Australia’s Great Barrier Reef , a third of coral killed due to bleaching

Mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, though corals to the south have escaped with little damage.

Researchers who conducted months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300-kilometre reef off Australia’s east coast found that around 35 per cent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef are dead or dying.

And some parts of the reef had lost more than half of the coral to bleaching.

The extent of the damage, which has occurred in just the past couple of months, has serious implications.

Though bleached corals that haven’t died can recover if the water temperature drops, older corals take longer to bounce back and likely won’t have a chance to recover before the next bleaching event occurs. Coral that has died is gone for good, which affects other creatures that rely on it for food and shelter.

 The damage is part of a massive bleaching event that has been impacting reefs around the world for the past two years.

Experts say the bleaching has been triggered by global warming and El Nino, a warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide.

Hot water puts stress on coral, causing it to turn white and become vulnerable to disease. Other reefs have suffered even more severely from the recent bleaching; Some Pacific islands, for example, have reported over 80 per cent coral death rates.

This is the third and most extreme mass bleaching event in 18 years to strike the Great Barrier Reef, and in each case, the areas that suffered the worst bleaching were the areas where the water was hottest for the longest period of time, Hughes said.

This time, the southern half of the reef was spared largely due to a lucky break that arrived in the form of a tropical cyclone.

The remnants of the storm which had lashed the South Pacific brought cloud cover and heavy rains to the region, cooling the ocean enough to stop bleaching that had just begun in the south. About 95 per cent of the coral in the southern portion of the reef has survived.

India & USA Signs MoU To Enhance Cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy & Climate Change

The objective of the MoU is to enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change through increased bilateral engagement and further joint initiatives for promoting sustainable growth. These activities are intended to increase incentives for innovation including research and development, and voluntary and mutually-agreed technology transfer, as well as the deployment of clean energy technologies in both countries; contribute to a global effort to curb the rise in greenhouse gas emissions; and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The Priority initiatives under the MoU would be:

a. US-India Energy smart Cities Partnership
b. Greening the Grid.
c. Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) expansion
d. Energy Efficiency including space cooling
e. Renewable energy.
f. Energy security.
g. Clean energy finance
h. U.S-India partnership for Climate Resilience
i. Air quality
j. Forestry, Landscapes and REDD+
k. Fellowships
l. Accelerating innovation on clean energy and climate change


Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is a mechanism that has been under negotiation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2005, with the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management in developing countries.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks



Railways to stop footing bill on passenger travel concessions

The cash-strapped Indian Railways has decided to stop footing the bill for myriad passenger travel concessions.Railway provides more than 50 concessions as a part of social service obligation, incurring huge losses every year. It is not that concessions shouldn’t be extended to the needy but the concerned ministries should be reimbursing railway for the burden of these concessions.

Every year, Indian Railways loses about Rs.1,500 crore in providing 53 such concessions, including those for senior citizens, differently-abled and patients.

Senior citizens

According to the Railway Ministry, the financial burden should be borne by the ministries concerned such as social justice for senior citizens, home affairs for freedom fighters and so on.The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry already pays the full ticket fares for Members of Parliament travelling on railway concession passes, for instance.

Of the total loss of Rs.1,500 crore on passenger fare concessions, the largest chunk of about Rs.1,000 crore is accounted for by subsidies for senior citizens.

While male senior citizens can avail 40 per cent reduction on ticket fares, female passengers get 50 per cent discount.

This concession is provided across all passenger classes and trains, including in services like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi and Duronto.

Coaching services

In 2015-16, the loss on coaching services, including suburban and non-suburban passenger traffic, luggage and parcels stood at Rs.34,030 crore.

Further, the Railways spent Rs.76 crore for carrying essential commodities such as fruits and vegetables at below cost in a bid to contain their prices.

This is no more sustainable. The revenue from passenger segment is around Rs.45,000 crore and railway incurs around Rs.34,000 crore as losses towards social service obligations. 



  1. Chidambaranar Port has bagged National Award for Excellence in Cost Management for the year 2015
  2. World’s Longest Rail Tunnel. Gotthard base tunnel (57 Km) will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe. It has overtaken Japan’s 53.9 Km Seikan rail tunnel as the world’s longest tunnel. This will reduce the journey time between Zurich and Milan by an hour
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