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My notes 12-06-2015

Climate change

Getting the climate story right

Date - June 12, 2015

  1. In the upcoming climate change talks , India shall reinforce its developmental needs along with pledging to bend the emission curve downwards.
  2. The issues related to climate change are mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, finances
  3. In mitigation - after Kyoto protocol, global nations did not reach any binding agreements and finally self-determination of national contributions became an approach.
  4. Already, EU announced its intentions to reduce GHG emissions by 40% on 1990 levels by by 2030.
  5. US is promising a 26-28% reductions on 2005 levels by 2025.
  6. China is not yet came on its contributions.
  7. In this context, India historically did not contribute to climate change and it shall have the right to use the available carbon space for its developmental needs, The percapita emission are 1/3 of global average and 1/6 th of emerging economies too. In this context, how India has to submit its list of contributions is a major challenge.
  8. At Copenhagen, India already made a commitment to reduce carbon  intensity by 20-25% below 2005 levels by 2020. It can be raised to another 15% by 2030.
  9. Further, India should amplify its co benefit approach. That is, pursuing actions that achieve sustainable development while contributing to mitigation.
  10. Development of sector by sector specific assessment of co benefits.


Terms to understand - carbon intensity , co-benefits


Carbon intensity -

 the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced to gross domestic product (GDP).


From <>




Co-benefits are the added benefits we get when we act to control climate change, above and beyond the direct benefits of a more stable climate. They are sometimes referred to as "multiple benefits" or "synergies". They do not include the direct benefits of climate policy arising from a more stable climate.

One of the most obvious examples is cleaner air. There is a big synergy here, because fossil fuels are not only the main source of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, but also the main source of air pollution worldwide. Tackling climate change by burning less coal, oil and gas will have the extra benefit of cutting emissions of soot, acidic gases, ozone-forming gases and toxic compounds that cause heart and lung diseases and cancer, killing millions of people around the world each year.




Appointment of CVC and CIC


  1. Ina  democracy process is equally important as the outcomes of the process.
  2. Recently, PMO decided to take away the financial autonomy to CIC , which can undermine seriously the independence of its functioning.
  3. Among the 130 applicants to CVC post, how it finalised the names need to be made public to increase the institutional credibility.
  4. The Governments level of engagement with institutions forms the life and breath of Indian democracy. It ultimately the institutional capacities and governmental intentions that determine the progress.


Brick and mortar of foreign policy

  1. No government can achieve its goals and objectives without institutional capacities to take them forward. The NDA Government has an ambitious foreign policy ahead and lack of necessary foreign policy architecture makes it an empty sound.  The following are the major institutional challenges that need to be addressed.
  2. Human resources - The IFS, premier service that conducts our diplomacy is grossly understaffed, involved with routine work.
  3. Generalist in nature- The IFS is a generalist service and their capacities to handle highly specialized issues such as climate change, economic diplomacy, trade pacts is limited.  It suffers from lack of in-depth understanding, intellectual agility and ability to innovate.
  4. Coordination - Ifs functions in silo enclaves and do not have any inter departmental postings. In a contemporary world diplomacy shall involve coordination, engagement and understanding of all the departments.
  5. Policy planning - No specialised institutional strengths exists for specialised long term strategic planning. It is bringing adhocism in functioning and reactive rather than proactive policies.


  1. Improving the strength of our diplomatic corps.
  2. Bringing in specialist services through an alternative route - either on contract basis
  3. Creation of a think tank and strengthening of policy planning in MEA
  4. Achieving inter-ministerial coordination through deputations and other mechanisms.


Governance - any question in general - Improving the functions of department this helps.






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