Down to Earth Summary 1-15 September 2019 Part-2 (Download PDF)


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6. More than 100 countries are at the risk of desertification. The risk is likely to displace 700 million people worldwide by 2050. The desertification has resulted in a number of social and economic stressors such as food security, wealth and productivity. Sudan was under military dictatorship for nearly 30 years. The farmers handed over the livestock along with the herder’s camels to the police, still About 25 armed herders, riding camels and motorcycles, opened fire on people working on farms next to an internally displaced persons camp in Shangil Tobaya locality.

  • Soon after the massacre a joint peacekeeping mission (the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission) tried to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur region since 2007.
  • Between 1950 and 1990, the Sudan witnessed three periods of droughts— mild in the mid-1960s; relatively heavy between 1972 and 1975; and, almost of catastrophic proportions in 1982 - 84.
  • Nearly one billion of the 6.1 billion hectares of dryland in the world are naturally hyperarid or deserts.

7. Aridity and Aridity Index

  • The degree of dryness at a given location over a long period of time.
  • Aridity Index is the ratio of annual precipitation (P) to annual potential evapotranspiration (PET).
  • Decrease in AI means conditions are becoming drier, increase in AI means conditions are getting wetter.
  • During 1981 - 2010, drylands have increased 0.35 percent. The areas affected are India, Africa, eastern Australia, Eurasia and North America, northern China and South America.
  • Drylands constitute nearly 40 percent of world’s land area.
  • During 2011 - 2040, Over 70 per cent of the big cities in non-dryland regions will become drier by 2040. Just 29 per cent of them will become wetter.

8. Removal of Carbon by shutting it into its own natural sinks.

  • As per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Global Warming a target of 1.5 degree Celsius cannot be achieved without large scale carbon removal from the atmosphere.
  • The best way to remove carbon is by sequestering it in its natural sinks—forests, grasslands and soil.
  • To suck atmospheric carbon rapid enhancement in the in the capacity of natural carbon sinks is required.
  • In order to curb desertification there is a need to restore degraded soil via forestry, improving vegetative cover, enhancing water use efficiency reducing soil erosion and adopting better farming systems.
  • The biomass production along with the organic carbon content of the soil will be enhanced.
  • In tropical developing countries in 2007, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) was formalised to incentivise forest conservation.
  • Any land and forest related mechanism will work only if it is owned by communities.
  • The Natural Sink Mechanism will work only if millions of forest dwellers and farmers work together to reverse land and forest degradation apart from enhancing carbon stock in forests and lands.
  • A non-market mechanism needs to be designed where funds are mobilized to build the capacity of communities and local governments.
  • Preventing forest loss and reforesting them can together provide 150 - 200 billion tonnes of carbon mitigation between 2020 and 2050.

9. Environmental Management in Industries

  • Climate change, water availability, pollution, waste generation and disposal are the core issues of global attention.
  • Industries being a major consumer of the natural resources along with the significant contributor to increasing pollution and waste generation have a major role to play in combatting the environmental issues.
  • Industries need to work with in harmony with the environment and society.
  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recognizes this need of the hour and is conducting a four-day training programme in November, 2019 at its exclusive training centre at Alwar, Rajasthan to provide hands-on experience to industries.
  • The training programme includes Environmental Laws for better compliance, Pollution assessment of various sources (unit operation and process wise), Performance evaluation of pollution control devices, Protocol for stack monitoring with on-site demonstration, Issues and Challenges with Continuous Emission Monitoring System, Introduction to ISO 50001: A tool for sustainable energy management, Protocol for conducting environmental audit for improving resource management, Public engagement and outreach.

10. Land degradation can be avoided, reduced and reversed.

  • The theme of the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) being hosted by India was “Restore Land and Sustain Future”.
  • Mistreatment to land can cause food insecurity, poverty, conflict, migration and political instability.
  • UNCCD re-establishes land’s productivity by ensuring land degradation neutrality (LDN).
  • LDN is defined as the state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.
  • The concept of LDN emerged from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) in 2012.

India’s LDN Target

  • India’s LDN target was released just a few weeks ahead of COP14.
  • India is committed to halt any further land degradation and rehabilitate at least 30 (million hectares) degraded wasteland, forest and agricultural land (covering 10 mha each) out of the total 96.4 mha of degradation land.
  • Improving farmer’s income, dispute resolution of land tenure along with equity related issues are the priority areas.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 22, 2019


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