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Chapter: 12th Political Science : Chapter 12 : Environmental Concerns and Globalisation

India’s Stand on Environmental Issues

India’s engagement in global environmental governance has been remarkable.

India’s Stand on Environmental Issues

India’s engagement in global environmental governance has been remarkable. From the 1972 Stockholm Conference to the COP21 in 2015, New Delhi possesses impressive credentials in terms of the diplomatic and administrative capital invested. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s speech at the Stockholm Conference evoked a new sense of politico- environmental consciousness which held the developed countries, i.e. North, responsible for escalating the ecological threat indicators. The ideological undercurrents of the Indian environmental policies, particularly the climate change, can be traced back to the preparations for the Rio Earth Summit 1992 wherein an important report titled “Global Warming in an Unequal World” of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which attacked the West for its ginormous contribution to the global carbon footprint as “carbon colonialism”. India has invariably rejected GHG reduction commitments from the developing countries as inequitable provided that the “South” has played a little role in triggering the so-called “climate issues” of the present day magnitude.

Domestically, measures are taken at the constitutional and statutory levels to address environmental concerns. Some of the important legal documents dealing with environment in the country are: Environment Protection Act (1986), Wildlife Protection Act (1972), Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1981), Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974), Indian Forest Act (1927) and so forth. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal agency responsible for environmental policy formulation and implementation in the country. The judiciary also plays an unparalleling role through the instrument of judicial activism on environmental matters

National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal, established in 2010, deals with the expeditious disposal of cases of environmental importance.


India and International Cooperation on Environment

New Delhi is a member of many of the multilateral environmental conventions, treaties and institutions. The Indian government underscores the historical responsibility of the west in the environmental degradation and projects its low per capita emissions. Climate change, as exemplified in the national policy narrative, acquires the position of being a development issue, basing “inter-generational equity” (which stands for greater environmental protection) that requires the current generation to treat development as a matter of urgency so that the upcoming generations receive an Earth invulnerable to climate change.

Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Its aim is the implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

As a party to the Paris Accord, India subscribes to the non-negotiable nature of the agreement. Besides, the Government of India reemphasises “equity” and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC). New Delhi’s commitment to decarbonisation embraces a strategy to reduce its reliance on coal and to evolve a renewable energy-driven economy. India’s role in global agenda of environmentalism reached a new high with the establishment of the International Solar Alliance, an idea proposed by the Indian government, in 2016.

Cochin International Airport: Cochin International Airport (CIAL), Kerala, is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.

Despite pushing a stern rhetoric, India’s environmental profile is one of the worst in the world. According to a report launched by Global Carbon Project in 2018, India is the 4th largest emitter of carbon which accounts for 7% of the global emissions in the year 2017. Another report titled Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for the year 2018 ranks India 177 among 180 countries. The low ranking is deemed to be a result of poor performance in the environmental health policy and deaths due to air pollution.


International Solar Alliance

vThe International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 122 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, now extended to all members of UN.

vThe Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.

vObjectives: The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.

vWhat it does? As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.

vWhen it entered into force? When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organisation, headquartered at Gurugram, India.


India is a party to the following international conventions, treaties and institutions

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna

• International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

• The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

• Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

• International Whaling Commission

• Ramsar Convention

• United Nations Forum on Forestry

• International Tropical Timber Organisation

• Convention on Biological Diversity

• International Network for Bamboo and Rattan

• Asia Pacific Forestry Commission

• United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

• Kyoto Protocol 

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12th Political Science : Chapter 12 : Environmental Concerns and Globalisation : India’s Stand on Environmental Issues |

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