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November 2017 Environment

  • No BS-IV vehicle registrations beyond June 2020: Govt draft rules
    The government has come out with a draft notification to amend Central Motor Vehicles Rules to prevent registration of BS-IV compliant automobiles built before April 1, 2020 beyond June 30, 2020. 

    In a major step to curb vehicular pollution, the government last year decided that the country will leapfrog directly from Euro IV emission norms for petrol and diesel to Euro VI standards from April 1, 2020. 

    Issuing draft notification to amend Central Motor Vehicles Rules, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has invited objections and suggestions from stakeholders, affected persons and public by December 20 for consideration. 

    The notification said these rules will be called the Central Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules, 2017 and shall come into force on the date of their final publication in the Official Gazette. 

    The notification said: "New motor vehicles conforming to Emission Standard Bharat Stage-IV, manufactured before April 1, 2020 shall not be registered after June 30, 2020." It said amendment in the rules will be done in exercise of the powers conferred by section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. 

    The notification further said, "provided that, the new motor vehicles of categories M & N, conforming to Emission Standard BS-IV, manufactured before April 1, 2020 and sold in the form of drive away chasis, shall not be registered after September 30, 2020." 

    Vehicles having at least four wheels and used for the carriage of passengers fall under category M while power-driven vehicles having at least four wheels and used for the carriage of goods fall under category N. 

    Last year, the decision to advance the date by four years to April 1, 2020 for implementation of BS VI (equivalent to Euro VI norms followed globally) was taken at an inter- ministerial meeting for supply of cleaner auto fuel, by altogether skipping the Euro V grade norms. The decision was taken at a time when an intense debate was going on rising level of pollution. 

  • Climate change could increase volcano eruptions: study
    Climate change caused by humans is rapidly melting ice in volcanically active regions, which could lead to increased volcano eruptions, a study has found. 

    The study, led by researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK, found that there was less volcanic activity in Iceland when glacier cover was more extensive and as the glaciers melted volcanic eruptions increased due to subsequent changes in surface pressure. 

    The study examined Icelandic volcanic ash preserved in peat deposits and lake sediments and identified a period of significantly reduced volcanic activity between 5,500 and 4,500 years ago. 

    This period came after a major decrease in global temperature, which caused glacier growth in Iceland. The findings, published in the journal Geology, found there was a time lag of roughly 600 years between the climate event and a noticeable decrease in the number of volcanic eruptions. 

    The study suggests that perhaps a similar time lag can be expected following the more recent shift to warmer temperatures. 

    Iceland’s volcanic system is in process of recovering from the ‘Little Ice Age’ – a recorded period of colder climate roughly between the years 1500 and 1850 AD, researchers said. 

    Since the end of the Little Ice Age, a combination of natural and human caused climate warming is causing Icelandic glaciers to melt again, they said. 

    Icelandic volcanism is controlled by complex interactions between rifts in continental plate boundaries, underground gas and magma build-up and pressure on the volcano’s surface from glaciers and ice. Changes in surface pressure can alter the stress on shallow chambers where magma builds up. 

  • UN Climate Change Conference concludes 
    The UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) ended on 17th November after two weeks of talks in Boon, Germany. Envoys from nearly 200 countries, including delegates from Washington, negotiated on implementing the Paris climate change agreement including a rulebook to be adopted next year and for enacting the global deal reached to cheers and champagne in 2015. 

    The November 6-17 conference is the first of the UN's climate body since US President Donald Trump announced in June that the US will withdraw from the agreement. Meanwhile, United States again expressed its desire to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. 

    In a statement on 16th November, US representative, Acting Assistant Secretary (Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), Judith G Garber, said President Trump had already made clear the US position. 

    She said the US would continue to be a leader in clean energy and innovation irrespective of US views on the Paris Agreement; however the country pointed out that it remained open to the possibility of rejoining at a later date under terms more favorable to the American people. The Paris pact commits countries to limiting average global warming to under two degrees Celsius over Industrial Revolution levels, and 1.5 Celcius if possible, to avert worst-case-scenario climate change. 

  • India reiterates its positive and constructive role in combating Climate change
    India has said, it considers climate change as a major threat to collective well-being and wants to play a positive and constructive role in combating it. 

    Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan said this while inaugurating the India Pavilion at the ongoing meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-23) at the UN climate summit that kicked off at Bonn in Germany on 7th November

    The Minister noted that solving the crisis of climate change is not a question of politics but a moral obligation. He said, although India's per capita emissions are only one-third of the global average, and its contribution to global stock of carbon dioxide is less than three per cent, it has still moved ahead with the implementation of path-breaking initiatives. 

    The objective of Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, by 195 parties to the UNFCCC is to prevent an increase in global average temperature and keep it well below 2 degree Celsius. 

    US President Donald Trump had recently announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by over 190 countries during the previous Barack Obama administration. 

  • Concentration of CO2 in atmosphere hits record high: UN
    The UN said on 30th October that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has hit a new high. It warned that drastic action is needed to achieve targets set by the Paris climate agreement. 

    The World Meteorological Organization said, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016. 

    It said, globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Nino event. 

    The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the UN weather agency's annual flagship report, tracks the continent of dangerous gasses in atmosphere in the post-industrial era since 1750. 

    The historic agreement approved by 196 countries two years ago is facing renewed pressure following US President Donald Trump's decision to quit the accord.
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