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Daily Current Affairs

14-December-2023

1. Revised criminal reform Bills in Parliament: What has changed, and why

Topic: GS2 – Polity

This topic is relevant for both UPSC Prelims and Mains in the context of current affairs, legal reforms, and constitutional amendments

Context:
  • With the withdrawal of their previous forms, the Centre introduced three amended criminal reform bills in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
  • The measures, which were first presented on August 11 by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, sought to replace important statutes like the Indian Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Penal Code.
  • A standing committee led by BJP MP Brij Lal was tasked with reviewing the original Bills and made a number of recommendations for revisions. The administration then reintroduced the Bills during the Winter Session.

Handcuffs Provision:

  • The use of handcuffs, which are allowed under Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Clause 43(3) to keep accused people from escaping, came under investigation.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended that this legislation only apply to serious crimes such as murder and rape, leaving out “economic offences” because of their wide range of offences.
  • This recommendation was included in the amended Bill, which stressed the use of handcuffs at the discretion of the user and extended its use to anyone appearing in court.

Mercy Petitions:

  • Clause 473(1) of the previous BNSS permitted death row inmates to ask for compassion.
  • The group suggested creating a quasi-judicial board to manage remission and commutation and suggested a deadline for considering requests for compassion.
  • The amended Bill, renumbered as Clause 472, expanded the range of unappealable directives, clarified the procedure, and removed the clause for mercy petitions to be sent to the Home Department.

Preventive Detention Powers:

  • The BNSS’s clause 172(2) gave police further authority to take preventive action, including the right to hold or remove anyone who disobeyed orders.
  • The committee recommended making unclear terminology clear and defining the duration of such detentions.
  • According to the amended Bill, a person in custody may be brought before a magistrate and, in minor circumstances, freed in less than a day.
  • For clarity, “Magistrate” has been used in place of “judicial magistrate.”
More about Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS)
  • The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill seeks to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of the victims, witnesses and accused persons in the criminal justice process.
  • It provides for speedy and fair trials, effective investigation and prosecution, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, victim compensation and rehabilitation schemes, witness protection programmes, etc.

Conclusion:

  • The Centre responded to recommendations from the standing committee by introducing amended criminal reform bills.
  • Handcuffs, mercy pleas, and the authority to use preventative detention are among the clauses that have changed, indicating an attempt to allay worries and make the proposed legal system more equitable and transparent.
  • The continual process of improving and refining India’s criminal justice system is symbolised by these revisions.
 
Question: Critically analyze the proposed amendments in the criminal reform Bills introduced by the Centre, with a focus on the changes related to the use of handcuffs, mercy petitions, and preventive detention powers.

2. Navigating Ambiguities: COP28's Climate Agreements and the Quest for Decisive Action

Topic: GS3 – Environment This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in the context of climate action.
Context:
  • A historic recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels, a pledge to cut methane emissions, the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, and an agreement on global adaptation goals were among the major achievements of the COP28 climate meeting.
  • Despite these successes, COP28, like its predecessors, did not live up to expectations, especially when it came to energising swift and bold climate action.
 Expectations at COP28:
  • It was thought that COP28 would be the last, if not the most important, chance to make sure that international efforts support the objective of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • The main item on the agenda was the Global Stocktake (GST), an evaluation required by the Paris Agreement to gauge global climate change mitigation efforts and pinpoint needed next steps.
  • Given that 2023 has already been declared the hottest year on record, it was anticipated that COP28 will inspire even more aggressive climate action, particularly from now until 2030.
Outcomes and Disappointments:
  • Although COP28 accomplished several significant goals, it fell short of speeding up immediate climate action.
  • The phase-out of fossil fuels was the most divisive topic, leading to an ambiguous request that nations assist in moving away from fossil fuels without establishing precise timelines or goals.
  • One encouraging result was the tripling of renewable energy capacity, which will help reduce emissions even more by 2030.
  • Concerns were expressed, nevertheless, because it was unclear how this doubling would be guaranteed.
Specific Agreements:
  • Fossil Fuel Phase-out: Certain countries expressed dissatisfaction with the deal because it did not include particular timelines or targets, but instead advocated for a shift away from fossil fuels and towards net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Renewable Energy and Efficiency: In order to potentially prevent significant carbon emissions by 2030, COP28 advised nations to double annual gains in energy efficiency and triple the amount of renewable energy installed globally. But the goal’s worldwide scope begs concerns about how it will be carried out.
  • Coal Phase-down: Due to the Glasgow summit in 2021, coal was given special attention; nonetheless, there were no guidelines or benchmarks for the phase-down, and the contentious idea of requiring carbon capture and storage facilities for newly constructed coal-fired power stations was abandoned.
  • Methane Emission Cuts: Given methane’s ability to cause global warming, the pact sought to significantly reduce methane emissions by 2030. But the absence of clear objectives and criticism from nations like India created questions.
  • Loss and Damage Fund: During COP28, the Loss and Damage Fund was put into operation. Approximately US$ 800 million was committed by many governments to support vulnerable countries in their efforts to recover from climate-related disasters.
  • Global Goal on Adaptation: The adoption of a global adaptation framework by COP28, which established shared objectives, was a significant step forward for developing nations. But there are currently no funding provisions in the framework, so it will need to be strengthened in the future.
What is COP 28’s theme and agenda?
  • The main objective of Cop every year is to review and assess the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) terms, the Paris Agreement, and the Kyoto Protocol. The latter is a binding treaty agreed in 1997 for industrialised nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • At Cop28, member states negotiate while also facing their first Global Stocktake (GST). This refers to a scorecard that analyses countries’ progress towards the Paris Agreement, with the goal of sparking actionable objectives for climate action plans due in 2025. 
Conclusion:
  • Even though COP28 produced important acknowledgments and agreements that represented progress, it was unable to provide the swift acceleration of climate action that is desperately needed to confront the global climate crisis, which has raised doubts about the world’s ability to stay below the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold.
  • The results highlight the difficulties in putting significant and prompt solutions to climate change into practice, especially with regard to precise targets and rapid actions.
  • In order to achieve a more comprehensive and effective global climate policy, countries will need to keep improving and fortifying these agreements in the years to come.
PYQ: Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference?  (250 Words) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2021)
Question: Examine the main conclusions of COP28, paying particular attention to the agreements on the phase-out of fossil fuels, targets for renewable energy, and objectives for global adaptation.

3. Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Adopts New Delhi Declaration

Topic: GS3- Science and Tech, GS2- IR This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in the context of global governance, ethical considerations, and the role of emerging technologies in diplomacy and international relations. 
Context:
  • The New Delhi Declaration, which emphasises the need to address dangers connected with the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, was unanimously accepted by the GPAI, which is made up of 29 member countries.
  • The proclamation emphasises how crucial it is to support fair access to the computational power and varied datasets that are essential for AI progress.
  Key Concerns and Acknowledgments:
  • The statement raises issues including disinformation, unemployment, a lack of transparency and justice, the preservation of intellectual property and personal data, dangers to human rights, and democratic values—all while embracing the economic possibilities of advanced AI systems.
  • It backs India’s goal to promote cooperative AI for a worldwide alliance among GPAI members in its capacity as Lead Chair for 2024.
India’s Significance and Collaborative Approach:
  • The proclamation is in line with India’s cooperative approach to developing AI systems, which emphasises the significance of fair access to vital resources.
  • India’s ambitions to create a self-sufficient AI system to challenge the dominance of a few international businesses are seen to benefit from access to computing capacity from GPAI member nations.

Democratic Values and Human Rights:

  • The proclamation asks for an international AI framework based on human rights and democratic principles.
  • It places a strong emphasis on protecting human dignity, protecting personal data, intellectual property rights, privacy, security, and innovation.
  • It also encourages the trustworthy, responsible, sustainable, and human-centered application of AI.

GPAI’s Global Risk-Based Approach:

  • GPAI seeks to implement a worldwide risk-based approach to AI.
  • It is spearheaded by the democratic world and comprises nations including the US, UK, France, Japan, and Canada.
  • Notably, this global coalition does not include China, a significant tech powerhouse.

Addressing Contemporary AI Issues:

  • GPAI members are dedicated to taking a leading part in solving current AI problems, such as generative AI platforms like Google Bard and ChatGPT.
  • The proclamation places a strong emphasis on applied AI initiatives that try to solve societal issues, maximise advantages, and reduce related risks.

Thematic Priority: AI Innovation in Agriculture:

  • For GPAI members, agriculture becomes a new thematic goal, with an emphasis on AI innovation in the agricultural industry.
  • In order to guarantee resilient agricultural practices and sustainable food production systems, the declaration emphasises the significance of encouraging risk-proportionate reliable AI applications.

Diverse Membership and Steering Committee Expansion:

  • Members of GPAI pledge to pursue a diverse membership, emphasising low- and middle-income nations in particular, to guarantee a wide range of experiences and knowledge founded on common principles.
  • Senegal is promoted to the GPAI steering committee, demonstrating the organization’s dedication to diversified representation.
 
More about GPAI
·      The goal of the multinational, multi-stakeholder Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence is to promote the ethical, human-centered development and application of AI. ·      To be more precise, GPAI brings together top specialists from academia, business, government, and civil society to “bridge the gap between theory and practice” through practical AI initiatives and projects. The objective is to lessen government red tape, promote international cooperation, and serve as a global hub for talks about responsible AI. ·      GPAI was formally introduced in 2020 with fifteen founding members, including The Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, and European Union. ·      It was first announced during the margins of the 2018 G7 Summit. ·      The US, the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and Singapore are among the twenty-five nations that make up GPAI’s membership today. India became a founder member of the organisation in 2020.  
  Conclusion:
  • The New Delhi Declaration represents an international commitment to working together, grounded in democratic principles and providing equal access to vital resources, to eliminate obstacles and optimise the advantages of artificial intelligence.
PYQ: Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does Al help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of Al in healthcare? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Question: Evaluate the significance of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and the adoption of the New Delhi Declaration in the context of international collaboration on artificial intelligence governance.

4. Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Adopts New Delhi Declaration

Topic: GS3- Science and Tech, GS2- IR This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in the context of global governance, ethical considerations, and the role of emerging technologies in diplomacy and international relations. 
Context:
  • The New Delhi Declaration, which emphasises the need to address dangers connected with the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, was unanimously accepted by the GPAI, which is made up of 29 member countries.
  • The proclamation emphasises how crucial it is to support fair access to the computational power and varied datasets that are essential for AI progress.
  Key Concerns and Acknowledgments:
  • The statement raises issues including disinformation, unemployment, a lack of transparency and justice, the preservation of intellectual property and personal data, dangers to human rights, and democratic values—all while embracing the economic possibilities of advanced AI systems.
  • It backs India’s goal to promote cooperative AI for a worldwide alliance among GPAI members in its capacity as Lead Chair for 2024.
India’s Significance and Collaborative Approach:
  • The proclamation is in line with India’s cooperative approach to developing AI systems, which emphasises the significance of fair access to vital resources.
  • India’s ambitions to create a self-sufficient AI system to challenge the dominance of a few international businesses are seen to benefit from access to computing capacity from GPAI member nations.

Democratic Values and Human Rights:

  • The proclamation asks for an international AI framework based on human rights and democratic principles.
  • It places a strong emphasis on protecting human dignity, protecting personal data, intellectual property rights, privacy, security, and innovation.
  • It also encourages the trustworthy, responsible, sustainable, and human-centered application of AI.

GPAI’s Global Risk-Based Approach:

  • GPAI seeks to implement a worldwide risk-based approach to AI.
  • It is spearheaded by the democratic world and comprises nations including the US, UK, France, Japan, and Canada.
  • Notably, this global coalition does not include China, a significant tech powerhouse.

Addressing Contemporary AI Issues:

  • GPAI members are dedicated to taking a leading part in solving current AI problems, such as generative AI platforms like Google Bard and ChatGPT.
  • The proclamation places a strong emphasis on applied AI initiatives that try to solve societal issues, maximise advantages, and reduce related risks.

Thematic Priority: AI Innovation in Agriculture:

  • For GPAI members, agriculture becomes a new thematic goal, with an emphasis on AI innovation in the agricultural industry.
  • In order to guarantee resilient agricultural practices and sustainable food production systems, the declaration emphasises the significance of encouraging risk-proportionate reliable AI applications.

Diverse Membership and Steering Committee Expansion:

  • Members of GPAI pledge to pursue a diverse membership, emphasising low- and middle-income nations in particular, to guarantee a wide range of experiences and knowledge founded on common principles.
  • Senegal is promoted to the GPAI steering committee, demonstrating the organization’s dedication to diversified representation.
 
More about GPAI
·      The goal of the multinational, multi-stakeholder Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence is to promote the ethical, human-centered development and application of AI. ·      To be more precise, GPAI brings together top specialists from academia, business, government, and civil society to “bridge the gap between theory and practice” through practical AI initiatives and projects. The objective is to lessen government red tape, promote international cooperation, and serve as a global hub for talks about responsible AI. ·      GPAI was formally introduced in 2020 with fifteen founding members, including The Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, and European Union. ·      It was first announced during the margins of the 2018 G7 Summit. ·      The US, the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and Singapore are among the twenty-five nations that make up GPAI’s membership today. India became a founder member of the organisation in 2020.  
  Conclusion:
  • The New Delhi Declaration represents an international commitment to working together, grounded in democratic principles and providing equal access to vital resources, to eliminate obstacles and optimise the advantages of artificial intelligence.
PYQ: Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does Al help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of Al in healthcare? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Question: Evaluate the significance of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and the adoption of the New Delhi Declaration in the context of international collaboration on artificial intelligence governance.

5) Rajya Sabha clears Central Universities Bill, repealing of 76 redundant and obsolete laws

Topic: GS2- Polity This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in the context of bills, their objectives, and the discussions in the Rajya Sabha.
Context:
  • The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was adopted by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote, following the Lok Sabha’s approval the week before.
Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023:
  • By a voice vote, the Rajya Sabha likewise approved the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023, in accordance with the Lok Sabha’s July approval.
  • This proposal seeks to repeal 76 unnecessary and out-of-date laws, such as the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950 and the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act of 1885.
  • Additionally, the Bill aims to undo a few previously enacted Appropriations Acts by Parliament.
Establishment of Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University:
  • The Rajya Sabha also approved a law that will facilitate the founding of the Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University in Telangana, in addition to the bills already mentioned.
  • By providing research and teaching resources on tribal arts, culture, customs, and technological innovations to India’s tribal community, the law aims to improve access to and the calibre of higher education.

Repealing Defunct Laws and Government’s Approach:

  • During the discussion, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal emphasised the government’s resolve to get rid of outdated legislation in order to make life easier for everyone.
  • He emphasised that the present bill adds 76 additional laws to the 1,486 laws that the Modi government repealed in 2014, making a total of 1,562 laws voided since 2014.
  • Meghwal responded to a request that all bills include a sunset provision by acknowledging that the administration is considering such a clause, reaffirming the government’s adherence to the motto “minimum government, maximum governance.”
More about The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023
  • The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is a piece of legislation that seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009.
  • The Central Universities Act 2009 was enacted to establish and incorporate universities for teaching and research in various states across India.
  • The amendment proposed by this bill specifically aims to establish a new Central Tribal University in Telangana.
  • The Central Tribal University will be named ‘Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University.’ This indicates a focus on tribal communities in the region.
  • The primary objective of the bill is to provide avenues for higher education and research facilities, particularly catering to the tribal population of India. This aligns with the broader goal of improving educational opportunities and outcomes for marginalized communities.
 
Question: Assess the significance of The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023, in the context of legislative reforms in India. Analyze the objectives, implications, and potential challenges associated with these bills.
 

6. COP-28 calls for ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels.

Topic: GS3 – Climate Action. 
Context:
  • Negotiators in Dubai adopted the Dubai Consensus, a resolution emphasizing a global transition away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050.
  • The compromise language replaces earlier drafts calling for a “phase-out.” Scientifically crucial, this aims to limit temperature rise.
  • Emission reduction targets face challenges with a tight timeline.
  • Developed-developing nation responsibilities are highlighted.
Dubai Consensus Adoption:
  • Negotiators in Dubai adopted a resolution known as the Dubai Consensus, representing a step towards reducing global reliance on fossil fuels.
Key Clause in the Resolution:
  • The 21-page text emphasizes the need for parties to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems.
  • The goal is to achieve net zero by 2050 in a just, orderly, and equitable manner, aligning with scientific recommendations.
Dilution of Language:
  • The term “transitioning” replaces earlier drafts that called for a more explicit “phase-out” of all fossil fuels, indicating a compromise in the language used.
Importance of Net Zero by 2050:
  • Scientific assessments, particularly by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggest that achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is crucial for preventing a temperature increase beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Emission Reduction Targets:
  • The implication of the resolution involves cutting emissions to 43% of 2019 levels by 2030 and 60% by 2035.
  • Meeting these targets is challenging, given the limited time frame, with only seven years remaining for the first target, while emissions continue to rise annually.
Compromise Reflecting Global Responsibilities:
  • The consensus text signifies a compromise between developed and developing nations regarding actions to address greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It emphasizes proportional contributions based on countries’ historic responsibility for the climate crisis. 
PYQ:    Discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with mobilizing private finance for climate action in developing countries. (150 words) 2022 UPSC Mains
Question: In light of the Dubai Consensus, discuss the challenges and compromises in global efforts toward a fossil fuel-free future.

7. Centre tables Bill to push deadline for regularising illegal colonies in Capital.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity – Indian Parliament 
Context:
  • The Union government introduces a bill to extend the validity of a Central Act for three years, recognizing unauthorized colonies and addressing slum dwellers’ relocation in Delhi.
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023, aims to accommodate the time needed for handling unauthorized developments and implementing development control norms.
  • Critics accuse the Government of extending deadlines without addressing the issue comprehensively.
Government Initiative:
  • The Union government introduced a bill to extend the validity of a Central Act by three years, recognizing unauthorized colonies and addressing slum dwellers’ relocation.
Legislation Details:
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023, seeks an extension from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026.
Objectives of the Bill:
  • The extension is deemed necessary due to the extended time required to address unauthorized developments in Delhi.
  • Development control norms for unauthorized colonies were notified in March 2022, and the Master Plan for Delhi-2041 is finalizing measures for unauthorized developments.
Previous Extension:
  • The Act’s validity has been extended multiple times, with the current extension valid until the end of the year.
Background:
  • In 2021, the Centre replaced the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, aiming to regularize unauthorized colonies and address slum dwellers’ relocation.

8. Centre nudging us towards financial crisis, says Kerala.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity – Fiscal federalism This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in the context of Devolution of powers and finances in Centre-State Relation.
Context:
  • Kerala has filed a suit in the Supreme Court, accusing the Centre of violating federal governance principles by interfering with the state’s finances.
  • The state contends that recent actions, including imposing a Net Borrowing Ceiling, are causing severe economic damage.
  • Kerala cites a cumulative resource deficiency of ₹1,07,513.09 crores over 2016-2023.
Challenges to Fiscal Federalism in India:
  • Vertical Imbalances:The central government collects more revenue than it spends, while states face resource constraints. This limits their ability to address local priorities.
  • Horizontal Imbalances:Wealthier states like Maharashtra outperform poorer ones like Bihar, widening regional inequalities despite transfer mechanisms like Finance Commission grants.
  • GST Implementation Issues:The Goods and Services Tax (GST), while aiming to streamline tax systems, has raised concerns about its impact on smaller states and administrative complexity.
  • Erosion of State Autonomy:Increased central control over fiscal decisions through tools like centrally sponsored schemes and cess levies can undermine state autonomy and decision-making power.
  • Ineffective Transfers:Ensuring efficient and timely transfer of resources from the center to states remains a challenge, leading to delays and potential misuse of funds.
Way Forward:
  • Fiscal Discipline:Encourage responsible budgeting and spending practices at all levels of government to maximize resource utilization.
  • Inter-State Cooperation:Foster collaboration among states to share best practices, leverage economies of scale, and address regional disparities.
  • Effective Decentralization:Empower states with greater decision-making authority and resources to manage their finances and development priorities.
  • GST Refinement:Continuously refine the GST system to address concerns of smaller states and ensure its streamlined implementation.
  • Transparency and Accountability:Enhance transparency in resource allocation and utilization to build trust and combat potential misuse of funds.
  • Strengthen Finance Commission:Empower the Finance Commission to play a more active role in addressing fiscal imbalances and ensuring equitable distribution of resources.
  • Focus on Outcomes: Shift the focus from mere spending to achieving measurable outcomes in areas like health,education, and infrastructure. 
PYQ: Critically examine the factors that contribute to fiscal imbalances in India and suggest measures to address them. 2022 UPSC Mains

9. India welcomes Dubai consensus even as new flanks open.

Topic: GS3 – climate action.
Context:
  • Global consensus at Dubai for fossil fuel transition.
  • India supports but expects future challenges. Stresses historical emissions and developing status. Commits to renewables while protesting coal singling.
  • Dubai introduces methane focus; concerns arise over gas reliance labeled as a “transition fuel” in renewable energy shift.
    Additional information on this news:
  • Global consensus at Dubai for transitioning away from fossil fuels
  • India welcomes the agreement but potential future opposition anticipated
  • Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav supports COP decision document
  • India historically emitted 3% greenhouse gases (1850-2019), emphasizing its developing country status
  • India, third-largest emitter, committed to expanding solar and wind energy, aiming for net zero by 2070
  • At Glasgow COP 2021, India agreed to ‘phase-down’ coal use amid global pressure
  • India protests singling out of coal, emphasizes silence on expanded oil and gas use by other countries
  • Dubai Consensus includes mention of methane for the first time, with focus on its heat-trapping effect
  • Nearly 75% of India’s methane emissions from agriculture; potential future contention on differentiation
  • Consensus designates natural gas as a “transition gas” during the shift to renewable energy
  • Concerns raised that the reference to “transitional fuels” may encourage reliance on gas instead of investing in renewables.

10. ‘New Delhi Declaration’ on artificial intelligence adopted.

Topic: GS3 – Science and technology – Indian government policies. 
Context:
  • Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) summit in New Delhi adopts the “New Delhi Declaration,” committing to responsible AI rooted in democratic values.
  • India to chair GPAI in 2024, emphasizing inclusivity for AI benefits globally. Focus on addressing concerns like misinformation, unemployment, and transparency.
 Additional information on this news:
  • “New Delhi Declaration” adopted by representatives from 28 countries and the EU at the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) summit hosted by India.
  • India to chair GPAI in 2024; commitment to responsible and human-centered AI.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the summit; previous summit held in Japan.
  • GPAI aims for trustworthy AI development, deployment, and use globally.
  • Declaration emphasizes inclusivity, involving countries in the Global South for AI benefits.
  • Focus on addressing concerns: misinformation, unemployment, transparency, intellectual property, and threats to human rights.
  • Commitment to pooling OECD resources for optimal AI deployment and governance solutions.
  • Calls for inclusivity to encourage more developing countries to join GPAI.

11. The limitations of CCS and CDR and their grip on future climate

Topic: GS3 – climate action. 
Context:
  • Draft decisions at COP28 focus on carbon emissions abatement and removal using CCS and CDR technologies.
  • Contention arises over the meaning of “abatement” in the context of these technologies.
 Understanding CCS and CDR: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS):
  • Technologies capturing CO₂ at emission sources like fossil fuel and industrial processes.
  • Aims to prevent CO₂ release into the atmosphere.
Carbon-Dioxide Removal (CDR):
  • Involves natural means (afforestation, reforestation) and technologies like direct air capture.
  • Addresses concerns around misinformation, unemployment, transparency, intellectual property, and human rights.
Scale and Concerns:
  • IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) relies on CDR for limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
  • Challenges regarding the scale at which CCS and CDR are expected to succeed.
  • Emission scenarios suggest sequestering 5 billion tonnes of CO₂ by 2040, exceeding India’s current annual emissions.
CCS Effectiveness and Challenges:
  • Effective CCS applications require a capture rate of 90-95%, permanent storage, and minimal methane emissions leakage.
  • In the real world, natural CDR often added to existing emissions, raising concerns about mitigation burden shifting.
CDR Land Constraints and Equity Concerns:
  • CDR methods, such as afforestation and direct air capture, constrained by land requirements.
  • Equity concerns arise over land use in the Global South for large-scale CDR projects, impacting indigenous communities and biodiversity.
Pitfalls of CCS and CDR:
  • Concerns that CCS and CDR might create more room for emissions.
  • IPCC scenarios show the need for reduced coal, oil, and gas use, but without CCS, reductions become more challenging.
  • Higher use of CCS and CDR may lead to emissions pathways with a higher contribution from gas.
Conclusion:
  • The next decade is crucial for determining viable and scalable CDR methods.
  • Questions about funding and global cooperation for large-scale CDR efforts.
  • Pitfalls include potential emissions rebound and concerns about land use equity.
 

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