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Environment: Report and Indices

Global Risk Report 2020

World Economic Forum

  • The Global Risks Report is part of the Global Risks Initiative which brings stakeholders together to develop sustainable, integrated solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
  • A “global risk”- If an uncertain event impacts several countries or industries within the next 10 years.
  • First time in the report's 10-year-history, all of the top five issues that are likely to impact the world this year are environmental
  • It describes changes occurring in the global risks landscape from year to year and identifies global catastrophic risks.
  • Top 5 Global Risks over the next 10 years:
  1. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  2. Weapons of mass destruction
  3. Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
  4. Water Crisis:
  5. Major natural disasters such as Floods, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and geomagnetic storms.
  • “Economic confrontations” and “domestic political polarization” are significant short-term risks in 2020.

INDIA STATE OF FORESTS REPORT 2019 by MOEFCC and Forest Survey of India 

forest is defined as "all patches of land with a tree canopy density of more than 10% and more than 1 ha in area, irrespective of land use, ownership and species of trees.

Forest and Tree Cover at national level:

  • Total forest cover: 21.67% of the total geographic area
  • Tree cover: 2.89% of the geographical area.
  • Total Forest and Tree cover:  24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
  • Forest cover in the hill districts: 40.30% of the total geographical area of these districts.
  • National Forest Policy, 1988 had envisaged 33% of the total area to be under tree and forest cover.

Forest Cover at States level:

  • Largest forest cover area wise: Madhya Pradesh > Arunachal Pradesh > Chhattisgarh.
  • Largest forest cover % wise: Mizoram (85.41%) > Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%) > Meghalaya (76.33%)
  • Total forest cover in the North-Eastern region is 65.05% of its geographical area which is a decrease from last year by 0.45%. Except Assam and Tripura, all the States in the region show decrease in forest cover.
  • Increase in forest cover: Karnataka (1,025 sq km) > Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) > Kerala
  • States with maximum loss in forest cover: Manipur > Arunachal Pradesh > Mizoram
  • Forest cover in the tribal districts: 37.54% of the geographical area of these districts.

Tree cover:

  • 2.89% of the geographical area
  • Maharashtra shown highest increase in tree cover 


  • In country: There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.83% of the area
  • Largest area of the wetlands: Gujarat > West Bengal.

Mangrove Cover:

  • Net increase of 54 sq km in the mangrove cover of the country.
  • Total mangrove cover: 0.15% of the country’s total geographical area
  • States: West Bengal has 42.45% of India’s mangrove cover, followed by Gujarat 23.66% and A&N Islands 12.39%.

Forest Fire:

About 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable.

Carbon stock:

  • Total carbon stock of the country: 7124 million tons, which is an increase of 42.6 million tons.
  • Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) represents the largest pool of carbon stock in forests. The SOC contributes 56% to the total forest carbon stock of the country.


  • Maximum tree diversity: Tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of Western Ghats (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) followed by north-eastern states.
  • Arunachal Pradesh has the maximum richness of species of trees.

Bamboo cover:

  • States: Madhya Pradesh > Maharashtra > Arunachal Pradesh > Odisha.
  • Dependence of fuel wood on forests: Maharashtra > Madhya Pradesh

Global Carbon Project Report 

  • India’s emissions in 2019 (2.6 billion tonnes) were likely to be only 1.8% higher than in 2018. This is significantly lower than the 8% growth that India showed last year.
  • Weak economic growth in India has led to slower growth in oil and natural gas use.

The Global Carbon Project:

  • The Global Carbon Project is a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme.
  • It was formed in 2001 to work with the international science community to stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • It works collaboratively with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the World Climate Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and Diversitas, under the Earth System Science Partnership.
  • The Global Carbon Project release following four reports:
    • Carbon Atlas
    • Global Carbon Budget
    • Global Methane Budget
    • Global Nitrous Oxide Budget

The Emissions Gap Report 

United Nations Environment Programme 

  • The Emissions Gap Report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • The Emissions Gap Report measures and projects three key trend lines:
  1.  Greenhouse gas emissions every year up to 2030
  2. The commitments countries are making to reduce their emissions and its impact
  3. The pace to reduce emissions to achieve the target of 1.5°C as set by Paris agreement.  
  • The top four emitters (China > USA> EU > India) contribute to over 55 percent of the total emissions over the last decade, excluding emissions from land-use change such as deforestation.
  • India, China, the EU28, Mexico, Russia and Turkey are projected to meet their targets with current policies.
  • The report says collective ambition in NDCs must increase more than fivefold over current levels to deliver the cuts needed over the next decade for the 1.5°C goal.
  • India is the fourth-largest emitter of Green House Gases (GHGs).
  • China is the largest emitter.
  • Rise in global temperature- Global temperatures are set to rise about 3.2 degrees C by 2100
  • Largest emitters Sectors:  Energy > Industry > Forestry > Transport > Agriculture.

Commodities and Development Report 2019


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  • The 2019 Report is titled "Commodity Dependence, Climate Change and the Paris Agreement”.
  • It seeks to further the understanding of the interactions between climate change and the commodity sectors.
  • The report highlights the challenges that commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs) face as they manage their natural resource sectors in the context of the Paris Agreement.
  • It also explores some potential benefits that might arise from climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • The report recommends that CDDCs should reduce their strong economic dependence on natural resources through economic and export diversification.
  • Acknowledgment of the limited capabilities of CDDCs to cope with mitigation and adaptation challenges implies that CDDCs require a unique set of incentives as well as financial, technical and institutional assistance to cope with the challenges associated with the climate crisis.

Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020


Food and Agriculture Organization

  • FRA 2020 examines the status of, and trends in, more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020.
  • FAO defines deforestation as the conversion of forest to other land uses.
  • The FRA presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which the resource is changing.
  • Total Forest Area: Forests cover nearly 1/3 of land globally. That’s 4.06 billion hectares, which is 31% of the total land area. In other words, there is around 0.52 ha of forest for every person on the planet.
  • Forest loss: According to the report, the world has lost 178 million hectares (mha) of forest since 1990, an area the size of Libya.
  • Of the six major world regions, South America has the highest share of forests in protected areas, at 31 percent.
  • More than half (54 percent) of the world’s forests are in only five countries –
  1. The Russian Federation
  2. Brazil
  3. Canada
  4. United States of America
  5. China.
  • Of the major climatic regions, the tropical zone contains the highest percentage of forest at 45 percent.
  • Ninety-three percent of the forest area worldwide is composed of naturally regenerating forests and 7 percent is planted.

Plantation forests

  • It cover about is 3 % of the global forest area and 45 percent of the total area of planted forests.
  • The highest share of plantation forest is in South America with 99 percent of the total planted-forest area and 2 percent of the total forest area.
  • The lowest share of plantation forest is in Europe.

Highest loss and highest gains:

  • Highest loss :  Africa > South America
  • Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020.
  • Highest gains: Asia > Oceania > Europe.
  • Asia had the highest net gain of forest area in 2010–2020.
  • Types of forest loss: The largest proportion of the world’s forests are tropical (45%), followed by boreal, temperate and subtropical.

Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region


Union Ministry of Earth Sciences


This report is India’s first-ever national forecast on the impact of global warming on the subcontinent in the coming century.


  • As per the report, in a worst-case scenario average surface air temperatures over India could rise by up to 4.4°C by the end of the century as compared to the 1976 and 2005 periods.
  • The rise in temperatures will be even more in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region where the average could reach 5.2°C.
  • The region is already highly vulnerable to climate-related variability in temperatures, rainfall, and snowfall.

Frequency of warm days and warm nights:

  • The frequency of warm days and warm nights by 2100 might also increase by 55% and 70% respectively, as compared to the period 1976-2005.


  • The frequency of heatwaves over could also increase by three to four times. The duration of the occurrence of heatwaves might also increase which was already witnessed by the country in 2019.
  • The average temperatures of India rose by 0.7°C between 1900 and 2018. This rise in temperatures has been largely attributed to global warming due to GHG emissions and land use and land cover changes.
  • However, it has also been slightly reduced by the rising aerosol emissions in the atmosphere that have an overall cooling characteristic.

Global temperature:

  • The latest global climate change assessments indicate a rise in the global average surface air temperatures by 5°C by the end of the century if human activities keep emitting GHGs at the current rate.
  • Even if the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) declared by countries under the Paris Agreement 2015 are met, the global average temperature could rise by around 3°C, which could be disastrous.


  • Monsoon rainfall could change by an average of 14% by 2100 which could go as high as 22.5%. However, the report didn't mention if this change will be an increase or a decrease but still represents variability.
  • Overall rainfall during the monsoon season has decreased by 6% between 1950 and 2015.
  • Dry spells:There has been an increased frequency of dry spells during the monsoon season in the past few decades that has increased by 27% between 1981-2011, as compared to 1951-1980.
  • Wet spells: The intensity of wet spells has also increased over the country, with central India receiving 75% more extreme rainfall events between 1950 and 2015.


Environmental performance index


Yale University 

  • The 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world.
  • Using 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

Explaining performance:

  • Good policy results are associated with wealth (GDP per capita), meaning that economic prosperity makes it possible for nations to invest in policies and programs that lead to desirable outcomes.
  • The pursuit of economic prosperity – manifested in industrialization and urbanization often means more pollution and other strains on ecosystem vitality.

Global trend:

  • Top: Denmark > Luxembourg > Switzerland > United Kingdom
  • USA is far behind other industrialized nations on environmental performance and now ranks 24th in the world.

Performance of India and South Asian region:

  • India secured 168 rank in the 12th edition of the biennial Environment Performance Index (EPI Index 2020)
  • India's rank was 177 in 2018.
  • All South Asian countries, except Afghanistan, were ahead of India in the ranking.
  • The 11 countries lagging behind India were — Burundi, Haiti, Chad, Solomon Islands, Madagascar, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoir, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Liberia.
  • India scored below the regional average score on all five key parameters on environmental health, including air quality, sanitation and drinking water, heavy metals and waste management.
  • It has also scored below the regional average on parameters related to biodiversity and ecosystem services too.

Good Governance and Environmental performance.

“Good governance represents the most significant determinant of top-tier results. Real public participation in the policy process, a carefully structured regulatory strategy, open debate over goals and programs, the presence of a lively media and vibrant non-profits, and a commitment to the rule of law all correlate with out-performance over time.”

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index.

NITI Aayog

  • NITI Aayog has developed this report in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations in India, and Global Green Growth Institute.
  • It  documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
  • It covers 16 out of 17 SDGs in the report.
  • The year 2020 will be the fifth anniversary of the adoption of SDGs by 193 countries at the UN General Assembly.

India’s composite score: Improved to 60 in 2019 from 57 in 2018.

  • However, nutrition and gender equality continue to be problem areas for India, requiring a more focused approach from the government.

State & UT wise Analysis:

  • Top states: "Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 70. Chandigarh too maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 70. 
  • Kerala tops the list followed by Himachal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Goa.
  • Maximum improvement: Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim have shown maximum improvement. All these three states that were in the ‘Aspirant’ category - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Assam - have graduated to the ‘Performer’ category.
  • Worst: Bihar, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are the worst-performing states.