Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

26th October 2019 Current Affairs

1. BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in Beijing

  • The 29th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in Beijing, China, on 25th-26th October 2019.
  • BASIC Ministers expressed their concern for the global challenge of climate change and its adverse effects, and confirmed their commitments to multilateralism in order to address the issue and to foster climate resilience and promote greenhouse gas emissions reduction, low-carbon and sustainable development, with a view to collectively working towards preparedness of international community for the well being of all. Ministers underscored that all parties should jointly defend the international system underpinned by the United Nations, in accordance with the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances. Unilateralism and protectionism undermine the open and free international trade system and the prospect of global economic development and growth, which will end up with damaging global efforts against climate change. It is imperative to focus on safeguarding the multilateral process and the fulfillment of commitments. 
  • Ministers underscored that as developing countries are the most adversely affected by climate change, adaptation is a key imperative but is neglected with imbalanced allocation of resources compared to mitigation. They reiterated that balanced allocation should be made for adaptation and mitigation in terms of support provided by developed countries, including through Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Note: The BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – formed by an agreement on 28 November 2009.

2. Sakhalin oil field in Russia

  • Exxon Mobil (US), Rosneft (Russia), Japanese SODECO and ONGC Videsh are the partners in this field which will continue to produce oil and gas till 2055 in Sakhalin oil field in Russia.
  • During the recent Vladivostok Summit of Indian prime minister , there was agreement on a road map of cooperation over the next five years in the hydrocarbon sector.
  • It included strengthening Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports to India; encouraging Russian companies to participate in gas projects in India; exploring the possibility of Indian companies collaborating in LNG projects.Sourcing of coking coal

3. New governors appointed

  • BJP leader P.S. Sreedharan Pillai appointed Governor of Mizoram
  • Satya Pal Malik appointed new Governor of Goa
  • Girish Chandra Murmu appointed as the first Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Radha Krishna Mathur appointed as the first Lt Governor of Ladakh
  • Former IB Chief Dineshwar Sharma appointed as the new Administrator of Lakshadweep

Constitutional Provisions related to Governor

  • The appointment and powers of government can be derived from Part VI of the Indian constitution.
  • Article 153 says that there shall be a Governor for each State. One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States.
  • He is the part of federal system of Indian polity and acts as a bridge between union and state governments.
  • Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. They are as follows:
  • A governor must:
    • Be a citizen of India.
    • Be at least 35 years of age.
    • Not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
    • Not hold any office of profit.
  • The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
    • Dismissal by the president on the advice of the council of minister headed by the prime minister of the country.
    • Dismissal of governors without a valid reason is not permitted. However, it is the duty of the President to dismiss a governor whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide.
    • Resignation by the governor.

4. UN Environment Programme (UNEP) member states recently adopted the “Colombo Declaration” which calls for tackling global nitrogen challenge

Highlights of the declaration:

  • The Colombo Declaration has been developed with the technical support of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), a joint activity of the UNEP and the International Nitrogen Initiative supported by the Global Environmental Facility.
  • The aim is to halve nitrogen waste by 2030.
  • A campaign on sustainable nitrogen management called “Nitrogen for Life” is to be launched. It stems from the Sustainable Nitrogen Management Resolution which was adopted during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly held from 11 – 15 March 2019 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. 
  • It also urges countries to conduct a comprehensive assessment on nitrogen cycling covering policy, implementation, regulation, and scientific aspects at a national level plus sensitize the citizens to understand the natural nitrogen cycle and how human impacts alter its balance.

How Nitrogen turned into pollutant from nutrient how it is affecting health and environment?

  • Nitrogen is an inert gas that’s necessary for life. But we’re changing it into forms that are harmful, overloading the environment with it, and throwing the natural nitrogen cycle out of whack.
  • Nitrogen compounds running off farmland have led to water pollution problems around the world, while nitrogen emissions from industry, agriculture and vehicles make a big contribution to air pollution.
  • Over 80% of the nitrogen in soil is not utilized by humans. While over four-fifths of the nitrogen is used to feed livestock, only about six per cent reaches humans in case of non-vegetarian diet, as compared to the 20% that reaches the plate of a vegetarian.
  • Nitrogen becomes a pollutant when it escapes into the environment and reacts with other organic compounds. It is either released into the atmosphere, gets dissolved in water sources such as rivers, lakes or groundwater, or remains in the soil. While it might lead to favorable growth of species that can utilize this nutrient, nitrogen as a pollutant is often detrimental to the environment and health.
  • According to the World Health Organization, nitrate-contaminated drinking water can cause reduced blood function, cancer and endemic goiters. Surplus inputs of nitrogen compounds have been found to cause soil acidification. The lowering pH, as a result of the acidification, can lead to nutrient disorders and increased toxicity in plants. It may also affect natural soil decomposition.

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