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Current Affairs – 11 November 2021

Global Emissions of CO2

Indian Express

GS 3: Environment and Conservation

Context:

  • Six large automobile makers and 31 countries pledged to work towards ending the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, and five years sooner in the world’s “leading markets” for their vehicles.

About:

  • The automakers who took the pledgeinclude the American companies Ford and General Motors, Mercedes-Benz of Germany, and Volvo of Sweden, but not the global giants Toyota of Japan, Volkswagen of Germany, and the French-Japanese alliance Nissan-Renault.
  • The automobile companies that made the commitment had accounted for approximately a quarter of global sales in 2019.
  • Governments of three of the world’s biggest automobile markets, the United States, China, and Japan, abstained from taking the pledge.
  • India — the fourth-largest auto market in the world — joined the coalition, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.
  • The pledge is not legally binding. But the announcement by the companies and countries were seen in Glasgow as another indication that the internal combustion engine was on its way out, and battery-powered electric vehicles would rapidly gain roadspace around the world.

  • As of 2018, road travel — including both passenger and freight vehicles — accounted for almost three-quarters of the world’s transport emissions.
  • Passenger vehicles — cars and buses — accounted for the larger part of road travel emissions, and 45.1% of total CO2 emissions from transport.
  • Since the entire transport sector accounted for a little more than a fifth of total CO2 emissions, and road transport accounted for three-quarters of transport emissions, road transport accounted for 15% of total global CO2 emissions.
  • Aviation and shipping were relatively small contributors to global transport emissions — 11.6% and 10.6% respectively. The contribution of rail travel was negligible.

 

General Consent

Indian Express

GS 2: Polity

Context:

  • The Supreme Court recently expressed concern over a submission by the CBI that since 2018, around 150 requests for sanction to investigate have been pending with eight state governments that have withdrawn general consent to the agency.

What is general consent?

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by The NIA Act, 2008, has jurisdiction across the country.
  • CBI is governed by The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, and must mandatorily obtain the consent of the state government concerned before beginning to investigate a crime in a state.
  • The consent of the state government can be either case-specific or general.
  • A “general consent” is normally given by states to help the CBI in seamless investigation of cases of corruption against central government employees in their states.
  • Almost all states have traditionally given such consent, in the absence of which the CBI would have to apply to the state government in every case, and before taking even small actions.
  • Section 6 of The DSPE Act (“Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction”) says: “Nothing contained in section 5 (“Extension of powers and jurisdiction of special police establishment to other areas”) shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union territory or railway area, without the consent of the Government of that State.

Which states have withdrawn general consent, and why?

  • Eight states have currently withdrawn consent to the CBI: Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Mizoram. All except Mizoram are ruled by the opposition.
  • Mizoram in fact, was the first state to withdraw consent in 2015.
  • At the time of withdrawing consent, all states alleged that the central government was using the CBI to unfairly target the opposition.

What does the withdrawal of general consent mean?

  • It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving officials of the central government or a private person in the state without the consent of the state government.
  • Calcutta High Court recently ruled in a case of illegal coal mining and cattle smuggling being investigated by the CBI, that the central agency cannot be stopped from probing an employee of the central government in another state. The order has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

 

Adaptation Goal

Indian Express

GS 3: Environment and Conservation

Context:

  • Due to the lack of adequate attention to adaptation efforts, the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) have asked for operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation that is mentioned in the Paris Agreement.

About:

  • At a meeting at the India delegation office at COP26 (26th session of the Conference of Parties, as the Glasgow conference, is officially called), the BASIC countries also demanded an immediate discussion on setting a new target for climate finance to be made available by the developed countries for the post-2025 period.
  • Developed countries are under obligation to provide money and technology to developing countries to help them deal with impacts of climate change.
  • They had promised to raise US$ 100 billion every year from 2020 onwards for this purpose, but one year after the deadline passed, the money has still not been mobilized. Developed countries have now pushed the 2020 deadline to 2023.
  • The developed countries are also mandated, under the Paris Agreement, to increase the US$ 100 billion amount to a higher sum by 2025.
  • The Paris Agreement of 2015 had talked about the need to have a global goal on adaptation, just like there is a global goal on mitigation – cut greenhouse gas emissions deep enough to ensure that the rise in global temperatures is kept within 2 or 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • African countries and a group of developing countries including India and China have said the new amount should be at least US$ 1.3 trillion per year.
  • Discussions on deciding this new floor amount is still to start. The BASIC countries have now insisted that this process should start at this COP itself.

Challenges:

  • Non-availability of promised money is just one of the several things bothering the developing countries.
  • Another one is lack of enough attention to adaptation, including the paucity of money for adaptation efforts.
  • The world is already facing climate disasters with increasing frequency and intensity, and this is expected to worsen further even if the attempts to hold the global rise in temperatures to within 1.5 degree Celsius from preindustrial times are successful.
  • Adaptation is thus vital, especially in least developed countries and small island states, which happen to be the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change.
  • There are difficulties in setting an adaptation goal. Unlike mitigation efforts that bring global benefits, the benefits from adaptation are local or regional. There is no uniform global criteria against which adaptation targets can be set and measured.
  • Different approaches have been suggested to describe an adaptation goal, but no consensus has been reached. One of them seeks to define a global adaptation goal in terms of money.
  • The BASIC countries did not identify any particular metric to define the global goal on adaptation. They only want that discussions on defining the adaptation goal must begin quickly.
  • Adaptation is not being accorded the balanced and substantive attention they deserve in the UNFCCC process. It is essential to develop a work programme to operationalize the Global Goal on Adaptation.
  • The BASIC countries also reminded the developed nations of their unfulfilled promises in the pre-2020 period and stressed that these must be made up for. Many developed countries have not met their emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the precursor to the Paris Agreement that expired last year. Most countries have not delivered on their commitments to provide finance and technology to developing countries.

Conclusion:

  • The progress on the pre-2020 agenda should be the key benchmark of success of COP26.
  • The developed countries must honour their pre-2020 commitments regarding mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation, without transferring any burden and responsibility to developing countries.
  • Developed countries are required to take urgent actions to close the pre-2020 implementation gaps by 2023.

 

National Education Day 2021

Indian Express

Prelims Fact

Context:

  • Every year, since 2008, November 11 is celebrated as the National Education Day to mark the birth anniversary of India’s first education minister Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin or Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

About:

  • He served as the education minister of independent India from 1947 to 1958.
  • He was posthumously honoured with India’s highest civilian award – Bharat Ratna in 1992. 
  • He was a journalist, freedom fighter, politician, and educationist.
  • He was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1888.
  • His mother was an Arab and the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Zaher Watri and Azad’s father, Maulana Khairuddin, was a Bengali Muslim of Afghan origins who came to Arab during the Sepoy Mutiny and proceeded to Mecca and settled there.
  • He came back to Calcutta with his family in 1890 when Abul Kalam was two years old.
  • He pursued traditional Islamic education.
  • He was taught at home, first by his father and later by appointed teachers who were eminent in their respective fields.
  • Azad learned Arabic and Persian first and then philosophy, geometry, mathematics and algebra.
  • He also learned English, world history, and politics through self-study. Azad also knew Hindustani, Hindi and English languages.
  • In 1912, he started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims.
  • Al-Hilal played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of Morley-Minto reforms.
  • Al-Hilal became a revolutionary mouthpiece ventilating extremist views. ‘The government regarded Al- Hilal as a propagator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914.’
  • He then started another weekly called Al-Balagh with the same mission of propagating Indian nationalism and revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity.
  • In 1916, the government banned this paper too and expelled him from Calcutta and exiled him to Bihar from where he was released after the First World War 1920.
  • He supported Non-Cooperation Movement started by Gandhiji and entered Indian National Congress in 1920.
  • He was elected as the president of the special session of the Congress in Delhi (1923).
  • At an age of 35, he became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress. 
  • He was one of the founding members of the Jamia Milia Islamia University, originally established at Aligarh in the United Provinces, India in 1920.
  • He is responsible for shaping the modern education system of the country.
  • The first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure as the education minister.
  • The most prominent cultural, literary academies were also built including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.