Daily Editorial Analysis for 3rd July 2021

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(Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, The Economic Times, PIB, etc.)

(3ST July 2021)


Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

Why in News

  • A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.
  • That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Climate Change and biodiversity

  • Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult.
  • Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.
  • There are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions.
  • If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.
  • Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.
  • Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 birds, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.
  • Peatlands are those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens, store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground.
  • In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.
  • Unfortunately, more than 80 per cent of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.
  • Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife.
  • Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.
  • People currently use about 25 per cent of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living.
  • The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.
  • Create new forests – with care people have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth. Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place.
  • Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.
  • A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single species plantation.
  • Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat.
  • Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.
  • Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.
  • Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.
  • It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests.
  • Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights.
  • And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.


  • With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.


India agrees to global tax framework

Why in News

  • India has agreed to a path breaking international framework with 129 other countries for taxing multinationals that could impact its ability to tax them and have the potential to douse trade wars over taxing tech giants.

OECD-G20 Inclusive Framework on Global tax deal

  • India and the other countries issued a joint statement affirming support for the proposed framework which has at its core a global minimum corporate tax of 15 per cent and makes way for countries to tax multinational enterprises (MNEs), especially tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, on their earnings there.
  • It would reallocate some taxing rights over MNEs from their home countries to the markets where they have business activities and earn profits, regardless of whether firms have a physical presence there.
  • It will ensure a fairer distribution of profits and taxing rights among countries with respect to the largest MNEs, including digital companies.
  • India and the administration of President Joe Biden are embroiled in a dispute over New Delhi imposing a two per cent tax on earnings in the country by foreign technology and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.
  • Biden’s administration retaliated with a threat to raise import duties on a range of imports, from prawns and Basmati rice to furniture and jewellery, but kept it in abeyance hoping the new global tax framework could resolve it.
  • The OECD, which said that it expected the framework to be finalised in October for implementation in 2023, estimated that it would generate additional annual global tax revenues of around $150 billion that will be shared by various countries.
  • Additional benefits will also arise from the stabilisation of the international tax system and the increased tax certainty for taxpayers and tax administrations.
  • The framework got the approval of the G7 leaders last month and is expected to come up at the meeting of the finance ministers of the G20 group of major economies in Venice next week.
  • For decades, the United States has participated in a self-defeating international tax competition, lowering our corporate tax rates only to watch other nations lower theirs in response.
  • The result was a global race to the bottom. Today’s agreement by 130 countries representing more than 90 per cent of global GDP is a clear sign: the race to the bottom is one step closer to coming to an end.” The deal has two parts or “pillars”, as the OECD calls it.
  • The first ensures the rights of countries to tax the MNEs on their incomes there.
  • Under Pillar One, taxing rights on more than $100 billion of profit are expected to be reallocated to market jurisdictions each year.
  • The second pillar sets the global minimum for taxes at 15 per cent without a ceiling on the maximum.
  • With a minimum rate of at least 15 per cent, it “is estimated to generate around USD 150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually.
  • India will be able to tax large MNCs (multinational corporations) doing business in the country, without a physical presence or permanent establishment, at 20 per cent of their profits. Thus, the measure, if globally approved, will impact digital companies in whichever markets they earn revenues and make profits based on their online presence.
  • The equalisation levy is the two per cent tax India imposed on the tech giants that has led to the dispute with the Biden administration.
  • Recent, rapid and expansive digital transformation has had deep economic and societal impacts resulting in significant changes.


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