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December 2019 - Environment

  • Karnataka govt. and NDMA conducts workshop on 2020 Heatwave. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with the Government of Karnataka, organized a two-day national workshop titled on Preparedness, Mitigation, and Management of Heat Wave in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
    • The workshop is conducted to emphasize the importance of Climate Change that has led to the rise of average summer temperature by 0.5 deg C in the past five years.
    • A range of topics from the impact of Climate Change to emerging technologies, and from lessons learnt from the past to inter-agency co-ordination will be discussed in the meeting.

  • World Soil Day is observed on 5 December 2019. It highlights the problem due to population expansion. It raises the profile of healthy soil. The day encourages governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to work towards improving soil health and its conservation.
    • The day aims to encourage people around the world to engage proactively to improve the health of the soil. The day aims to create awareness about the importance of soil on Earth.
    • The theme for the 2019 World Soil day is Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future. The day raises awareness on the importance of human well-being and sustaining healthy ecosystems.
    • It focuses on the growing problem regarding soil as the Earth's population continues to expand.
    • In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) recommended the observation of the World Soil Day annually on 5 December.
    • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) supported the institution of the day with the support of the Kingdom of Thailand.
    • In June 2013, the day was endorsed by FAO. In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated 5 December 2014. The first World Soil Day was observed in 2014.
    • 5 December was chosen it corresponds with the official birthday of the late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand. He was one of the main proponents of this initiative.

  • UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released the 2019 Emissions Gap Report, stated that even if the current climate commitments are met, the world is on course to exceed 3°C in global temperature rise. The report assesses the emissions gap, focuses on energy transition. The report was released in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-25).
    Report highlights:
    • The report said that in order to limit temperature rise, annual emissions in 2030 should be maintained at 15 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent lower than current unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) imply for the 2°C goal.
    • It stated that Green House Gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise, despite scientific warnings and political commitments
    • Many countries have announced net-zero GHG emission targets for 2050. But only a few countries have formally submitted long-term low-emission development strategies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) so far.
    Recommendation of UNEP:
    • The report highlighted that renewable and energy efficiency along with electrification of end users are key to a successful energy transition. It will drive down energy-related CO2 emissions.
    • Strengthening of the NDCs is needed in 2020. All the countries are recommended to increase their NDC ambitions threefold to achieve the well below 2°C goal and more than fivefold to achieve the 1.5°C goal.
    • Note: Emissions gap: The gap between anticipated emission levels in 2030 and levels consistent with a 2°C/1.5°C target.

  • Government launched the Operation Clean Art across India. The operation aimed to crackdown illegal trade in the mongoose hair. This is the first time such an operation is happening in India. It was initiated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).
    • The mongoose is a small carnivore found in southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. It is listed in Schedule II (Part II) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
    • As per the act, smuggling Mongoose or possession of its body part is a non-bailable offence.
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed Mongoose on the Least Concern category in the Red List.
    Operation Clean Art:
    • The operation included raid and check on organized factories that make paint brushes with mongoose hair.
    • Raids were carried in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Mumbai, and Pune in Maharashtra and in Kerala.
    • Under the operation, 54,352 brushes and 113 kg of raw hair were recovered. 

  • India was the fifth most climate-affected country in 2018, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020 released on December 4, 2019. India also recorded the highest number of fatalities due to climate change in 2018. The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 is published by International Environmental think tank Germanwatch. The Climate Risk Index 2020 published its results after assessing 181 countries and quantifying the impacts of climate change through economic fatalities. 

    Global Climate Risk Index 2020 Highlights :
    1.) Japan, the Philippines and Germany were found to be the most climate-affected countries in 2018 followed by Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka. The heatwave was one of the major causes of damage in 2018.

    2.) Among the top ten most affected countries, India, Germany and Japan suffered from extended periods of a heatwave during 2018.
    3.) Japan topped the list of the most affected countries in 2018.

  • India joins the top ten countries in this year's Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) for the first time. This is a result of efforts made to bring down India's carbon emission. On the other hand, the United States included in the worst-performing countries for the first time. Australia and Saudi Arabia, running their economies on the basis of coal industries, are also among the countries with high carbon emissions. The CCPI report was released at the 'COP 25' climate change conference in the Spanish capital Madrid.

    The report states that the current level of per capita emissions and energy use in India ranks ninth in the higher category. However, despite high ratings for the performance of its climate policy, experts say the Indian government is yet to draw up a roadmap to reduce subsidies on fossil fuels in a phased manner.

    CCPI is an international observation instrument of climate protection performance by countries. CCPI aims to increase transparency in global climate politics and enables the comparability of climate protection efforts. Four categories of ranking are - Renewable Energy, Climate Policy, Energy Use, and GHG Emissions.

  • National Energy Conservation Day is observed every year on December 14 in India and is organized by the Energy Efficiency Bureau (BEE), a subordinate Ministry of Power. It aims to showcase India's achievements in energy efficiency and conservation. The Energy Conservation Act in India was implemented in 2001 by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The BEE is celebrating 'National Energy Conservation Week' from 9 to 14 December 2019 to raise awareness among the general public about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.

  • India State of Forest Report 2019: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on December 30, 2019, released a report depicting forest cover in India. According to this report, the forest area in the country has increased by 5,188 square km in the last two years. It has also mentioned in the report that this green area covers about 25% of the total geographic area of the country.

    India State of Forest Report 2019 has been prepared by Forest Survey of India (FSI). It is a biannual report. The report is prepared after mapping of forests and trees through satellite. According to the report, the forest area has increased by 3976 kilometers and the area of trees by 1212 square kilometers in two years.

    India State of Forest Report 2019 said that Mangroves have also increased in coastal areas. It has increased in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Odisha. The total mangrove area is recorded to be 4975 square kilometers. Mangroves are trees that are found in saltwater or semi-saltwater. According to the report, 71.24 million tonnes of carbon stock has been recorded in the country.

    Highlights of the report : • According to the report, the three states where forest area has grown the most include Karnataka (1025 km), Andhra Pradesh (990 km) and Kerala (823 km).
    • It has also mentioned in the report that the forest area of the northeastern states has decreased except Assam.
    • A marginal increase in forest cover was recorded in Himachal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Bihar.
    • The report shows that the forest area has also increased in the infertile regions of Rajasthan.
    • Jammu and Kashmir grew 371 sq. km of forest cover while Himachal Pradesh grew 334-sq. km of forest area.
    • The report highlights that all hill districts of India has 2,84,006 sq. km of forest area which is 40.30% of the total geographical area of all hill districts of the country.
Top Three States in Forest Cover
Karnataka (1025 sq km)
Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km)
Kerala (823 sq km)
Area wise largest forest covers in country
Madhya Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh



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