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The Hindu EDITORIAL

3-April-2024

1. Poll campaigns in India must reflect climate issues

Topic: GS2 – Governance, GS3 – Environment – Environmental pollution and degradation

The topic is crucial for UPSC as it covers climate change, international agreements, mitigation efforts, and their political implications.

Context
●   The article discusses the alarming findings of the World Meteorological Organization’s report on rising global temperatures and the urgency for collective action to address climate change.

 Introduction:

  • The State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) highlights alarming findings regarding rising global temperatures and their impacts.

Key Findings of the WMO Report:

  • 2023 marked the hottest year on record, with a temperature rise of 1.45 °C from pre-industrial levels, nearing the 1.5 °C limit.
  • Records were broken in various aspects like ocean temperature rise, glacier retreat, and diminishing Antarctic ice cover.
  • Increased sea levels and frequency of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, torrential rains, and tropical cyclones have been observed.

Impact of Climate Change and Mitigatory Steps:

  • Industrial progress since the 18th century has improved quality of life but also led to adverse environmental impacts.
  • The use of fossil fuels has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent global temperature rise.
  • The Paris Agreement aims to limit temperature rise to below 2 °C, with efforts to achieve 1.5 °C, leading to initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, including renewable energy projects like India’s National Solar Mission and Green Hydrogen Mission.

Assessment of Mitigation Efforts:

  • Despite global efforts, questions arise about the adequacy and timeliness of actions taken to address climate change.
  • The WMO report prompts reflection on whether commitments to reduce emissions have been sufficient to tackle the climate crisis effectively.

Opportunity in Election Season:

  • The timing of the WMO report during election seasons presents an opportunity for political parties to prioritize climate change in their agendas.
  • Political parties should commit to enhancing public awareness and taking clear steps to reduce global warming.
  • Voters expect parties to address climate change in their platforms, considering the broader public interest and India’s global leadership role.

Conclusion:

  • The State of the Global Climate report underscores the urgent need for collective action to mitigate climate change.
  • Political parties must prioritize climate change in their agendas and commit to concrete steps to address the crisis effectively.
 Findings of The State of the Global Climate report 2023:

Greenhouse gas concentrations soared in 2022: CO2, CH4, N2O levels reached record highs, exceeding pre-industrial levels by 150%, 264%, and 124% respectively.

● Global mean temperature in 2023 spiked to 1.45 ± 0.12 °C above the 1850–1900 average, marking the warmest year in the 174-year record.

Ocean heat content surged to its highest level in the 65-year observational record, with warming rates displaying a pronounced increase.

● Global sea level continued its upward trend, with the rate of rise doubling since 1993-2002.

● Marine heatwaves intensified globally, notably in the North Atlantic, where persistent and severe events occurred.

● Ocean acidification worsened, with pH levels dropping to the lowest seen in at least 26,000 years.

● Arctic sea-ice extent remained below normal, reaching the sixth lowest minimum in the satellite record.

Antarctic sea-ice extent plummeted to a record low of 1.79 million km² on February 21, 2023, with the annual maximum also notably below average.

● Greenland Ice Sheet experienced a negative mass balance of approximately 217 Gt, while the Antarctic Ice Sheet gained 122 Gt.

●  Global glaciers faced substantial ice loss, especially in western North America and Europe.

Northern Hemisphere snow cover continued its long-term decline, with record lows observed in North America in May 2023.

Renewable energy capacity additions surged by almost 50%, marking the highest growth in two decades.

● El Niño conditions emerged by September 2023, following the end of a multi-year La Niña event, contributing to global temperature rise.

● Despite the success of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone hole persisted, with 2023 seeing its sixth-largest size.

PYQ: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one metre by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Practice Question:  What are the key challenges and measures to address climate change, considering international agreements and political commitments? (250 Words /15 marks)

2. People are losing control over phones

Topic: GS2 – Governance.

This topic is relevant for UPSC as it touches on technology regulation, antitrust issues, and the impact on consumers.

Context
●  This article discusses the evolution of the Internet, the rise of mobile apps, and the ongoing battle between businesses and app store gatekeepers over control and revenue sharing.

 Evolution of the Internet:

  • The Internet was designed to operate in a distributed manner, empowering individual machines to determine service connections without centralized control.
  • Services like emails, websites, and chats flourished, fostering information sharing and e-commerce due to the Internet’s decentralized nature.
  • Yahoo initially provided website directories, but the proliferation of sites led to the rise of Google’s search engine for efficient navigation.

Rise of Mobile Devices:

  • With the advent of mobile devices, particularly the iPhone, website optimization for handheld screens became imperative.
  • Apple’s App Store, launched in 2008, facilitated the distribution of third-party native apps, offering enhanced user experiences.
  • However, native apps posed security risks due to direct machine access, prompting Google’s Native Client sandbox initiative in 2009.

Web Standards vs. Native Apps:

  • While native apps offered immersive experiences, they raised concerns about security and user privacy, contrasting with the safer environment provided by web standards.
  • Despite the security benefits of web browsers and JavaScript, businesses favored native apps for greater control and user engagement.
  • The app store model introduced app taxes, prompting backlash from businesses and anti-trust cases against dominant players like Google and Apple.

Ongoing Battle:

  • Anti-trust litigation and disputes over app store policies highlight the ongoing struggle between businesses and app store gatekeepers.
  • Despite legal challenges, app stores remain reluctant to relinquish revenue from app taxes, fueling demands for alternatives such as Indian app stores.
  • However, users are urged to reconsider the drawbacks of native apps, recognizing the dominance of Apple and Google in the app ecosystem.

Conclusion:

  • The evolution of the Internet from decentralised connectivity to centralized app ecosystems has sparked debates over security, control, and revenue sharing.
  • While native apps offer immersive experiences, they come with inherent risks and dependencies on app store gatekeepers.
  • Ultimately, users must weigh the trade-offs between convenience and security, recognizing the dominance of app store giants in shaping the digital landscape.
Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of app store regulations and antitrust measures on the digital ecosystem, with a focus on consumer protection.  (150 Words /10 marks)

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