Monday, 26 January 2015

Daily News Mail

Tiger population has increased
  • The recent tiger census has shown 30% increase in tiger population.
  • According to the latest census, the number of tigers is 2,226. It was 1706 in the last census four years back, which shows 30% increase in the number of tigers.
  • India now accounts for 70% of the world's wild tigers.
  • Still many responsibility lies on the Forest Department personnel.
  • No officer or individual had been nailed for the disappearance of tigers from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. Remind you that in 2005, all tigers had been disappeared from Sariska Tiger Reserve. poaching was blamed for that. 
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 was contrary to some provisions of the Wildlife Act which complicated the situation. The government needs to review all such laws and frame simple laws which are easier to implement.
  • Recently, the Periyar Tiger Reserve, spread over 925 sq.km. in Kerala, bagged the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.
  • The Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 44 at present, spread out in 17 of our tiger range states. This amounts to around 2.08% of the geographical area of our country. The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy. The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use area. The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the buffer.

Mali declared Ebola free country
  • On January 18, the World Health Organization and the Malian government declared Mali free of the Ebola virus disease. Mali is the third country after Nigeria and Senegal to become free of the deadly disease. A country should have had no new cases of Ebola for a continuous period of 42 days, which is a cycle of two incubation periods of 21 days, for it to be declared free of the virus.
  • This is a particularly remarkable achievement for Mali, given the fact that it shares a porous, 800-km-long border with Guinea. After all, on December 26, 2013, the first case of Ebola virus that led to the unprecedented crisis in West Africa was found in a remote village in Guinea.
  • The good news is that there has been a “turning point” in the Ebola crisis with the number of new cases reported in the three worst-affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — falling in recent weeks. According to the WHO, as on January 21, 2015 all of 8,683 people have died of Ebola, and the number of cases so far is more than 21,759.

Carbon tax - an innovative approach to mitigate greenhouse gases

Different systems to mitigate greenhouse gases emission:

What is cap-and-trade system ?
In a cap-and-trade system, government puts a firm limit, or cap, on the overall level of carbon pollution from industry and reduces that cap year after year to reach a set pollution target. As the cap decreases each year, it cuts industry's total greenhouse gas emissions to the limit set by regulation, and then forces polluters that exceed their emissions quota to buy unused quota from other companies.
The government creates and distributes pollution quotas, most fairly through an auction. This creates an incentive for firms to reduce their emissions and be able to sell rather than purchase pollution quotas. Under this system the market determines the price of quotas.

What is carbon tax ?
 A carbon tax is a fee placed on greenhouse gas pollution mainly from burning fossil fuels. This can be done by placing a surcharge on carbon-based fuels and other sources of pollution such as industrial processes. 
Pricing carbon emissions through a carbon tax is one of the most powerful incentives that governments have to encourage companies and households to pollute less by investing in cleaner technologies and adopting greener practices.

Pros and cons of 'cap-and-trade' and 'carbon tax'
Cap-and-trade has one key environmental advantage over a carbon tax: It provides more certainty about the amount of emissions reductions that will result and little certainty about the price of emissions (which is set by the emissions trading market). A carbon tax provides certainty about the price but little certainty about the amount of emissions reductions.
A carbon tax also has one key advantage: It is easier and quicker for governments to implement.A carbon tax can be very simple. It can rely on existing administrative structures for taxing fuels and can therefore be implemented in just a few months. In theory, the same applies to cap-and-trade systems, but in practice they tend to be much more complex. More time is required to develop the necessary regulations, and they are more susceptible to lobbying and loopholes. Cap-and-trade also requires the establishment of an emissions trading market.
Countries which have adopted an innovative approach of carbon tax
Sweden has used a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since 1991. Although a suite of other policies has also been used, the Swedish Ministry of Environment estimated the carbon tax has cut emissions by an additional 20 per cent (as opposed to solely relying on regulations), enabling the country to achieve its 2012 target under the Kyoto Protocol.
In Canada, (British Columbia ) B.C. and Quebec provinces use carbon taxes as part of their strategies to reduce emissions and encourage investments in energy-efficiency and renewable energy. 
A groundbreaking study shows that Canada's economy can still grow by almost 20 per cent over the next decade while the country dramatically reduces its greenhouse gas pollution by about half.
Actually, India has a carbon tax of sorts. United Progressive Alliance government’s budget of 2010-11 introduced a cess of Rs. 50 per tonne of both domestically produced and imported coal. In Union Budget 2014, the government increased the coal cess from Rs 50 a tonne to Rs 100 a tonne. However, the idea of this cess, it must be admitted, was less to curb carbon emissions but more to raise revenues for the National Clean Energy Fund. Of course, the Fund itself could well support carbon mitigation initiatives but its take-off has been slow so far since Finance Ministers see it as a source of mitigating not carbon but the fiscal deficit. The Fund has close to Rs. 15,000 crore already accumulated in it and this will grow rapidly as coal consumption increases. But the important point is that India already has an important half-step, even though its version of a carbon tax is not economy-wide and it is far below the levels that are generally accepted as being desirable (around $20-25 per tonne of carbon).

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