Here are today’s important headlines with key details for UPSC, SSC, IBPS and other competitive examinations.
Historic Global Greenhouse Gas Emission Agreement signed in Kigali
- A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28). The Kigali pact amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol and aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s. Under the pact, all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
What are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?
- HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants, car air-conditioners, and air sprays etc. These factory-made gases had replaced CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over Antarctica.
Why are they harmful?
- In recent times, it was found that HFCs have several thousand times capacity in retaining heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent GHG. Thus, it can be said that HFCs have helped ozone layer but exacerbated global warming. Currently, HFCs are the world’s fastest GHGs, with emissions increasing by up to 10% each year.
What is the significance of the Kigali Pact?
- The Kigali Pact amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close the growing ozone hole in Antarctica by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to reduce emissions to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer, will now also include HFCs which play a part in global warming.
- This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century. The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019. It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance.
- Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017.
Different timelines under Kigali Amendment
- All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines given to them in order to reduce HFCs.
- First group: It includes the richest countries like the US and those in the European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
- The second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
- The third group: It includes countries India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. They will be freezing the use of HFC by 2028 and reduce it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.
How is it different from Paris agreement?
- The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions. The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
Indian Wrestlers bagged four medals at 2016 TAFISA World Games
- Indian grapplers clinched four medals, including a gold medal, at the sixth edition of the TAFISA World Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Wrestler Dalmiya bagge gold in the 60kg category after outplaying Muhammad Sahan of Azerbaijan 4-1 in the summit clash.
- The Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA) is the leading international sport for all organization. Its vision and mission is to achieve an Active World by globally promoting and facilitating access for every person to Sport for All and physical activity.
Amandeep Singh Gill appointed as India’s Ambassador to UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva
- Senior IFS officer Amandeep Singh Gill was appointed as India’s Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva. He had represented India on the UN Secretary General’s Panel on Missiles from 2007 to 2008. Besides, he was also a member of the Indian delegation to the Conference on Disarmament during the negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
What is UN Conference on Disarmament?
- The Conference on Disarmament is not formally a United Nations (UN) organization. It is linked to the UN through a personal representative of the UN Secretary-General.
- It is a forum established in 1979 by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. The conference has 65 members.
- In the 1990s, the Conference had held intensive efforts to draft CTBT text and its two annexes, but it did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text. Currently, it conducts a discussion on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), a pact to prevent an arms race in outer space, nuclear disarmament and negative security assurances (NSA).
India completes nuclear triad by commissioning INS Arihant
- India has completed its nuclear triad by inducting the first indigenously built strategic nuclear submarine INS Arihant into service. With this, India becomes the fourth country to have a nuclear triad i.e. capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles. Other countries having nuclear triad are Russia, United States, and China. INS Arihant was formally commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in August 2016. However, it was kept secret owing to strategic significance.
Features of INS Arihant
- INS Arihant is a nuclear submarine capable of carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Thus it belongs to the class of Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN). Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine.
- It was built with Russia’s help under Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project started in the 1980s. It weighs 6000 tonnes and is 112 metre long. It is powered by 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor with enriched uranium fuel.
- It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km. Later it will be armed with much longer range K-4 missiles (3,500 km range) being developed by DRDO.
- The vessel was launched in 2009 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Since then, it has undergone extensive sea trials.
Eminent writer C Radhakrishnan wins Mathrubhumi Literary Award 2016
- Eminent writer C Radhakrishnan was selected for the prestigious Mathrubhumi Literary Award for the year 2016. He was selected by a panel chaired by novelist M Mukundan in recognition of his contribution to the field of literature.
- He was born in February 1939 in Ponnani taluk, Malappuram, Kerala. Currently, he is the editor of a Malayalam magazine, Piravi. Earlier he had served as the chief editor of Madhyamam daily from 1999 to 2001. He has directed films like Agni (1978), Kanalattam (1979), Pushyaragam (1979) and Ottayadippaathakal (1990).
- Awards and Honours: He has been bestowed with National Literary Academy of India (1989), Kerala Literary Academy (1962) etc.