Important Data and Facts for Mains-August 2021

Facts and Figures for UPSC Mains

Important Data and Facts for Mains-August 2021


1. IMPORTANT FACTS & FIGURES

GEOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES

  • Over a fifth of India’s land area (21.06 per cent) is facing drought-like conditions. This is 62 % more than the area under drought during the same period in 2020, which was 7.86 %.
  • 59% of India’s land area is under a moderate to severe seismic hazard warning, which means that India is prone to earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above.
  • North-eastern region of India, on average is hit by one earthquake with a strength of more than 6.0 per year.
  • 29.7 per cent of the country’s land during 2018-19 became degraded, according to the Atlas published by the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad.
  • As much as 32 percent of India coast line underwent sea erosion and 27 per cent of it expanded between 1990 and 2018.
  • A 52% increase was noticed in the frequency of cyclones over the Arabian Sea between 2001 and 2019, and an 8% decrease over the Bay of Bengal.
  • Data shows that 17 percent of households in Delhi do not have access to piped water, and 13 percent of un-authorized colonies are yet to be covered by piped water supply.

GENDER GAP

  • Indian women are 15 percent less likely to own a mobile phone, and 33 percent less likely to use mobile internet services than men. In 2020, 25 percent of the total adult female population owned a smartphone versus 41 percent of adult men.
    • In comparison, Bangladesh’s gender gap in mobile ownership stood at 24 percent and 41 percent in mobile usage.
    • Pakistan’s gender gaps were even higher at 34 percent for mobile ownership and 43 percent for mobile usage. Despite the mobile ownership gap reducing from 26 percent to 19 percent, and mobile internet use gap from 67 percent to 36 percent, between 2017 to 2020, South Asia continues to have the widest mobile gender gaps globally.
    • Within Asia-pacific, India had the widest gender gap in internet usage in recent years, a gender gap of 40.4 percent with only 15 percent of women accessing the internet versus 25 percent of men.
    • In comparison, in other Asian countries, the gender gap stood at 39.4 percent in Pakistan, in 11.1 percent in Indonesia, and 2.3 percent in People’s Republic of China.

RURAL-URBAN DIGITAL DIVIDE

  • Rural broadband penetration is only 29 percent against a national average of 51 percent.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

HEALTH

  • About 580 million people with hypertension were unaware of their condition because they were never diagnosed and 720 million did not receive the required treatment.
  • The hypertension treatment rate was 47 per cent in women and 38 per cent in men globally.

EDUCATION

  • Between March 2020 to February 2021, Indian schools were fully closed for 62 percent of instruction days, and partially for 38 percent. These school closures placed 320 million students including 158 million girls at risk of dropping out and reaching large learning gaps.

POVERTY

  • A clear victim of the post pandemic world has been 47 million women and girls who would be pushed to extreme poverty by the year 2021, notes the latest report by UN Women, “From Insights to Action”.

CONSTITUTION, POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

  • According to PRS Legislative Research data, the Lok Sabha session had a productivity of just 21 per cent.
  • In a country where 48% of the population is female, of 245 judges who have made it to India’s highest court, including the current judges, less than 3.3% have been women. No woman has served as the Chief Justice of India.
  • Rajya Sabha logged a productivity of 28 per cent, its eighth least productive Session since 1999.
  • Data on pending cases against legislators:
    • 51 MPs and 71 MLAs were accused of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
    • Out of the 121 cases pending trial against MPs and MLAs before the CBI courts across the country, 58 were punishable with life imprisonment.
    • In 45 cases, even the charges have not been framed, though the offences were alleged to have been committed several years ago.
    • A total of 37 CBI cases against legislators were continuing in the stage of investigation for years on end now.
    • There are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country. Of this, the number of cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was 2,556.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

  • Nordic countries have put enormous faith in ULBs regarding the delivery of the essential services that enable the daily life of citizens. They completely reject the idea of an unfunded mandate and go to great lengths to finance ULBs through central transfers, allowing them to spend an average of 26.64 percent of the national GDP.
  • This stands in stark contrast with India, where total municipal expenditure accounts for about 0.79 percent of the country’s GDP.
    • In Denmark, local government expenditure, at 36.5 percent of GDP or 64.1 percent of total public spending, is the highest in the European Union (EU). The more significant part of municipal revenues comes from taxation, particularly local income tax—an average of 24.9 percent of inhabitants’ taxable income.
    • In Finland, local government expenditure is high at 23.9 percent of GDP or 41 percent of total public spending. 
    • In Norway, local government expenditure stands at 15.4 percent of GDP, or 33.8 percent of total public spending. 
    • In Sweden, local government expenditure is the second-highest in the EU, at 25.4 percent of GDP or 49 percent of total public expenditure.
    • In Iceland, the most substantive function of ULBs is education, comprising half of all of their expenditures. Next are social services taking up 13 percent of spending. The local authorities’ share in public consumption in Iceland has ranged between 32 and 35 percent in recent years.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

INDIA AND MALDIVES

  • In 2019, India was the 2nd largest source of tourist arrivals in Maldives, after China.

INDIA AND RUSSIA

  • The bilateral trade has not kept pace with the level of political engagement, and stood at a paltry US $10.11 billion in 2019-20, but the two countries have set a target to reach US $30 billion by 2025.
  • Arms trade remains a key pillar of the bilateral relationship, with more than 86% of India’s defence equipment being of Russian origin. 

INDIA AND UN

  • India contributes roughly $23.4 million to the United Nations’ vast $3 billion operational budget.

RUSSIA AND CHINA

  • It is also reported that Russia and China aim to reach bilateral trade targets worth US $200 billion by 2024.

RUSSIA AND AFRICA

  • According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia exported 18 percent of its arms to Africa between 2016–2020 with Algeria being the major recipient. From 2015-19, Russia accounted for 37.6 percent of the African arms market, which is above the US at 16 percent, France at 14 percent, and China at 9 percent, respectively.
  • Russia’s annual trade is roughly US $20 billion with Africa, which is only a tenth of China’s. However, Russia’s energy-related state-owned and private companies have started playing a major role in Africa.

ECONOMY

  • Going by the procedure adopted by the erstwhile Planning Commission using the Tendulkar expert group methodology, the overall poverty ratio came down from 45.3% in 1993-94 to 37.2% in 2004-05 and further down to 21.9% in 2011-12. The per year reduction in percentage points in poverty ratio between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was 2.18. The post-reform period up to 2011-12 did see a significant reduction in poverty ratio because of faster growth supplemented by appropriate poverty reduction programmes such as the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Extended Food Security Scheme. With the decline in growth rate since then and with a negative growth in 2020-21, this trend must have reversed, i.e. the poverty rate may have increased.
  • It is estimated that 92% of India’s workforce of 500 million is unorganised, often deprived of minimum wages and any form of social security.
  • The Government of India aims to achieve 100 per cent vaccination for Foot-and-mouth disease under the National Animal Disease Control Programme by 2025.
  • India is the largest consumer of vegetable oil in the world. Of this, palm oil imports are almost 60% of its total vegetable oil imports.
  • The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) envisages nearly doubling public infrastructure investment to 10 percent of GDP from the 5.8 percent achieved (versus the target of 9 percent) during the 12th Plan 2012-2017 spanning the waning years of the UPA and early years of the Modi government.
  • India has set a target of reaching a US $1 trillion digital economy by 2025, a five fold growth from the US $200 million in 2017–18.
  • India still imports more than 80% of its annual oil requirements, much of which still comes from suppliers such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Data from the Azim Premji University’s report ‘State of Working India’s points that a loss of employment due to the imposition of lockdowns has had more severe repercussions for the feminised sectors such as the care economy and the gig economy with only 19 percent of women remaining employed and a vast 47 percent facing a permanent job loss than sectors that employ men in a majority.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • India is the second-largest broadband subscription country in the world and also has the highest data consumption per user per month.

BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENT

  • According to the UNEP, if the world is to meet the climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation targets, it needs to close a $4.1 trillion financing gap by 2050.
  • A new analysis of data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International found that 30% of 557 raptor species worldwide are considered near threatened, vulnerable or endangered or critically endangered. Eighteen species are critically endangered, including the Philippine eagle, the hooded vulture and the Annobon scops owl, the researchers found.
  • India witnessed an increase in the level of desertification in 28 of 31 states and Union territories between 2011-13 and 2018-19.
  • Nearly 6800 people lost their lives in the country over the past three years due to hydro meteorological calamities such as flash floods, landslides and cyclones.
  • The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced that the country has achieved the milestone of installing 100 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity.
  • India has the highest number of snakebite cases and accounts for nearly 50% of the global snakebite deaths.
  • According to Oxfam, about 1.6 billion hectares of new forests would be required to remove the world’s excess carbon emissions by 2050, if the climate change challenge is tackled only by planting more trees. The world collectively should aim to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels, to limit global warming below 1.5°C.
  • According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), there is a 90-percent chance of breaching 1.5 degrees C in at least one year between 2021 and 2025.


2. MAJOR REPORTS AND INDICES

CHILDREN’S CLIMATE RISK INDEX (CCRI)

Context

  • Recently, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released the Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI).

India’s position in Children’s Climate Risk Index

  • India is among four South Asian countries where children are most at risk of the impacts of climate change threatening their health, education, and protection.
  • The index has placed India as one of the 33 extremely high-risk countries with flooding and air pollution being the repeated environmental shocks.
  • It is estimated that more than 600 million Indians will face ‘acute water shortages’ in the coming years.
  • It stated that twenty-one of the world’s 30 cities with the most polluted air in 2020 were in India.

Key Global Highlights under Children’s Climate Risk Index

  • It stated that, approximately 1 billion children (nearly half of the world’s children) live in extremely high-risk countries.
  • It found that:
    • 1 billion children are “highly exposed” to exceedingly high levels of air pollution;
    • 920 million to water scarcity;
    • 820 million to heat waves;
    • 815 million to lead pollution;
    • 600 million to vector-borne diseases;
    • 400 million to tropical storms;
    • 330 million to riverine flooding; and
    • 240 million to coastal flooding
  • The 33 extremely high-risk countries for children such as the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, collectively are responsible for a mere nine percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India are among four South Asian countries where children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis, with a ranking of 14th, 15th, 25th and 26th respectively.
  • India’s neighbours Nepal is ranked 51st and Sri Lanka 61st whereas Bhutan is ranked 111th, with children at relatively lower risk.

Key Suggestions

  • It calls on governments and businesses to protect children from the climate crisis not only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also by:
    • Increasing investments in health and hygiene services, education and clean water;
    • Providing children with climate education and green skills;
    • Including young people in climate negotiations and decision making; and
    • Ensuring a “green, low-carbon and inclusive” COVID-19 recovery
  • It stated that investments that reduce exposure to water scarcity can considerably reduce overall climate risk for 120 million children.
  • It also provided that investments that reduce exposure to coastal flooding can considerably reduce overall climate risk for 525 million children.
  • Improving access to social protection requires working towards universal coverage of child and family benefits as well as ensuring that social protection systems provide connections to other vital services in health, education and nutrition as well as the social welfare workforce.
  • Improved education which builds knowledge and skills will contribute toimproved sustainability practices and a reduction in emissions at the individual, institutional and communal levels.

About Children’s Climate Risk Index

  • The climate crisis is a child rights crisis presents the Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI).
  • It uses data to generate new global evidence on how many children are currently exposed to climate and environmental hazards, shocks and stresses.
  • It is a composite index which brings together geographical data by analyzing the exposure to climate and environmental hazards, shocks and stresses and child vulnerability.
  • It helps to understand and measure the likelihood of climate and environmental shocks or stresses leading to the:
    • Erosion of development progress; and
    • Deepening of deprivation and/or humanitarian situations affecting children or vulnerable households and groups
  • It provides the first comprehensive view of children’s exposure and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change to help prioritize action for those most at risk and ultimately ensure today’s children inherit a liveable planet.

Note: The Global Climate Risk Index is an annual publication by the environmental think tank and sustainable development lobbyist Germanwatch.  India was ranked the seventh worst-hit country in 2019 in the Global Climate Risk Index 2021.

GLOBAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INDEX

Context

  • India has ranked 122nd out of 181 countries in the triennial rankings of Global Youth Development Index by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Key Findings

  • The Global Youth Development Index 2020 reveals that the conditions of young people have improved around the world by 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2018, but the progress remains slow.
  • SingaporeSlovenia, Norway, Malta and Denmark were the top performers where as Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Niger are the least performers.
  • Afghanistan, India, Russia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso were listed in the improver category.

Back to basics

About the Index

  • The Index is prepared by the Commonwealth Secretariat Youth Division.
  • The Global Youth Development Index (YDI) is an aggregate of indicators that measure progress on youth development in 181 countries. This includes 49 of the 52 Commonwealth countries.
  • It is guided by the Commonwealth definition of youth as people between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • The index is calculated using five main domains: levels of education, health and well-being, employment and opportunity, civic participation and political participation.
  • The index is intended to help governments to identify specific areas for evidence-based policies and programmes in order to improve youth development and participation.

ELDERLY IN INDIA 2021

Context

  • Recently, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has released the ‘Elderly in India 2021’ document.

Key Findings

  • As per 2021 data, Kerala has the maximum proportion (16.5%) of elderly people in its population. The state is followed by Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. The proportion is the least in Bihar (7.7%) followed by Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
  • The projections for 2031 show that Kerala will have the maximum proportion (20.9%) of elderly people in its population.
  • The general population has grown by 12.4% during 2011-2021, in comparison to around 18% in the 2001-2011.
  • The elderly population grew by 36% in each of the last two decades (2001-2011 and 2011-2021).

Dependency ratio

  • Old age dependency ratio provides a clearer picture of the number of persons aged 60-plus per 100 persons in the age group of 15-59 years.
  • An increasing trend has been observed in the old age dependency ratio.
    • It has risen from 10.9% in 1961 to 14.2% in 2011.
    • It is projected to increase to 15.7% in 2021 and 20.1% 2031.
    • The projected dependency ratio for females and males is 14.8% and 16.7% respectively in 2021.

QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ELDERLY INDEX

Context

  • Recently, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) has released the Quality of Life for Elderly Index.

Key findings of the Index

  • Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are top-scoring regions in Aged and Relatively Aged States, respectively. 
  • Chandigarh and Mizoram are top-scoring regions in Union Territory and North-East States category. 
  • Jammu and Kashmir scored the lowest 46.16 among Union Territories. 
  • Arunachal Pradesh, among the northeastern states, scored the lowest score with 46.16. 
  • In the aged states and relatively aged states categories, Telangana and Gujarat scored the lowest with 38.19 and 49.00, respectively.
  • The Aged States refer to States with an elderly population of more than 5 million, whereas Relatively Aged States refer to States with an Elderly population of less than 5 million.
  • The Health System pillar observes the highest national average, 66.97 at an all-India level, followed by 62.34 in Social Well-being. 
  • Financial Well-being observes a score of 44.7, which is lowered by the low performance of 21 States across the Education Attainment & Employment pillar, which showcases scope for improvement
  • States have performed particularly worse in the Income Security pillar because over half of the States have a score below the national average, i.e., 33.03 in Income Security, which is the lowest across all pillars. 
  • These pillar-wise analyses help States assess the state of the elderly population and identify existing gaps that obstruct their growth
  • The index highlights that the best way to improve the lives of the current and future generations of older people is by investing in health, education and employment for young people today.

About the Index

  • The Index has been created by the Institute for Competitiveness at the request of EAC-PM and it sheds light on an issue often not mentioned- problems faced by the elderly.
  • The report identifies the regional patterns of ageing across Indian States and assesses the overall ageing situation in India. 
  • The report presents a deeper insight into how well India is doing to support the well-being of its ageing population.
  • This index broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of the elderly population in India. 
  • It goes far beyond the adequacy of pensions and other forms of income support, which, though critical, often narrows policy thinking and debate about the needs of this age group.
  • Four Pillars:
  • The Index framework includes four pillars: 
    • Financial Well-being.
    • Social Well-being.
    • Health System and 
    • Income Security.
  • Right sub-pillars are: Economic Empowerment, Educational Attainment & Employment, Social Status, Physical Security, Basic Health, Psychological Well Being, Social Security and Enabling Environment.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION INDEX

Context

  • Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the formation of a composite Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.

About the Index

  • The FI-Index will be published in July every year.
  • The index has been constructed without any ‘base year’.
  • The index captures information on various aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 and 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
  • The index will track the financial inclusiveness of people, especially those who are not part of the banking system, small depositors in the banking and postal system, micro investors, pensioners and others.
  • The idea behind the index is to ensure financial empowerment.
  • The index has been conceptualised as a comprehensive index incorporating details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators.
  • The index is responsive to:
    • Ease of access,
    • Availability and usage of services, and
    • Quality of services for all 97 indicators.
  • Three broad parameters (weights indicated in brackets): Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%).

KEY INDICATORS FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC 2021

Context

  • Recently, Asian Development Bank(ADB) has released a new report titled ‘Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2021’.

Key Findings

  • COVID-19 has pushed an estimated 75 million to 80 million more people in developing Asia into extreme poverty.
    • About 203 million people or 5.2 per cent of developing Asia’s population lived in extreme poverty as of 2017.
    • Without COVID-19, that number would have declined to an estimated 2.6 per cent in 2020.
  • Asia-Pacific Region’s Economy grew from 27% of Global GDP in 2000 to 35% in 2019.
    • In 2020, three in every four reporting economies faced declines in GDP.
  • The region lost about 8 % of work hours due to mobility restrictions, deeply affecting poorer households and workers in the informal economy.
  • Unemployment rates increased by at least 20 % in 2020.
  • From 2019 to 2020, labour force participation rates:
    • Among women, declined by 1.4 %
    • Among men declined by 0.8 %.
  • The pandemic:
    • Increased inequality, relative rise in extreme poverty
      • Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than 1.90 dollars a day.

Back to Basics

About the Report

  • The report is prepared by Statistics and Data Innovation Unit (EROD-SDI) within Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department (ERCD) at ADB.
  • Key indicators present comprehensive economic, financial, social and environmental statistics for ADB’s 49 regional members.
  • They include statistical information on Population, labour force, National accounts, Production & Price indexes, Energy, Money & interest rates, Government finance, External trade, Balance of payments (BoP), International reserves, Exchange rates, and External indebtedness.

ANIMAL DISCOVERIES 2020

Context

  • India has added 557 new species to its fauna, which includes 407 new species and 150 new records, reveals Animal Discoveries 2020, a document published recently by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

Key Findings Animal Discoveries 2020

  • The number of faunal species in India has climbed to 1,02,718 species with the discovery of the news species.
  • Among the new species, some interesting species discovered in 2020 are 
    • Trimeresurus salazar, a new species of green pit viper discovered from Arunachal Pradesh; 
    • Lycodon deccanensis, the Deccan wolf snake discovered from Karnataka; and 
    • Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a new species of burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru.
    • Xyrias anjaalai, a new deep water species of snake eel from Kerala; 
    • Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a new species of catfish from Manipur; and 
    • Clyster galateansis, a new species of scarab beetles from the Great Nicobar Biosphere.
  • Among the new records 
    • Myotis cf. frater, a bat species earlier known from China, Taiwan and Russia, has been reported for the first time from Uttarakhand in India; and
    • Zoothera citrina gibsonhilli, an orange-headed thrush earlier known from southern Myanmar to south Thailand (central Malay peninsula), which was reported for the first time from India based on a collection made from the Narcondam island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Invertebrates
    • Of these 557 species, invertebrates constitute the majority with 486 species, while 71 species belong to vertebrates.
    • Among invertebrates, insects dominated, with 344 species, whereas pisces and reptiles dominated among vertebrates.
  • Among the States
    • Highest number of new species were discovered from Karnataka (66 species), followed by Kerala (51 species).
    • Also in 2020, 46 new species were discovered from Rajasthan and 30 from West Bengal.
  • In terms of new records or species recorded in the country for the first time, Arunachal Pradesh had the highest (20 new records).
  • In the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 25 new species were discovered and 16 new records documented in 2020.
  • Of the 557 new species discovered, scientists and researchers from the ZSI contributed 121 new species and 86 new records in 2020.
  • Data analysis of the 2010-2020 decade reveals that
    • A total of 4,112 species — 2,800 new species and 1,312 new records — were added to Indian fauna.
    • It’s also interesting that scientists of the ZSI contributed to 34% (948 species) of the newly described and 68% (898) of the newly recorded species in the last 10 years.

Back to Basics

  • The ZSI publication shows that India is a mega biodiverse country, rich in biodiversity, with 23.39% of its geographical area under forest and tree cover.
  • India is positioned 8th in mega biodiversity countries in the world with 0.46 BioD index which is calculated by its percentage of species in each group relative to the total global number of species in each group.

IPCC 6TH ASSESSMENT REPORT 2021

Context

  • Among the most alarming findings as laid out in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report released is the effect of climate change on glaciers and the snow cover in the mountains.
  • The IPCC 6th Assessment Report states scientists have ascertained that global warming will have a serious impact on mountain ranges across the world, including the Himalayas.

Key Findings of IPCC 6th Assessment Report 2021

  • The average surface temperature of the Earth will cross 1.5 °C over pre-industrial levels in the next 20 years (By 2040) and 2°C by the middle of the century without sharp reduction of emissions.
  • The last decade was hotter than any period of time in the past 1,25,000 years. Global surface temperature was 1.09°C higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.
  • This is the first time that the IPCC has said that the 1.5°C warming was inevitable even in the best case scenario.
  • Sea-level rise has tripled compared with 1901-1971. The Arctic Sea ice is the lowest it has been in 1,000 years.
    • A rise in temperature has been recorded in the Himalayas, the Swiss Alps and the central Andes, and this has increased with altitude. Such elevation-dependent warming could lead to faster changes in the snowline, the glacier equilibrium-line altitude and the snow/rain transition height.
  • Coastal areas will see continued sea-level rise throughout the 21st century, resulting in coastal erosion and more frequent and severe flooding in low-lying areas.
  • About 50% of the sea level rise is due to thermal expansion (when water heats up, it expands, thus warmer oceans simply occupy more space).
  • Every additional 0.5 °C of warming will increase hot extremes, extreme precipitation and drought. Additional warming will also weaken the Earth’s carbon sinks present in plants, soils, and the ocean.
  • Heat extremes have increased while cold extremes have decreased, and these trends will continue over the coming decades over Asia.
  • Global Warming will have a serious impact on mountain ranges across the world, including the Himalayas.
  • The freezing level height in mountain areas is projected to rise and this will alter the snow and ice conditions.
  • Retreating snowlines and melting glaciers is a cause for alarm as this can cause a change in the water cycle, the precipitation patterns, increased floods as well as an increased scarcity of water in the future in the states across the Himalayas.
  • The level of temperature rise in the mountains and glacial melt is unprecedented in 2,000 years. The retreat of glaciers is now attributed to anthropogenic factors and human influence.
  • It is also virtually certain that the snow cover will decline over most land regions during the 21st century, in terms of water equivalent, extent and annual duration, the report added.

India Specific Findings: IPCC 6th Assessment Report

  • Heatwaves and humid heat stress will be more intense and frequent during the 21st century over South Asia.
  • Changes in monsoon precipitation are also expected, with both annual and summer monsoon precipitation projected to increase.
  • The Indian Ocean, which includes the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, has warmed faster than the global average.
  • The report also predicts the increased likelihood of incidents such as the landslide caused by glacial break on Nanda Devi at Chamoli in Uttarakhand earlier this year that caused floods in the region.

Need of the Hour

  • For the purposes of global warming and its impacts, the pathways are as important as the destination. Immediate emission cuts and a steady pathway to net-zero is expected to bring better benefits than a business-as-usual scenario and a sudden drop in emissions towards the end to meet the target.
  • Even for the countries that have pledged a net-zero target, the substantial part of their emission cuts is planned only for 2035 and beyond.
  • The new evidence in the IPCC report is likely to put pressure on them as well to reconsider their pathways.
  • The science is clear, the impacts of the climate crisis can be seen around the world and if we don’t act now, we will continue to see the worst effects impact lives, livelihoods and natural habitats.
  • The next decade is decisive, follow the science and embrace your responsibility to keep the goal of 1.5C alive.
  • We can do this together, by coming forward with ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets, and long-term strategies with a pathway to net zero by the middle of the century, and taking action now to end coal power, accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, tackle deforestation and reduce methane emissions.

Nationally-Determined Contributions or NDCs

  • The IPCC report could also lead to renewed demands that all countries update their climate action plans, called nationally-determined contributions or NDCs in official language.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, every country has submitted an NDC, listing the climate actions they intend to take by 2025 or 2030.
  • These NDCs have to be updated with stronger action, mandatorily, every five years from 2025. But the Paris Agreement also “requested” countries’ NDCs by 2020. Because of the pandemic, the deadline was extended to 2021, and expired at the end of July.
  • About 110 countries have updated their NDCs, but not China or India, or South Africa.
  • After the release of the IPCC report, several scientists and officials, including executive secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, lamented the fact that only half the countries had updated their NDCs with stronger action.

Conclusion

  • According to the predictions, the projected runoff is typically decreased by contributions from small glaciers because of glacier mass loss, while runoff from larger glaciers will generally increase with increasing global warming levels until their mass becomes depleted.
  • All of these changes will pose significant challenges for water supply, energy production, ecosystems integrity, agricultural and forestry production, disaster preparedness and ecotourism.

For Other Months Important Data & Facts : Click Here

IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram: