1. India's proposal for enhance protection to Leith's softshell turtle adopted at wildlife summit in Panama
India's proposal for enhancing protection status to Leith's softshell turtle has been adopted at the ongoing world wildlife conference in Panama, the Union Environment Ministry said on 24 November.
India has strengthened protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Leith's soft-shelled turtle is a large freshwater soft-shelled turtle that is endemic to peninsular India and is found in rivers and reservoirs.
It has been illegally hunted and consumed within India.
It has also been illegally traded abroad for the meat and its calypso.
The population of this turtle species has been estimated to have declined by 90% over the past 30 years, making the species difficult to find.
It is classified as 'critically endangered' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The species is listed in Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, which protects it from hunting as well as its trade.
Placing the listing of this turtle species on CITES Appendix I will ensure that legal international trade in these species does not occur for commercial purposes.
The 19th meeting of the COP for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is being held in Panama from 14 to 25 November 2022.
2. JNPA inaugurates Continuous Marine Water Quality Monitoring Station
One of the best performing Continuous Marine water Quality Monitoring Station (CMWQMS) in India at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) in collaboration with the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras was inaugurated on 21 November 2022.
Along with this, the Electric Driven Environment Monitoring Vehicle (EV) was formally launched.
JNPA is committed to achieving sustainability and creating value for the business, which is reflected in economic, social and environmental parameters.
The continuous water quality system and electrically powered monitoring vehicle will assist in sea water and air quality management in the port area and improve the environmental quality within the port area.
JNPA will be able to reduce green-house gas emissions from vehicles.
Apart from this, it will also be possible to monitor the compliance of environmental quality around the port estate.
This work will be done through water quality station data, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, conductivity, nitrate, salinity, TDS of sea water etc.
The TDS of seawater is based on the sea water quality database.
This is essential for maintaining sanitary standards in the marine environment.
E-Vehicles will also monitor the existing air and noise level in JNPA.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA)
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) located in Navi Mumbai is the major container handling port in India.
Commissioned on 26 May 1989, the port has grown from a bulk-cargo terminal to a major container port in the country in three decades.
JNPA is connected to over 200 ports in the world and is ranked 26th in the list of top 100 Container Ports globally.
3. Change in rules for Shisham based items by CITES to benefit Indian exporters
In a major relief to the handicraft exporter from India the 19th Conference of Parties (CoP 19) to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) has agreed that any numbers of Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo, North Indian rosewood) timber-based items can be exported as a single consignment in a shipment without CITES permits if the weight of each individual item of this consignment is less than 10 kg.
The 19th meeting of the Conference of Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and flora (CITES) is being held in Panama City, Panama from 14th to 25th of November 2022.
Earlier every consignment of furniture or handicrafts weighing above 10 Kg required CITES permission which badly affected Shisham exports from India. This change in rule is expected to boost export of furniture or handicrafts made of Shisham from India and will benefit 50,000 artisans who work on it.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was set up in 1973 to help protect wild flora and fauna from extinction by requiring government permits for international trade in threatened wildlife and wildlife products.
At present 184 countries are its members.
The first meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in Berne, Switzerland in 1976.
The 18th meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019.
4. BASIC group ministerial meeting held at the COP27 in Egypt
The Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC group) met on 15 November 2022 at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The meeting was chaired by the South African Environment minister Barbara Creecy and was attended by the Indian Environment minister Bhupendra Yadav, Brazilian Environment minister Joaquim Leite, Chinese special envoy on Climate change XIE Zhenhua.
Currently South Africa is the chairman of the BASIC group and it rotates annually amongst the member countries.
The ministers pledged their full support to the Egyptian COP27 Presidency for a successful conference. They emphasised the principle of common but different responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of national circumstances.
They expressed concern that the developed countries are not keeping up their promise of providing USD 100 billion per year financial aid to the Developing countries to deal with the adverse effect of climate change. In the 15th Conference of Parties meeting at Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009. The developed countries had promised such aid to the developing countries.
The BASIC Group of countries was formed by India, Brazil, South Africa and China in November 2009 just before the 15th Conference of Parties (COP) meeting at Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
The group was formed so as to collectively bargain with the Developed countries on issues such as reduction of greenhouse gasses and need of climate financing.
Brazil, South Africa, India and China together have one-third of the world's geographical area and nearly 40% of the world’s population.
China is the largest emitter of Carbon dioxide in the world and India is the third largest .The United States is the second largest emitter of Carbon dioxide in the world.
5. PM Modi to inaugurate Arunachal Pradesh’s first Greenfield airport Donyi Polo Airport
In an aim to boost connectivity in the North East, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first Greenfield airport built in Arunachal Pradesh on 19 November 2022. The newly constructed Donyi Polo Airport was opened at Hollangi, Itanagar on 19th November. The foundation stone for this airport was laid by PM Modi himself in February, 2019.
About the Donyi Polo Airport
This is the first Greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh developed by the Airport Authority of India at a cost of around Rs 650 crore. Green field means that it is newly constructed.
This will also be the third airport in Arunachal Pradesh after the Zero Airport and Tezu airport.
The airport has been designed to support the operations of an A-320 aircraft.
According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO) the name of the airport reflects the traditions and rich cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh and its age-old indigenous reverence for the Sun (‘Donyi’) and the Moon (‘Polo’).
Airport in North Eastern Region
According to the Prime Minister Office after Independence only 9 airports were built in the region till 2014. However in the last 8 years the present government has built 7 new airports in the region.
With the Donyi Polo Airport becoming operational the total airports in North East will be 16.
According to the PMO, aircraft movement in the North-East has also witnessed an increase by 113% since 2014, from 852 per week in 2014 to 1817 per week in 2022.
PM to inaugurate the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station
During his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the Prime Minister will also dedicate 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station to the nation. The station has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 8450 crore and is located in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.
Kameng Hydro Power Station is a run-of-the river scheme to harness the hydro power of Bichom and Tenga Rivers (both tributaries of the River Kameng). The Power Station has two dams, one at Bichom & the other at Tenga.
The project has been developed by North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited,(NEEPCO ltd), a wholly owned Subsidiary company of NTPC ltd.
Run of the River project
In the run of the river project, reservoirs are not built for water storage purposes and the natural flow of water from a height is used to run micro turbines to produce electricity.
It is the easternmost region of India. It is also called ‘Land of the Dawn-lit-Mountains’ or land of rising sun.
It was earlier called as North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and it was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh in 1972. It was a Union Territory.
It became a state on 20 February 1987.
Governor of the State: Brig BD Mishra (Retd)
Chief Minister: Pema Khandu
6. Indian company ReNew signs an agreement with the Egyptian government to set up Green Hydrogen plant in Egypt
The Indian company ReNew Power Private Limited , has signed an agreement with the Egyptian government to set up a green hydrogen manufacturing facility at the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Egypt on 15 November 2022.The company will invest $8 billion in the project in phases.
Green Hydrogen refers to the breaking down of the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable sources of energy.
ReNew Power has partnered with Elsewedy Electric S.A.E. (Elsewedy) for this project. Elsewedy is a leading integrated energy solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa, which will be the local co-developer for the project.
Highlights of the project
According to the agreement, ReNew will set up a plant with a capacity to produce 20,000 tonne green hydrogen a year, which will later be raised to 220,000 tonnes, by relying on renewable energy sources.
The project is scheduled to be implemented in phases, the first of which will be a pilot to produce 20,000 tonne green hydrogen, through a 150 MW electrolyser equipped with 570 MW of renewable energy to produce 100,000 tons of green ammonia annually.
What is Green Hydrogen, Brown Hydrogen, Blue Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the first and the smallest element in the periodic table.
Depending upon the production method the colour of the hydrogen can be Green, Brown, Blue or Grey.
It refers to the breaking down of the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable sources of energy. Renewable source of energy means which can be used again and again like solar power, hydel, wind energy etc. It contains no carbon which is responsible for global warming.
Grey hydrogen is created from natural gas, or methane, using steam methane reformation. It produces Hydrogen and Carbon dioxide which is released in the atmosphere.
Blue hydrogen is produced mainly from natural gas, using a process called steam reforming, which brings together natural gas and heated water in the form of steam. It produces hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
Black and Brown Hydrogen
When black coal or lignite (brown coal) is used in the hydrogen-making process it is called as black or brown coal.
ReNew is one of the largest renewable energy independent power producers globally. ReNew develops, builds, owns and operates utility-scale wind energy, solar energy and hydro projects.
As of October 10, 2022, ReNew has a gross total portfolio of 13.4 GW of renewable energy projects across India, including commissioned and committed projects.
The company has also announced investing one lakh crore in renewable energy projects, including battery storage in both Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Founder Chairman and CEO of the Company: Sumant Sinha
7. India hosts LeadIT Summit with Sweden at COP27, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
India and Sweden hosted the LeadIT (Leadership for Industry Transition) Summit, on 15 November 2022 on the side-lines of Conference of Parties (COP) 27 being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 6-18 November 2022. The initiative focuses on low carbon transition of the industrial sector which is a major source of carbon emission in the world.
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav co-hosted the summit with the Swedish Minister for Climate and the Environment Ms. Romina Pourmokhtari.
Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT)
The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 at New York City, United States of America.
It brings together countries and companies that are committed to action to achieve the 2016 Paris Agreement on reduction of carbon emission.
The LeadIT members are committed to achieving a net zero carbon emission.
8. "In our LiFEtime" Campaign launched by India at COP 27
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), jointly launched the “In Our LiFEtime” campaign at an event of the COP 27 in Egypt on 14th November 2022.
The campaign aims to encourage youth between the age group of 18 to 23 years to become the messengers of sustainable lifestyles.
The concept of LiFE was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP 26 in Glasgow on 1 November 2021.
The campaign seeks to recognize young people around the world leading climate action initiatives that resonate with the concept of LiFE.
Under this campaign youth will be encouraged to submit their climate actions which contribute lifestyle for the environment within their capacity.
Youth are able to popularise new habits, adopt different technologies and are in a better position to contribute to the fight against climate change.
Young people need to make low-carbon career choices and adopt such lifestyles as a part of their daily lives.
9. Government announces Framework for issuance of Sovereign Green Bonds
The Central government has issued a framework for its proposed Sovereign Green Bonds .Nirmala Sithraman in her budget speech had proposed the issuance of Sovereign Green Bond in the 2022-23 financial year. The government said later it proposes to issue Rs 16,000 crore worth of bonds in the second half of the current financial year.
What is a Sovereign Green Bond?
Sovereign means Government of India. Bond means that it is a debt instrument which is issued to raise capital or fund and it creates debt on the issuer. Here Green means that the fund raised from the sale of the bonds will be used for environment friendly projects.
Main features of the Sovereign Green Bond
Committee to select eligible project
The government will set up a ‘Green Finance Working Committee' headed by the Chief Economic Advisor Dr V. Anantha Nageswaran. The committee will select eligible projects for financing.
The committee will meet at least twice a year and will include members from relevant ministries, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, NITI Aayog, and the Budget Division of the finance ministry's Department of Economics and others.
Projects to be financed
The projects eligible to be financed or re-financed by the proceeds of Green Bond issuances fall under the following nine categories:
- renewable energy,
- energy efficiency,
- clean transportation,
- climate change adaptation,
- sustainable water and waste management,
- pollution prevention and control,
- green buildings,
- Sustainable management of living natural resources and land use, and terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation.
Projects which are not eligible
- The funds raised through the green bonds, however, won’t be used to finance hydropower plants that are larger than 25 MW,
- nuclear projects and
- Any biomass-based power generation with biomass originating from protected areas.
Which type of government spending will qualify for the Green sovereign bonds?
Spending that will qualify for the green financing includes government expenditure in the form of investment, subsidies, grant-in-aids, or tax foregone or select operational spending and R&D expenditures in public-sector projects for reducing the carbon intensity of the economy. Investment in equity, by using the green bond proceeds, is allowed only in case of metro projects.
Expenditures directly related to fossil fuel won’t qualify for green financing. However investment or spending aimed at a relatively cleaner Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is allowed if it’s used in public transportation projects only.
The Framework has been rated Medium Green
According to the Finance Ministry the framework has been termed “medium green” by CICERO.
CICERO is a leading global independent reviewer of green bond investment architecture.
This is the best grade after “dark green”, assigned by CICERO for a green bond that aligns with a low-carbon climate resilient future.
Points to remember
First Green bond in the world was issued by the European Investment Bank in 2007.
The World Bank issued green bonds for the first time in 2008.
India’s first green bond was issued by Yes Bank in 2015.
10. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry launches carbon offset plan
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on November 9 has unveiled a new carbon offset scheme called Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) for climate finance.
About Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA)
Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) will be developed by the US along with the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation and receive inputs from public and private sectors.
It would allow companies to finance clean energy projects in developing countries and earn carbon credits that they can use to meet their own climate goals.
This will allow companies to have a financial edge over their competitors in the race to meet climate goals.
Its objective is to put out of use coal plants and accelerate the use of renewable energy.
This can certainly be good for renewable energy projects and for coal plants that are too old and unviable and which India wants to shut down.
The ETA is projected to operate until 2030, potentially expanding to 2035.