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Threats to Biodiversity/Biodiversity Conservation


Threats to Biodiversity Biodiversity Conservation

Threats to Biodiversity

Threat to biodiversity stems mainly from: habitat fragmentation, degradation and loss; shrinking genetic diversity; invasive alien species; declining forest resource base; climate change and desertification; over exploitation of resources; impact of development projects; and impact of pollution.



Post-Mauryan India – Sungas/Satavahanas/Foreign Invasions from Northwest India


Post-Mauryan India - Sungas Satavahanas Foreign Invasions from Northwest India

Post-Mauryan India – Sungas

• With the downfall of the Mauryan Empire, the political disintegration of India set in and in second century BC the sub-continent divided into a number of political regions, each with its own ambition.
• The northwest India slipped out of the control of the Mauryas and a series of foreign invasions affected this region.
• Kalinga declared its independence and in the further south, the Satavahanas established their independent rule.
• The Mauryan rule was confined to the Gangetic valley and it was soon replaced by the Sunga dynasty.
• For the period immediately succeeding the overthrow of the Mauryas, scraps of information are found in texts such as the GargiSamhita, the Mahabhashya of Patanjali, the Divyavadana, the Malavikagnimitra of Kalidasa and the Harshacharita of Bana.
Sungas
• The founder of the Sunga dynasty was PushyamitraSunga, who was the commander-in-chief under the Mauryas. He assassinated the last Mauryan ruler and usurped the throne.
• The most important challenge to the Sunga rule was to protect north India against the invasions of the Bactrian Greeks from the northwest who advanced up to Pataliputra and occupied it for some time.
• Pushyamitra succeeded in regaining the lost territory.
• Pushyamitra also fought a campaign against Kharavela of Kalinga who invaded north India.
• Pushyamitra was a staunch follower of Brahmanism. He performed two asvamedha sacrifices.
• Buddhist sources refer him as a persecutor of Buddhism, but there is enough evidence to show that Pushyamitrapatronised Buddhist art.
• During his reign the Buddhist monuments at Bharhut and Sanchi were renovated and further improved.
• After the death of Pushyamitra, his son Agnimitra became the ruler.
• The last Sunga ruler was Devabhuti, who was murdered by his minister VasudevaKanva, the founder of the Kanva dynasty.
• The Kanva dynasty ruled for 45 years. After the fall of the Kanvas, the history of Magatha was a blank until the establishment of the Gupta dynasty.
• The rule of the Sungas was important because they defended the Gangetic valley from foreign invasions.
• In the cultural sphere, the Sungas revived Brahmanism and horse sacrifice.
• They also promoted the growth of Vaishnavism and the Sanskrit language.
• It can be assumed that the Sunga rule was a brilliant anticipation of the golden age of the Guptas.

International Solar Alliance


International Solar Alliance

• The International Solar Alliance was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister and French President in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurgaon along with the interim Secretariat of the ISA. It has been set up with UN as strategic partner.
• It is the India’s first international and inter-governmental organization of 121 Countries to have headquarters in India with United Nations as Strategic Partner.
• It creates a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security and sustainable development.
• It improves access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.
• It will work with partner countries to formulate projects and programmes to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies, the potential for which largely remaining untapped.
• It develops innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital and builds a common knowledge e-Portal.
• It also facilitates capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and Research and Development among member countries.
• It will encourage multilateral bodies like IRENA, REEEP, IEA, REN21, UN bodies, bilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders to contribute towards the goal of increasing utilization of solar energy in the member countries.
• To achieve the objectives, ISA will have five key focus areas:-
a) It will encourage member countries to promote investment in solar technologies/applications to promote income and welfare of the poor and make global environment more climate friendly;
b) Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications together and with partnership of member countries and with cooperation from international organizations to ensure solar light for energy deprived households by the year 2022;
c) Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms through long tenure financial resources from bilateral, multilateral agencies and other sources to reduce cost of capital;
d) Build a knowledge platform, including a 24×7 e-portal for sharing of policy development experiences and best practices in member countries; and
e) To promote partnerships among R&D centres of member countries for application oriented research & development and delivering technologies to people as well as capacity building through training & educational programmes and exchange of officials/ entrepreneurs/sector experts/ students/interns/ apprentices, user groups etc.
• These focus areas will cater to not just grid connected solar power (Solar parks, Solar thermal projects, Rooftop solar projects, Canal top projects, Solar on water bodies, Farmers and unemployed youths as generators) but also off-grid and decentralised applications (Village electrification and mini-grids, Solar lanterns, Mobile chargers, Solar powered telecom towers, Milk chilling centres, Potters wheels, Solar spinner for weavers, street lights, Solar pumps, Solar heating/cooling, etc.). These activities will contribute significantly in employment generation in a decentralized manner at the local levels, and also in spurring economic activities.
• Hence with this initiative solar energy will be utilized for economic development.


Climate Engineering Solutions


Climate Engineering Solutions

• The term geo-engineering or climate engineering refers to deliberate, large-scale manipulations of the Earth’s environment designed to offset some of the harmful consequences of GHG-induced climate change. Climate engineering has two categories of technologies – carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management.
• Some of the techniques are:
a) Solar radiation management (SRM):
• These projects are a type of climate engineering which seek to reflect sunlight and thus reduce global warming. They reflect some amount of incoming solar radiation back into space, or that would more readily enable heat radiated from the earth’s surface to escape, reducing global warming.
• For example, whitening clouds, injecting particles into the stratosphere, or putting sunshades in space could increase Earth’s reflectivity, thereby reducing incoming solar radiation and offsetting some of the warming associated with increasing GHG concentrations.
• There are four main classes of SRM proposals:
a) Stratospheric or mesospheric aerosols
b) Whitening marine clouds
c) Satellites in space
d) Whitening the surface
• Significance:
• Solar radiation management attempts to offset effects of greenhouse gases by causing Earth to absorb less solar radiation. Its cost is lower than the cost of methods that achieve the same cooling by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Geoengineering could be the affordable and fast-acting option to avoid a global catastrophe. It addresses the control of greenhouse gases and reduce the risks of climate change.
b) Carbon dioxide removal
• Carbon dioxide removal projects seek to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
• Proposed methods include those that directly remove such gases from the atmosphere, as well as indirect methods that seek to promote natural processes that draw down and sequester CO2 (e.g. tree planting).
• Techniques in this category include:
a) Creating biochar, which can be mixed with soil to create terra preta
b) Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage to sequester carbon and simultaneously provide energy
c) Carbon air capture to remove carbon dioxide from ambient air
d) Afforestation, reforestation and forest restoration to absorb carbon dioxide
e) Ocean fertilization including iron fertilisation of the oceans

Carbon Tax


Carbon Tax

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, and then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil. Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more­ expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency. Carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.
Carbon tax offers social and economic benefits. It is a tax that increases revenue without significantly altering the economy while simultaneously promoting objectives of climate change policy. The carbon tax is the most practical method to reduce the fossil fuel consumption. It checks the use of fossil fuel.
• It helps India to reach the committed INDC of 33% by 2030.
• This will benefited to protect the environment and ensure good quality of air in cities especially cities like Delhi and Kanpur.
• A carbon tax is a step towards helping India meets their voluntary target to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released per unit of gross domestic product by 25% from 2005 levels by 2020.
• The clean energy tax will help to finance a National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). Industry bodies have not favored the levy and fear that the resultant higher price of coal could trigger inflation.
• The carbon tax charges a fee based on the carbon emission. So, to reduce the fee, users try to use less of the fossil fuel.
• The alternative energy such as solar, hydro and wind energy are costlier than the fossil fuel energy. The carbon tax on fossil fuel makes the alternative energy competitive to the fossil fuel. It results in more use of alternative and clean energy. Perhaps, that will help India to promote the flagship programmes like International solar Alliance, start up India and Make in India by reducing use of non renewable fossil fuels.
• All the money raised by the tax. It can help subsidize environmental programs and clean energy. Instead of investing more amount on importing the energy bill from outside the country.
• Can make the correct and more use of fund availability for the programmes like afforestation and ISA.
Problems related to Carbon Tax are: Production may shift to countries with no or lower carbon taxes. (so called ‘pollution havens’); the cost of administrating the tax may be quite expensive reducing its efficiency; Higher taxes may encourage firms to hide carbon emissions.
Further a global carbon tax may curtail economic activity in the poor developing world because they can’t afford the small increase in energy costs, but the developed world may simply be able to pay.

Sai Praveen

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