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New Ross Sea Protected Area now World's Largest

The Ross Sea, a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, was declared as world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) on 28 October 2016. 
●    With this, there will be a blanket ban on commercial fishing across about three quarters of that area for 35 years.
●    It will be the world's largest marine protected area and covers 1.6 million square kilometers.
●    The agreement comes after years of negotiations brokered by the UN's Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
●    Environmentalists have welcomed the move to protect the Earth's most pristine marine ecosystem.
●    The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land.


 

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Deal Struck for World's Biggest Marine Reserve in Antarctica

The world's largest marine reserve aimed at protecting the pristine wilderness of Antarctica will be created after a "momentous" agreement was finally reached Friday, with Russia dropping its long-held opposition. 
●    The deal, sealed by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) at an annual meeting in Hobart after years of negotiations, will see a massive US and New Zealand-backed marine protected area established in the Ross Sea. 
●    It will cover more than 1.55 million square kilometres (600,000 square miles) -- the size of Britain, Germany and France combined -- of which 1.12 million square kilometres will be a no fishing zone. 
●    The Ross Sea is one of the last intact marine ecosystems in the world, home to penguins, seals, Antarctic toothfish, and whales. 
●    It is also considered critical for scientists to study how marine ecosystems function and to understand the impacts of climate change on the ocean. 

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First Round-The-World Exploration to measure Climate Change

The impact of climate change is extremely evident and the entire world is worried about how it will affect our future.
Scientists have been relentlessly monitoring the freezing Antarctic region to gauge the damage caused due to climate change. 
●    Because things on that front aren't showing many positive signs, 50 researchers from 30 countries are going to come together and attempt the first full circumnavigation of Antarctica to measure pollution and climate change.
●    The report further mentions the projects of this round-the-world scientific expedition, which includes mapping whales, penguins, and albatrosses in the Southern Ocean; measuring the effect of plastic pollution on the food chain; and logging the extent of phytoplankton – the base of the food chain – and its role in regulating climate.
●    To get an insight into conditions as they were before the Industrial Revolution, scientists will also take ice-core samples and study biodiversity on the continent.


 

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Kigali History : 107 Countries to phase out HFCs

One hundred and seven countries came to an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday, to substantially phase out a potent greenhouse gas by 2045 and move to prevent a potential 0.5 C rise in global temperature by 2050.
●    Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a family of gases that are largely used in refrigerants in home and car airconditioners. 
●    They, however, substantially worsen global warming. 
●    On late Friday, India, China, the United States and Europe agreed on a timeline to reduce the use of HFC by 85% by 2045.
●    The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, according to a CSE statement, will reduce the HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. 
●    China, which is the largest producer of HFC in the world, will reduce its use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline and India will reduce the use of HFC by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline.

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Paris Agreement to come into force in November

In a historic vote held at the plenary session of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, a majority of the members voted in favour of ratifying the Paris Agreement. 
●    The vote paved the way for the entry into force of the Agreement — to keep global warming levels less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels - in November this year, with 610 out of 678 parliament members voting in favour of the ratification. 
●    Only 38 EU member votes were in the negative, and the rest of the members abstained from voting on Tuesday.
●    As per the rules of the Agreement, adopted in Paris last year, the cumulative emissions of the ratifying parties must cross the minimum required threshold of 55 per cent of global emissions for it to enter into force. 
●    Only seven EU nations — France, Germany, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Portugal — have ratified the Paris Agreement at the national level. 

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Paris Agreement Ratification : Union Cabinet Approves

The Union Cabinet on 28 September 2016 approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on 2 October 2016.
●    Paris Agreement gives thrust to the global actions to address climate change and pertains to post-2020 climate actions. 
●    India’s decision to ratify the agreement will take the number of cumulative level of emission of countries to 51.89 percent. 
●    With its decision to ratify the Agreement, India will be one of the key countries that will be instrumental in bringing the Paris Agreement into force. 
●    It will underline India’s responsive leadership in the community of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice. 
●    The Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations on 12 December 2015 and India signed the Paris Agreement in New York on 22 April 2016.
●    A total of 191 countries have signed to the Paris Agreement so far. 
●    As per the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the treaty will come into force as and when 55 countries contributing to 55 percent of total global emission ratify the agreement. 
 

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New species of Pika found in Sikkim

A new species of a small mammal in the rabbit family has been discovered in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas in Sikkim, a study has claimed, saying it is an important part of the ecosystem.
•    Identified as 'Ochotona sikimaria' -- the new pika species was discovered by the study based on genetic data and skull measurements. 
•    Nishma Dahal, the first author of the paper, started by collecting pika pellets to get its DNA and identify the species. 
•    On comparing the DNA sequences from the pellets with that of all known pika species in the world, she saw that these were quite different.
•    To prove that this is indeed a new species, she had to compare the Sikkim pika to its close relatives. 
•    It took two years for collaborations with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zoological Museum of Moscow and Stanford University to get detailed data on these possible sister species.
 

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Sept 16 : International Ozone Day observed by Environment Ministry

The 2016 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was observed across the world on 16 September 2016. 
•    The UN General Assembly in 1994 proclaimed 16 September as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer to commemorate the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol.
•    Montreal Protocol was signed on 16 September 1987.
•    It has been recognized as the most successful international environment treaty in history.
•    As of 1 January 2015, the production and consumption of key Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) like chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), CTC halons, Methyl Chloroform and Methyl Bromide have already been phased-out globally.
•    The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a Multilateral Environmental Agreement.
•    It was agreed upon at the Vienna Conference of 1985 and entered into force in 1988.


 

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Rising Sea Temperature is affecting aquatic life; next production of food in India

Taking off temperature of seas have turned into a key reason for the steady diminishing in a number of creatures, human, and marine lives. 
•    It already has a significant impact on people, fish stocks, and crop yields and now according to a recently published report, this temperature of seas is the greatest hidden obstacle to Indian farming division.
•    The study also says that the temperature of seas is the “greatest” hidden challenge” for the current agricultural and food production sector of India.
•    Changes in the patterns of ocean-based atmospheres have some direct impacts on food production industry of India and can generate great hamper it to a great extent. 
•    The study also says that “Both will have impacts on the yields of crops over a range of important food producing areas such as Australia, North America, and India.”

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NGT to Hear Diesel Vehicle Ban Case


The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday is set to hear the diesel vehicle ban case. 
•    The tribunal had on July 18 asked the Delhi's transport authorities to cancel registration of diesel-fuelled vehicles that were older than 10 years. 
•    Two days later, it asked the Delhi Government to first focus on vehicles order than 15 years. 
•    The Centre was expected to oppose the tribunal's order to phase out more than 15 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi. 
•    The Union Government had on July 29 challenged the NGT's order to phase out diesel vehicles, saying there was no legal provision for the move described by a carmaker as a "corporate death penalty". 
•    The Supreme Court has also stopped registration of new diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2000CC and above and ordered all diesel taxis to convert to compressed natural gas. 


 

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