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Weekly Digest #65


WEEKLY DIGEST #65


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In this digest-


1. COP26 - Hits and misses


2. Happiness Quotient from around the world


3. Did you Know


4. The Entertainment Quotient (Your weekly Streaming reccomendations)









-Cover Story-




COP26 – Hits and Misses

By: Agastya Rao

It took an extra day of negotiations at Glasgow for a final document to be created and approved by all participating countries. The proceedings at Glasgow COP26 were watched with keen interest by everyone around the world.


In my previous article, which was Part 1 of this article, I mentioned what the hopes of teenagers from world leaders were. Did world leaders end up making COP26 a real success, or was this yet another instance of not enough being done for the earth? Greta Thunberg called the climate agreement “blah blah blah.” Was it a hit or a miss? Here is a quick review.




Wins-


1. Countries now have to meet at Egypt at COP27 next year with a clearly defined and updated plans on slashing greenhouse emissions by 2030. This is a much more realistic and stronger requirement than what was achieved at the Paris Conference – merely a requirement for countries to update their goals in this field by 2025.

2. As I wrote in Part 1 of this Article, the richest countries had agreed over 10 years ago to provide funding to the tune of $100 billion a year to developing countries. This was to be used to help them adapt to the effects of climate change- for example, building sea walls or building homes better adapted to the vagaries of climate change. This goal was not met by rich countries. In a positive development, the Glasgow Climate Pact requires rich countries to double the adaptation money by 2025.

3. On Counting Carbons- COP26 managed to put in place rules for international cooperation and carbon markets. This was a requirement of the Paris Agreement, and the newly formed Rules aim to prevent double-counting of emissions reductions. For instance, if a country (or a company) invests in the reduction of emissions in another country, as per the new accounting rules, these reductions can only be recorded once they are reported to the United Nations.

4. China pledged to stop financing coal plants abroad. This is a commitment made by China prior to the start of COP26 and while it isn’t as good as a commitment to stop relying on coal fully, it is a small step.


5. The USA is back in the game! After Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the Paris Agreement, there were shockwaves across the world.


President Biden undid some of that damage and told world leaders at COP26 that the US was back at the table and was ready to “lead other countries in combating climate change.”


If only the USA would take its role of “world leader” seriously and work towards a proper climate fund, I would count this as an even bigger win.





Losses-


There was, unfortunately, no agreement on the creation of a fund to help countries that are worst hit by climate crises. The idea behind such a “loss and damage” fund was that rich countries would pay into the fund to help vulnerable countries rebuild after being lashed by disasters.


The USA, the European Union and reportedly Australia as well, opposed this fund. News analysts say this development left developing and climate vulnerable countries disappointed.

Semi-wins-


1. The first proper mention of fossil fuels being phased out sounds like a major win. However, India, backed by China and some other developing countries, was opposed to the language that required full phasing out of coal, citing its dependence on fuel subsidies as a developing nation. Still, the fact that all 197 counties agreed to “phase down” if not “phase down” the use of coal is a small win. This is a thorny issue where developed and developing countries need to come to a consensus.

2. All members agreed to the outstanding rules of the Paris Agreement, including carbon offsetting. However, there are concerns around the possibility of abuse of carbon offsetting (it being used as a method of continuing with polluting activities). Indigenous communities are not too happy with the prospect either, for fear of this leading to commodification of their lands.

3. The Glasgow Pact includes a commitment from some countries to end deforestation, reduce methane emissions as well as a pledge from the financial sector to invest in companies that are working towards net-zero emissions. I am reluctant to include this in the “wins” category, because experts say these promises are not strong enough to keep global warming limited to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels (which was the goal agreed upon in the Partis Climate Agreement of 2015.)


In the end…


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres summarised the compromise agreement by stating, “It is an important step but it is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.” A resounding Yes to this spirit, but we demand real action from our leaders.


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By: Mihir Rao

1. UNESCO added Srinagar to its list of Worldwide Creative Cities Network. This welcome move is a recognition of Srinagar’s contributions in the field of crafts and folk arts. This recognition will hopefully give a fillip to the artisans of the city.

2. More than 50 years after being declared “biologically dead”, the River Thames seems to have revived itself. Studies by the Zoological Society of London have found seals, seahorses and sharks living in the river. The formerly dirty river now has an increased number of mammals, birds and fish and this is a wonderful, positive outcome.

3. In a major victory for environment campaigners, England has passed a new Environment Law with legally binding targets in the area of clean air and water, and even set up an independent watchdog body to ensure these targets are met.

4. Two hikers stranded in British Columbia’s Golden Ears Provincial Park were saved by some good Samaritans who used quick thinking. 5 Sikh hikers created a lifeline using their turbans to bring the hikers to safety.

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By: Abhimanyu Rao


1. After a short break during the solar conjunction (a period when the sun is between the earth and Mars, which halted NASA’s communications with the rover), NASA’s Rover is back in action. Rover is now exploring rocky outcrops on the Red Planet’s Seitah region. Will the exploration reveal signs of life? Watch this space and we will keep you up to date.

2. It turns out that an asteroid named Kamo‘oaleva, discovered in 2016, is actually a small chunk of the Moon! This quasi-satellite (a type of asteroid that orbits the sun but remains relatively close to the earth) is a ferris wheel sized object and scientists are unsure about how this fragment was separated from the moon.

3. A massive funnel spider named Megaspider has been donated to the Australian Reptile Park for extracting its venom and creating a life saving anti venom. The arachnid is so large in size that it is closer in size to a tarantula than a regular spider!

4. In an unprecedented finding, a mineral that has never been found on earth has recently been found encased inside a diamond in a mine in Botswana. The mineral, named Davemaoite, is of special interest because it gives scientists an opportunity to study minerals from deep within the earth (between the core and the crust). The outer layer of the diamond saved the mineral from losing its form.

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Entertainment quotient for the week:


Netflix


-Mughizh


Disney+


-Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings


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Visit these pages to see some of our other endeavours!


Visit A Dogs Daily Antics to laugh your heart out with crazy captioned dog photos!

Visit The Chinappa Channel to see some quirky but nice videos that will make you roll with laughter

A Note To Our Readers:

We thank our readers for supporting us this past year. We truly hope you enjoyed this digest and we hope this put a smile on your face. Here at The Paperless Press, we strive to provide free,fun and positive news. We would be very happy to receive your feedback and receive guest submissions from our readers. We hope that you spread the word and enjoy reading our digests.


-The Paperless Press

We hope this issue brightened up your day!







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