Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Create the space for governance with a green heart


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Present Himalayan states

Mains level: Problems Associated with Lack of Political Will on Environmental Governance

Why in the news?

As a new term begins for the government and the Lok Sabha, it must prioritize environmental concerns. No government has ever truly prioritized the environment, and the last one, focused on development, actively harmed it.

Present Himalayan states

  • The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) encompasses the portion of the Himalayas located within India, extending across thirteen Indian States and Union Territories, including Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, West Bengal, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Problems Associated with Lack of Political Will on Environmental Governance

  • Neglect of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Inadequate actions to reduce carbon emissions and build climate resilience.And failure to address the remediation aspects of climate change, such as food security and disaster preparedness.
  • Degradation of Forest Cover: Significant decline in both quantitative and qualitative forest cover.Recent legislation weakening forest protections, leading to further environmental damage.
  • Deteriorating Urban Environments: Severe air pollution and water scarcity in major cities, adversely affect public health.Poor sewage treatment infrastructure, resulting in heavily polluted rivers and water bodies.
  • Environmental Degradation in the Himalayas: Rapid glacial melting and altered weather patterns threatening water and food security. Government inaction on local environmental protests and concerns highlights a disconnect between policy and grassroots needs.
  • Ineffective Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA): EIAs are reduced to mere formalities, failing to prevent environmentally harmful projects.Dilution of EIA regulations and lack of meaningful stakeholder engagement, compromising environmental protection efforts.

How This Can Be Restored?

  • Enhanced Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA): Strengthen EIA mechanisms, elevate them to statutory status, and ensure they are thorough and transparent to prevent projects from causing environmental harm.
  • Restoration Projects: Initiate large-scale conservation and restoration projects for glaciers, forests, and rivers in the Himalayan region.
  • Community Involvement: Actively involve local communities and stakeholders in decision-making processes to ensure their concerns and knowledge are integrated into policy-making.
  • Strict Enforcement of Environmental Laws: Improve enforcement of existing environmental regulations and increase penalties for violations to deter harmful activities.
  • Sustainable Development Policies: Develop and implement policies that balance development with environmental conservation, ensuring long-term ecological health and resilience.
  • Revised Legislation: Reassess and amend legislation like the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, to provide stronger protections for natural habitats.
  • Resilience Building: Invest in infrastructure and programs aimed at enhancing resilience against climate change impacts, such as improved water management systems and disaster preparedness plans.

Government steps taken: 

  • The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) was launched as part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change to holistically address the vulnerabilities of the Himalayan ecosystem.
  • Under NMSHE, the government has developed a common framework and methodology for climate vulnerability and risk assessment across 12 Himalayan states.
  • The government has also established the “G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development” to focus on sustainable development and environmental conservation in the Indian Himalayan Region.

Conclusion: To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action), India must enhance environmental governance, prioritize climate resilience, and enforce robust conservation policies to protect the Indian Himalayan Region and its ecosystems.


Mains PYQ:

Q Climate change is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (15) (UPSC IAS/2017)

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