South Africa recently signed an agreement to send dozens of cheetahs to India over the next decade in an effort to reintroduce the cats 70 years after Indian cheetahs went extinct (AP). Cheetahs used to be widespread in India, but became extinct there in the late 1940s because of hunting and loss of habitat.
Last Wednesday, India approved a $2.3 billion dollar incentive plan to support development of the green hydrogen sector (AP News, Reuters). The incentive plan aims to reduce India’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also positioning India as a “global hub” in the emerging green hydrogen industry.
Last week, the air quality index in New Delhi exceeded 470, which is over 10 times the global safety threshold and considered “severe” (AP News). In response, the Delhi government closed primary schools and factories, restricted diesel vehicles on the road, and advised children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations to stay indoors as much as possible.
Last week, India—the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide—announced it is preparing to submit official plans to the United Nations with updated emissions targets in September (Straits Times). This obligation under the Paris Agreement was supposed to be fulfilled before last November’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). India previously threatened to withhold its climate commitment until rich nations provided more financial help to poor countries.
On February 13, 22-year-old Indian climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested at her home in Bengaluru. Ravi is the co-founder of the Bengaluru chapter of Fridays for Future, an organization created by Greta Thunberg to promote youth climate activism. Delhi authorities have accused Ravi of sedition and criminal conspiracy (Time).
New Delhi, India, is facing its worst air pollution crisis in three years, prompting authorities to shut down schools and delay over 30 flights due to poor visibility. On November 1, New Delhi officials declared a public health emergency, halting construction projects, closing several thousand primary schools until November 5, and distributing five million face masks to schoolchildren.
India's western state of Gujarat has launched the world's first "cap and trading" program in an effort to combat particulate air pollution. The program is being launched in the city of Surat, where textile and dye factories are a major source of pollution. Under the program, the government will set a cap on emissions and allow the factories to trade permits among themselves to stay below the cap. The trading system is intended to incentivize factories to find new and inexpensive ways to reduce their emissions because they can sell any extra reductions to other factories.
On March 1, Pakistan announced plans to lodge a complaint against India at the United Nations (UN) that accuses India of "eco-terrorism" over air strikes that damaged pine trees. According to Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistan's climate change minister, Indian jets bombed a "forest reserve" on February 26 near the northern Pakistani town of Balakot and caused significant environmental damage. Pakistan is undertaking an environmental impact assessment that will be the basis for its complaint at the UN and other forums.