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Showing posts from February 15, 2017

EU must close all 315 coal-fired power plants by 2030 to meet climate goals: study (downtoearth)

If all the 315 coal plants in Europe complete their natural lifespan, the EU nations will overshoot their carbon emissions target for coal by 85 per cent, according to a report by Climate Analytics—a Berlin-based think tank. The report urges the EU to stop using coal for power generation by 2030.

Currently, the use of coal is declining by about one per cent a year in Europe. However, it still generates 25 per cent of the continent’s power, contributing one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Not only would existing coal plants exceed the EU’s emissions budget, but the 11 planned and announced plants would raise EU emissions to almost twice the levels required to keep warming to the Paris agreement’s long-term temperature goal,” said Michiel Schaeffer, Climate Analytics science director.

There’s already a concern over diesel cars in the EU producing emissions about five times higher than the permissible limit.

This report will be a part of the review document on EU’s Paris targets in …

ISRO launches record 104 satellites in one go: some facts you must know (downtoearth,)

In a historic feat, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a record 104 satellites today (February 15) from the spaceport of Sriharikota of Andhra Pradesh. With this, India surpassed Russia, which previously held the record for the most satellites launched in a single mission (37), and became the first country to launch 104 satellites in a single rocket.

The ISRO also outdid itself by a huge margin as the highest number of satellites it had previously launched was 20. However, it used the same rocket this time—XL version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

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PSLV-C37 Successfully launched Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 103 co-passenger satelliteshttp://www.isro.gov.in/pslv-c37-cartosat-2-series-satellite …
10:23 AM - 15 Feb 2017
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Announcing the success of the programme, ISRO chariman AS Kiran Kumar said, “This was a very enjoyable mission. I cong…

Deepwater Horizon oil spill puts dolphins at risk (downtoearth)

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has spelt doom for dolphins in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. A study conducted by the UK-based University of St Andrews says dolphins are struggling to survive in the gulf.

The spill, which occurred in 2010 in the Mexican gulf, killed thousands of marine mammals and its negative effects are still being felt seven years after the incident. In what can be termed as one of the worst environmental disasters, an explosion in the Deepwater Horizon rig spilled 134 million gallons of oil into the sea.

The study coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the dolphin population in Barataria Bay will have reduced by 50 per cent within the decade following the spill and that full population recovery will take 40 years. In addition, scientists found that 25 per cent of the current population of dolphins is underweight and 17 per cent are in poor condition.

The chemicals present in oil and petroleum products can affect marin…

Sharpening the fight against tobacco( Hindu)

Towards the end of 2016, the Commerce Ministry sent a note to the Cabinet proposing a blanket ban on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the tobacco sector. Although India banned FDI in tobacco manufacturing in 2010, foreign tobacco companies are allowed to invest through technology collaboration, licensing agreements and by forming a trading company. The Commerce Ministry’s proposal, which NITI Aayog has opposed, would put an end to all kinds of participation of foreign companies in the tobacco sector. The government cites the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) as the reason for this step. As per this convention, India is under an obligation to reduce high consumption of tobacco products which pose a grave public health danger.

However, this proposal has not gone down well with the American tobacco giant, Philip Morris International (PMI), which has invested in the Indian tobacco market through a licensing agreement with Godfrey Phillips In…

Swimming out of a numerical soup (Hindu)

In a reasoned and realistic Budget, the Finance Minister missed a couple of tricks while reducing the income tax rate for the first slab and the corporate tax rate for small companies

Several commentators have remarked that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget for 2017-18 lacks much fizz. But everything has to be viewed in perspective. This year’s Budget was presented at a time when there are several storm clouds hanging over the economy. We are still reeling from the effects of demonetisation, which must have earned a prominent place in the record books as one of the biggest policy induced disasters of all time. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the effect of demonetisation to be a 1% reduction in the GDP growth rate. Even the Economic Survey admits some adverse effect on the economy, but naturally claims that it will be much lower. To make matters worse, the introduction of the uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST), as well as advancing the date of the presentation o…

The ecological balance-sheet (Hindu)

Greater focus is required to reverse both inadequate budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Environment and its under-utilisation

The Union Budget presented this month has made a broad-brushed allocation of ₹2,675.42 crore to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), an apparent increase by 18.88% from last year. Worryingly, the devil is in the finer details that mirror casual indifference shown to specific issues of wildlife conservation, pollution abatement and related areas demanding immediate policy interventions by the state.

Prima facie the budgetary approach to environmental protection appears to be as fragmented and flawed as the legal approach. Even as the issues of forest management, resource conservation, pollution control and wildlife protection are manifest to be increasingly interconnected, they are treated in isolation with attention paid only at the macro-level. Often proactive measures for environment are disproportionately counter-balanced b…

Early setback for Mr. Trump (Hindu.)

President Donald Trump suffered a big political blow on Monday, barely a month into office, when his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned over his Russia contacts. Mr. Flynn, a close aide of Mr. Trump, admitted that he had “inadvertently” briefed Vice-President Mike Pence with “incomplete information” about his phone conversation with the Russian ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. The allegation is that Mr. Flynn discussed American sanctions on Russia with Mr. Kislyak in the waning days of the Obama presidency and told him that Russia should wait till Mr. Trump’s inauguration. He later denied speaking of the sanctions, and based on his brief, Mr. Pence publicly defended him. But after the media reported that they had sources vouching that Mr. Flynn had discussed the sanctions with the envoy, it became impossible for the White House to defend him. Technically, Mr. Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador before he became part of the government are a breach of an …