(Environment,Ecology&Biodiversity GS-3)

Comprehensive report on synthetic biology discusses impacts on biodiversity and reviews existing regulatory regimes:-

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity:-

20 April 2015 – A new report from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity discusses the potential for synthetic biology to have both positive and negative impacts on biodiversity and looks at the role and adequacy of existing risk assessment and regulatory regimes to evaluate the impact of these technologies. The report, developed on a review of the literature and on the basis of information and views submitted by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other stakeholders, including through a peer review process, aims to support the emerging international debate on synthetic biology.

It provides technical information on the potential impacts of synthetic biology on biodiversity and how adequately existing regulations, including risk assessment and international regulatory regimes, cover the components, organisms and products of synthetic biology. While there is no internationally agreed definition of “synthetic biology”, there is some agreement that key features of synthetic biology include the “de novo” synthesis of genetic material and an engineering based approach to develop components, organisms and products.

Synthetic biology builds on techniques of modern biotechnology, such as high-throughput DNA technologies and bioinformatics. Many of the current and near-term commercial and industrial applications of synthetic biology are aimed at creating microorganisms that synthesize products to be used as fuels, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, flavourings and fragrances. Covering a variety of cases, the report shows that many of the applications of synthetic biology are aimed at developing more efficient and effective ways to respond to a number of environmental and health challenges and therefore could have benefits for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including:

  1. The development of microorganisms designed for bioremediation and biosensors that can contribute to pollution control;
  2. Synthesizing products, such as chemicals or drug precursors that are currently extracted from plant or animal sources, in order to reduce pressure on wild species that are currently threatened due to overharvesting or hunting;
  3. Developing organisms designed to generate biofuels, which may lead to decreased dependence on non-renewable energy sources;
  4. Producing agricultural crops that are tolerant to abiotic stress and pests;
  5. Restoring genetic diversity by reintroducing extinct genes, or even “de-extinction” of species.

However, organisms and products of synthetic biology could also have negative impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including, for example:

  1. The transfer of genetic material from microbes which were produced through synthetic biology and released into the environment, to other microorganisms could have unforeseeable consequences;
  2. The use of “gene drive” systems to spread traits aimed at suppressing populations of disease vectors (such as mosquitoes) could lead to the introduction of new diseases through the replacement of the population of the original disease vector by another vector species;
  3. Possible toxic and other negative effects on non-target organisms, such as soil microorganisms, beneficial insects, other animals and plants;
  4. Potential negative impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity could arise from the transfer of genetic material to wild populations via vertical gene transfer and introgression.

Applications in which the organisms that have been produced using synthetic biology techniques are intended for environmental release will likely raise biosafety concerns different from those of organisms intended for contained use. Like other modern biotechnologies, synthetic biology raises ethical questions around the potential benefits weighed against the impacts from potential unintended consequences.

The report also discusses a number of treaties which, in general, can or may provide for mechanisms, procedures or institutions that could address potential negative effects associated with the application of synthetic biology techniques. These include the Convention on Biological Diversity’s biosafety provisions as well as provisions under its Cartagena Protocol for Biosafety.

The report suggests that existing biosafety risk assessment frameworks may be sufficient to assess the risks of current and near-term applications of synthetic biology to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. As synthetic biology develops, this assessment may need to be revisited. Further work is being conducted to define and better understand the regulatory landscape for synthetic biology.

The report is available online at: www.cbd.int/ts/cbd-ts-82-en.pdf




(CBD) opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in December 1993. The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 194 Parties up to now, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of 3 technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing are supplementary agreements to the Convention. The Cartagena Protocol, which entered into force on 11 September 2003, seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 169 Parties have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Nagoya Protocol aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies. It entered into force on 12 October 2014 and to date has been ratified by 59 Parties.

For more information visit: www.cbd.int.

Climate Change

Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Shri Prakash Javadekar

The term “Climate Change” has been added to Ministry by the new Government. The decision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for changing the nomenclature of the Ministry to “Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change” is highly thoughtful and visionary. It takes into account the contemporary trends related to issues pertaining to climate change. The addition signifies India’s commitment to the challenges of ‘Climate Change’. India is committed to cogently present its case at international forums. Preparations are already underway for the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is expected to take place in Paris in November-December 2015. In the days ahead, India would play a proactive role in the international arena on issues of environment and Climate Change.

The Ministry, which was riddled in policy paralyses and was perceived as creating roadblocks and bottlenecks, has now been transformed due to the team effort under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. We have brought in transparency in processes, changed many rules for protection of environment and we have started taking decisions that are based on policies. We discuss the issues to arrive at a conclusion which then translates into policy-based decision.

The projects that fall within the policy framework are given automatic approvals. So, all the projects under Public Sector Undertakings and almost all projects of various ministries have been approved; State governments’ projects pending since a long time have been approved irrespective of which party is ruling the State. Thus, more than 750 Public and Private Projects worth Rupees several thousand crores have been approved. These have the potential to generate employment for over one million people. All these approvals have been accorded with stringent conditions of Environment protection and sustainable development.

We had appointed a High Level Committee to scrutinise existing laws as almost all decisions were being challenged in the courts. The courts intervened in every other case due to infirmity in laws, non-clarity in rules and non-transparency in processes. We have received the report of the Committee and now we are working on evolving clear laws, firm rules and transparent processes to ensure a policy-based predictable regime that avoids delay.

While more initiatives are in the pipeline to meet the sustainable development goals, this smart e-book captures some of the important initiatives taken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the last eight months beginning June, 2014.

ffThe Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is mandated to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country under Article 48-A of the Constitution. Article 51-A (g) of the constitution has also enshrined protection of natural environment as a fundamental duty of every citizen. The clause says that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creature.” The principle of sustainable development has been linked to ‘right to life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The country’s pursuit of economic prosperity, poverty alleviation, livelihood security, job creation, building of infrastructure and development action plan poses environmental challenges. As India grows economically there is a growing need to maintain environmental balance and ensure quality of life.

The Ministry’s effort is to promote conservation of critical environment resource, inter and intra-generational equity, integration of environmental concerns in economic and social development and efficiency of environmental resource use. Through a process of transparent environmental governance, public participation, and strict enforcement of law we aim to achieve harmony between growth and greenery.

Regional Evaluation-cum-Training Workshop (Eastern and North-Eastern Region), 2015

A 2-day evaluation-cum-training Workshop for ENVIS Centres of Eastern and North-Eastern Region (i.e., those located in the states of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal) was held at Guwahati, Assam hosted by ENVIS Centre at Assam Science Technology and Environment, Council (ASTEC) during 23rd and 24th March, 2015. Thirty particpants from 13 ENVIS Centres— comprising both thematic and State/UT Centres— attended the Workshop.

The venue of the Workshop was NEDFi Convention Centre, Guwahati. This workshop was organised to evaluate the functioning of the ENVIS Centres as per the Guidelines of the ENVIS Scheme, framed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India. In addition to evaluation, an orientation-cum-training programme on Bhuvan Portal (a geo-spatial platform of National Remote Sensing Centre of ISRO) was also conducted by the scientist of NRSC, ISRO, Hyderabad.

Indian firms need to do more to avoid climate change risks:-

Lack of preparation leaves supply chains in Brazil, China, India and the U.S. more vulnerable to climate change risks than those in Europe and Japan, according to a new report by CDP, an international NGO formerly called Carbon Disclosure Project.
• Suppliers in India and Canada are not doing enough to manage climate change risks. Indian companies, in particular, demonstrate a low propensity to reporting on emissions, according to the report ‘Supply chain sustainability revealed: a country comparison 2014-15.’
• The report, which says it is the most comprehensive overview of the climate risks and opportunities for supply chains globally with focus on 11 countries, finds that Chinese and Indian suppliers deliver the greatest financial returns on investment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate the strongest appetite for collaboration across the value chain.
• While a steadily growing number of Indian suppliers are responding to the CDP supply chain questionnaire, in percentage terms at least, disclosure and performance have been declining over the last two years. Despite the existence of dedicated ministerial departments for energy efficiency and renewable energy, a lack of policy direction from New Delhi is partly to blame, the report points out.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 05 Feb pg 10
Importance: GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment

Sharp rise in heat waves in urban areas:-                        

Over the last 40 years, the world’s cities and towns have seen a sharp rise in heat waves they experience while cold snaps have become more infrequent, according to research just published.
• A team of scientists from India and the U.S, which examined data from 217 urban areas across the globe, found that such prolonged periods of high temperature had increased significantly between 1973 and 2012. The largest number of heat waves had occurred in the most recent decade.
• Moreover, extremely hot days had become significantly more frequent in almost half of those urban areas. Two-thirds of them had to endure more extremely hot nights, reported a paper by Vimal Mishra of IIT-Gandhinagar in Gujarat and the other scientists in Environmental Research Letters.
• The analysis suggested that urban areas were affected by the warming occurring as a result of climate change as well as the ‘urban heat island’ effect whereby built-up places trapped heat more than surrounding rural areas.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 30 Jan pg 11
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


 Stir against koteshwar dam intensifies :- 

Seepage from the Koteshwar dam across the Bhagirathi in Tehri district has intensified protests by the local people against the 400-MW project. They allege leak of water through several cracks on the dam wall.
• The villages in the vicinity are already facing land sinking, and seepage poses an additional threat.
• There are several leakages from the main wall of the dam and it has become a threat to the downstream villages and areas such as Devprayag and Rishikesh.
• However, the dam authorities denied the allegations and made counter-charges against the protesters.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 04 Feb pg 07
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


Fossil finds push back snake origins:-

Snakes have been slithering on Earth far longer than anyone ever realised.
• The oldest found in Oxford is of a 25-cm reptile that lived 167 million years ago.
• The remarkable fossils from Britain, Portugal and the United States rewrite the history of snake evolution, pushing back snake origins by tens of millions of years.
• Until now, the oldest snake fossil dated from about 102 million years ago, said University of Alberta paleontologist Michael Caldwell, who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.
• Scientists say snakes evolved from lizards, and a number of previously discovered fossils of primitive snakes featured small back legs.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 29 Jan pg 07
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


Blizzard sweeps northeast U.S.    

A U.S. blizzard swept past New York City and struck hardest at some 4.5 million people around Boston, dropping nearly three feet of snow in areas and triggering high tides that breached a seawall and forced residents to flee their coastal homes.
What is Blizzard? A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) and lasting for a prolonged period of time—typically three hours or more. A ground blizzard is a weather condition where snow is not falling but loose snow on the ground is lifted and blown by strong winds.
• The weather lived up to its billing in New England and on New York’s Long Island, which also got clobbered. U.S. National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said the storm may prove to be one of the biggest ever in some parts of Massachusetts.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 28 Jan pg 12
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment

Forest owlet sighted in M.P. :-         

A Pune-based conservation society has reported that the forest owlet (Athene blewitti), a ‘critically endangered species’, has been sighted in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district.
• The owlet, endemic to central Indian forests was said to be extinct in the wild but was rediscovered in 1997.
• It was most recently seen for the first time in the Western Ghats in October last year by naturalist Sunil Laad of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
What is BNHS? The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research. It supports many research efforts through grants, and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley have been associated with it. The society is commonly known by its initials, BNHS.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 15 Jan pg 20
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination) –Environment


Open-billed storks flock to Raiganj:- 

The Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district, which attracted a record 68,000 birds in 2014, has the most Asian open-billed storks in the country.
What is Asian open-billed stork? The Asian openbill or Asian openbill stork (Anastomus oscitans) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. This distinctive stork is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is greyish white with glossy black wings and tail.
Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary (also popularly known as Kulik Bird Sanctuary) is situated near Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The bird sanctuary is home to 164 species of birds, and some 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds visit the sanctuary every year.
• The wildlife sanctuary at Raiganj is the only place in the country where you can find open-billed stork birds in such a high concentration. It has turned into an important habitat for them.

Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 02 Jan pg 07
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination) – Environment


Fossils of dolphin-like creature found off Scotland:-   

A new dolphin-like species that lived around 170 million years ago has been identified from fossils found on the Isle of Skye off Scotland.
• The 14-feet long marine creature has been named Dearcmhara shawcrossi in honour of an amateur enthusiast, Brian Shawcross, who recovered the creature’s fossils from the island’s Bearreraig Bay in 1959.
• It is a member of a group called ichthyosaurs that were among the dominant marine reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the land.
Who were Ichthyosaurs?They were large marine reptiles. Ichthyosaurs thrived during much of the Mesozoic era; based on fossil evidence, they first appeared approximately 250 million years ago (mya) and at least one species survived until about ninety million years ago.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 14 Jan pg 20
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination) –Environment


Sri Lankan flying snake sighted in A.P.             

In the first-ever sighting outside Sri Lanka, Chrysopelea taprobanica or the Sri Lankan flying snake, considered endemic to the dry and intermediate zones of the island nation, has been sighted in Andhra Pradesh’s Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve.
What is Chrysopelea taprobanica or the Sri Lankan flying snake?

The Sri Lankan flying snake (Chrysopelea taprobanica) is a species of gliding snake distributed in India and Sri Lanka. It can glide, as with all species of its genus Chrysopelea, by stretching the body into a flattened strip using its ribs. The snake is known as “dangara dandaa ” in Sinhala, due to its folding postures.
The Seshachalam Hills are hilly ranges part of the Eastern Ghats in southern Andhra Pradesh state, in southeastern India. The ranges were formed during the Precambrian era (3.8 billion to 540 million years ago). Minerals contained in these hills include sandstone and shale interbedded with limestone. The ranges are bounded by the Rayalaseema uplands to the west and northwest, and the Nandyal Valley to the north. In 2010 it was designated as a Biosphere Reserve.
What is Biosphere Reserve?

A Biosphere Reserve is an ecosystem with plants and animals of unusual scientific and natural interest. The Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves in India, which protect larger areas of natural habitat and often include one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to some economic uses. Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life. Animals are protected and saved here.
• This significantly expands the known area of presence of this species, indicating its probable movement between the dry zones of peninsular India and Sri Lanka, which remained connected around 17,000 years ago.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 02 Jan pg 07
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination) – Environment

Swamp deer translocated from Kaziranga to Manas :-
Nineteen swamp deer have been translocated for the first time in the country from Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park in Assam.
• A team of experts from Assam Forest Department, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Assam College of Veterinary Science monitored the entire process and part of an ongoing project supported by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC).
What is WTI ? The Wildlife Trust of India, (WTI) is a national conservation organisation in India, committed to effective action for the protection of India’s natural heritage. Our principal objectives include managing or preventing wildlife crises and mitigating threats to individual wild animals, their populations and habitats through holistic strategies and practical interventions.
WTI was formed in November 1998 in response to the rapidly deteriorating condition of wildlife in India. WTI is a registered charity in India (under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961).
• Popularly known as ‘Barasingha’, the entire population of this sub-species of eastern swamp deer is currently found only in Kaziranga.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 29 Dec pg 06
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


Nationwide hydrology data soon                                            

With flood damage in the country pegged in the range of Rs. 6,000 crore a year, according to official estimates, India is poised to adopt a World Bank-funded hydrology project.
• The project, the first phase of which began some 20 years back, has digitised real time data in 13 States.
• Under the proposed expansion of the project, States will be able to generate and digitise their own data without waiting for central help. The project for the whole country is estimated to cost Rs. 3,000 crore.
• Apart from flood prevention, the data and real time monitoring of water flows also helps in analysing and testing proposed projects.
What is Hydrology?

It is the science that encompasses the occurrence, distribution, movement and properties of the waters of the earth and their relationship with the environment within each phase of the hydrologic cycle. The water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, is a continuous process by which water is purified by evaporation and transported from the earth’s surface (including the oceans) to the atmosphere and back to the land and oceans. All of the physical, chemical and biological processes involving water as it travels its various paths in the atmosphere, over and beneath the earth’s surface and through growing plants, are of interest to those who study the hydrologic cycle.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 27 Dec pg 11
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment and Conservation


Pigeon endemic to Western Ghats spotted near Jaipur:-

• The Pompadour Green Pigeon ( Treron pompadora ), which is a native of the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, was spotted on a tree near Barkheda village water body, about 25 km south of the city, Jaipur. Barkheda boasts of some 50-odd species of birds during winter.

• The bird was perched over a ‘Bar’ ( Ficus bengalensis ) tree. The pigeon has red legs, red-splashed wings marked by yellowish bars, orange breast and head.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 29 Dec pg 06
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


What caused the massive 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami?

On December 26, 2004 along the eastern coast of India, a strange phenomenon of the sea receding few hundred metres inside exposing parts of the coastal shelf was observed. It was actually a precursor to the incoming gigantic tsunami waves generated due to a Magnitude 9.3 Great undersea earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra.
What is Tsunami?

A tsunami also known as a seismic sea wave or, inaccurately, as a tidal wave, is a series of waves in a body of water caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear devices), landslides, glacier calvings, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami.
• The earthquake occurred along a thrust fault in the subduction zone where the Indian tectonic plate is going below the overriding Burmese plate. As a result, the ocean floor broke and there was a vertical displacement of about 15 to 20 meters along the fault causing large scale displacement of water and thus, generating tsunami waves.
What is subduction zone?

A subduction zone is the biggest smash-up on Earth, marking the collision between two of the planet’s tectonic plates, the pieces of crust that slowly move across the surface over millions of years. When two tectonic plates meet, one may slide underneath the other, curving down into the mantle. (The mantle is the hotter layer under the crust.) When this happens, geologists call the boundary between the plates a subduction zone.
• This kind of large vertical displacement happened because the magnitude of the earthquake was greater than 9 and it occurred at a shallow depth of less than 30km below the ocean.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 25 Dec pg 17
Relevance: GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment, Ecology


Charting rivers beyond borders:-     

IUCN atlas maps course of 54 rivers that flow between India & Bangladesh
What is IUCN? The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It was established in 1948. In the past, it has been called the International Union for Protection of Nature (1948-1956) and the World Conservation Union (1990 – 2008).
• “Rivers Beyond Borders,” is a first such publication (a river atlas) brought out by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that charts the course of these fifty-four rivers which flow between India and Bangladesh.
• The atlas provides maps and infographics and tells the stories of the people and cultures along their banks and the tales behind the names of the rivers. Not only the mighty Ganga and the Brahmaputra but even less-known rivers such as the Bizni, the Sonai Bardal and the Talma find a place in the atlas.
• All officially known rivers which are part of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Barak-Meghna basins are there.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 22 Dec pg 16
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


U.N. sends team to clean up Sundarbans oil spill:-

Thick tar is clogging 350 sq km of delicate mangrove forest and river delta, home to endangered Bengal tigers and rare dolphins.
• The United Nations has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world’s largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.
What is Sunderbans? The Sundarbans is a natural region in Bengal. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which 60 percent is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve located in the Sundarbans delta in the Indian state of West Bengal. Sundarbans South, East and West are three protected forests in Bangladesh. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.
• The UN team, sent in response to a request from Bangladesh, will help in the ground work in coordination with the government and will also conduct an assessment and advise on recovery and risk reduction measures.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 19 Dec pg 14
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


Taj: the pollutants causing discolouration identified

The specific pollutants in the air that are responsible for the discolouration of the white marble of Taj Mahal have been identified.
• Particulate carbon and fine dust particles that are deposited on the marble are responsible for its browning.
• Both organic carbon and dust particles have the ability to preferentially absorb light in the blue region of the spectrum. The absorption of blue light by these pollutants in turn gives the marble surface a brown hue.
• A combination of these two result in darker shades of yellow-brown.
Read more in the Hindu newspaper dated 18 Dec pg 17
Importance:GS Paper-III (Main Examination)- Environment


A watered- down deal at Lima:- 

The world set the stage for a new climate treaty by agreeing to the Lima Call for Climate Action.
• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the governments agreed on the ground rules on contributions to the Paris 2015 Agreement and boost adaptation.
What is UNFCCC?

It is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
What is Paris 2015 Agreement?

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 or CMP11 will be held in Paris, France in 2015. This will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Leadership of the negotiations is yet to be determined.
• These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the foundation for climate action post 2020 when the new agreement is set to come into effect.