Daily Prelims Notes 28 February 2022
- February 28, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
28 February 2022
Table Of Contents
- CARBON MARKETS
- Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits
- QUANTUM SUPREMACY
- FLUORIDE CONTAMINATION OF GROUNDWATER
- Milky Way’s supermassive black hole exploded 3.5 million years ago: Study
- Chemistry Nobel for development of lithium-ion batteries
- UNGA RESOLUTIONS
- Green Hydrogen
- Bhakra Beas Management Amendment Rules
- Russian space agency’s threat on International Space Station amid Ukraine crisis
Context- The COP-26 Summit at Glasgow in November last ﬁnally agreed on a “rule-book” for two new carbon market mechanisms that were created in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
About Carbon Markets:
- Carbon markets allow for buying and selling of carbon emissions with the objective of reducing global emissions.
- Carbon markets under international law were first set up under the Kyoto Protocol (1996) and became operational in 2000.
- The protocol mandated binding reductions in emissions by developed countries, but not in developing ones, and set up three carbon market instruments:
- Emissions trading under which developed countries could trade abatements exceeding their mandates with others which fell short;
- Joint Implementation (JI) covering negative carbon generated from individual projects which could be traded between corporates in developed countries;
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by which such credits could be generated from projects in developing countries and traded to corporates in developed countries.
Carbon Markets under the Paris Agreement:
- The provisions relating to setting up a new carbon market are described in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
- Article 6.2 enables bilateral arrangements for transfer of emissions reductions.
- Article 6.4 is about a wider carbon market in which reductions can be bought and sold by anyone.
- Article 6.8 provides for making ‘non-market approaches’ available to countries to achieve targets.
Context- In the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the spotlight has moved to the Black Sea after Ukraine urged Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian ships under Monteaux Convention.
Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits:
- The straits are also known as the Turkish Straits or the Black Sea Straits, connect the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea via the Sea of Marmara.
- The Bosphorus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara,
- While the Dardanelles connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
- About 48,000 vessels transit the straits each year, making this area one of the world’s busiest maritime gateways.
- The Bosphorus is also one of the world’s most important chokepoints for the maritime transit of oil.
Trade through the Black Sea:
- Black Sea states — Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia.
- Black Sea is a major artery for the movement of commodities at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
- Crude oil, refined oil, agricultural product and iron and steel are all transported through the Black Sea.
- According to the Bloomberg report, Ukraine and Russia together account for more than a quarter of global wheat exports, nearly a fifth of corn trade and the bulk of sunflower oil.
- Rich, fertile soils have helped Ukraine become the second-largest grain shipper.
- Signed in 1936, the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits gives NATO member Turkey the control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits and regulates the transit of naval warships.
- the Convention permitted Turkey to remilitarise the Straits.
- The Montreux Convention guarantees free passage of civilian vessels to use the Turkish straits.
- The accord states that if Turkey is at war, Ankara has the right to do whatever is necessary, including closing the straits. If other states are at war and Turkey is neutral, the straits are closed for those belligerent countries.
- The Turkish government must also authorise aircraft if they cross over the straits.
- Submarines are also not allowed to pass the Turkish straits.
- But Black Sea states can build submarines outside the Black Sea and transport them through the straits, and can exit the Black Sea for maintenance by providing adequate notice.
TOPIC: Science & Tech.
Context- Google and IBM are at odds over ‘quantum supremacy’. Google claims to have demonstrated something called “quantum supremacy”, in a paper published in Nature. But a team from IBM has published their own paper claiming they can reproduce the Google result on existing supercomputers.
- Quantum computing is a type of computation that harnesses the collective properties of quantum states, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to perform calculations.
- The devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers.
- Quantum computers represent a new way of processing data. Instead of storing information in “bits” as 0s or 1s like classical computers do, quantum computers use the principles of quantum physics to store information in “qubits” that can also be in states of 0 and 1 at the same time.
- In theory, this allows quantum machines to perform certain calculations much faster than classical computers.
- Traditional computers work on the basis of the laws of classical physics, specifically by utilizing the flow of electricity. A quantum computer, on the other hand, seeks to exploit the laws that govern the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles.
- In 2012, Professor John Preskill coined the term “quantum supremacy”
- It describes the point when quantum computers become powerful enough to perform some computational task that classical computers could not do in a reasonable timeframe.
- Quantum supremacy is an intermediate milestone, something to aim for long before it is possible to build large, general-purpose quantum computers.
Context- Continued fluoride contamination of groundwater is a glaring public health issue in central India.
- Fluoride is a chemical element that is found most frequently in groundwater and has become one of the most important toxicological environmental hazards globally.
- The occurrence of fluoride in groundwater is due to weathering and leaching of fluoride-bearing minerals from rocks and sediments.
- Fluoride when ingested in small quantities (<0.5 mg/L) is beneficial in promoting dental health by reducing dental caries, whereas higher concentrations (>1.5 mg/L) may cause fluorosis.
- Although the surface water is less contaminated, tubewells pump out water that contains high fluoride content.
- Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and West Bengal are the relatively high-fluoride-contaminated states in India.
- Dark yellow pigmentation of their teeth – a common visible sign of excessive ingestion of fluoride.
- Fluoride contamination leads to damaged joints, bone deformities, flurosis.
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- The black hole, known as Sagittarius A, or Sgr A* (pronounced Sagittarius A-star) — about 4.2 million times more massive than the Sun — exploded due to nuclear activity, according to a team of scientists at Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3-D).
About Sagittarius A:
- It is at the center of the Milky Way galaxy which has four million times the mass of the sun.
- A supermassive black hole that sits 26,000 light-years away from Earth, near the Galactic Center, or the center of the Milky Way.
- It is one of the few black holes where we can witness the flow of matter nearby.
About Black Holes:
- Black holes are extraordinarily dense objects possessing gravitational pulls so powerful even light cannot escape them.
- It refers to a point in space where the matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field from which even light cannot escape.
- The concept was theorized by Albert Einstein in 1915 and the term ‘black hole’ was coined in the mid-1960s by American physicist John Archibald Wheeler.
- The black holes belong to two categories:
- One category ranges between a few solar masses and tens of solar masses. These are thought to form when massive stars die.
- The other category is of supermassive black holes. These range from hundreds of thousands to billions of times that of the sun from the Solar system to which Earth belongs.
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- An American physicist, a British-American chemist and a Japanese chemist on October 9, 2019, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.
About Lithium Ion Batteries:
- A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery.
- The lithium-ion batteries are based upon lithium-ions flowing back and forth between the anode and cathode.
- Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.
- Intercalation is the reversible inclusion or insertion of a molecule into materials with layered structures.
- The “lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery” today powers everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles.
- They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind.
- Disadvantages of Li-ion Batteries:
- Long charging times.
- Expensive to manufacture.
- Safety issues as instances of batteries catching fires have been there.
Context- The European Union, US, UK and allies have agreed to exclude a number of Russian banks from Swift, an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions.
What is Swift?
- Swift is the global financial artery that allows the smooth and rapid transfer of money across borders.
- It stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
- Created in 1973 and based in Belgium, Swift links 11,000 banks and institutions in more than 200 countries.
- It is a sort of instant messaging system that informs users when payments have been sent and arrived.
Who owns and controls Swift?
- Swift was created by American and European banks.
- The network is now jointly-owned by more than 2,000 banks and financial institutions.
- It is overseen by the National Bank of Belgium, in partnership with major central banks around the world.
- Swift helps make secure international trade possible for its members.
Context- After abstaining from the UN Security Council Resolution 8979 condemning Russian action in Ukraine, India faces more diﬃcult choices with the U.S. and European-led coalition now pushing for a vote at the UN General Assembly aimed at “isolating Russia”.
- United Nations resolutions are formal expressions of the opinion or will of United Nations organs.
- A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is a decision or declaration voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.
- General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority (50 percent of all votes plus one) to pass.
- However, if the General Assembly determines that the issue is an “important question” by a simple majority vote, then a two-thirds majority is required;
- “important questions” are those that deal significantly with the maintenance of international peace and security, admission of new members to the United Nations, suspension of the rights and privileges of membership, the expulsion of members, operation of the trusteeship system, or budgetary questions.
- Although General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding towards member states.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA):
- The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
- All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
- The President of the General Assembly is elected each year by assembly to serve a one-year term of office.
****For further information Please refer to DPN 27 February 2022.
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- Experts say ‘natural gas pyrolysis’ could be a good interim solution before green hydrogen from water electrolysis becomes economically viable.
Natural Gas Pyrolysis:
- Pyrolysis is defined as a process of temperature decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen,
- Pyrolysis of natural gas is a well-known technical process applied for production of, e. g., carbon black.
- In the future it might contribute to carbon dioxide-free hydrogen production.
- Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements on earth for a cleaner alternative fuel option.
- Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using renewable energy (like Solar, Wind).
- Electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.
- By Products : Water, Water Vapor.
- Green hydrogen can drive India’s transition to clean energy, combat climate change.
- India has a favourable geographic location and abundance of sunlight and wind for the production of green hydrogen.
Context- The Union Power Ministry has made an amendment to the rules governing the appointment of Member Power and Member Irrigation on Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) from Punjab and Haryana, respectively, thereby removing the stipulation that these two appointments need to be filled from the two states only.
Bhakra Beas Management Rules, 1974:
- According to the Bhakra Beas Management Board Rules, 1974, the member (power) in BBMB was from Punjab and the member (irrigation) was from Haryana.
- As per the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, the waters of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej are allocated to India and are available to be utilised for irrigation purposes within the country.
- On the Beas and Sutlej, Bhakra Dehar and Beas power projects were constructed.
- The BBMB controls these projects, and the expenditure is shared by the states in the ratio of their shares.
- Under the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, the share from BBMB was divided between Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 58:42, with some share to Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh subsequently added.
- Punjab and Haryana are the two major beneficiaries.
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have consequences for the International Space Station (ISS), a permanent laboratory in space where the United States, Russia and some other countries work as partners.
About International Space Station:
- The ISS is a manmade space station or artificial satellite that is habitable for humans in space.
- It is in the low-earth orbit and there are astronauts living onboard the space station conducting experiments on earth science, biology, biotechnology, astronomy, microgravity, meteorology, physics, etc.
- The International Space Station was the brainchild of former US President Ronald Reagan, who in 1984 proposed building a permanently inhabited spacecraft in cooperation with a few other countries.
- The ISS was developed and built by five space agencies namely, NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), European Space Agency (ESA-Europe), JAXA (Japan) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA-Canada).
- The station is divided into two sections: the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) is operated by Russia, while the United States Orbital Segment (USOS) is run by the United States as well as many other nations.