Big wins: After major protests by activists, three mining projects in Hasdeo Aranya have been put on hold indefinitely. | Photo: @SHasdeo_Twitter

Chhattisgarh puts three mining projects on hold ‘indefinitely’ amid Hasdeo Arand protests

Three mining projects in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forest have been indefinitely put on hold amid protests by locals and environmental activists, where activists claimed more than 200,000 trees will have to be chopped down for the Parsa Mining Project. The Health Minister of state, TS Singh Deo, visited the site and extended his support to the protesters, which was followed by the state government’s decision to hold the projects.

The Hasdeo forest covering Chhattisgarh’s Korba, Surguja and Surajpur districts, is a noted migratory corridor and has a significant presence of elephants. The forests here are the catchment of Hasdeo River – Mahanadi’s largest tributary – which is crucial for the flow of the perennial river. However, the decision to put projects on “hold” didn’t appeal to protestors who are demanding the projects to be cancelled altogether in this rich biodiversity region. 

Diversify, grow agro-climatically suitable crops: Central panel

The Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP) recommended promoting crop diversification, favouring oilseed crops amid the global inflation in oilseeds and vegetable oils prices. The CACP report said that because of assured procurement and minimum support prices (MSP), farmers have majorly opted to grow rice and wheat in agro-climatically unsuitable regions, especially in Punjab and Haryana. The shares of oilseeds, pulses, maize and bajra have dropped in these states. Eastern states such as Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, northeastern states and south west coast are more suitable for paddy cultivation. 

Previous efforts to promote crop diversification saw little progress because of low returns and high risks from alternative crops, lack of remunerative prices, unavailability of appropriate proven technology for alternative crops, etc. 

Key climate proposals fail to pass European Parliament 

Lawmakers in the European parliament refused to adopt positions on the reform of the EU’s carbon market, the introduction of a carbon border tax and the establishment of a Social Climate Fund following “conservative-led efforts to water them down”. Members of European Parliament (MEPs) turned down the final report on the expansion and revision of the Emissions Trading System, which is a key part of the European Commission’s Fit for 55 climate legislation package. 

The move to kill the ETS report followed MEPs passing a series of amendments pushed by the centre-right European People’s Party and its allies, that would have resulted in weaker emissions cuts than proposed by the environment committee last month and delayed the phaseout of free carbon credits. Negotiations following the initial failure to pass the proposals has seen representatives of the largest political groups in Parliament reach an agreement on the EU ETS and the contentious Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAM). A fresh vote on the matter has been scheduled for 22 June.

Australia submits new NDC, still falls short of global warming target

The Australian government last week finally submitted its new NDC to the UNFCCC. The update to the 2015 NDC has set out a 43% GHG emissions reduction target by 2030 over 2005 levels. This is a 15 percentage point increase to the ambition stated in the country’s previous NDC. While the new NDC retains the 2050 net-zero target, climate scientists have flagged that the new NDC still falls far below what is required to achieve the 2 degree Celsius warming limit set out in the Paris Agreement by the end of the century. Australia’s new Labour government intends to use a strengthened “safeguard mechanism” to reduce emissions by setting an emissions cap on big polluters and requiring them to pay to offset their emissions if the cap is breached.

China releases new policy document on adaptation

The Chinese government has come out with a new policy document that seeks to address adaptation concerns as the country faces rapidly increasing risks from extreme weather and climate change-related stresses. The document has laid out plans for the modernisation of China’s climate-related disaster prevention systems in order to reduce vulnerabilities in the country’s economy and natural ecosystems. 

The government has said that it aims to build a nationwide climate impact and risk assessment system by 2035, and will mandate the inclusion of climate in environmental impact assessments of all major projects. Early-warning capabilities in the country will also be boosted as the economic giant contends with multiplying climate risks. 

Long time climate negotiator and China’s current climate envoy Xie Zhenhua has called for the prioritisation of adaptation in a recent interview given to business publication Caixin Global. The veteran negotiator also called for reliance on multilateral measures to continue, particularly when dealing with the issue of carbon pricing, while denouncing unilateral measures such as the EU’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAM).