Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 27 September 2023

Amazon countries fail to agree on protection goals

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

Leaders from the eight countries across the Amazon, including BoliviaBrazilColombiaEcuadorGuyanaPeruSuriname and Venezuela, failed to agree on the goal to protect the rainforest at the ongoing Amazon Summit organised by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).

More about the News

  • ACTO is an international organisation “aimed at the promotion of sustainable development of the Amazon Basin”.
  • Colombia had proposed that 80 per cent of the Amazon should be protected from deforestation and degradation by 2025 but did not find support from all the members.
  • A clear joint goal, such as the protection of 80 per cent of the forest to avoid the tipping point, is absent in the declaration and leaders couldn't even agree on zero deforestation, Diego Casaes, campaign director of Avaaz, a United States-based nonprofit pointed out.
  • Scientists have warned for long that if the combined deforestation and degradation of the Amazon crosses a 20-25 per cent threshold, the forest could reach an irreversible tipping point that may result in the dieback of the entire ecosystem.
  • The leaders focused on “initiating a dialogue” on the sustainability of mining and fossil fuel-related activities and there was no commitment to stop oil drilling in the region.
  • The failure of consensus on protected areas could have implications on the overall goals and targets set under the Convention on Biological Diversity's Global Biodiversity Framework set in December 2022.
  • Under this, member countries had agreed to protect at least 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030. The greater role of biodiversity rich countries, such as those in the Amazon region, was emphasised during the negotiations.

Belem Declaration

  • The Belem Declaration released during the Amazon Summit recognises Indigenous knowledge as a condition for biodiversity conservation and calls for ensuring full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making and public policy formulation processes.
  • Indigenous People are under constant threats and land rights will not only give them better protection, it will also prevent deforestation and protect the rich biodiversity within these territories.
  • The representatives at the Summit recognised that there is a need for multiple forest economy solutions to counter the trend of agricultural commodities as the dominant economic model in the region. The declaration promotes sustainable use of biodiversity resources in the Amazon.
  • At the moment, there is no indication of how much money members will invest to fund the declaration's proposed objectives or support minimum conservation standards.
  • It is likely that Brazil's “Amazon fund” could be expanded to cover the region and a working group will be established to discuss financial needs and efforts needed to mobilise resources.
  • Finances to fund biodiversity have been a sticky point since the agreement on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
  • Recently, at the Global Environment Facility Council meeting in Brazil, available funds were allocated for different areas of GEF's work.
  • GEF is responsible for finding funds for the implementation of GBF and is meeting later this month in Canada to finalise the working of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund.

Qi2 technology replaces wired charging

GS Paper - 3 (ICT)

The act of plugging and unplugging your phone is not exactly a joyride. Wireless charging solves these problems in a snap. Charging becomes as simple as placing your phone on a charging surface and letting it take it from there. But even as it eliminates these problems, it somehow creates new ones.

What is Qi2 and how does it work?

  • The tech leverages electromagnetic induction, which transfers energy from a transmitter coil in the charger to a receiver coil in the device.
  • The coils are tuned to the same frequency, creating a magnetic field that allows the energy to flow.
  • Qi2 is a new wireless charging standard that takes this technology to the next level. Qi2 uses magnetic alignment and a different frequency to achieve 15W fast charging for compatible phones.
  • The magnets help the device and the charger align perfectly, increasing the efficiency and reducing the charge time.
  • Qi2 also supports charging multiple devices at once, as well as charging through thicker cases and metal objects.
  • Qi2 was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), a group of companies that promote wireless charging standards.
  • The WPC unveiled Qi2 during CES 2023 as “the latest advancement in charging technology.”
  • Apple made the biggest contribution to Qi2, based on its MagSafe technologyMagSafe is a magnetic charging system that Apple introduced for its iPhone 12 series.
  • The WPC adopted MagSafe as the basis for Qi2, creating the Magnetic Power Profile (MPP) that defines how Qi2 works.
  • Qi2 is expected to become theindustry standard for wireless charging, as it offers faster, safer, and more convenient charging for smartphones, mobile devices, and even wearables.
  • Qi2 is compatible with existing Qi chargersand devices, but you will need a Qi2-certified charger and device to enjoy the full benefits of Qi2.

How is Qi2 different from Qi?

  • The original Qi standard requires your phone and charger to be very close and aligned, or else the charging efficiency drops dramatically.
  • That means you can’t just toss your phone on the pad and expect it to charge quickly.
  • Qi2 is a new standard that uses magnets to keep your phone and charger in perfect position, so you can enjoy faster and more reliable wireless charging.

Goa’s new beach shack policy

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Goa government recently approved the ‘Goa State Shack Policy 2023-2026’, for the erection of temporary seasonal structures, beach shacksdeck beds and umbrellas along beach stretches for the next three tourist seasonsBeach shacks — typically built from eco-friendly materials such as bamboowooden poles and thatched palm leaves — have become a popular attraction for domestic and international tourists visiting Goa.

More about the policy

  • The shack policy allows unemployed persons of Goan domicile to operate ‘temporary’ shacks on the beachfront during the peak tourist season from 1 September to 31 May. By 10 June, the shacks have to be mandatorily dismantled.
  • According to the policy, 259 shacks are permitted on nominated beach stretches in North Goa and 105 shacks are allowed in South Goa.
  • The licences for operating these shacks are allotted based on categories of experience by draw of lots, and one shack is permitted per family.

What changes in the new policy?

  • In the draft policy, the government inserted a contentious clause, stipulating that the age of applicants for allotment of beach shacks should be between 18 and 60, sparking outrage among traditional Goan shack holders. The previous beach shack policies had no bar on age.
  • In another move aimed at “encouraging newcomers” in the business, the government has relaxed the eligibility criteria for experience, with 90 per cent of shacks to be allotted to applicants having at least one year of experience running a shack and 10 per cent to those with no experience.
  • Citing complaints from tourists about Goan food missing from shacks, the new policy makes it mandatory for shacks to serve Goan cuisine.
  • A “Digital Coast” has been proposed at the beaches, where shack allottees will be provided POS (point of sale) machines to facilitate digital transactions for customers.
  • The penalty for subletting a shack has been hiked from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. If a toilet is found “unhygienic”, a fine of Rs 10,000 will be levied.
  • No beach shacks shall be allotted at South Goa’s Keri beach in the 2023-24 season, due to the Water Resources Department’s ongoing work for protection against beach erosion at the stretch.

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