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.
In Mumbai, municipal authorities have criminalized the use of plastic bags with fines of up to $US 366 and jail sentences for repeat offenders. India has a low consumption of plastic compared with Western countries, but the ban has potential to reduce the 26,000 tons of plastic waste that is produced daily in the country. Authorities have already collected $US 5000 in fines from 87 shops since the ban was enforced. The city's residents and businesses were given a three-month period beginning in March to phase out their use of plastic bags and find sustainable alternatives instead.
On April 11, an Indian court ruled that Monsanto cannot claim patents on genetically modified cotton seeds in India. Since Indian law excludes seeds from patenting, Monsanto was not permitted to claim patents and charge royalties. More than 90% of India’s cotton crops are genetically modified, making this ruling financially devastating for Monsanto.
To bring pollution levels down in and around New Dehli, India approved a two-year plan targeting agricultural mechanization to reduce crop residue burning. Burned crop stubble is a significant source of pollution in New Delhi, accounting for one-quarter of the capital’s air pollution last November. This plan may respond to some of the criticisms the New Delhi government received regarding the city’s air quality; Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described New Delhi as a “gas chamber.” Last November, United Airlines suspended flights to New Delhi because of the pollution.
Due to export regulations in South Africa and its own domestic regulations, India is faced with a critical shortage of tranquilizers for managing its rhinoceros population. Conservationists rely on Etorphine HCI to tranquilize rhinos for veterinary care and translocation. The lack of the drug is holding up translocation plans in several areas and preventing veterinarians from caring for injured animals. For the full story see https://news.mongabay.com/2017/11/a-tranquilizer-shortage-is-holding-ba…