Hastily done: Wildlife clearance for infrastructure projects across 11 Indian states has environmentalists worried | Photo: Indian Express

Infra projects in 11 states get wildlife clearance

Infrastructure projects in 11 states were approved by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in its first-ever video-conferencing meet held this past fortnight. As part of the government’s environmental clearance process, projects that encroach in forests or protected reserves are to obtain approval from the NBWL.  Some of the projects that were approved include a highway in Goa to ‘boost tourism’, the Nagpur-Mumbai superhighway, a mining project in Kota, Rajasthan and irrigation projects in Uttarakhand and Telangana, according to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar’s tweets.

Meanwhile, with an aim to boost ease of doing business, the environment ministry has allowed new lessees to mine for two years before getting fresh clearances.

COP 26 postponed to next year amid Covid-19 fear

The COP 26, which was to be held in Glasgow on November 9 this year, has been delayed and will now be held sometime in the middle of next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Environmentalists and climate leaders, however, have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments to act on the climate crisis despite the delay. Experts hope that the delay will give countries time to create a new approach to economic growth that is sustainable and in ‘closer harmony to the natural world’.

Despite COP 26 delay, countries still under pressure to submit updated climate plans   

Even though the COP 26 has been delayed, the pressure is still on for countries to submit more stringent climate action plans to the United Nations (UN). The international climate community is still urging countries to submit their increased plans by December 31.  

Japan has submitted a plan, but experts are disappointed, because the country has not set firmer targets, but only reaffirmed its 2015 goal – to cut emissions by 26% by 2030. According to environmentalists, Japan’s rehashing of old targets is not only inadequate to meet the larger climate ambitions, it also ‘negates science’.

Chile’s updated plan, meanwhile, commits to peaking its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by phasing out coal, promoting EV use, and expanding forests.

Covid-19 effect: Amend carbon deal amid traffic collapse, says airlines lobby

In a move that environmentalists are calling ‘a dodging of obligations’, the airline industry has written to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) asking it to amend the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation (Corsia), or risk airlines pulling out of the deal.As part of this deal, airlines have to shell out money to offset any growth in carbon emissions that is above the baseline set by the average emissions of 2019 and 2020. This may become a problem now because with the grounding of flights amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the baseline will be much lower than expected, making the carbon targets much tougher to meet for airlines. The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said it was seeking an amendment in order to “avoid an inappropriate economic burden on the sector”.