Under threat: Environmentalists fear that mining in the Aravallis could impact its biodiversity and groundwater recharge system | Photo: India Legal

Haryana govt seeks SC nod to start mining in Aravallis

Despite protests from environmentalists, the Haryana government is seeking approval from the Supreme Court to restart mining in the Aravallis, specifically in the districts of Faridabad, Gurugram and Mewat. The move is considered controversial because of the potential impact mining will have on one of the oldest mountain ranges, particularly with regards to groundwater recharge and biodiversity. As per the appeal to be submitted before the court, the Haryana government wants to start mining citing large-scale unemployment in the region because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other reasons include delays in the execution of infrastructure projects and their cost escalation. 

Govt allows industries violating coastal norms to avoid closure by paying compensation

A new government order triggered concerns of damage to India’s vulnerable coastal areas. The order allows industrial projects being built in an ecologically sensitive coastal zone without necessary permissions to avoid closure by paying for a conservation and environment management plan as compensation. The environment ministry explained the new rules through an ‘office memorandum’ sent to all coastal states. Current laws make it compulsory for such projects to obtain prior clearance before starting construction work.   

European officials at World Bank urge management to exclude investments fossil fuels 

In a major move, senior European officials at the World Bank urged management to ‘exclude’ all its fossil-fuel investments and also phase out natural gas investments from its portfolio. The letter written by the officials is significant because the World Bank is the largest provider of climate finance to developing countries. 

The EU, meanwhile, continues to spearhead the climate movement globally. All member countries officially approved the EU’s 17.5-billion euro EU Just Transition Fund. This fund will help the region phase out the coal and oil sectors to make way for cleaner industries and jobs. 

Biden pushes up cost of carbon  

US President Joe Biden continues to walk the walk when it comes to climate change. He has hiked the social cost of carbon, as calculated by the Obama administration. The cost will now be $51 for every tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere. The previous Trump administration had set a figure of just $8. The social cost quantifies the economic and societal damage that greenhouse gas emissions will cause in the next few decades. 

According to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd, however, carbon prices will have to surge to at least $160 per tonne of CO2 by 2030. The current global average is $22. The report also urged companies to capture, store and use huge volumes of CO2 in order to try and limit warming to 1.5°C.

China to launch online emissions trading system by end of June

In order to reach its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, China will launch a carbon emissions trading system this year. The registration system and data for the exchange will be based in central Hubei province, while Shanghai will host trading on Friday and Saturday. Trading is expected to begin by the end of June. The system will initially only trade emissions by coal- or gas-fired plants, major refineries and manufacturing facilities with captive power plants.   

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