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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

UNESCO World Heritage List

4th Nov 2020

Why in News?

Government of India has submitted two nomination dossiers namely ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.

What is a World Heritage Site?

It is a location having an “Outstanding Universal Value”. According to the World Heritage Convention’s Operational Guidelines, an Outstanding Universal Value signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”

Categorisation:

The Sites fall into three categories: cultural heritage, natural heritage, and mixed heritage (cultural as well as natural).

Who selects the Sites?

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets at least once every year, generally in June/July, to deliberate the addition, removal, or modification of items on the list of

World Heritage Sites.

How do countries get their preferred spots included?

According to the Guidelines, the State Parties prepare a Tentative List, or the “inventory of those properties situated on its territory which each State Party considers suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List. A nomination document is then prepared in this regard based on which the application is considered by the Committee.

In India, the Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU), and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are the bodies which play a key role in this regard.

After receiving nominations from the State Parties, the Committee then puts them through a rigorous examination before any new location can qualify as a World Heritage Site.

What happens after a World Heritage Site is declared?

  1. Most importantly, getting featured on the list of World Heritage Sites affords the location a coveted status, driving up demand for travel and tourism from around the world geared towards it.
  2. At the same time, a heavy onus is placed on the government of the country in which the Site is located for its conservation and upkeep.
  3. The Committee conducts regular audits at declared Sites, and can place a spot that is seriously threatened on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  4. If the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is destroyed, the Committee can consider deleting the property from the World Heritage List.

Black Carbon level at Himalayan glacier

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Why in News?

A recent study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) states that the black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer.

What is Black carbon?

It is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. Complete combustion would turn all carbon in the fuel into carbon dioxide (CO2), but combustion is never complete and CO2, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and organic carbon and black carbon particles are all formed in the process. The complex mixture of particulate matter resulting from incomplete combustion is often referred to as soot.

 

KEY FIGURES

460-1,500x 4–12 days 6.6 million tonnes 58%
Black carbon has a warming impact on climate 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2 per unit of mass The average atmospheric lifetime of black carbon particles is 4-12 days About 6.6 million tonnes of black carbon were emitted in 2015 Household cooking and heating account for 58% of global black carbon emissions

 

BLACK CARBON – 80% emissions reduction potential globally by 2030

 

 

 

 

HOUSEHOLD ENERGY

Replace traditional cooking to clean burning modern fuel cookstoves

Replace traditional cooking and heating with clean-burning biomass stoves

Eliminate kerosene lamps

Replace lump coal with coal briquettes for cooking and heating

Replace wood stove and burners with pellet stoves and boilers

 

 

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Modernize traditional brick kilns to vertical shaft brick kilns

Modernize coke ovens to recovery ovens

 

 

TRANSPORT

Use diesel particular filters for road and off-road vehicles

Fast transition to Euro VI/6 vehicles and soot-free buses and trucks

Eliminate high-emitting diesel vehicles

 

AGRICULTURE Ban open-field burning of agricultural waste

 

FOSSIL FUELS Capture and improve oil flaring and gas production

 

WASTE MANAGEMENT Ban open burning of municipal waste

IMPACTS ON VEGETATION AND ECOSYSTEMS:

Black carbon can affect the health of ecosystems in several ways: by depositing on plant leaves and increasing their temperature, dimming sunlight that reaches the earth, and modifying rainfall patterns.

Changing rain patterns can have far-reaching consequences for both ecosystems and human livelihoods, for example by disrupting monsoons, which are critical for agriculture in large parts of Asia and Africa.

SOLUTIONS:

Black carbon’s short atmospheric lifetime, combined with its strong warming potential, means that targeted strategies to reduce emissions can provide climate and health benefits within a relatively short period of time.

The Coalition supports implementation of control measures that, if globally implemented by 2030, could reduce global black carbon emissions by as much as 80% (UNEP & WMO 2011).

Several of these emission reductions could be achieved with net cost savings. Adopting these measures would have major positive co-benefits for public health, especially in the developing world.

 

Facts For Prelims :

 Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT) :

  • UDIT is a first ever initiative taken by BEE with World Resources Institute (WRI), to facilitate a database on energy e­fficiency was launched.
  • UDIT is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors.
  • UDIT will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency domain.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):

According to a monthly survey, India’s manufacturing sector activity eased in February 2020 from a near eight-year high in January 2020 and business sentiment took a hit amid fears of the COVID-19 outbreak on exports and supply chains. PMI for India declined from 55.3 in January to 54.5 in February; the reading was at 52.7 in December.

  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an index of the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision-makers, analysts, and investors.

A PMI index of more than 50 indicates the expansion of the manufacturing segment of the economy in comparison with the previous month. A reading of 50 indicates no change. A reading below 50 suggests a contraction of the manufacturing sector.

 

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