UPSC (IAS) 2021 Prelims: Important Topics From UPSC Syllabus For Environment & Ecology- Part 1

UPSC CSE 2021 IAS Exam will be held on October 10, 2021. Environmental Science is the essential most subject that holds majority questions in UPSC IAS Prelims paper. Listed below are the most important topics from UPSC Syllabus in this subject for last minute revision of candidates. 

Tulika Tandon
Sep 30, 2021, 12:57 IST
UPSC 2021: Important topics from Environment and Ecology
UPSC 2021: Important topics from Environment and Ecology

UPSC CSE Prelims 2021 are approaching on October 10, 2021. Recently UPSC Result 2020 has been declared as well in which Shubham Kumar has topped the exam. The UPSC IAS 2021 is expected to be as twisted as the previous years exams organized by the Commission with Environmental Sciences questions in majority of the paper.

Take a look at the most important topics if this subject is covered below with only some specific details on each of the topics to help you before prelims. 

Environment and Ecology Topics Important for UPSC IAS Prelims 2021:

Emissions Gap Report 2020:

  1. UNEP releases the annual Emissions Gap Report 2020. The major highlights of the report are:
  2. GHG emissions continued to increase to a record high of 59.1% GtO2e in 2019. 
  3. G20 Countries account for maximum emissions, top four being China, US, EU+UK and India. These contribute to 55% of the total GHG emissions.
  4. Current NDC would lead to a temperature rise of 3% by the end of the century

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Adaptation Gap Report 2020:

  1. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released Fifth edition of Adaptation Gap Report, 2020
  2. 72% of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument.

Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI):

  1. It has been published by Germanwatch, New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Network since 2005. It  evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 57 countries and of the European Union.
  2. From the G20 countries, this year, only the EU as a whole, along with the UK and India, rank among high performers. 
  3. India is rated high for its performance in the Energy Use, GHG Emission and Climate Policy category and medium in Renewable Energy category

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State of the Global Climate report:

  1. It is released by the World Meteorological Organization. 
  2. Report uses Global Climate Indicators (GCI) to describe the changing climate.
  3. Average global temperature in 2020 is about 1.2 °C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. 
  4. WMO is an intergovernmental organization with 193 Member States and Territories. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology, operational hydrology and geophysical sciences.
  5. India is its member.
  6. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region:

  1. Released by Ministry of Earth Sciences, MoES
  2. This is the first attempt to document and assess climate change across India
  3. The report found that Hindu Kush experienced a temperature rise of 1.3°C during 1951–2014. It projected a rise of 5.2 degrees by the end of the 21st century.
  4. Sea surface temperature of Indian Ocean rose by 1°C on average during 1951–2015
  5. Droughts have increased both the frequency and spatial extent between 1951–2016
  6. Sea-levels in the North Indian Ocean rose at a rate of 1.06–1.75 mm per year during 1874–2004 and have accelerated to 3.3 mm per year between 1993–2017. 

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Arctic Sea: Lost ice cover

  1. The National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) found the largest decline in the Arctic Sea ice in the last 41 years due to global warming in July 2019.
  2. If this trend continues, there would be no ice left in the Arctic sea by 2050
  3. The Arctic Ocean is bordered by Greenland, Canada, Norway, Alaska, and Russia.

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Aerosol Radiative Forcing (ARF):

  1. Found by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital over trans Himalayas.
  2. ARF is the net change in energy balance of the earth system due to some forced perturbation by anthropogenic aerosols.
  3. Aerosols are a combination of liquid or solid particles suspended in a gaseous or liquid environment.

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Paris Agreement: COP 26

  1. Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change which was adopted at 21st Conference of Parties in Paris (2015).
  2. Conference of Parties (COP 26) of Paris Agreement, under the auspices of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in Glasgow this year was postponed to November 2021.


  1. UNFCCC was established in 1992. It acts as a framework for international bodies and cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperatures and the resulting climate change.
  2. It is a Rio Convention for signature at Rio Earth Summit in 1992. It entered into force in March 1994. Today, 197 countries have ratified the Convention and are called Parties to the Convention.
  3. Its headquarters are in Bonn, Germany. 

International Solar Alliance:

  1. India and France re-elected as President and Co- President of the ISA for a term of two years.
  2. Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA), Seventh Programme on Solarizing Heating and Cooling systems, Solar Awards, Visvesvaraya award, Kalpana Chawla Award.
  3. First World Solar Technology Summit (WSTS) organized by the International Solar Alliance (ISA). 

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Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) Project:

  1. The World Bank approved a $39.5 million CARE Project to combat climate action in South Asia.
  2. The aim of the project is to:
  • Build resilience to climate threats and disasters by sharing regional data and knowledge.
  • Develop some regional standards and guidelines for infrastructure
  • Promote climate change resilient policies and investments

Decarbonising Transport In India Project:

  1. Who is doing- NITI Ayog plus International Transport Forum (ITF) 
  2. It is a part of is a part of a larger programme Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE)
  3. DTI was launched in 2016.
  4. Purpose of the collaboration is to develop a low-carbon transport system for India. 
  5. It is funded by the International Transport Forums (ITF) and other funding partners including World Bank, European Commission.
  6. ITF is an inter-governmental organisation within the OECD.

Stockholm Convention:

  1. Cabinet ratified ban of 7 Persistent Organic Pollutants(POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention.
  2. The ratification would also allow India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the National Implementation Plan.
  3. 7 banned POPs were

(i) Chlordecone

(ii) Hexabromobiphenyl

(iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Hepta Bromodiphenyl Ether (Commercial octa-BDE)

(iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE)

(v) Pentachlorobenzene

(vi) Hexabromocyclododecane

(vii) Hexachlorobutadiene under Stockholm Convention.

Stockholm Convention is a global treaty for protection of human health and environment from POPs. India ratified it is 2006 and it is legally binding. 

These are the most important topics from a few sections of environment and ecology syllabus of UPSC IAS Prelims 2021. For more stay tuned for another update from Jagran Josh and subscribe. 

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