The authorities have asked Haryana and UP to tap their monitoring stations in Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, and identify vulnerable ones as the ozone levels are predicted to rise further with soaring temperatures.

Rising temperature in NCR leading to increase in ground level ozone: CPCB

As Delhi-NCR temperatures touch 40°C, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sounded an alert for the rising ground level ozone in many parts of Delhi NCR. The CPCB data showed the levels in NCR crossing the national ambient air quality standards of 100 micrograms per cubic metre for eight hours. The levels register the maximum increase between 11 am and 6 pm, reported the Tribune. 

The authority identified six key air quality monitoring stations. Additionally, it asked the authorities in Haryana and UP to tap their monitoring stations in Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, and identify vulnerable ones as the ozone levels are predicted to rise further with soaring temperatures.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, high concentrations of ozone near ground level can be harmful to people, animals, crops and other materials. Ozone can cause irritation in the respiratory system, aggravate chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off bacterial infections in the respiratory system and cause pulmonary complications.

US: Proposed norms drastically limit pollution from coal-burning power plants

The US finalised a plan to cut emissions from the nation’s power plants. The new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation requires US coal power plants to cut 90% of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2032 if they wish to continue operating beyond 2039, NYT reported. The coal plants, which are set to close by 2039, would only have to cut their emissions by 16% by 2030, and those that retire before 2032 would not have to follow the new rules, the report stated. It added that along with three other measures being introduced to curb toxic air pollutants from coal plants, the new regulation will be a “death blow” for coal power in the US. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which the administration’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act provides support for, is recommended as a method of compliance for power plants, according to the Financial Times. The newspaper reported that, “if implemented, the new rules will mark the first time the US government will enforce a federal emissions standard on the power sector”. It noted that the new rules are “carefully tailored” to avoid legal challenges, following a Supreme Court ruling in 2022 that made it harder for the EPA to regulate emissions. 

Countries consider pact to cut global plastic production by 40% in 15 years

In a first, countries are considering reducing the global production of plastic  by 40% in 15 years.

As the world attempts to make a treaty to cut plastic waste at UN talks in Ottawa, Canada, two countries have put forward the first concrete proposal to limit production to reduce its harmful effects, including the huge carbon emissions from producing it, reported the Guardian. The motion submitted by Rwanda and Peru proposed a global target, ambitiously termed a “north star”, to cut the production of primary plastic polymers across the world by 40% by 2040, from a 2025 baseline.

India will back the global legally binding pact to curb plastic pollution if it is reached via full consensus, not one made through the support of a two-thirds majority, the country’s delegation said. The INC meetings are negotiating the contours of a draft global treaty to address the growing problem of plastic pollution, with the objective of covering the full lifecycle of plastics, from production to disposal, and to promote sustainable production and consumption of plastics. The meeting concluded in Ottawa with an advanced draft text of the instrument and agreement on intersessional work ahead of the fifth session (INC-5) to take place in Busan in November.

Plastic production threatens 1.5 degrees Celsius limit: Study 

Plastic pollution in the business-as-usual scenario has the potential to exhaust the global carbon budget to limit global warming to 1.5°C by as early as 2060 or no later than 2083, according to a new study. The study by the United States’ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) comes ahead of the fourth round of United Nations negotiations for an international treaty to end plastic pollution in Ottawa, Canada, during April 23-29.

Global plastic production matches around 12% of total demand for oil and 8.5% of total demand for natural gas. The study suggests plastic production needs to decrease by around 12% to 17% annually, starting 2024, to avoid breaching the 1.5°C limit. In 2019, plastic production generated about 2.24 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e), which is 5.3% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding agriculture and LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry). The same year the entire global transport sector, including aviation, produced 8.3 GtCO2e, the report said.

Under a conservative growth scenario (2.5% per year), GHG emissions from primary plastic production would more than double to 4.75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2050, accounting for 21%-26% of the remaining global carbon budget for a 50% chance of staying below the 1.5°C threshold.

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