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Current Affairs – 2 November 2021

Mineral seen in the depths of the Earth

The Hindu

GS 1: Geography

Context:

  • IIT Kharagpur researchers have studied a meteorite, which fell near the town of Katol in Nagpur District of Maharashtra in 2012, presence of veins of the mineral bridgmanite.
  • It is the most abundant mineral in the interior of the Earth, within the Katol L6 Chondrite meteorite. This finding adds evidence to the Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis.
  • The key findings of a study could help us understand the formation and evolution of the Earth.

About:

  • Bridgmanite consists of magnesium, iron, calcium and aluminum oxide and has a perovskite structure.
  • A perovskite is any material with a crystal structure similar to the mineral called perovskite, which consists of calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3)
  • Notably, while the crystal structure of natural bridgmanite has been reported in other meteorites such as the Tenham and Suizhou meteorites, their chemical composition does not fully match with the terrestrial bridgmanite present in the Earth’s interior.
  • The understanding of the formation of bridgmanite can help better comprehend the origin and evolution of planetary interiors including that of earth. Hence the study could help understand the formation and evolution of the Earth by helping understand high-pressure phase transformation mechanisms in the deep Earth.
  • The new finding adds evidence to the Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis.
    • As per the Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis, nearly 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars namedThela, and the force of this impact was so huge as to melt the Earth down from the surface to a depth of 750 km to 1,100 km leading to the formation of a magma ocean on earth. As per the hypothesis, the ejecta from the collision led to the formation of the Moon.

 

 

Climate Trends : Drivers and Impacts

Down to earth

GS 3: Environment and Conservation

Context:

  • According to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) State of the Global Climate 2021 report, COVID-19 pandemic could not deter the world from emitting greenhouse gases (GHSs). GHGs concentrations in 2021 have propelled the planet into uncharted territory.
  • The last seven years are on track to be the warmest on record. The report was based on data for the first nine months of 2021.

Findings of report:

On greenhouse gases

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations reached new highs in 2020.
  • Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) were 413.2 parts per million (ppm); methane (CH4) 1889 parts per billion (ppb); and nitrous oxide (N2O) 333.2 ppb, respectively — 149, 262 and 123 per cent of pre-industrial (1750) levels.
  • The rise continued in 2021.

On temperature rise

  • The global mean temperature for 2021 (based on data from January-September) was about 1.09°C above the 1850-1900 average.
  • 2015-2021 will be the warmest years on record.

On the ocean

  • The upper 2,000-metre of the ocean continued to warm in 2019, reaching a new record high. A preliminary analysis based on seven global data sets suggested that 2020 surpassed the record.
  • Ocean warming rates showed a particularly strong increase in the past two decades and are expected to continue to rise in the future.
  • The ocean absorbed around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic COto the atmosphere and so, has become more acidic.
  • Open ocean surface pH declined globally over the last 40 years; it is now the lowest it has been in at least 26,000 years.
  • As the pH of the ocean decreases, its capacity to absorb COfrom the atmosphere also declines.   

On sea level

  • The mean global mean sea level rise was 2.1 millimeters a year between 1993 and 2002 and 4.4 mm a year between 2013 and 2021, an increase by a factor of two between the periods.
  • This was mostly due to an accelerated loss of ice mass from glaciers and ice sheets.

On glaciers and ice sheets

  • Mass loss from North American glaciers accelerated over the last two decades, nearly doubling during 2015-2019 compared to 2000-2004.
  • An exceptionally warm, dry summer in 2021 in western North America took a brutal toll on the region’s mountain glaciers.
  • In Greenland, temperatures and melt-water runoff were well above normal in August 2021 due to a major incursion of warm, humid air in mid-August.
  • On August 14, the rain was observed for several hours at Summit Station, the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet (3,216 m).
  • Air temperatures remained above freezing for about nine hours. There is no previous report of rainfall at Summit.

On extreme weather

  • Heatwaves affected western North America in June and July. Several places broke station records by 4-6°C and caused hundreds of heat-related deaths.
  • California reached 54.4°C on July 9, equalling a similar 2020 value as the highest recorded in the world since at least the 1930s.
  • There were numerous major wildfires.

On precipitation

  • Extreme rainfall hit Henan Province of China from 17-21 July. The city of Zhengzhou on July 20 received 201.9 mm of rainfall in one hour (a Chinese national record).
  • Western Europe experienced its most severe flooding on record in mid-July.
  • Significant drought affected much of subtropical South America for the second successive year.

On attribution to climate change

  • A study in the Pacific Northwest found that heatwaves are “still rare or very rare in today’s climate, but would have been virtually impossible without climate change.”
  • The heavy rainfall in western Europe “was made more likely by climate change.

On socio-economic and environmental impacts

  • Conflict, extreme weather events and economic shocks have increased in frequency and intensity in the last 10 years.
  • The compounded effects of these perils, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to a rise in hunger.

 

Human Trafficking

PIB

GS 2: Indian Constitution

Issues Related to Children

Issues Related to Women

Human Resource

Context:

  • The Nineteenth Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States recently took place.
  • The Experts Group discussed the issues pertaining to the growth of transnational organized crime on a global scale as well as the current experience of the SCO countries’ efforts to tackle the most dangerous manifestations of transnational crime, including trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in the region.

What is Human Trafficking?

  • It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
  • It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.
  • Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
  • Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

About the Protocol:

  • Calls for continuation of exchange of national legislation to combat the menace of trafficking in persons.
  • Seeks to provide protection and assistance to victims of trafficking within their competence.
  • Calls for developing cooperation between the educational organisations of the SCO member states in the field of advanced training of prosecutors, whose competence include combating trafficking in persons especially, women and children.

 

Exemption from Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law

The Hindu

GS 3: Cyber security

Context:

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has appealed from exemption from Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law, to avoid the duplicity of laws.

About:

  • UIDAI is already being governed by the Aadhaar Act.
  • The PDP law was making Aadhaar compulsory for several services including the banks, which first initiated the data privacy debate.

UIDAI:

  • UIDAI is a statutory authority established under Aadhaar Act, 2016, by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
  • It was established to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID) called as “Aadhaar”,to the residents of India.

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019:

  • It aims to provide protection to personal data of individuals.
  • It seeks to create framework for processing personal data, by establishing a Data Protection Authority.
  • It governs processing of personal data by government, companies incorporated in India, as well as foreign companies that deals with personal data of individuals in India.
  • It categorises personal data like financial data, caste, religious & political beliefs, biometric data etc as sensitive personal data.

Provisions of the bill:

  • Section 35 call on sovereignty & integrity of India, security of the state, public order and friendly relations with foreign states to provide powers to the Central government for suspend all or any provisions of the Act for government agencies.
  • Section 12 provides for processing data for the purpose of service or benefit to the data principal. However, prior notice has to be given.

Aadhaar Act, 2016:

  • This act is also called as Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits, and services) Act, 2016.
  • It provides legal backing to the Aadhaar unique identification number project.