Inadequate: Recent analyses of post-COVID stimulus packages has found that recovery spending could lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions | Photo: Republic World

Most countries failing to live up to green pledges: Analysis

Forget green recovery, most countries are on course to spend billions of dollars on COVID-19 recovery packages that are likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions, according to new research. The US, for example, is set to spend $3 trillion as part of its recovery package of which only $39 billion will be spent on green projects, the study titled the Greenness of Stimulus Index, by Vivid Economics as part of the Finance for Biodiversity initiative, stated. The country is also rolling back regulations that protect the environment. The EU, which has allocated 37% of its 750 billion euros package to green initiatives, is the only region that is planning a green recovery, according to the analysis. 

SC remarks that no govt has the right to mine coal in eco-sensitive zones

The Supreme Court yesterday observed that neither the Centre nor state governments had the right to open up areas falling under eco-sensitive zones for coal mining. The remark was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde while hearing the Jharkhand state government’s plea against the Centre’s decision to auction coal blocks for commercial mining.

Expect 35,000 crore for enhanced discom funding: PFC

After the Indian government recently allowed enhanced funding to discoms in a bid to clear outstanding debts, the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) said it expects additional funds ranging between ₹30,000 crore and ₹35,000 crore to meet the obligation. 

The Centre, meanwhile, has finalised the Standard Bidding Document (SBD) for discom privatisation. All stakeholders are expected to send in their comments by October 5 on the SBD, which is to serve as a guiding document for states interested in offering discoms to private companies. 

India to spend 3.6 lakh crore to provide tap water to every household

The Indian government announced a ₹3.6 lakh crore plan to expand the country’s water supply. The government hopes to supply tap water connections to 15 crore households in 4-5 years, UP Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti said. This is part of a larger initiative called Jal Jeevan mission, through which the government is aiming to supply safe and adequate drinking water to all the citizens.

India poorly prepared to deal with climate change: Study

A new study served as a grim reminder of India’s unpreparedness to tackle climate change. India wanted 89th among 181 countries on the 2020 World Risk Index (WRI), which found the country to be ‘poorly prepared’ to deal with climate change. It is the fourth-most at-risk country in South Asia, just behind Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan were better prepared to deal with climate disasters than India, according to the index. Another report published by the Climate policy Initiative and Shakti Foundation found that India’s climate financing levels stood at a pitiable 10% of the required US$170 billion each year.

EU right in proposing carbon tariffs on imports: IMF chief

The EU’s proposal to impose carbon levies on imports received a major fillip from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this past fortnight. IMF president Kristalina Georgieva endorsed the plan and asked major emitters to cooperate. Georgieva agreed to the EU’s stand that a carbon border tax would provide EU companies a chance to compete on a level playing field with major polluters US and China.  

South Africa plans net zero emissions by 2050, but with coal power still in play

The South African cabinet has approved plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But there is a catch. The plan it has drawn up gives coal a continuous role. It envisions a ‘just transition’ from coal to renewable energy, but forecasts 5,000 MW of coal power capacity in 2050.

The country currently gets 90% of its energy from coal. The government is aiming to reduce this to 45% by 2030 by shutting down old power plants. But experts said that with new power plants currently under construction in Kusile and Medupi, reality was not consistent with the government’s targeting to achieve net zero emissions. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the other hand, refused to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.

France puts plans to levy environmental tax on airlines on hold 

France put plans to levy an environmental tax on the aviation sector on ice for now. Despite tremendous pressure to work towards a green recovery, the government believes that levying taxes on a sector that is already floundering because of COVID-19 losses would push it in deeper.  The new taxes proposal was one among 150 that had been put forth by the Citizens’ Climate Council.

New petrol and diesel cars could be banned within a decade

The UK is planning to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol engine cars by 2030. Free parking and a VAT cut on electric cars are being considered. A report commissioned by the Department for Transport said that a series of “upfront incentives” were needed to drive up the sales of new electric vehicles.

The study said additional financial support to buy a battery-powered car was “one of the most effective and popular levers” the government could adopt. It suggested that cutting the VAT rate for electric cars and, in turn, penalising those who buy petrol or diesel models was popular with potential buyers. It said that other incentives, including free use of public car parking spaces, could have a “positive impact”.