Mitras Analysis of News : 9-6-2017

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1. Is the Paris Agreement necessary? (The Hindu)

2. Gender imbalance in India (Live mint)

 

 

Is the Paris Agreement necessary? (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the departure of the world’s second biggest source of greenhouse gases from the international accord. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The Paris Agreement central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
  • US administration by arguing that the Paris Agreement is “unfair” because large polluting countries such as India and China are not required to do anything until 2030, announce its withdrawal from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. While it is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter. Pulling out of the international agreement is serious blow to global efforts to combat climate change and mitigate its effects.

Analysis

  • One of the most immediate impacts of the withdrawal will be diminished standing on the international climate stage. The United States is the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, and thus bears much of the responsibility for the current warming that scientists are already measuring. Pulling out of the agreement is a complete abdication of any kind of responsibility for the United States’ role in fuelling the climate crisis.

Different prespectives

LEFT

  • According to the leftist view, withdrawal of the US (who was committed minimum emissions reduction 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025) from agreement is an opportunity to make the rules of the Paris Agreement stronger and more ambitious.
  • According to leftist, as S. is historically the largest contributor to climate pollution. It is currently the second-largest polluter in the world, and has one of the highest per capita emissions. They see US, as who doesn’t want to take “fair and equitable” share of responsibilities and deliberately pushed for an agreement that was a ‘common minimum denominator’. It made the commitments voluntary and the accord non-legally binding and non-punitive.
  • After US withdrawal, suggestions were made as other countries should step forward and share the burden left by the U.S. but this is a very simplistic way of looking at the problem and the world the U.S. and us cannot combat climate change without changing the way we drive, build homes or consume goods.
  • There is need of measures to be taken by countries to step up their commitment to cut emissions, they should also put punitive measures, including economic and trade sanctions, to ensure that countries should not walk away.
  • Since 1992, when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed, there is lack of actions we need to ensure

RIGHT

  • According to the rightist view, decision of US to withdraw from the Paris accord will not impact the global temperature in the long run, but only it will undermine political and economic freedoms in the short term.
  • US withdrawal is an instrument of political power to move country into another direction. As no one pollutes for the sake of pollution.
  • Poor environmental quality is not due to market failure, but due to the failure of governments and regulators to facilitate reshaping boundaries of property rights in line with changing economic realities and technical possibilities. If the rights are well-defined such as emission and pollution can be internalized and provide incentive to market players to improve efficiency and reduce pollution. For e.g. account for car ownership per 1,000 people across countries is for India – 32, China – 140, Taiwan & Malaysia – 330 to 360, Japan and most Western developed countries 500 to 600, and some small and large countries, including the U.S. – 800 plus. Yet, the problems of congestion and pollution are much more severe in poorer countries than richer ones.
  • Environment quality is like a value-added product. It becomes affordable as people become richer. Poverty is the prime source that makes the poor more vulnerable to natural calamities.
  • India and China has greatly improved their energy efficiency and lowered the carbon intensity of their economies in the last couple of decades this is because they opened their economies to greater competition. For eg- transition from filament bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) and now the transition to LED (light-emitting diode) is happening at a faster pace, this is because the Government bore the burden of additional taxes for being ‘novel’ before becoming objects of mass consumption.
  • There is need to plan new targets for renewable or impose high taxes on energy, have trust in the creativity of entrepreneurs that can provide us better products. Protecting freedom locally will contribute to economic prosperity and environmental dividend globally.

CENTRE

  • Central holds the view that withdrawal of US from Paris accord is threat to global security, there is history of non compliance towards climate change by US. Starting from rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, that driven by both Republican and Democrat legislators.
  • The Paris agreement leaves the solution of a global collective action problem to purely voluntary action, with binding commitments only to processes and not to the adequacy of efforts to enforce greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, especially by the developed nations.
  • Climate leadership by the European Union and China, or joint action by other national, regional and local governments worldwide, cannot obscure the dangers of non-participation by the U.S. Without one of the world’s largest emitters on board, global emissions cannot be limited to the global carbon budget appropriate to the 2°C goal.

Way ahead

  • Climate change is one of the principal threats to quality and equality of life on our planet. Beyond environmental problems, climate change threatens food security, water availability, health, housing and self-determination.
  • The actions and inactions of the present population can jeopardize the rights and well-being of generations yet to come. We should remain committed towards climate change mitigation, developed countries should take up responsibility to address climate change, and at the same time, support developing countries in their domestic efforts to address climate change.

Question: What will be the outcomes of USA’s withdrawal from Paris meet? Which path India should adopt?

  

NFHS findings: Gender imbalance in India (Live Mint)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the finding of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) regarding gender disparity in India. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS) shows that India’s problem of gender imbalance may be deepening, with virtually all corners of the country now affected by a skewed sex ratio at birth.

National Family Health Survey (NFHS)

  • Sex ratio refers to the number of females per 1,000 males. The survey of over 6 lakh households conducted in 2015-16 shows that districts with the lowest sex ratios at birth now include several districts of states such as Assam and Nagaland in the north-east and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the south.
  • These are states where overall sex ratio is higher than the rest of the country, and where social outcomes such as literacy, work participation rates etc.—are more favourable to women than in most other parts of the country.
  • Districts with low sex ratios (overall) are largely clustered in the north-western parts of the country. NFHS records both the overall sex ratio in the year of the survey, and the sex ratios at birth for those born in the past five years.
  • To be sure, there are silver linings in the data. Some of the states with the most skewed sex ratios such as Punjab and Haryana have witnessed an improvement in the sex ratios at birth over the past decade.
  • India’s aggregate sex ratio at birth has also improved, albeit marginally, from 914 in 2005-06 (when the previous NFHS round was conducted) to 919 in the latest round of the survey. But states where the sex ratio at birth has either declined or stagnated over the past decade outnumber states where the sex ratio at birth has improved.
  • Also, for an overwhelming majority of states as well as for India as a whole, the sex ratio at birth figures remain below normal. Globally, more males than females are born but because of higher survival chances, more females survive compared to males.
  • Thus, the normal sex ratio at birth is not exactly 1,000. According to UN estimates, the average range for developing countries is 943-971. By that yardstick, two-thirds of Indian states have below-normal sex ratios at birth.
  • Among large Indian states, only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have normal or above-normal sex ratios at birth.

Way ahead 

  • The problem of a skewed sex ratio at birth is not entirely new in India but it has spread and grown over time. According to some scholars, the regional differences in sex ratios may have arisen because of historical farming and occupational patterns.
  • According to these scholars, rice-growing regions have traditionally witnessed greater female participation in farming compared to wheat-growing regions, and hence may have always valued women more.
  • There has been a convergence in sex ratios over the past century but this has largely been due to southern states (except for Kerala) regressing to the mean rather than due to northern states progressing.

 Question: What type of measures are needed to be adopted in order to fight gender injustice in India? How far government efforts are yielding results in this regard?

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