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EverExam’s Daily Current Affairs – 3rd June 2017

ENVIRONMENT/NATIONAL

TOPIC:
General Studies 2
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
General Studies 3
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

President Trump withdraws U.S. from the Paris agreement:

Why in news:
American President Donald Trump recently announced that the U.S. would exit the Paris agreement on Climate Change.
Background:
The Paris agreement commits the US and 194 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavor to limit” them even more, to 1.5C. All countries except Syria and Nicaragua did not sign up.
Under the agreement the countries agreed to:
  • Keep global temperatures “well below” the level of 20C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavor to limit” them even more, to 1.50C
  • Limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
  • Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • Enable rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy
Reasons stated by President Trump behind the exit:
  • He argued that the agreement is unfair to his country because it hurts American jobs thus by exiting he is putting America first.
  • He said it would cost the US $3tn (£2.3tn) in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favorably.
  • In Mr. Trump’s view, the Paris accord represents an attack on the sovereignty of the United States and a threat to the ability of his administration to reshape the nation’s environmental laws in ways that benefit everyday Americans.
Challenging the narrative:
  • Trump stated India’s financial needs as a reason for inaction, despite the fact that India has moved further and faster down the path of clean energy than most that too based entirely on domestic resources.
  • Trump completely ignores the bedrocks of UN climate agreement- responsibility for causing the problem and different levels of capacity of countries to act. Common But Differentiated Responsibility(CBDR) puts responsibility for controlling climate change on countries in a differentiated manner based on their historical emissions and their capacity to invest in green technologies.
  • The move is incongruent with economic reality, because the most valuable American companies in manufacturing, computing, banking services and retailing, ranging from General Electric to Apple and Tesla, all see a future for growth and employment in green innovation, and not in fossil fuels.
  • While President Trump talks about coal expansion in India and China, the fact remains that both India and China have made efforts to improve their renewable energy Solar tariffs in India have plummeted to Rs 2.44 per unit. With the ambitious target of achieving 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022 the possibility of a coal-free future is becoming more and more real everyday.
Implications of U.S.’s exit:
  • As per the UN World Meteorological Organization, in the worst scenario, the US pull out could add 0.3C to global temperatures by the end of the century.
  • In practical terms, the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement is an enormous setback to effective climate action. As the largest historical emitter and the second-largest current emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. has a huge role to play in reducing emissions.
  • The wider challenge now is to maintain the momentum on climate finance for mitigation and adaptation, since the U.S. pledge of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund made earlier is unlikely to be fulfilled. Funding is crucial for poorer countries in order to cope with extreme weather events and sharp variations in food production caused by climate change.
  • Other, smaller countries, less responsible for the problem, could justifiably now abdicate their responsibility for limiting greenhouse gas emissions as the U.S. has chosen to do so.
  • Meeting a two degree temperature limit target just got much harder.
  • With the US withdrawal, the carbon space would shrink even more and faster.
  • For poorer residents of various countries, though, weakening of the climate agreement and failure to progressively reduce carbon emissions by 2020 and beyond threaten to impose misery and deepen poverty. Every successive year is becoming hotter than the previous one, and the ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland, which hold the key to sea levels, have recorded a steady loss in mass.

India’s role:
  • There shouldn’t be any re-negotiation of the agreement as demanded by Mr. Trump. And here, India’s role could be potentially crucial.
  • During his recent visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearly and usefully articulated India’s support for climate action. Now, in the wake of clarity about Mr. Trump’s intent, India could go further.
  • India could play a leadership role in mobilizing the climate-vulnerable countries in our region and beyond, to recommit to the Paris Agreement.
  • India could also explicitly and formally make common cause with countries such as China and the EU, which have reportedly planned an alliance to lead implementation of the Paris Agreement. Based on our recent track record of falling solar prices and declining estimates of coal needs, India is also well placed to forcefully make the case for the merits of a clean energy transition.
India must emphasize the five pillars of its climate leadership in action.
  • One, policy. In 2010 India’s National Solar Mission commenced with a target of installing 22,000 megawatts (MW). At the time, India’s total installed capacity was 17.8 MW. The world’s leading solar countries were Germany, Spain, Japan, US and Italy. India was at 10th place. In 2014, India asked itself a simple question: How big can we get on renewables? And by early 2015, India announced that by 2022, it would install 1,00,000 MW of solar, 60,000 MW of wind, 10,000 MW of small hydropower and 5,000 MW of biomass-based electricity capacity.
  • In addition to policies, India has demonstrated its willingness and ability to scale programmes nationwide and rapidly to move faster towards cleaner fuels while also increasing energy access.
  • Whereas many European countries pushed renewable energy through consumer subsidies, India adopted a reverse auction-based competitive bidding process for solar. That has meant that the lowest tariffs have dropped from INR 10.95 (USD 0.17) in December 2010 to INR 2.44 (USD 0.038) in May 2017.
  • Climate change is already impacting India, with increasing water stress and billions of dollars of lost agricultural output during this century. India needs to increase agricultural production, while reducing water and energy intensity.
  • India has already displayed its leadership role. In November 2015, India and France launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA plans to aggregate demand to drive prices down, scale up technologies currently available, and pool resources to invest in solar R&D.
For its level of income and per capita emissions, India is doing disproportionately more than many of the larger polluters. It must speak confidently about its actions and its leadership for other countries.
Way forward:
  • The rest of the world will have to continue to act on climate change, regardless of what the US does. Secondly,
  • The mantle of climate leadership cannot be held by just one country. The U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement could help cement new alliances.
  • It is time for the world to recognise the real climate leaders. India is one of them and it needs to speak up.
Conclusion:
As a major legacy polluter, the U.S. has a responsibility to mitigate the damage.
In abandoning the Paris Agreement on climate change, U.S. President Donald Trump has chosen to adopt a backward-looking course on one of the most important issues facing humanity.
The urgent task at hand for the rest of the global community is to ensure that the Paris Agreement remains in place and even wins renewed support. The overall goal to keep the increase in global average temperature over pre-industrial levels to less than 2°C should not be affected. And more importantly the principle of CBDR that underpins the UN climate framework, and casts a duty on industrial powers responsible for the world’s accumulated carbon emissions, needs to be strengthened.
Connecting the dots:
  • President Trump announced that he would withdraw U.S. from the Paris agreement. Discuss the challenges emerging out of such decision and also how the rest of the world especially India, China and European countries need to cement new alliances in order to achieve the objective of limiting the global average temperature to less than 2°C.

National

TOPIC:
General Studies 2
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e‐governance‐ applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

Preventive Detention Law

Introduction
Law should be such that a layman can comprehend and be used for the welfare and regulation of a law abiding society. But sometimes misuse of law can have wider implications.  The issue with preventive detention law and misuse of its provision is a cause of concern.
Issue:
  • Preventive detention laws in the country have come to be associated with frequent misuse.
  • Such laws confer extraordinary discretionary powers on the executive to detain persons without bail for a period that may extend to one year and courts tend to review them on the touchstone of strict adherence to the prescribed procedure.
  • Sometimes they question the invocation of the draconian power when sufficient provisions are available in the ordinary laws of the land.
  • Several States have a law popularly known as the ‘Goondas Act’ aimed at preventing the dangerous activities of specified kinds of offenders.
  • In a recent order, the Supreme Court has questioned the use of words such as “goonda” and “prejudicial to the maintenance of public order” as a “rhetorical incantation” solely to justify an arbitrary detention order.
  • It struck down the detention of a man who had allegedly sold spurious chilli seeds in Telangana, holding that the grounds of detention were extraneous to the Act.
  • This detention order has captured what is wrong with the frequent resort to preventive detention laws.
  • It stated that recourse to normal legal procedure would be time-consuming and would not be an effective deterrent against the sale of spurious seeds.
  • Therefore, it claimed, there was no option but to invoke the preventive detention law to insulate society from the person’s evil deeds.
  • The court rightly termed this as a gross abuse of statutory powers.
Goondas’ Act and concerns:
  • The Goondas Act is meant to be invoked against habitual offenders, but in practice it is often used for a host of extraneous reasons.
  • The police tend to use it to buy themselves more time to investigate offences and file a charge sheet. At times, it is used merely to send out a “tough message”.
  • For instance, four persons seen in video footage of women being molested in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh were detained under the Act even though it was not clear if they were habitual offenders.
  • There are times when preventive detention is overtly political.
  • The recent detention of four political activists in Chennai under the Goondas Act is a direct result of a pathological tendency in Tamil Nadu to crack down on any kind of political activity even remotely linked to the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
  • The detention of Thirumurugan Gandhi, leader of the ‘May 17 Movement’, a pro-Tamil Eelam group, and three of his associates under the Goondas Act is a brazen violation of their fundamental rights and another instance of abuse of the law.
  • The case involved nothing more than violation of prohibitory orders to hold a candle-light vigil in memory of Sri Lankan Tamils who died in the last phase of the civil war in 2009.
  • Those who authorise such preventive detention for flimsy reasons should understand that prevention of crime needs an efficient system of investigation and trial, and not draconian laws.
Conclusion:
India’s criminal justice system needs a reform from all fronts. It is further also true that the reform should be holistic and transparent. Preventive detention laws and their frequent misuse needs a permanent solution.
Connecting the dots:
  • Analyse the impact preventive detention laws on the democracy. Establish a certain bias in the implantation of these laws.

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