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The International Energy Agency (IEA) said if the world achieves a 30 per cent cut in methane emissions from human activity by 2030, it would have a similar impact on global warming as switching the entire global transport sectorover to net zero emissions technologies.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday said if the world achieves a 30 per cent cut in methane emissions from human activity by 2030, it would have a similar impact on global warming as switching all world's cars, trucks, ships and planes -- the entire global transport sector -- over to net zero emissions technologies.

After two weeks of intensive discussions on how to step up international efforts to tackle global warming, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow concluded on Saturday night.

The IEA has played an active role throughout, participating in a range of events addressing the ways in which the energy sector can help solve the world's climate challenge.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol joined dozens of world leaders, led by US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, at the launch of the Global Methane Pledge, underscoring that reducing methane emissions is the most impactful way to limit near-term climate change.

An official statement quoting Birol said he welcomed the commitment by more than 100 countries worldwide to join the pledge to cut global methane emissions from human activity by 30 per cent by 2030 and highlighted the IEA's longstanding efforts to push for an end to methane leaks from fossil fuel operations.

Multiple leaders including Colombian President Ivan Duque, at the Global Methane Pledge launch, noted the IEA's important role in advocating measures to clamp down on methane emissions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his country was the first to commit to meeting the IEA goal of 75 per cent reduction in energy-related methane emissions by 2030.

US Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry, who moderated the event, said the IEA has "played a tremendous role for all of us" and expressed appreciation to Birol for his leadership.

At COP26, Birol also met key leaders and top officials from around the world for discussions on key energy and climate issues, including a substantive meeting with Chinese Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua.

They discussed the IEA's recent Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 and Energy Sector Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality in China, as well as China's energy transition and climate goals.

Birol also held a bilateral meeting with UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, at which they discussed cooperation between the UAE government and the IEA to support the Gulf nation's efforts to accelerate its clean energy transition and diversify its economy with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

At a meeting with Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif, Birol focused on strong and growing programme of IEA-Indonesia cooperation on the energy transition, including the country's net zero roadmap and the energy agenda for its G20 Presidency in 2022.

During the first week of COP26, the IEA published a commentary on new analysis showing that if all the climate pledges made by countries around the world as of November 3 -- covering methane as well as carbon emissions -- were to be met in full and on time, it would limit the rise in global temperatures in this century to 1.8 degrees Celsius.

That's a notable improvement from the 2.1 degrees Celsius of warming that was projected by its World Energy Outlook 2021's Announced Pledges Scenario in mid-October, based on the climate pledges to date at that point.

But Birol believes this progress is still not enough to put the world in line with the critical goal of limiting warming to 1.5 Celsius -- and the pledges still need to be backed up with clear policies to actually put greenhouse gas emissions into decline.

Tracking and accountability will be critical to ensure that countries and companies are following through on their promises.

At the request of the UK's COP26 Presidency, the IEA is leading the tracking of global progress against the Glasgow Breakthroughs -- five goals aimed at driving down the costs of clean technologies. Meeting these goals will be essential to enabling the achievement of governments' long-term net zero pledges. (IANS/JB)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met a US Congressional delegation and exchanged views on the potential for enhancing bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation on contemporary global issues

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met a US Congressional delegation and exchanged views on the potential for enhancing bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation on contemporary global issues such as terrorism, climate change and reliable supply chains for critical technologies.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's office, the delegation led by Senator John Cornyn comprised Senator Michael Crapo, Senator Thomas Tuberville, Senator Michael Lee, Congressman Tony Gonzales, and Congressman John Kevin Elizey Sr.

The delegation noted the excellent management of the COVID situation in India in-spite of the challenges of a large and diverse population, whereas Modi noted that people's participation based on the democratic ethos of the country played a key role in managing the worst pandemic of the last century.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the consistent support and constructive role of the US Congress in deepening the India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership, which is anchored in shared democratic values.

Both Modi and the visiting delegation noted the increasing convergence of strategic interests between the two strategic partners and expressed a desire to further enhance cooperation with the aim of promoting global peace and stability.

There was a warm and frank discussion on regional issues of mutual interest, including those related to South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, the PMO said.

Senator Cornyn is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate caucus on India and Indian-Americans. (IAMS/JB)

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Theinhabitants of Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur on Sunday demanded an immediate halt on hazardous hydropower dams in the "fragile and overexploited" Himalayan region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to a reduction of carbon emissions by emphasising various initiatives, including hydel projects, in the Glasgow Climate Summit, but the inhabitants of Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur on Sunday demanded an immediate halt on hazardous hydropower dams in the "fragile and overexploited" Himalayan region.

"We are concerned with this issue... there is global warming which requires action from one platform but the necessity for power is now going to be met by solar, and wind energy and in this, hydel projects are also being touted as 'clean and green'. So we the youth of affected panchayats from Kinnaur have collectivised to send a message to the PM that bumper to bumper dams have been built in the Himalayan region and this has led us today to our struggle, not for electricity, but our very existence," organisers of 'NoMeansNo Campaign' and Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti Ekta Manch said.

"The unprecedented surface and underground construction have not just disturbed the rugged slopes but brought about irreversible land-use changes in an earthquake and landslide-prone zone, adversely impacting the lives and livelihood of the local Kinnaura indigenous community," the protesters alleged.

They also claimed that the new spate of constructions is now planned in altitudes above 3,000 metres going up to the trans-Himalayas, a region that is reeling under the impact of the climate crisis, with glacial melts, cloud bursts, avalanches, and flash floods.

More than 20 projects are in the pipeline even as four big hydro projects are still under construction.

The fate of Kinnaur will be shared by the neighbouring trans-Himalayan district of Lahaul-Spiti where more than 50 projects with a capacity of 3,000 MW are planned on the Chenab River and its tributaries, the protesters said.

Now the tribal people are calling out this "illegal and mindless destruction" and saying #NoMeansNo.

"The gram sabhas of affected villages of proposed projects in Kinnaur have already passed resolutions to halt further hydropower construction. They are standing up for their own survival, to preserve their identity, their homeland. And we stand in solidarity with their demand for halting all future hydropower projects in this vulnerable Himalayan region which has been exploited well beyond its capacity," protesters said.

"Our leaders need to think about this seriously and stop pushing these so-called 'clean and green' dams on us. A tiny district like ours is already contributing 3000 MW to the state now... this needs to be halted which is why we are demanding a ban on further hydropower in our region," they said.

This area -- Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, has laws to protect its biodiversity, they added.

Himachal Pradesh has set up 10 large and 12 small hydropower projects amounting to an installed capacity of 3041 MW, along with 11 transmission lines in one of the most ecologically sensitive and geologically vulnerable Kinnaur district.

Recently, Himachal had witnessed many landslides caused by heavy and incessant rain. This monsoon, Kinnaur witnessed a spate of catastrophic landslides that took the lives of tourists as well as local populace. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur, Climate Change, Narendra Modi, Hydropower Dams

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The 6th Northeast Green Summit (NGS), supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), will be held in Assam's Silchar

The 6th Northeast Green Summit (NGS), supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), will be held in Assams Silchar, where Forest Ministers of eight northeastern states will meet to discuss climate change and conservation issues in the region, officials said on Monday.

Union Minister of State for Environment, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar are expected to attend the three-day summit from November 16 in a bid to effectively brainstorm on common sustainable development and conservation strategies for not just northeast India but also its contiguous biodiversity zones.

The NGS advisory board member and a senior Indian Forest Service officer from Meghalaya C.P. Marak said that in the Forest Ministers' Round Table meet during the summit would focus matters of common concerns -- climate change, animal migration, movement of forest produce, management of natural resources on interstate and international borders, forest and wildlife offence with ramifications across each other's territory among many other issues.

"A Silchar Declaration may be unveiled at the end of the Round Table meeting subject to consensus on the issues," Marak said.

India Head of UNEP Atul Bagai, who has been supporting the summit for many years now, said that the northeast is comparatively at a better position in terms of greenery and natural resources, the effect of global warming and climate change is evident with delayed rains and longer summers, an official statement said.

"It is the time to act so that we can give back what belongs to nature. Like previous years, the NGS 2021 would act as a catalyst in the northeast region to combat global warming and act towards conservation," the statement said quoting Bagai.

Rajdeep Roy, the Lok Sabha MP from Silchar and also a passionate environmentalist, said that the Forest Ministers' Round Table would be the crowning moment of this year's summit.

"It is expected to come out with certain consensus and resolutions to evolve guidelines or protocol or recommendations, as may be decided, which would positively contribute towards conservation of natural resources and livelihood of forest-dependent people living inside or in its vicinity," said Roy, who is one of the brains behind the summit.

Acknowledging innovative and successful conservation programmes across the northeast has also been another feature of the Summit, which would be held at the National Institute of Technology, Silchar and Don Bosco School campuses in Silchar.

This time, Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department's 'airgun surrender abhiyan' - a unique conservation initiative aiming to save birds and animals from hunters - would be feted during the summit.

"Ours was an initiative to save our birds, animals, and nature. I am glad that hundreds of people came out to surrender their airguns for the sake of nature.

"We are happy that the success of our mission would be recognised during the NGS and it would help spread awareness about our cause," Mama Natung, the Forest Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, was quoted as saying.

Ahead of the NGS, a "green cyclothon" was organised on Monday in Assam's Barak Valley, to create awareness among the public about the rapidly depleting resources.

Over 500 cyclists participated. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Northeast Green Summit, UNEP, Climate Change, green cyclothon, airgun surrender abhiyan