GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Worlds First Negative Emissions Plant Starts Operations In Iceland, Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Stone.

Background-

  • A Swiss company started to extract carbon dioxide from thin air in Iceland on 12th October, 2017, seeking to transform the gas into rock far below ground in a first test of a costly technology meant to slow climate change.
  • The engineering experiment, by Swiss firm Climeworks with Reykjavik Energy, will cost hundreds of dollars to extract each ton of greenhouse gases from nature and entomb it permanently underground.
  • Climeworks plans to suck 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over a year – roughly the greenhouse gas emissions of a single American family – using special fans and chemicals in the European Union-backed project.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The gas will be dissolved in water and piped about 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) underground, where Reykjavik Energy says carbon reacts with basaltic rock and turns to stone.
  • Edda Sif Aradottir, the project’s manager at Reykjavik Energy, which has injected carbon from the Hellisheidi geo-thermal power plant into the ground since 2007, said most has turned to stone within two years, centuries faster than previously estimated.
  • It’s a very environmentally benign method of reducing emissions.
  • Worldwide, rising temperatures are on track to exceed goals set the 2015 Paris climate agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for stoking heat waves, downpours, more powerful storms and a rise in sea levels.
  • Wurzbacher said Climeworks is trying to find companies willing to pay $500 a ton to be part of the Icelandic project of “negative emissions”, generated by geo-thermal power.
  • In May, 2017, Climeworks began drawing carbon from the air in a commercial project in Switzerland, piping the gas to greenhouses where it acts as a fertilizer for tomatoes and cucumbers. But unlike rock, plants die and release the gas back to the air.

 

Sources- REUTERS.

 

GS Paper II- Polity.

Rajasthan Assembly First In India To Call Motions Online.

Background

  • Going digital, the Rajasthan assembly has become the first in India to call attention and adjournment motions and proposals online from legislators to send them to the state government,.
  • Speaker Kailash Meghwal inaugurated the new system by sending a call for an attention motion to the state government with a click of mouse, assembly secretary Prithvi Raj said.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The system is expected to save time, labour and use of paper in the functioning of the assembly, and also help legislators in bringing attention to urgent public issues.
  • It will also streamline exchange of information and reports among respective departments.
  • National Informatics Centre’s state information officer Indu Gupta said that a “help desk” has been set up at the secretariat to provide assistance to state government staff.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper IV- Ethics.

Bihar Cabinet Approves Reservation For Divyangs In Govt Jobs.

Background

  • The Bihar government on 10th October, 2017 approved reservations for persons with disabilities in government jobs and educational institutions.
  • The cabinet gave its approval during a meeting presided by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat Department Upendra Nath Pandey told.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • He said the provision has been brought in accordance with the Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016.
  • The cabinet also approved establishment of a state advisory board for the empowerment of Divyangjan as envisaged in the Act.
  • Secretaries of various departments will serve as members of the board, he said, adding the board will also comprise representatives from districts.
  • Besides, two members from the state legislative assembly and one from the state legislative council will also be members of the board.
  • The cabinet also decided to pay allowances to state government employees as per revised rates,.
  • The decision comes just a week ahead of the Diwali festivities.
  • As per the revised rates, HRA would now be 24 per cent of the basic salary for employees stationed in Delhi, 16 per cent for those at Patna, eight per cent for those in district headquarters, six per cent for those in other towns and four per cent for those posted in rural areas.
  • Emoluments like family planning allowance and special pay for secretariat employees, except those involved in engineering and research activities, have been scrapped.

Sources- Indiatoday.