Blog

Daily Current Affairs 30.04.2022 (‘Mother Nature’ a ‘living being’ with legal entity: Madras HC, ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’, ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’)

Daily Current Affairs 30.04.2022 (‘Mother Nature’ a ‘living being’ with legal entity: Madras HC, ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’, ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’)

image-146

1. ‘Mother Nature’ a ‘living being’ with legal entity: Madras HC

It will have rights, duties and liabilities like a living person, says Madurai Bench

Holding that it is the right time to confer juristic status to ‘Mother Nature’, Justice S. Srimathy of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court invoked the ‘parens patriae jurisdiction’, and declared ‘Mother Nature’ as a ‘living being’ having the status of a legal entity.

Justice S. Srimathy observed that the court is hereby declaring ‘Mother Nature’ a ‘living being’ having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, in order to preserve and conserve it. The court observed that ‘Mother Nature’ was accorded the rights akin to fundamental rights, legal rights, constitutional rights for its survival, safety, sustenance and resurgence in order to maintain its status and also to promote its health and well-being.

The State and Central governments are directed to protect ‘Mother Nature’ and take appropriate steps in this regard in all possible ways. The court was hearing petitions filed by A. Periyakaruppan of Theni, who served in the Revenue Department. He had challenged an order passed by the Revenue Department, due to which the petitioner was not allowed to retire from service but put under suspension. The petitioner was then placed under compulsory retirement for issuing a patta (deed) for land that was classified as ‘Forest Land’ in Megamalai. He said that he was only carrying out the orders of his superiors.

The judge said, indiscriminate destruction or change is leading to several complications in the ecosystem and is ultimately endangering the very existence of flora and fauna, forests, water bodies, mountains, glaciers, air and of course humans. Strangely, the destruction is carried out by a few humans. Any such act ought to be checked at all levels. The natural environment is part of basic human rights, of ‘right to life’ itself, she added.

The judge modified the punishment of compulsory retirement to stoppage of increment for six months without cumulative effect. The consequential monetary benefits shall be conferred on the petitioner. This punishment is imposed for the act done against the ‘Mother Nature,’ the judge observed.

2. ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’

Scientists say carbon emissions must be curbed

India is gripped in the throes of a long spell of heatwaves and there is compelling evidence that a significant portion of it is due to human-induced climate change, said scientists who were part of an online webinar on climate change organised as part of the TNQ-Janelia Climate Change Summit on Friday.

Three eminent scientists with expertise in how atmospheric, land and ocean systems were influenced by greenhouse gas emissions, drew upon their decades of research to explain how the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exacerbated temperatures in the oceans and the land and caused increased glacier melt, heightened sea level rise and led to changes in the biosphere.

Fiamma Straneo of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego drew upon her research in Greenland to demonstrate evidence of warming waters around glaciers and how it was heating even ice sheets, thereby accelerating warming.

Though global sea-levels were rising only three millimetre a year, it would be a mistake, said Dr. Straneo, to dismiss it as a minor rise because even those increases were responsible for driving greater numbers of extreme climate events such as floods.

Her colleague at Scripps, Veerbhadran Ramanathan, referenced a simulation study jointly undertaken at the Princeton University, Columbia University and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that said if carbon emissions were unchecked, half the planet would be in severe drought by the century end. There was already a three-fold rise in extreme precipitation events in India, a decrease in rainfall in North India and increase in precipitation in south India, he said citing research out of India. Along with carbon dioxide emissions, pollution from biomass burning combined with this and caused 1.5 million deaths annually in India.

“India could cut its pollution by half just by providing clean cooking fuel to rural household in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Societal transformation, mitigating carbon dioxide emissions and adaption were all necessary to buffer against climate change,” he added.

3. ‘Heatwaves linked to man-made climate change’

Scientists say carbon emissions must be curbed

India is gripped in the throes of a long spell of heatwaves and there is compelling evidence that a significant portion of it is due to human-induced climate change, said scientists who were part of an online webinar on climate change organised as part of the TNQ-Janelia Climate Change Summit on Friday.

Three eminent scientists with expertise in how atmospheric, land and ocean systems were influenced by greenhouse gas emissions, drew upon their decades of research to explain how the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exacerbated temperatures in the oceans and the land and caused increased glacier melt, heightened sea level rise and led to changes in the biosphere.

Fiamma Straneo of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego drew upon her research in Greenland to demonstrate evidence of warming waters around glaciers and how it was heating even ice sheets, thereby accelerating warming.

Though global sea-levels were rising only three millimetre a year, it would be a mistake, said Dr. Straneo, to dismiss it as a minor rise because even those increases were responsible for driving greater numbers of extreme climate events such as floods.

Her colleague at Scripps, Veerbhadran Ramanathan, referenced a simulation study jointly undertaken at the Princeton University, Columbia University and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that said if carbon emissions were unchecked, half the planet would be in severe drought by the century end. There was already a three-fold rise in extreme precipitation events in India, a decrease in rainfall in North India and increase in precipitation in south India, he said citing research out of India. Along with carbon dioxide emissions, pollution from biomass burning combined with this and caused 1.5 million deaths annually in India.

“India could cut its pollution by half just by providing clean cooking fuel to rural household in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Societal transformation, mitigating carbon dioxide emissions and adaption were all necessary to buffer against climate change,” he added.

CLIMATE CHANGE
  • Climate change is periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.
  • In 2018, the IPCC issued a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, finding that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.
  • According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
  • It predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels will produce beneficial impacts in some regions and harmful ones in others.
  • Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase.
  • Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid-20th century to present.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • In 2013 the IPCC in its Fifth Assessment Report has identified that climate change is real and human activities are the main cause.
  • From 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
  • Fifth Assessment Report: provides a comprehensive assessment of sea level rise, and its causes, over the past few decades.
  • It also estimates cumulative CO2 emissions since pre-industrial times and provides a CO2 budget for future emissions to limit warming to less than 2°C. About half of this maximum amount was already emitted by 2011.
  • Oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and the sea level has risen.
  • Given current concentrations and ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century global mean temperature will continue to rise above the pre-industrial level.

Impact of climate change

  • There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planetary climate system, may already have been reached or passed.
  • Extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts can be seen as the climate changes.
  • Rising temperaturesAverage temperature has risen by around 0.7°C during 1901–2018.

– As compared to 1976-2005 period, by the end of 21st century, it is projected that: o temperature may rise by approximately 4.4°C. o frequency of summer heat waves over India may be 3 to 4 times higher

  • Mountain glaciers are in alarming retreat and the downstream effects of reduced water supply in the driest months will have repercussions that transcend generations.
  • Change in Rainfall pattern: Summer monsoon rainfall has declined by 6%, over India between 1951-2015 especially in the densely populated Indo-Gangetic plains and the Western Ghats.

The frequency of localized heavy rain occurrences as well as dry spells has significantly increased.

  • Drought : The area affected by drought has also increased by 1.3% per decade during 1951–2016.
    • Areas over central India, southwest coast, southern peninsula and north-eastern India have experienced more than 2 droughts per decade, on average, during this period
  • Floods: Flooding events have increased since 1950, in part due to enhanced occurrence of localized, short-duration intense rainfall events.
  • Melting of glaciers: The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. Average sea level rise is predicted to be 24–30 cm by 2065 and 40–63 cm by 2100 relative to the reference period of 1986–2005. (IPCC)
    • The sea ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 × 106 km² of ice loss per decade. (IPCC report)
  • Rise in sea levelFrom 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
  • It occurred at a rate of 1.06–1.75 mm per year during 1874–2004 and has accelerated to 3.3 mm per year between 1993 and 2017, which is comparable to the current rate of global mean sea-level rise.
  • Also, Sea surface temperature (SST) of the tropical Indian Ocean has risen by 1°C on average during 1951–2015, markedly higher than the global average SST warming of 0.7°C.

Implication of climate change

  • Health: The changing environment is expected to cause more heat stress, an increase in waterborne diseases, poor air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Extreme weather events can compound many of these health threats.
  • Agriculture: NITI Aayog document, of the total pulses, oilseeds and cotton produced in the country, 80% pulses, 73% oilseeds and 68% cotton come from rain-fed agriculture.
  • Repeated crop failures add to the burden of already distressed farmers who then resort to suicides
  • Rising temperatures are likely to increase energy demand for space cooling, further adding to the global warming by increasing GHG emissions.
  • Biodiversity: Increase in the concentration of CO, would affect photosynthesis by agricultural plants, increasing the foliage and the biomass of plants and vegetation.

-marine ecosystem, including corals and phytoplankton, and fisheries are being impacted by a rise in heat waves in the ocean, known as marine heat waves.

  • Economic impact: According to the International Labour Organization, the loss in productivity by 2030 because of heat stress could be the equivalent of India losing 34 million full-time jobs.

-According to Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Desertification, land degradation and drought cost India about 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2014-15.

Health-care costs and productivity losses from pollution are as much as 8.5% of GDP, according to the World Bank.

  • Migration: According to State of Global Climate report 2019, 22 million people would be displaced by December 2019, due to extreme weather events.

In India, climate change led to the displacement of 2.7 million Indians in 2019 (highest in the world).

Causes of Climate Change:

  • The causes of climate change can be broadly divided into 2 categories-

NATURAL CAUSE  – There are number of natural factor responsible for climate change. Some of the major ones are continental drift, volcanoes etc.

1-  Continental Drift-

  • It suggests that glaciations are linked to continental drifting. The Ewing-Donn theory proposes that Pleistocene glaciations were initiated when the North Pole reached its present position in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and Antarctica became coincident with the South Polar Region.
  • These theories are based on the presumption that some 300 million years ago all the continents were joined together to form the super-continent ‘Pangaea’ which was located at high latitudes far to the south of their present position.
  • This revolutionary theory emerging from eology explains how large fragments of glaciated terrain reached their scattered subtropical locations
  • Since the plates move at a very slow rate of only a few centimeters per year, significant changes in the positions of continents occur over large scales of geological time. Therefore large-scale climatic changes also happen in millions of years.

2- Volcanoes –

  • Volcanoes can impact climate change. During major explosive eruptions huge amounts of volcanic gas, water vapor, dust particle, and ash are injected into the stratosphere.
  • Injected ash falls rapidly from the stratosphere — most of it is removed within several days to weeks — and has little impact on climate change.
  • Volcanic gases like sulfur dioxide can cause global cooling, while volcanic carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has the potential to promote global warming.
  • Volcanic dust particles, deflects light of short wavelengths coming from the sun. But long wave terrestrial radiation can easily pass through volcanic dust without any loss and large-scale volcanic dust may lower down the earth’s temperature to a certain extent.

ANTHROPOGENIC CAUSES

  • Scientists, since the beginning of the 20th century, have studied the impact of climate change caused by human activities, such as emission of heat trapping gases (green house gases) and changes in land use pattern that make land reflect more or less sunlight.
Greenhouse Effect & GHGs:
  • The greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat. This process makes Earth much warmer than it would be without an atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is one of the things that make the Earth a comfortable place to live.
  • As the name depicts, the greenhouse effect works like a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a building with glass walls and a glass roof. Greenhouses are used to grow plants, such as tomatoes and tropical flowers.
  • A greenhouse stays warm inside, even during the winter. In the daytime, sunlight shines into the greenhouse and warms the plants and air inside. At night time, it’s colder outside, but the greenhouse stays pretty warm inside. That’s because the glass walls of the greenhouse trap the Sun’s heat.
  • The greenhouse effect works much the same way on Earth. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat just like the glass roof of a greenhouse. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases.
  • During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth’s surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth’s surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That’s what keeps our Earth a warm and cozy.
Greenhouse Gases (GHGs):
  • Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
  • Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.
  • Fluorinated gasesHydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), and Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases.
  • Water vapour (H2O): Water vapour is the biggest overall contributor to the greenhouse effect and humans are not directly responsible for emitting this gas in quantities sufficient to change its concentration in the atmosphere. However, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are increasing the amount of water vapour in the air by boosting the rate of evaporation.
  • Black Carbon: Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. During this short period of time, black carbon can have significant direct and indirect impacts on the climate, glacial regions, agriculture and human health.
  • Brown Carbon:
  • Brown carbon (light-absorbing organic carbon) has attracted interest as a possible cause of climate change. This class of organic carbon, known for its light brownish color, absorbs strongly in the ultraviolet wavelengths and less significantly going into the visible.
  • Types of brown carbon include breakdown products from biomass burning, a mixture of organic compounds emitted from soil, and volatile organic compounds given off by vegetation.
  • Brown carbon is generally referred for greenhouse gases and black carbon for particles resulting from impure combustion, such as soot and dust
GLOBAL WARMING:
GasGWP (100-year)Lifetime (years)
Carbon Dioxide1100
Methane2112
Nitrous Oxide310120
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)140-11,7001-270
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)6,500-9,2008000-50,000
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)23,9003,200
  • Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Since the pre-industrial period, human activities are estimated to have increased Earth’s global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), a number that is currently increasing by 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade.
  • Most of the current warming trend is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) the result of human activity since the 1950s and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate over decades to millennia.
Global Warming Potential (GWP)
  • The Global Warming Potential (GWP) was developed to allow comparisons of the global warming impacts of different gases. Specifically, it is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). The larger the GWP, the more that a given gas warms the Earth compared to CO2over that time period. The time period usually used for GWPs is 100 years
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
kurukshetraiasacademy

kurukshetraiasacademy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *