights to help you connect the dots between contemporary events and the broader canvas of the civil services syllabus.
Methane Mitigation to Combat Global Warming
Tags: GS – 3: Environment & Ecology (Environmental Pollution)
Recently, the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition have jointly released a report titled “The Imperative of Cutting Methane from Fossil Fuels” highlighting the significance of targeted methane mitigation to combat global warming.
Key Highlights of the Report
- Methane Emissions and Global Warming: To keep global warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels, methane emissions must be reduced. Methane is a very strong greenhouse gas that has been contributing to global warming since the Industrial Revolution at a rate of roughly 30%. By 2050, these initiatives could be able to stop global warming by about 0.1°C.
- Present Methane Emission Scenario: Methane emissions total about 580 million tonnes annually throughout the world. 60% of these emissions are a result of human activity. About 120 million tonnes of methane emissions in 2022 came from fossil fuel activities alone. Total anthropogenic methane emissions might increase by up to 13% between 2020 and 2030 if current trends continue.
- Target Methane Mitigation: Even with significant reductions in fossil fuel consumption, failure to manage methane might cause global temperatures to rise over 1.6°C by 2050. Measures to specifically reduce methane are essential and should support decarbonization efforts. By 2030, nearly 80 million tonnes of methane emissions from fossil fuels can be avoided according to current technology.
- In the Net Zero scenario, all methane reduction initiatives in the oil and gas sector will cost around USD 75 billion by 2030. The majority of initiatives can and should be funded by the industry, but some interventions may be impossible to undertake in low- and middle-income nations without special financing because of access issues.
- Economic and Health Benefit: Ground-level ozone pollution is mostly caused by methane, and mitigation measures will reduce the number of premature deaths by “nearly one million through 2050, which is equivalent to the current population of Amsterdam, Netherlands.” 95 million tonnes of agricultural losses for wheat, rice, soy, and maize (corn) will be avoided if methane reduction goals are accomplished.
- By 2020 to 2050, preventing such losses of crops, labor, and forests will “provide direct economic benefits valued at more than USD 260 billion.”
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established on 5th June 1972.
- Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.
- Major Reports: Emission Gap Report, Adaptation Gap Report, Global Environment Outlook, Frontiers, Invest into Healthy Planet.
- It establishes the global environmental agenda, advances sustainable development within the framework of the United Nations, and acts as a strong voice for the defence of the environment worldwide.
- India is a member of the UNEP.
UNEP-Convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)
- Governments, international organisations, corporations, academic institutions, and civil society organisations are participating in a voluntary worldwide collaboration to eliminate short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), which have a substantial impact on public health and climate change.
- Since 2019, India has become a CCAC Partner.
International Energy Agency
- It is an independent intergovernmental organisation that was founded in Paris, France, in 1974.
- It primarily focuses on its energy policy, which include environmental preservation, economic growth, and energy security.
- Major Reports: World Energy Outlook Report, World, Energy Investment Report, and India Energy Outlook Report.
- India joined the IEA in 2017.
- The simplest hydrocarbon, methane (CH4), is made up of just one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. It is combustible and used as fuel all around the world.
- Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) with an atmospheric lifespan of around ten years and long-term effects on climate.
|UPSC CSE Previous Years Questions |
Q1. Which of the following statements is/are correct about the deposits of ‘methane hydrate’? (2019)
Global warming might trigger the release of methane gas from these deposits.
Large deposits of ‘methane hydrate’ are found in Arctic Tundra and under the sea floor.
Methane in atmosphere oxidizes to carbon dioxide after a decade or two.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
1, 2 and 3
Q. “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (2018)
Bio-Decomposer to Address Stubble Burning
Tags: GS – 3: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution)
Recently, the Delhi Government has initiated the spraying of a Bio-Decomposer to tackle Stubble Burning.
- The process of burning straw stubble that remains after the harvest of grains such as rice, wheat, etc. is known as stubble burning. It is typically necessary in regions where agricultural residue is left behind after combination harvesting.
- Throughout North West India, it is a custom throughout October and November, although it is most prevalent in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
- The paddy crop residues are removed from the field to sow wheat from the last week of September to November, coinciding with the withdrawal of Southwest Monsoon.
Impacts of Stubble Burning
- It emits a significant quantity of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic chemicals, methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), and other hazardous gases into the environment.
- The nutrients in the soil are destroyed when husk is burned on the ground, making the soil less fertile.
- The soil loses moisture and beneficial bacteria as a result of the heat produced by burning stubble.
Alternatives to Stubble Burning
- In-Situ Treatment: Crop residue management by zero-tiller machine and Use of bio-decomposers.
- Ex-Situ Treatment: Use of rice straw as cattle fodder.
- Application of Technology: Stubble can be uprooted and seeds can be sown in the cleaned area using the Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) equipment. The field can then be mulched using the leftover stubble.
Use of Bio – Decomposer
- In the application of Bio – Decomposer, a variety of microorganisms, including fungus, bacteria, and enzymes, work together to decompose plant matter into organic matter, which enriches the soil.
- The goal of a bio decomposer is to accelerate the natural breakdown of agricultural wastes.
- Pusa – Bio decomposer:
- It is a fungi-based liquid solution that can soften hard stubble to the extent that it can be easily mixed with soil in the field to act as compost.
- It is developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- The fungi thrive at 30oC-32oC.
- The decomposer increases the soil’s fertility and production since the stubble serves as compost and manure for the crops, requiring less fertiliser in the future.
- It is a realistic method to eliminate stubble burning that is also effective, affordable, practicable, and practical.
- It is a green technology that benefits the environment and will help realise the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- The stubble has to be sprayed after harvest, ploughed into the ground, and moderately watered for a period of 20 to 25 days for it to break down.
- Crop rotation, labour availability, and the type of crop farmed all have an impact on the decomposer’s applicability to farmers.
- The application of the microbial solution is favoured in September and October because of the lower rainfall during those months.
- Encourage farmers to use alternative agricultural methods including direct sowing, zero tillage, and crop diversification. These techniques may reduce the production of agricultural residue and the requirement for burning stubble.
- Encourage the use of cutting equipment that can cut crops at a lower height, leaving less stubble behind, such as combine harvesters. Due of this, less stubble will need to be burned.
- Run awareness initiatives to inform farmers of the risks of stubble burning and the alternatives available. To successfully communicate knowledge, engage with farmer organisations, agricultural universities, and local communities.
|UPSC CSE Previous Years Questions |
Q. Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three mega cities of the country but the air pollution is much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (2015)
Tag: GS-3 Environment
Arabian leopard is critically endangered, with the leopard having lost 98% of its historical range in its northern range, including the Negev and Judaean deserts.
- Arabian leopard is a critically endangered species native to the Arabian Peninsula. These leopards were historically found in various parts of the Arabian Peninsula, including the Negev and Judaean deserts.
- recent study published in 2023 reported that the Arabian leopard has lost most of its historical range, and its populations have become highly isolated and fragmented.
- In the Negev and Judaean deserts, this species is considered extinct in its entire northern range.
|UPSC Previous Year Questions |
Q 1. Consider the following statements:
Asiatic lion is naturally found in India only.
Double-humped camel is naturally found in India only.
One-horned rhinoceros is naturally found in India only.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Tag: GS-3 Environment
Arabian Wolves are critically endangered, in its northern range, including the Negev and Judaean deserts.
- The Arabian wolf is a subspecies of the gray wolf. The Arabian wolf holds the distinction of being the world’s smallest wolf, making it a unique and significant part of the region’s wildlife.
- These wolves are native to the Arabian Peninsula, including regions such as the Negev Desert in southern Israel and parts of the Middle East.
- Arabian wolf remains a resilient apex predator, playing a vital ecological role in the Negev Desert and Arava Valley of southern Israel.
- Arabian wolves are known to “suppress” populations of smaller canids like jackals and foxes.
- These wolves are a crucial part of the desert ecosystem and contribute to maintaining herbivore populations and consuming carrion, which underscores their ecological importance.
|UPSC Previous Year Questions|
Q. Which one of the following groups of animals belongs to the category of endangered species?
(a) Great Indian Bustard, Musk Deer, Red Panda and Asiatic Wild Ass
(b) Kashmir Stag, Cheetal, Blue Bull and Great Indian Bustard
(c) Snow Leopard, Swamp Deer, Rhesus Monkey and Saras (Crane)
(d) Lion-tailed Macaque, Blue Bull, Hanuman Langur and Cheetal
Tag: GS-2 International Relation
Recently, the United Nations approved a Kenya-led security mission to troubled Haiti.
- Haiti is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Haiti occupies the western one-third of the island of Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic borders Haiti on the eastern side of the island. Haiti’s neighbors include Jamaica to the west and Cuba to the northwest.
- Gold and copper are found in small quantities in the north of the country.
- Official Languages: French, Haitian Creole.
- Major Mountain Ranges: Massif de la Selle, Massif du Nord.
- It is the world’s first independent Black-led republic.
- The nation underwent about two centuries of Spanish colonial rule and more than a century of French rule.
Tag: GS-3 Economy
Recently, Indian Railways’ PSUs, RITES Ltd and IRCON granted Navratna status.
About Navratna Companies
- Navratnas are those who have come under Miniratna Category – I and Schedule A CPSEs, which have obtained ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ rating under the Memorandum of Understanding system in three of the last five years.
- It should have a composite score of 60 or above in the following six selected performance parameters :
- The net profit to net worth.
- Cost of manpower to total cost of production/services.
- Profit earned before depreciation, interest and taxes to capital employed.
- Profit earned before interest and taxes to turnover.
- The earnings per share.
- Navratnas are a set of public sector companies that possess financial autonomy to invest up to 1000 crores without any approval from the central government.
- Companies could float fresh equity, transfer assets, divest shareholding in subsidiaries.
About RITES and IRCON
- Rail India Technical and Economic Service Limited (RITES) is a leading transport infrastructure consultancy and engineering firm in India. It provides services in the diverse sectors of transportation.
- Indian Railway Construction International Limited (IRCON) was incorporated by the Central Government (Ministry of Railways) under the Companies Act, 1956 in 1976. It serves as a premier public-sector construction company.
Tag: GS-3 Science And Technology
Estivation: The summer’s urge to nap
- Estivation is a biological occurrence wherein certain animals enter an extended state of dormancy or inactivity as a response to hot and arid environmental conditions.
- This serves as an essential survival tactic aimed at preserving both energy and water resources.
- Animals undergoing estivation typically find refuge in underground burrows, crevices, or protective cocoons, which allows them to minimize their metabolic processes and energy expenditure.
- This behavioral adaptation is crucial for preventing desiccation and reducing the vulnerability to predation. Some examples of animals that employ estivation as a strategy include the West African lungfish, desert tortoises, and specific land snail species.
Tag: GS-1 Art and Culture
Recently, Bathukamma festival began on a colorful note in Adilabad.
- Bathukamma is a colorful floral festival of Telangana and is celebrated by womenfolk with exotic flowers of the region.
- The festival has over the years become a symbol of Telangana culture and identity. Bathukamma comes during the latter half of the monsoon, before the onset of winter.
- The most abundant of these flowers are ‘gunuka’ (or ‘gunugu’) and ‘tangedu’. There are other flowers like the ‘banti’, ‘chamanti’, ‘nandi-vardhanam’ etc.
- The ‘shilpakka pandlu’ (or ‘sitaphalalu’), custard apples, are another great attraction during this season.
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