1. Coal Phase down is a right
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper III: Climate change and environment
Sub Theme: Climate finance | UPSC
The Glasgow climate meeting has ended with a pact weaker than many had hoped for. Among its successes, a global pledge to reduce methane emissions, and resolution of the carbon market deadlock.
After two weeks of hard negotiations with governments squabbling over provisions on phasing out coal, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing money to the poor world, the annual climate change summit came to an end on Saturday night with the adoption of a weaker-than-expected agreement called the Glasgow Climate Pact.
While most countries insisted that the agreement was an important, though small, step in keeping alive the hopes of achieving the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature goal, observers and civil society groups saw it as a missed opportunity to enhance global climate action.
The Glasgow meeting was the 26th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP26. These meetings are held every year to construct a global response to climate change. Each of these meetings produce a set of decisions which are given different names. In the current case, this has been called the Glasgow Climate Pact.
Earlier, these meetings have also delivered two treaty-like international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015, which form the global architecture for actions to be taken to tackle climate change. While the Kyoto Protocol expired last year, the Paris Agreement is now the active instrument to fight climate change.
The main task for COP26 was to finalise the rules and procedures for implementation of the Paris Agreement. Most of these rules had been finalized by 2018, but a few provisions, like the one relating to creation of new carbon markets, had remained unresolved. However, due to clear evidence of worsening of the climate crisis in the six years since the Paris Agreement was finalized, host country United Kingdom was keen to ensure that Glasgow, instead of becoming merely a “procedural” COP, was a turning point in enhancing climate actions. The effort was to push for an agreement that could put the world on a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway, instead of the 2 degree Celsius trajectory which is the main objective of the Paris Agreement.
Hence, more than 100 heads of states and governments were invited to attend the meeting and lend their political weight behind the process. So many leaders have assembled on only two earlier occasions, at the climate meetings in Copenhagen in 2009 and Paris in 2015. On both those occasions, the COPs were aiming to deliver a major agreement. Copenhagen had failed in that, but Paris had succeeded.
Glasgow did benefit from the presence as many of them also announced new and enhanced climate actions. However, the final agreement was a mixed bag, as most such pacts invariably are.
What was achieved
Mitigation: The Glasgow agreement has emphasised that stronger action in the current decade was most critical to achieving the 1.5-degree target. Accordingly, it has:
- Asked countries to strengthen their 2030 climate action plans, or NDCs (nationally-determined contributions), by next year
- Established a work programme to urgently scale-up mitigation ambition and implementation
- Decided to convene an annual meeting of ministers to raise ambition of 2030 climate actions
- Called for an annual synthesis report on what countries were doing
- Requested the UN Secretary General to convene a meeting of world leaders in 2023 to scale-up ambition of climate action.
- Asked countries to make efforts to reduce usage of coal as a source of fuel, and abolish “inefficient” subsidies on fossil fuels.
- Has called for a phase-down of coal, and phase-out of fossil fuels. This is the first time that coal has been explicitly mentioned in any COP decision. It also led to big fracas at the end, with a group of countries led by India and China forcing an amendment to the word “phase-out” in relation to coal changed to “phase-down”. The initial language on this provision was much more direct. It called on all parties to accelerate phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. It was watered down in subsequent drafts to read phase-out of “unabated” coal power and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies. But even this was not liking to the developing countries who then got it changed to “phase down unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support to the poorest and the most vulnerable in line with national circumstances…”. Despite the dilution, the inclusion of language on reduction of coal power is being seen as a significant movement forward.
Adaptation: Most of the countries, especially the smaller and poorer ones, and the small island states, consider adaptation to be the most important component of climate action. These countries, due to their lower capacities, are already facing the worst impacts of climate change, and require immediate money, technology and capacity building for their adaptation activities. As such, the Glasgow Climate Pact has:
- Asked the developed countries to at least double the money being provided for adaptation by 2025 from the 2019 levels. In 2019, about $15 billion was made available for adaptation that was less than 20 per cent of the total climate finance flows. Developing countries have been demanding that at least half of all climate finance should be directed towards adaptation efforts.
- Created a two-year work programme to define a global goal on adaptation. The Paris Agreement has a global goal on mitigation — reduce greenhouse gas emissions deep enough to keep the temperature rise within 2 degree Celsius of pre-industrial times. A similar global goal on adaptation has been missing, primarily because of the difficulty in defining such a target. Unlike mitigation efforts that bring global benefits, the benefits from adaptation are local or regional. There are no uniform global criteria against which adaptation targets can be set and measured. However, this has been a long-pending demand of developing countries and the Paris Agreement also asks for defining such a goal.
Finance: Every climate action has financial implications. It is now estimated that trillions of dollars are required every year to fund all the actions necessary to achieve the climate targets. But, money has been in short supply. Developed countries are under an obligation, due to their historical responsibility in emitting greenhouse gases, to provide finance and technology to the developing nations to help them deal with climate change. In 2009, developed countries had promised to mobilise at least $100 billion every year from 2020. This promise was reaffirmed during the Paris Agreement, which also asked the developed countries to scale up this amount from 2025. The 2020 deadline has long passed but the $100 billion promise has not been fulfilled. The developed nations have now said that they will arrange this amount by 2023.
UPSC Current Affairs: Cyber bulling I Page – 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper III: Cyber security and National security
Sub Theme: cybercrimes | UPSC
Context: Because of COVID-19 lockdowns, an estimated 71 million children in India start accessing the internet for their school studies. This led to unprecedented rise in unsupervised screen time for children and young people. This has had various problems like cyberbullying and online child sexual exploitation by adults.
Let’s understand both the problems detail.
What is cyber bullying and how is it different from traditional bullying?
- Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.
- Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.
- Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.
- It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be:
- Persistent – Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
- Permanent – Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
- Hard to Notice – Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.
Facts of Cyberbullying
Statistics of cyberbullying which helps in discovering that bullying in schools kids is at the majority. To understand what is cyberbullying and how to stop bullying first let’s get to know some facts of the cyberbullying:
- 1 in 4 kids have been bullied more than once and in total 43% of the kids have fallen prey to cyberbullying or anti-bullying
- India ranks at number 3 in the list of online bullying cases as per the survey conducted by Microsoft in 2012 in 25 countries
- 70% of the cyberbullying or anti-bullying activities happen over facebook
- Usage of mobile phones by almost 80% of the teens makes it a common and most popular medium for anti-bullying
- It has been believed by the 81% of youth that getting away with online bullying is easy as compared to traditional bullying
- 90% of teens agree that have ignored the cyberbullying while some of the youth has taken a step to stop bullying
- Girls are more preferred victims of cyberbullying as compared to boys
- Victims of cyberbullying or anti-bullying are 2 to 9 times more prone to committing suicide
Laws and Sanctions
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”), neither defines bullying nor punishes it as an offence. However, various provisions of the IPC and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) can be used to fight cyber bullies.
- Section 507 IPC – The section states that if anyone receives criminal intimidation by way of an anonymous communication then the person giving threats shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years. By virtue of word anonymous the offense of anti-bullying and cyberbullying is included in this section.
- Section 66 E of IT Act – The section prescribes punishment for violation of privacy. The section states that any person who intentionally violates the privacy by transmitting, capturing or publishing private pictures of others shall be punished with up to three years imprisonment or fine up to three lakhs.
How to Stop Bullying?
With the instances of anti-bullying increasing on a daily basis at a growing rate there is a need to stop cyberbullying. To stop bullying one has to take certain measures or steps while dealing with things online so that he/she is prepared to be safeguarded against the bullies.
- Do not respond or retaliate
- Keep the evidence of cyber bullying
- Reach out for help
- Use technology
- keep your account safe & protected
- Be always mindful of what you post
UPSC Current Affairs: A routine matter or a punishment post? I Page – 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 2: Polity and governance
Sub Theme: Judiciary | UPSC
Judges Appointment – Article 124(2) and 217(1)
- Judges to the Supreme Court and High Court are appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal respectively under Article 124(2) and 217(1).
- Judges of Supreme Court shall hold office till the age of 65 years whereas Judges of High Courts shall hold office till the age of 62 years.
- However, the method and manner of their selection to higher judiciary has not been explicitly provided in the Constitution. Thus, the processfor appointment, elevation and transfer of Judges to higher judiciary has been a debatable issue.
- Government of India earlier passed The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-First Amendment) Bill, 2014to establish a National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) to replace the Collegium.
- However, a Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court declared NJAC as unconstitutional because of interference from the executive in the judicial appointments. This decision effectively revived the Collegium system.
What is a collegium?
- The Collegium System is one where the CJI and a forum of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court recommend appointment and transfer of judges of higher judiciary.
- The collegium system evolved through three different judgments which are collectively known as the Three Judges Cases.
- Now, recommendations of collegium have been made public on the website of Supreme Court including the reasons for appointment or transfer.
How Collegium came into being?
- Power to appoint Supreme Court judges rested primarily with the Executive. The practice was to appoint the senior most judge of the Supreme Court whenever a vacancy occurred by the Executive under Article 124 and 217.
- This move was criticized by Fourteenth Law Commission Report and suggested to widen the role of Chief Justice of India (CJI) in judicial appointments. However, the government did not act upon this recommendation and continued its practice.
Departing from the Process – (Empowered Executive) – (Understanding the Chronology)
- In 1973, the Union government departed from this practice and appointed Justice A.N. Ray as CJI who was fourth in order of seniority bypassing three senior judges of Supreme Court. The government was accused of tampering with the independence of judiciary. The three senior Judges resigned from their post in protest.
- Again in 1976, government appointed Justice Beg as CJI bypassing Justice Khanna who was senior to him.Thus, interference by executive in judicial appointments was cloaked in veils of politics and it started a disturbing trend in judicial appointments in India.
- Till 1976, India had witnessed emergency and implementation of 42nd amendment had casted a serious doubt on the ever growing power of executive in all spheres of democracy.
- In such an environment of growing executive influence, the collegium system evolved through three different judgments which are collectively known as the Three Judges Cases.
UPSC Current Affairs: Deliveries of S400 systems have begun: Russian official I Page – 01
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims and Mains: GS Paper 3: Indian National security
Sub Theme: Defence systems | UPSC
- S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. The missile system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre.
- S-400 layered defence system can intercept all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles up to the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.
- It can track 100 airborne targets, including super fighters such as the American built F-35, and engage six of them simultaneously.
- It is especially suited to take down strategic aerial platforms like bombers, mid-air refuellers, reconnaissance aircraft and Advanced Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
- Capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence.
- The S-400 defence system has been deployed in Syria in 2015 to guard Russian and Syrian naval and air assets. Russia has also stationed S-400 units in Crimea to strengthen its position in the annexed peninsula.