Q. The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of

(a) pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East

(b) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change

(c) capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

(d) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals

Answer: (b) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC):
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
    • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is a term used under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • It is for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that all countries that signed the UNFCCC were asked to publish in the lead up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris, France in December 2015.
  • INDCs are the post-2020 climate action commitments by parties to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India had submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during October 2015. It has been revised and approved by the Cabinet during August 2022.
Revised INDC
  • India at the 26th  session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom during November 2021, expressed to intensify its climate action by presenting to the world five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action.
  • This update to India’s existing NDC translates the ‘Panchamrit’ announced at COP 26 into enhanced climate targets. The update is also a step towards achieving India’s long term goal of reaching net-zero by 2070. 
  • As per the updated NDC, India now stands committed to
    • reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030, from 2005 level and
    • achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
    • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • The updated NDC also represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030.
  • The updated NDC reads “To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change”.
  • India’s updated NDC has been prepared after carefully considering our national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).

Q. What is/are the importance/importances of the ‘United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’?

  1. It aims to promote effective action through innovative national programmes and supportive international partnerships.
  2. It has a special/particular focus on South Asia and North Africa regions, and its Secretariat facilitates the allocation of major portion of financial resources to these regions.
  3. It is committed to bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating the desertification.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD):
  • It was established in 1994.
  • The convention was drafted and opened for signing in 1994. It became effective in 1996 after receiving 50 ratifications.
  • It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
  • The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
    •  The convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.
  • This convention aims to promote effective action through innovative local programmes and supportive international partnerships.
    • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  • The implementation of UNCCD is around five regional annexes: Africa (given a priority because there is where desertification is most severe), Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Northern Mediterranean, and Central and Eastern Europe
  • There is no such provision that the secretariat facilitates the allocation of the major portion of financial resources to the South Asia and North Africa regions.
  • The convention’s 2018 – 2030 Strategic Framework is a comprehensive international commitment to attain Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) aiming at:
    • The restoration of productivity of degraded land.
    • Enhancing the livelihoods of people dependent on them.
    • Mitigating the impact of droughts on vulnerable populations.
  • The UNCCD is one of the three Rio Conventions, the other two being:
    • Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
    • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • To spread the word about the UNCCD, 2006 was declared as “International Year of Deserts and Desertification”.

Q. Consider the following pairs

Terms sometimes seen in the news  –    Their origin

  1. Annex-I Countries           :    Cartagena Protocol
  2. Certified Emissions Reductions   :    Nagoya Protocol
  3. Clean Development Mechanism  :    Kyoto Protocol

Which of the pairs given above is / are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 3 only

Kyoto Protocol
  • The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that brings into operation the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It is the first set of international rules designed to implement the UNFCCC, which is a multilateral environmental treaty that came into force on 21 March 1994 at the Earth Summit, New York City in the year 1992, to combat climate change.
  • Its role is to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is based on the principle of ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)’.
    • It puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries because they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • The targeted gases under the Kyoto protocol are as follows:
    • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
    • Methane (CH4)
    • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
    • Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)
    • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
    • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • The parties under the Kyoto Protocol are divided in the following manner:
    • Annexe I:
      • Developed countries [US, UK, Russia, etc.]
      • Economies in transition (EIT) [Ukraine, Turkey, some eastern European countries, etc.]
    • Annexe II:
      • Developed countries (Annex II is a subset of Annex I).
      • Required to provide financial and technical support to the EITs and developing countries to assist them in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Annexe B:
      • Annexe I Parties with first or second-round Kyoto protocol greenhouse gas emissions targets.
      • The first-round targets apply over the years 2008–2012, and the second-round Kyoto targets apply from 2013 to 2020.
      • Compulsory binding targets reduce GHG emissions.
    • Non-Annex I:
      • Parties to the UNFCCC are not listed in Annex I of the Convention (mostly low-income developing countries).
      • No binding targets to reduce GHG emissions.
    • LDCs
      • Least-developed countries
      • No binding targets to reduce GHG emissions.

Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms

  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
    • Developed countries emit more and lose carbon credits. They provide financial assistance to developing and least developed countries to create clean energy (solar, wind energy, etc.) and gain some carbon credits, thereby meeting their Kyoto Quota (Kyoto units) emissions without violations.
  • Emission Trading
    • Emissions trading allows countries to sell unused emission units to countries that have exceeded their targets. Carbon is tracked and traded like any other commodity in a “carbon market.”
  • Joint Implementation (JI)
    • This mechanism allows a country with an emission reduction commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) from an emission-reduction project in another Annex B Party, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting its Kyoto target. The joint implementation offers Parties a flexible and cost-efficient means of fulfilling a part of their Kyoto commitments, while the host Party benefits from foreign investment and technology transfer.

Q. In which of the following regions of India are you most likely to come across the ‘Great Indian Hornbill’ in its natural habitat?

(a) Sand deserts of northwest India

(b) Higher Himalayas of Jammu and Kashmir

(c) Salt marshes of western Gujarat

(d) Western Ghats

Answer: (d) Western Ghats

  • Great Indian hornbills are found in the forests of Nepal, India, Mainland Southeast Asia, and Sumatra.
  • Great Indian hornbill is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • They are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of India.
  • Great Hornbills are found in three separate areas in South Asia;
    • The Western Ghats,
    • The Himalayan foothills in Uttaranchal to south Nepal
    • Bhutan and northeast India.
  • They are also found in Myanmar, islands in the Mergui archipelago, southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, and in Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • They are also found in primary evergreen and moist deciduous forests, mainly in lowland forests, but they can be found up to 2,000 meters in some areas.
  • The Great Hornbill is the state bird of Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Hornbill Festival is also celebrated between the 1st to 10th December every year in Nagaland.
  • In Nagaland Hornbill is a respected bird that finds mention in the tribe’s folklore.
Great Indian hornbills

Q. Which of the following best describes/describe the aim of ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

  1. Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the ‘green accounting’
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 3 only

Green India Mission
  • It was launched in 2014.
  • It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • Its objective is to respond to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.
  • It is aimed at protecting, restoring, and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover.
    • Its one of the main objectives is to enhance annual CO2 sequestration by 50-60 million tonnes by 2020.
  • Objectives of Green India Mission (GIM)
    • Growth in forest or tree cover to 5 million hectares (mha) and increase the quality of forest cover in another 5 million hectares of forest or non-forest lands. There are separate sub-targets for a variety of forests and their ecosystems namely, grassland, dense forest, wetland etc.
    • Increase the quality of degrading moderately dense forests – 1.5 million hectares (ha).
    • Ecologically restore open forests which are being degraded – 3 million hectares (ha)
    • Grasslands revival – 0.4 million hectares
    • Wetlands revival – 0.10 million hectares
    • Ecological restoration of shifting cultivation areas, mangroves, scrub, ravines, cold deserts, & abandoned mining areas1.8 million hectares with different sub-targets.
    • Increase in forest cover in urban areas and its outskirts – 0.20 million hectares.
    • Increase in forest and tree cover on marginal agricultural lands/fallows and other non-forest lands which comes under agroforestry – 3 million hectares.
    • Increase forest-based livelihood income for about 3 million households in and around these forest areas.
    • Increase Carbon Dioxide sequestration to a range of 50 to 60 million tonnes by 2020.

Q. What is/are unique about ‘Kharai camel’ a breed found in India?

  1. It is capable of swimming up to three kilometres in seawater.
  2. It survives by grazing on mangroves.
  3. It lives in the wild and cannot be domesticated.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Kharai camels
  • The Kharai camels are a unique breed of the camel found only in Kutch of Gujarat, has the unique ability to swim in the sea, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “ship of the desert” and feed on mangroves on the island offshore. 
    • They are also known as dariyataru (meaning sea-swimmer).
  • The Kharai camels can swim up to three kilometres into the sea in search of mangroves, its primary food. 
  • People consume their milk, while male calves are sold for economic returns. Hence it can be domesticated
    • Given the breed’s ability to survive both on land and sea, the Kharai camel is one of the most preferred choices of graziers in the arid coastal region of Kutch. 
Kharai camels

Facing threats

  • Industries in Kutch–salt, thermal power, cement and shipyards, among others–pose a huge threat to the dwindling mangroves.
  • Most of these industries require constructing jetties in the sea, which results in the cutting down of mangroves that are fodder for the Kharai camels.
  • The increase in salinity throughout the region and the growth of industrial activities has minimised the availability of camel food and water sources.
  • Therefore, protecting the mangroves is key to protecting these unique animals.
  • The only source of income of the Kharai breeders is the sale of young camels, which is declining; the breeders usually consume the camel milk and wool themselves, as those items don’t have a market.

Q. Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered?

(a) Andaman Islands

(b) Anaimalai Forests

(c) Maikala Hills

(d) Tropical rain forests of northeast

Answer: (a) Andaman Islands

  • Musa indandamanensis, a new and distinct sweet species of banana with orange pulp, has been discovered in the Andaman islands.
  • The species was found by a team of scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
  • The newly discovered species is also thrice in the size of a regular banana species.
    • The new species is about 11 metres high.

Q. With reference to an initiative called “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)” which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is an initiative hosted by UNEP, IMF and World Economic Forum.
  2. It is a global initiative that focuses on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity.
  3. It presents an approach that can help decision-makers recognize, demonstrate and capture the value of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 2 and 3 only

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is a global initiative to raise awareness of the global economic benefits of biodiversity. It aims to “make the values of nature evident.” 
  • In 2007Germany and the European Commission launched the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). 
  • Its primary goal is to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem service values into decision-making at all levels.
  • The Initiative concentrated its efforts on three habitats: forests, inland wetlands, and coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • Estimates show that biodiversity and environmental loss would cost 18 percent of global economic output by 2050.
  • Aims
    • To assess, communicate, and mainstream the urgency of actions through five deliverables:
      • Science and economic foundations, policy costs, and costs of inaction
      • Policy options for national and international decision-makers
      • Decision-making assistance for local administrators
      • Business Risks, opportunities and metrics
      • Citizen and consumer ownership
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) uses a phase-wise strategy to bridging knowledge and promoting action in this field.
    • Phase I
      • Phase I resulted in the 2008 CBD COP9 release of the TEEB Interim Report.
      • The study emphasised the close relationship between poverty and the destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity.
      • It demonstrated how the neglect and degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity were putting numerous Millennium Development Goals in danger.
    • Phase II
      • The third Global Biodiversity Outlook was reinforced by Phase II, which assisted in advancing biodiversity policy and response past 2010.
      • Utilise ecological and economic information in conjunction with one another to build the assessment of ecosystem services under various conditions.
      • Provide suggestions for suitable valuation techniques for various settings.
      • Consider the financial consequences of biodiversity loss as well as the advantages and disadvantages of taking action to mitigate these losses.
      • Create guidelines for decision-makers at the global, regional, and local levels to promote sustainable development and improve ecosystem and biodiversity protection.
      • Facilitate the corporate community’s simple access to cutting-edge knowledge and tools for enhanced biodiversity practise from the perspectives of controlling risks, addressing opportunities, and assessing effects.
      • Increase public knowledge of how each person affects ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the areas where individual action may make a difference.
    • Phase III
      • As part of its phase III, TEEB is funding the creation of national TEEB studies in a number of nations as well as the creation of sector- or biome-specific studies, such as the work on agriculture and food that is presently under progress (TEEB Agri-food).
      • The 2018 edition of the TEEB Agri-Food output contains its conceptual underpinnings research and assessment framework.
TEEB and India
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests has launched the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity TEEB-India Initiative (TII) to highlight the economic consequences of biological diversity loss and the resulting decline in ecosystem services.
  • The Initiative concentrated its efforts on three habitats: forests, inland wetlands, and coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • TII has been implemented as a technical collaboration with GIZ under the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme.
  • The pilot project results will be incorporated into the sectoral synthesis for the three ecosystems.
  • It was unveiled during the Brazil-India-Germany TEEB Dialogue, which India hosted in September 2015.
  • The entire research result was issued at the 21st session of the UNFCCC CoP, which was held in Paris in November-December 2015.

Q. Which of the following statements is/are correct? Proper design and effective implementation of UN REDD+ Programme can significantly contribute to

  1. protection of biodiversity
  2. resilience of forest ecosystems
  3. poverty reduction

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

  • The United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) is a collaborative program of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) & United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • REDD+
    • REDD+ is a financing model negotiated under the UNFCCC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
    • It is divided into three phases, which are roughly associated with readiness, implementation, and payment for results.
    • REDD+ is a voluntary climate mitigation path developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • The objective of REDD+ is to conserve forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
      • The primary objective of REDD is to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
    • REDD+ was first negotiated under in 2005, with the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management in developing countries.
    • Most of the key REDD+ decisions were completed by 2013, with the final pieces of the rulebook finished in 2015.
    • According to the proponents, REDD+ is an effective, efficient, and equitable mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
REDD is the abbreviation for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradationREDD+, with the “plus” referring to “the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries”. 
REDD is mostly focused towards avoiding carbon emissions from:
deforestation and forest degradation
REDD+ activities include the following:
Reducing emissions from deforestation
Reducing emissions from forest degradation
Conservation of forest carbon stocks
Sustainable management of forests
Enhancement of forest carbon stocks

Q. What is Greenhouse Gas Protocol?

(a) It is an international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions

(b) It is an initiative of the United Nations to offer financial incentives to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adopt eco-friendly technologies

(c) It is an inter-governmental agreement ratified by all the member countries of the United Nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to specified levels by the year 2022

(d) It is one of the multilateral REDD+ initiatives hosted by the World Bank

Answer: (a) It is an international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions.

Green House Gas Protocol
  • The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The GHG Protocol, a decade-plus partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change.
  • It provides the accounting framework for nearly every GHG standard and program in the world – from the International Standards Organization to The Climate Registry – as well as hundreds of GHG inventories prepared by individual companies.
  • The GHG Protocol offers an internationally accepted management tool to help businesses to compete in the global marketplace and governments to make informed decisions about climate change.

Q. With reference to ‘Agenda 21’, sometimes seen in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a global action plan for sustainable development.
  2. It originated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

  • Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
  • Agenda 21  is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
  • It is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.
    • The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.
  • An agenda for the twenty-first century is denoted by the number 21.
  • Implementation
    • The Commission on Sustainable Development serves as a high-level forum on sustainable development and has served as a planning body for summits and sessions on putting Agenda 21 into action.
    • The Commission’s secretariat is the UN Division for Sustainable Development, which operates “within the framework of” Agenda 21.
    • Its adoption has varied, and member state implementation is still discretionary.
    • Action at the world, national, regional, and local levels were meant to be a part of the implementation of Agenda 21.
    • Local level: Some national and state governments have passed laws or given guidance directing local governments to carry out the plan locally, as suggested in Chapter 28 of the document. These initiatives are frequently referred to as “Local Agenda 21” or “LA21.”
    • Regional Levels: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development tracks and assesses the development of Agenda 21 in each country, and it publishes these reports online for the general public to view.
    • Over 6400 local governments were identified as participating in Local Agenda 21 initiatives in 113 countries by the Rio+10 report, a more than three-fold growth in less than five years. 5120 local governments, or 80% of them, were found in Europe.
    • There has been a noticeable rise in the number of nations with active LA21 procedures, with some even having multiple processes going on at once.
Agenda 21

Q. ‘Gadgil Committee Report’ and ‘Kasturirangam Committee Report’, sometimes seen in the news, are related to

(a) constitutional reforms

(b) Ganga Action Plan

(c) linking of rivers

(d) protection of Western Ghats

Answer: (d) protection of Western Ghats

  • Gadgil Committee:
    • Also known as the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), it recommended that all of the Western Ghats be declared as the Ecological Sensitive Areas (ESA) with only limited development allowed in graded zones.
    • It classified the whole of the Western Ghats, spread across six states and covering 44 districts and 142 talukas, as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
  • Kasturirangan Committee:
    • It sought to balance development and environment protection in contrast to the system proposed by the Gadgil report.
    • The Kasturirangan committee recommended that instead of the total area of Western Ghats, only 37% of the total area should be brought under ESA and a complete ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining be imposed in ESA.

Q. On which of the following can you find the Bureau of Energy Efficiency Star Label?

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Electric geysers
  3. Tubular fluorescent lamps

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Bureau of Energy Efficiency
  • The Government of India set up Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) on 1st March 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • The mission of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is to assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles, within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy.
  • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies and other organizations and recognize, identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.
  • The Star Labeling Programme has been formulated by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

The Standards & Labeling Programme

  • The Standards & Labeling Programme is one of the major thrust areas of BEE.
  • A key objective of this scheme is to provide the consumer an informed choice about the energy saving and thereby the cost saving potential of the relevant marketed product.
  • The scheme targets display of energy performance labels on high energy end use equipment & appliances and lays down minimum energy performance standards.
  • BEE sets all the standards and norms that need to be followed while rating an appliance. 
    • Appliances that need to have an energy rating label mandatorily are Frost-free refrigerator, Tubular Fluorescent Lamps, Room Air-Conditioners, Distribution Transformer, Colour TV, CST AC, Direct Cool Refrigerator and Electric Geyser.
    • BEE expanded the coverage of its star labelling programme by including energy efficient Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC).
    • There are two variants of these labels, a big label and a smaller label:
      • Products with a big label include Refrigerators, air-conditioners, geysers and washing machines.
      • Products with a small label include Ceiling fans, tube lights, computers/laptops and televisions.

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. The International Solar Alliance was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015.
  2. The Alliance includes all the member countries of the United Nations.

Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 123 signatory countries, most being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an action-oriented, member-driven, collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies.
    • Its basic motive is to facilitate energy access, ensure energy security, and drive energy transition in its member countries.
  • The ISA was conceived as a joint effort by India and France to mobilize efforts against climate change through deployment of solar energy solutions.
  • Vision: Let us together make the sun brighter.
  • Mission: Every home, no matter how far away, will have a light at home.
  • Headquarters: The Headquarters is in India with its Interim Secretariat being set up in Gurugram.
  • Member Nations:
  • Observer Status to International Solar Alliance:
    • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has granted Observer Status to the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
    • It will help provide for regular and well-defined cooperation between the Alliance and the United Nations that would benefit global energy growth and development.
  • Director General of ISA:
    • The International Solar Alliance is headed by the Director General.
    • The Director General leads the operations and carries out the functions of the ISA Secretariat.
    • He is responsible to the ISA Assembly.
    • Tenure: The Director General has a term of four years and is eligible for re-election.

Q. With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C or even 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b) 2 only

  • At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
  • The Agreement was signed by the participating 196 countries.
  • The Paris Agreement opened for signature on 22 April 2016 in New York and entered into force on 4 November 2016, after ratified by the 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions.
  • The Agreement aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Developed countries committed to donate $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (b) 2 only

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • The first report of the Club of Rome was the famous The limits to growth, brought out in 1972 by an MIT research team coordinated by Dennis and Donella Meadows.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
    • It is a group of 17 goals with 169 targets and 304 indicators, as proposed by the United Nation General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030.
    • Post negotiations, agenda titled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequality and build more peaceful, prosperous societies by 2030.
  • The objective of SDG was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political, and economic challenges facing our world.
  • The 17 goals under the Sustainable Development Goals are as mentioned below:
    1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
    2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
    3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all stages
    4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
    5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
    6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
    7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
    8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
    9. Built resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
    10. Reduce inequalities within and among countries
    11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
    12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern
    13. Take urgent actions to combat climate change and its impact
    14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
    15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managed forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
    17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
Sustainable Development Goals

Q. In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index?

  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Nitrogen dioxide
  4. Sulfur dioxide
  5. Methane

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: (b) 2, 3 and 4 only

Air Quality Index
  • The Air Quality Index is acquired by measuring emissions of eight major pollutants present in the air: Particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), Ozone (O3), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Lead (Pb) and Ammonia (NH3) emissions.
  • Readings are noted every hour. Each country has their air quality indexes based on its air quality standards.
Air Quality Index India
  • The government agencies are responsible for communicating to the public about the health hazards and how to keep a check on them.
  • Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the National Air Quality Index was launched in September 2014 in New Delhi to measure India’s air quality index.
    • National Air Quality Index: Launched in 2014 with outline ‘One Number – One Color -One Description’ for the common man to judge the air quality within his vicinity.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has formed an expert group of medical professionals, air quality experts, academia, advocacy groups, and SPCBs. Also, a technical study was awarded to IIT Kanpur.
    • In 2014, the IIT Kanpur and the expert group recommended an AQI scheme for India.
  • Six cities of India- New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, and Ahmedabad have a continuous monitoring system that records data in real-time.
  • There are six categories of AQI:
    • Good (0-50)
    • Satisfactory (50-100)
    • Moderately polluted (100-200)
    • Poor (200-300)
    • Very Poor (300-400)
    • Severe (400-500)
  • The colour-coded AQI index was launched in India in 2014, and it helps the public and the government understand the condition of the air and what subsequent measures are to be taken to combat the situation, based on its severity.
Air Quality Index AQI