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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 April 2024

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent);

1. Deep sea mining holds the potential to meet the growing demand for critical metals and minerals; however, it also poses significant environmental risks and uncertainties. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

The article provides an explanation of deep-sea mining and highlights the concerns related to the industry.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues and concerns regarding deep-sea mining operations.

Directive word:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining deep-sea mining.

Body:

First, write about the various issues regarding the above – potential environmental impact, biodiversity loss, disturbance of the deep-sea ecosystem, and the potential for negative impacts on fisheries and coastal communities.

Next, write about the need for careful evaluation and consideration of alternative approach to it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward. 

Introduction

Deep-sea mining is the process of retrieving mineral deposits from the deep seabed the ocean below 200 metres and covers two-thirds of the total seafloor. According to International Seabed Authority (ISA), an agency under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for monitoring all activities related to mineral resources in the deep sea, the international seabed is the area that lies beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and represents around 50% of the total area of the world’s oceans.

Deep-sea mining involves extracting ores rich in cobalt, manganese, zinc and other rare metals from the seafloor. Experts believe they contain critical minerals required for the production of batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy capacity, as well as smartphones and laptops. More than 1.5 million square kilometres of the international seabed have been set aside for mineral exploration.

Body

Issues posed by Deep sea mining

  • Environmental impact:
    • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures.
    • Such mining expeditions can make them go extinct even before they are known to science.
    • The deep sea’s biodiversity and ecology remain poorly understood, making it difficult to assess the environmental impact and frame adequate guidelines.
    • Environmentalists are also worried about the sediment plumes that will be generated as the suspended particles can rise to the surface harming the filter feeders in the upper ocean layers.
    • Additional concerns have been raised about the noise and light pollution from the mining vehicles and oil spills from the operating vessels.
  • Technology:
    • The specialized drills and extraction-technology that would be required pulling out the metals from the deep sea would develop a major technical challenge.
  • Commercial Viability:
    • The latest estimate from the ISA says it will be commercially viable only if about three million tonnes are mined per year. More studies are being carried out to understand how the technology can be scaled up and used efficiently.

International conventions regulating deep sea mining

  • The Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority was established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It holds authority over the ocean floors outside of its 167 member states’ Exclusive Economic Zones.
  • At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille (September 2021), IUCN Members adopted Resolution 122 to protect deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity through a moratorium on deep-sea mining unless and until several conditions are met.
  • The UN High Seas Treaty,to protect the world’s oceans outside national boundaries.

National Conventions

  • Draft Deep Seabed Mining Regulations, 2021:It has been formulated by the Indian government to provide a legal framework for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Conclusion

There is an urgent need for an international charter as in the absence of a clear charter, deep sea mining operations could cause irreversible damage to a little understood ecology. A new set of exploration guidelines must be worked out with discussions involving multi-stakeholders like ISA, IUCN, UNCLOS, littoral nations etc.

 

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2. Examine the reasons for the increasing incidence of heatwaves in different parts of the country, and to what extent is climate change responsible for this trend? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India

Why the question:

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday announced that India will see more than average heat wave days in this year’s hot weather season (April to June).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about heat waves and causes of heat wave conditions and role of climate change on it

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining a heat wave.

Body:

In the first part of the body, start by mentioning the criteria for a heat wave: in temperature for plains, coastal areas and hilly areas. The criteria for a severe heat wave.

In the next part, mention the causes behind heat waves in India. Write about the ways in which climate change impacts heatwaves in India and to what extent.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about measures that must be taken to tackle heatwaves in India.

Introduction

Heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the pre-monsoon (April to June) summer season. According to Indian Meteorological Department, Heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains, 37°C or more for coastal stations and at least 30°C or more for Hilly regions.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that India will see more than average heat wave days in this year’s hot weather season (April to June).

Body

Reasons for India to experience increasing instances of heatwaves

  • Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover.
  • Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.
  • More heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too.
  • Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.
  • High intensity of UV rays in medium-high heat wave zone.
  • Combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India vulnerable to heat waves.

Climate change and Heatwaves

  • Climate change is making heat waves phenomenon more frequent and severe
  • Due to climate change, periods of hot days in heat wave conditions stretch out longer in places like South Asia.
  • Climate models reveal that future heatwaves will have a more intense geographic pattern. The world will experience more intense, more frequent, and longer-lasting heat waves in the second half of the 21st century.
  • Increased anthropogenic activities causing increased greenhouse gas emissions show that heatwaves will be more severe.
  • Heatwaves and droughts, as a result, minimise ecosystem carbon sequestration or carbon uptake.
  • This will cause changes in the ecosystem’s carbon cycle feedback because there will be less vegetation to hold the carbon from the atmosphere, which will only contribute more to atmospheric warming.
  • Due to climate change, the problem of heat waves is also becoming widespread across the country, affecting not only the typical hot spots in the northwest and southeast but also regions that aren’t used to seeing so much extreme heat.
  • The effects of heat waves are even more stark because of a lack of rainfall so far this season due climate change.

Measures to mitigate heat waves:

  • Switching to lighter-colored paving or porous green roads and cool roofs, to reflect more solar radiation.
  • For instance, after a severe 2010 heat wave, the city of Ahmedabad implemented a Heat Action Plan, including a cool-roofs program; research has shown this plan has prevented thousands of deaths.
  • Cities could increase their share of tree cover, which is significantly lower than what’s required to maintain an ecological balance.
  • People in urban areas could be encouraged to grow climbing plants and curtains of vegetation outside their windows.
  • Greenbelts around cities, for wind paths, would allow the passage of exhaust heat from urban air conditioners and automobiles.
  • Finally, air-quality standards should be enforced rigorously and continuously—not just when air pollution reaches hazardous levels.

Way forward:

  • In 2016, the National Disaster Management Agency prepared guidelines for state governments to formulate action plans for the prevention and management of heat waves, outlining four key strategies:
    • Forecasting heat waves and enabling an early warning system
    • Building capacity of healthcare professionals to deal with heat wave-related emergencies
    • Community outreach through various media
    • Inter-agency cooperation as well as engagement with other civil society organizations in the region.
  • Scientific Approach:
    • Climate data from the last 15-20 years can be correlated with the mortality and morbidity data to prepare a heat stress index and city-specific threshold.
    • Vulnerable areas and population could be identified by using GIS and satellite imagery for targeted actions.
  • Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response which the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups.
  • This will require identification of “heat hot spots”, analysis of meteorological data and allocation of resources to crisis-prone areas.
  • The India Cooling Action Planmust emphasize the urgency and need for better planning, zoning and building regulations to prevent Urban Heat Islands.
  • Provision of public messaging (radio, TV), mobile phone-based text messages, automated phone calls and alerts.
  • Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Popularization of simple design features such as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks and insulating housing materials.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

3. India’s engagement with island states and territories from the South Pacific to the African coast reflects its strategic imperatives, geopolitical ambitions, and commitment to fostering regional stability and prosperity. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

An audit of Indian foreign policy over the last decade shows that island states and territories from the South Pacific to the African coast have become new nodes in India’s changing strategic geography.

Key Demand of the question:  

To write about India’s changing strategic geography with respect to island states.

Directive word: 

Comment– here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about reasons behind India’s changing strategic geography with respect to Island states – geopolitical influence, enhance maritime security, seize economic opportunities, and strengthen diplomatic ties. Cite examples to substantiate.

In the next part write about the impact of the above – economic cooperation, maritime security collaboration, diplomatic outreach, and development assistance, with a focus on fostering stability, prosperity, and resilience in the Indo-Pacific region.

Conclusion:

Summarize the overall importance of the above.

Introduction

Whether it is the Maldives that now occupies much Indian mind space in the growing maritime joust with China, or Delhi’s new engagement with the resource-rich Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Islands, the joint development of infrastructure on the Agalega island of Mauritius, the collaboration with Australia in the eastern Indian Ocean islands, or the NDA government’s focus on developing the Andamans to our east and the Lakshadweep to the west, islands have emerged as an important part of India’s new geopolitics.

Body

Reasons behind the shift

  • Geopolitical Influence:
    • Island states provide India with strategic footholds in key maritime regions.
    • Influence over these territories enhances India’s position vis-à-vis other major powers.
    • Example: India’s engagement with the Maldives to counterbalance China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • Enhancing Maritime Security:
    • Island states serve as vital nodes for India’s naval operations and surveillance.
    • Cooperation with these nations bolsters India’s ability to monitor sea lanes, combat piracy, and respond to security threats.
    • Example: India’s collaboration with Seychelles in anti-piracy efforts.
  • Seizing Economic Opportunities:
    • Island states offer economic potential through trade, investment, and resource exploitation.
    • Joint development of infrastructure, fisheries, and tourism benefits both India and these nations.
    • Example: India’s partnership with Papua New Guinea for resource exploration in the Pacific.
  • Strengthening Diplomatic Ties:
    • Diplomatic outreach to island states fosters goodwill and cooperation.
    • Shared cultural ties and historical linkages enhance diplomatic relations.
    • Example: India’s engagement with Mauritius in developing Agalega Island.

Impact of India’s Engagement with Island States

  • Economic Cooperation:
    • Joint ventures, trade agreements, and investment boost economic growth.
    • Infrastructure development (ports, airports, connectivity) facilitates regional trade.
    • Example: India’s collaboration with Australia in the eastern Indian Ocean islands for economic development.
  • Maritime Security Collaboration:
    • Joint patrols, information sharing, and capacity-building enhance security.
    • Collective efforts combat piracy, trafficking, and illegal fishing.
    • Example: India’s assistance to the Maldives in maritime surveillance and security.
  • Diplomatic Outreach:
    • High-level visits, cultural exchanges, and diplomatic dialogues strengthen ties.
    • Shared interests in climate change, disaster management, and sustainable development.
    • Example: India’s engagement with Sri Lanka in disaster relief and environmental conservation.
  • Development Assistance:
    • Capacity-building, scholarships, and technical assistance promote stability.
    • Humanitarian aid during natural disasters builds goodwill.
    • Example: India’s support to Seychelles in coastal surveillance and disaster response.

Way forward

  • Regional Stability:
    • Collaborative efforts foster stability, prevent conflict, and address security challenges.
    • A stable Indo-Pacific benefits all nations in the region.
  • Prosperity and Resilience:
    • Economic cooperation and development enhance prosperity.
    • Joint efforts build resilience against natural disasters and external pressures.
  • Geopolitical Balance:
    • India’s active role ensures a multipolar Indo-Pacific.
    • It counters hegemonic ambitions and promotes a rules-based order.

Conclusion

India’s engagement with island states across the Indo-Pacific and beyond reflects its evolving strategic imperatives. These island nations have become crucial nodes in India’s geopolitical ambitions. India’s strategic pivot toward island states underscores its commitment to a secure, prosperous, and interconnected Indo-Pacific region.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

4. The potential of geoengineering as a climate change mitigation strategy is a topic of significant debate and scrutiny. Critically analyse its potential. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse if Geo-engineering could be a viable option to overcome the climate crisis.

Directive word: 

Critically analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by defining geo-engineering.

Body:

You can use a bubble diagram to show the various modes of geo-engineering such as Shoot Mirrors into Space (Solar Sunscreen), Copy a Volcano, Build Fake Trees etc.

In the first part of the body, write about how the above strategies work and will be beneficial for the planet above and over existing mitigation strategies to tide over the climate crisis. Clearly outline as to why it may be needed.

In the next part, mention about the major drawbacks, impediments and concerns regarding the implementation of the above strategies

Conclusion:

End your answer that existing strategies should be implemented on a war footing, but alternative ideas must also be considered, planned and studied about just in case of a climate emergency.

Introduction

Geoengineering interventions are large-scale attempts to purposefully alter the climate system in order to offset the effects of global warming. Most geoengineering proposals can be divided into two types: solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Geoengineering offers the hope of temporarily reversing some aspects of global warming and allowing the natural climate to be substantially preserved whilst greenhouse gas emissions are brought under control and removed from the atmosphere by natural or artificial processes.

Body:

 

Positives of geoengineering:

  • As expected, the climate would begin to cool once geoengineering commences. This initial cooling phase, would provide relief, particularly for species that were unable to keep up with past warming.
  • Also, birds and fish which may have moved in response to elevated temperatures in the past will possibly turn back.
  • If solar geoengineering were ramped up slowly to half the rate of warming over the coming decades, then it seems likely it would reduce many climate risks. Solar geoengineering deployment can be ended without the impacts of a termination shock if it is gradually ramped down over decades.
  • The climate models reveal that the large-scale action would indeed calm things down a bit and potentially reduce the number of North Atlantic cyclones.

Negatives of geoengineering:

  • A recent study shows that rapid application, followed by abrupt termination of this temporary tech-fix can in fact accelerate climate change.
  • The increase in temperature from the abrupt termination is so quick that most species, terrestrial or marine, may not be able to keep up with it and eventually perish.
  • The increase in temperature is two to four times more rapid than climate change without geoengineering. This increase would be dangerous for biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Reptiles, mammals, fish and birds that have been moving at 1.7 km/year on average will now have to move faster than 10 km/year to remain in their preferred climatic zones. This raises serious concerns, especially for less-mobile animals like amphibians and corals.
  • Not just species but entire ecosystems could collapse by suddenly hitting the stop button on geoengineering.
    • For example, temperate grassland and savannahs, which are maintained by specific combinations of temperature and rainfall, may experience increasing rates of temperatures, but an opposing trend in rainfall, after 2070.
  • Ineffectiveness
    • The effectiveness of the techniques proposed may fall short of predictions.
    • In ocean iron fertilization, for example, the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere may be much lower than predicted, as carbon taken up by plankton may be released back into the atmosphere from dead plankton, rather than being carried to the bottom of the sea and sequestered.
  • Model results from a 2016 study, suggest that blooming algae could even accelerate Arctic warming.
  • Moral hazard or risk compensation
    • The existence of such techniques may reduce the political and social impetus to reduce carbon emissions
  • Albedo modification strategies could rapidly cool the planet’s surface but pose environmental and other risksthat are not well understood and therefore should not be deployed at climate-altering scales.
  • In the case of environmental risks, the offsetting of greenhouse gases by increasing the reflection of sunlight is not going to be perfect. Some people, potentially a small minority, will get less rainfall. There is concern about what particles might do to the ozone layer.
  • The drop off of tropical storms in one area would actually lead to a spike in drought in parts of Africa, according to the data.

Way forward:

  • The potential of natural systems as an effective solution for sequestering carbon dioxide has led to several efforts to scale nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change.
  • These proliferating efforts, however, must take cognisance of the fact that these solutions are effective only when applied while protecting the already existing forest.
  • Additionally, we must not run blindly after planting trees; instead, we must back reason with science.
  • Trees should be planted where they belong, that too with native species, and in consultation with local communities.

Conclusion:

In any case in the meantime, two aspects are certain: under no scenario could climate engineering serve as a substitute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and it would be better to implement such technologies with more nuanced research.

Value addition

Some geoengineering techniques and its drawbacks:

Carbon capture and storage technologies:

  • This carbon dioxide removal approach focuses on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and locking them away.
  • The process starts with the capture of generated CO2 which undergoes a compression process to form a dense fluid. This eases the transport and storage of the captured CO2.
  • The dense fluid is transported via pipelines and then injected into an underground storage facility.
  • Captured CO2 can also be used as a raw material in other industrial processes such as bicarbonates.
  • The CCS has significant backing from the International Energy Agency and the IPCC.
  • However, it still is hanging in uncertainty due to high upfront costs in the instalment of such plants.
  • A growing number of corporations are pouring money into so-called engineered carbon removal techniques.
  • However, these technologies are at a nascent stage and need an overhaul to be exploited.
  • Carbon dioxide may be stored deep underground. Reservoir design faults, rock fissures, and tectonic processes may act to release the gas stored into the ocean or atmosphere leading to unintended consequences such as ocean acidification etc.

solar radiation modification:

  • This process does not affect atmospheric greenhouse gases but aims to reflect the solar radiation coming to the earth.
  • The science of the method is, however, largely model-based, and the impacts of deflecting the solar radiations could be unpredictable.
  • Additionally, due to the thermal inertia of the climate system, removal of the radiation modification could result in the escalation of temperature very quickly, giving significantly less time to adapt.
  • Another side effect of the radiation modification process could be natural vegetation.
  • Since solar radiation is responsible for photosynthesis, sudden masking of solar radiation could significantly affect the process.
  • While these questions remain unanswered, the futures of these technologies remain uncertain.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. Carbon credit and trading schemes can be effective mechanisms for achieving emissions reductions in sectors where it is difficult or costly to implement direct regulations. Evaluate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about carbon market and India’s potential in using to fight climate change.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of India’s carbon credit and trading scheme.

Body:

In the first part, in detail, write about the structure of India’s carbon credit and trading scheme

Next, write about the potential of scheme in reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. Write the ways in which it would help. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the challenges and limitations associated with carbon markets in India. Mention ways to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Carbon markets allow for buying and selling of carbon emissions with the objective of reducing global emissions. Carbon markets existed under the Kyoto Protocol, which is being replaced by the Paris Agreement in 2020. Carbon Markets can potentially deliver emissions reductions over and above what countries are doing on their own.

Body

About carbon market

  • Carbon Markets and Carbon Credits are components of emissions trading, a market-based approach to to reduce the concentration of Greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. It works by providing economic incentives for reducing the emissions of the designated pollutants. A carbon market allows investors and corporations to trade both carbon credits and carbon offsets simultaneously.
  • Carbon credits (or allowances) work like permission slips for emissions.
    • When a company buys a carbon credit, they gain permission to generate more CO2 emissions.
    • One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided.
  • Credits are measured against ‘benchmarks’ or allowed GHG emissions. If emissions are below the allowed limit, the emitter earns carbon credits (reducing 1 tonne of CO2 earns 1 carbon credit).
    • If emissions are above the allowed limit, the emitter must buy carbon credits from those who have excess credits.
    • Thus, crossing the emissions limit imposes a cost (amount spent on purchase of carbon credits) on the emitter. The idea is that this cost will force the emitters to be more efficient and reduce emission.

 

Potential to have carbon market framework In India

  • First, it will help in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change by reducing the GHG emissions.
  • Second, there are multiple co-benefits of offset projects such as: ecosystem management, forest preservation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy generation in third-world countries, etc.
  • Third, the voluntary carbon market for offsets is smaller than the compliance market, but expected to grow much bigger in the coming years. It’s open to individuals, companies, and other organizations that want to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint, but are not necessarily required to by law.
  • Fourth, consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of carbon emissions. Consequently, they’re increasingly critical of companies that don’t take climate change seriously. By contributing to carbon offset projects, companies signal to consumers and investors that they’re paying more than just lip service to combat climate change.
  • Fifth, it opens an additional revenue stream for environmentally beneficial businesses. For instance, Tesla, the electric car maker, sold carbon credits to legacy car manufacturers to the tune of $518 million in just the first quarter of 2021.

Challenges with carbon market

  • There are concerns regarding the effectiveness of carbon markets in curbing emissions.
    • Some companies simply buy credits without making any effort to reduce emissions themselves. It is cheaper for them to buy carbon credit than to invest in emission reducing technologies
  • The issue of old carbon credits (certified carbon emissions, or CERs), issued under — the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol — are still valid.
    • Counting them as valid would slow down climate action because those who are under commitments to reducing emissions would just buy the CERs and call it a done deal.
    • However, declaring them invalid would disappoint all those entities that were given the credits.
  • Phenomenon of ‘double counting’ exists. If an emission reduction takes place in one country and another entity in another country buys the carbon credits, only one of the two countries should be logically allowed to use the activity against its own commitments — not both.
  • Issues related to a fee levied on each carbon trading transaction for a fund to help poor countries adapt to the vagaries of the climate change.
  • Buying carbon credits can deviate the rich nations from the path of reducing emissions. They can simply continue to emit and buy cheap carbon credits from developing countries.
  • It is difficult to establish the amount of carbon reduced by offset projects (like afforestation or wind energy project). The complexity is in establishing baseline emissions (Emissions baseline represents what would happen if your project did not occur i.e., the emissions in the absence of the project).
    • This makes it difficult to verify emission reductions and assigning carbon credits.
  • India’s own PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) Scheme has failed to achieve meaningful emissions reduction. According to an analysis by the Center for Science and Environment, the emission reduction under the scheme has been only 1.57% and 1.44% over the two cycles.

Conclusion

The establishment of a domestic carbon market is a progressive step. However, the actual benefit will depend upon the effectiveness of the market. For this, the Government must ensure that proper regulations are established. Moreover, there must be periodic assessment of its functioning and corrective steps its necessary. Climate Change is real and imminent, Government must take all possible steps to mitigate the challenges.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6. Prioritizing virtues in a hierarchical order provides a practical framework for decision-making in the face of conflicts. Elaborate. (150 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about taking decision and overcoming conflicts by having a hierarchy of values.

Directive word: 

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving context regarding conflicts in decision making.

Body:

First, write about the ways conflicts impact decision making and its outcome – delays, improper decision making, dereliction of duty etc.

Next, write about how having a set of hierarchy of virtues can help in resolving conflicts.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

There are many putative virtues, and they often appear to conflict: courage against prudence, love against fidelity. honesty against kindness, loyalty against common decency. Such conflicts raise questions about the coherence of the list of traits called virtues. And even when those traits coincide rather than conflict, as when both love and prudence recommend marriage. coherence is a problem because the question of motive is almost always significant.

Body

Hierarchy of values is an illusion

Isiah Berlin came up with the concept of Value Pluralism. Hierarchy of values is impossible. The conflict and ethical dilemma always occurs because the virtues are incompatible with each other sometimes. That does not mean one can rank these virtues and use this hierarchy to solve the problems. For example, liberty is not just distinct from equality, justice or compassion but is in some ways in unavoidable conflict with them. You can’t have everything: ‘freedom for the wolves has often meant death for the sheep’, he writes. In addition, Berlin argues that irreducible diversity and confrontation between moral ends is ubiquitous rather than exceptional within our own lives and in our social interactions. And, finally, we are told that the idea that there exists some absolute and universal moral yardstick that permits us to rank human values and ideals and resolve moral disagreement is an illusion.

Conclusion

Some societies may give higher priority to equality while some in West may give significance of liberty. Decisions involving moral turpitude requires careful circumstantial evidence before taking any decision. Value systems of people differs in different societies and must be taken into cognizance. There cannot be a Univeral hierarchy of virtues. Infact, some may think in utilitarian terms, and some may think of individual justice. There is no one size fits all approach here.

 

Topic: dimensions of ethics

7. Environmental integrity implies that the environment should be kept in a state where it can fulfil its essential ecological roles and support the diversity of life. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about environmental integrity, its features and its importance.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining ‘environmental integrity’.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various features of environmental integrity and its dimensions.

Next, write about the importance of environmental integrity and cite examples to substantiate your points.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Environmental integrity refers to the wholeness, coherence, and robustness of ecological systems. It encompasses the balance, health, and resilience of natural environments. It is a condition where the natural processes of a place occur with the strength and frequency expected in the region. Places with environmental integrity experience normal patterns of rainfall, fires, and other processes and contain ecosystems that house the living and non-living species native to the area.

“Environmental integrity” is often used in legal and philosophical writing to refer to an undisturbed state of natural conditions. These are circumstances in which plant, animal, and human life can continue freely. Living beings can receive all of the resources essential to their growth and reproduction, such as water, food, and shelter.

Body

Features of Environmental Integrity

  • Biodiversity Preservation:
    • Ensuring diverse ecosystems with a rich variety of species.
    • Protecting habitats, keystone species, and genetic diversity.
  • Resilience:
    • The ability of ecosystems to withstand disturbances (natural or human-induced).
    • Resilient systems recover quickly after disruptions.
  • Stability:
    • Balanced nutrient cycles, energy flow, and ecological interactions.
    • Stable ecosystems maintain their structure and function.

Dimensions of Environmental Integrity

  • Physical Integrity:
    • Soil quality, water purity, and air cleanliness.
    • Preventing pollution, deforestation, and habitat destruction.
  • Functional Integrity:
    • Ecosystem processes (photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, etc.).
    • Healthy food webs and trophic interactions.
  • Temporal Integrity:
    • Long-term sustainability.
    • Avoiding irreversible damage (e.g., extinction of species).

Importance of Environmental Integrity

  • Ecosystem Services:
    • Clean air, water, and soil.
    • Pollination, carbon sequestration, and climate regulation.
    • Example: Mangroves protect coastlines and provide habitat for marine life.
  • Human Health:
    • A healthy environment directly impacts human well-being.
    • Contaminated water, air pollution, and loss of biodiversity harm health.
    • Example: Air pollution-related diseases affect millions globally.
  • Economic Value:
    • Sustainable resource use supports livelihoods.
    • Ecotourism, fisheries, and agriculture depend on intact ecosystems.
    • Example: Coral reefs generate billions in tourism revenue.
  • Ethical Responsibility:
    • Stewardship of the planet for future generations.
    • Upholding intergenerational equity.
    • Example: Indigenous communities’ respect for nature.

Examples of Environmental Integrity in Action

  • Yellowstone National Park, USA:
    • Biodiverse ecosystems, including wolves, elk, and geothermal features.
    • Conservation efforts maintain its integrity.
  • Agroecological Farming:
    • Practices that enhance soil health, reduce chemical inputs, and promote biodiversity.
    • Example: Organic farming methods.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica:
    • Protected cloud forest with rich biodiversity.
    • Ecotourism sustains the reserve.

Conclusion

Environmental integrity is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. As stewards of Earth, we must prioritize conservation, sustainable practices, and responsible policies. By safeguarding our environment, we secure a better future for all.

 

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