Factly articles for October 26rd,2020

14 min read

Climate financing adds to poor countries debt pile: Oxfam

News: Oxfam has released a report titled Climate finance shadow report 2020 – assessing progress towards the $100 billion commitment.

Facts:

  • Background: Developed countries had committed in 2009 to mobilise $100 billion every year by 2020 to help developing countries cut their carbon dioxide emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • What is the progress?
    • Developed countries have pledged around $59 billion in 2017-18.However, around $47 billion of the pledged amount was forwarded as loans.
    • Hence, money being pledged by developed countries to their developing counterparts as climate assistance was making them sink into ever-increasing debt.
  • What are the other takeaways from the report?
    • Only around a third of climate finance projects are estimated to take account of gender equality.
    • Only a fifth (20.5%) of climate financing went to Least Developed Countries(LDCs) and just 3% to Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
  • Recommendations:
    • Climate financing could be funded through a range of sources including redirecting some fossil-fuel subsidies which cost governments over $320 billion in 2019 alone.
    • Developed countries should scale-up grant-based financing for adaptation and reduce the share of climate financing provided in the form of loans.
    • Mobilise more Private, locally led and Gender responsive finance.
    • Increase Grants and Finance for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States(SIDS).

Explained: Yellow dust, which North Korea has warned could be carrying Covid-19

News: North Korean authorities have urged citizens to remain indoors to avoid contact with a mysterious cloud of ‘yellow dust’ blowing in from China which they have warned could bring Covid-19 with it.

Facts:

  • Yellow Dust (Asian Dust): It is a meteorological phenomenon during which sand from deserts in China and Mongolia are carried by high speed surface winds into both North and South Korea.
  • The sand particles tend to mix with other toxic substances such as industrial pollutants as a result of which the ‘yellow dust’ is known to cause a number of respiratory ailments.

Conservation centres in 5 states among host of ideas to protect vultures

News: National Board for Wildlife(NBWL) has approved an Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025.

Facts:

Key Highlights of the Plan:

  • Vulture Conservation centre: Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will get a vulture conservation and breeding centre each.
  • Vulture Safe zone: Establishment of at least one vulture-safe zone in each state for the conservation of the remnant populations in that state.
  • Rescue Centres: Establishment of four rescue centres, in Pinjore (Haryana), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Guwahati (Assam) and Hyderabad (Telangana). There are currently no dedicated rescue centres for treating vultures.
  • Toxic Drugs: A system to automatically remove a drug from veterinary use if it is found to be toxic to vultures with the help of the Drugs Controller General of India.
  • Vultures Census: Coordinated nation-wide vulture counting involving forest departments, the Bombay Natural History Society, research institutes, nonprofits and members of the public.This would be for getting a more accurate estimate of the size of vulture populations in the country.
  • Database on Threats to Vulture: A database on emerging threats to vulture conservation including collision and electrocution, unintentional poisoning.

Additional Facts:

  • Vultures in India: Out of 23 species of vultures in the world, nine are found in India. These include:
    • White rumped vulture (Critically Endangered)
    • Slender billed vulture (Critically Endangered)
    • Long billed vulture (Critically Endangered)
    • Red headed vulture (Critically Endangered)
    • Egyptian vulture (Endangered)
    • Himalayan Griffon (Near Threatened)
    • Cinereous vulture (Near Threatened)
    • Bearded vulture (Near Threatened)
    • Griffon Vulture (Least Concern).

Explained: What is Mexico’s Khadi Oaxaca which PM mentioned in Mann ki Baat

News: In his Mann ki Baat address, the Prime minister has made a reference to Mexico’s Khadi Oaxaca and told how khadi reached Mexico after a local resident became influenced by a film on Mahatma Gandhi.

Facts:

  • Khadi Oaxaca: It is a farm-to-garment collective which comprises around 400 families, which live and work on traditional farms and homesteads in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico.
  • Founded by: It has been founded by Mark Marcos Brown, an American living in Mexico and his wife, Kalindi Attar.
  • Method: It uses cotton produced and cultivated on the Oaxaca coast, and produces chemical-free clothing, relying on locally harvested plant-based dyes.

Study predicts massive habitat decline for the Himalayan brown bear by 2050 due to climate change

News: The Zoological Survey of India has released a study titled ‘Adaptive spatial planning of protected area network for conserving the Himalayan brown bear’.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • About the study: The study was carried out in the western Himalayas.It has predicted a 73% decline of habitat of Himalayan Brown Bear by the year 2050.
    • This decline will also impact 13 protected areas.Out of these 13 protected areas, eight will become completely uninhabitable by 2050.
  • Recommendations: The study has suggested adopting an adaptive spatial planning of protected area networks in the western Himalayas for conserving the Himalayan Brown Bear species.
    • Adaptive Spatial Planning: It refers to the process of conserving the existing landscape and augmenting the fragmented areas of the habitat of the species.

Additional Facts:

  • Himalayan brown bear: It is one of the largest carnivores in the highlands of Himalayas.
  • Habitat: It occupies the higher reaches of the Himalayas in remote, mountainous areas of Pakistan and India, in small and isolated populations and is extremely rare in many of its ranges.
  • IUCN: The brown bear as a species is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN.
    • However, the Himalayan Brown Bear as a subspecies is highly endangered and populations are dwindling.It is Endangered in the Himalayas and Critically Endangered in Hindu Kush region.

Prime minister launches Kisan Suryodaya Yojana In Gujarat

News: The Prime Minister has launched ”Kisan Suryodaya Yojana” in Gujarat.

Facts:

  • Kisan Suryodaya Yojana: It is aimed at providing day-time electricity to the farmers in the state of Gujarat for irrigation and farming purposes.

Additional Facts:

  • Girnar ropeway project: It is a ropeway on Mount Girnar in Junagadh district, Gujarat. It is being touted as the longest temple ropeway in Asia.

EU environment ministers strike deal on climate law, leave out 2030 target

News: European Union(EU) Environment Ministers have signed a deal that aims to make the EU’s 2050 net-zero emissions target legally binding on the states. However, they left a decision on a 2030 emissions-cutting target for leaders to discuss in December.

Facts:

  • Background: The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
  • What does the deal provide?
    • The deal will fix in law the EU target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and define the rules for reviewing progress towards climate targets.
    • The law will give the EU the legal possibility to act when those who make promises don’t deliver on the promises.

Additional Facts:

  • Net zero emissions: It refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
  • Zero Carbon law: It was passed by New Zealand with the aim to tackle climate change by setting a net-zero target for almost all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To maximise liquidity for MSMEs, govt may extend credit scheme deadline

News: The government plans to extend the deadline for Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSMEs beyond October 31 in case the targeted loan sanction amount of Rs 3 lakh crore is not achieved.

Facts:

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

  • Aim: To mitigate the economic distress being faced by about 45 lakh MSMEs by providing them additional funding of up to Rs 3 lakh crore in the form of a fully guaranteed emergency credit line. 
  • Eligibility: All MSME borrower accounts with outstanding credit of up to Rs.25 crore as on 29th February,2020 and with annual turnover of up to Rs.100 crore would be eligible for the scheme. They can get up to 20% fresh loans of their entire outstanding credit.
  • Guarantee: National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) will provide 100% guarantee against losses on loans advanced to eligible MSMEs and MUDRA borrowers.
  • Duration: The loan will be provided for four years with a moratorium of one year on the principal amount.
  • Interest Rates: The Interest rates under the Scheme are capped at 9.25% for banks and financial institutions and at 14% for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Additional Facts:

National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company(NCGTC):

  • It was set up in 2014 as a private limited company by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance under the Indian Companies Act,1956.
  • Purpose: To act as a common trustee company to manage and operate various credit guarantee trust funds.