By Ayush Chauhan
“One thing leads to another. Deforestation leads to climate change, which leads to ecosystem losses, which negatively impacts our livelihoods — it’s a vicious cycle.” By Gisele Bundchen
In this article, we will be discussing how rapid an increase is there in the change of climatic conditions and also how it impacts our daily livelihood, various laws which are being formulated to prevent such type of harm caused due to changing conditions of environment and climate.
In our world, different parts have different types of climate like some areas are cold most of the year and some areas are hot most of the year. The climate is determined by the region’s climate system. There are 6 types of climates in our country namely
- TROPICAL RAINY
- TEMPERATE MARINE
- TEMPERATE CONTINENTAL
- DRY CLIMATE
Climate change has become a major issue these days that leads to global warming, has an impact on the economic and social development of India and affects our livelihood. There is no doubt in saying that in the coming years India will be suffering to a huge extent because of this change occurring continuously. It also causes the loss of lives of people. The rapid increase in industrialization and urbanization imbalances our ecological system. Human health is mainly determined by environmental health such as biodiversity, land degradation, global warming, smoke emitting from industries, and urban health. WHO is the organization that monitors all these environmental determinants of public health. The World Health Day — 2008 theme was “Protecting health from climate changes” which states the profile of danger to health that is being caused due to global climate variability and changes occurring there.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS CAUSES:-
Climate change refers to long-term changes in temperature, weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s regional and global climates. The change in climate leads to an increase in the intensity of heatwaves, frequency, which likely causes loss to property and crops which in short leads to the destruction of society and its needs as the crop gets destroyed due to changing climatic conditions then needs of a common man of food, fruits, vegetables can’t be fulfilled. The main causes of climate change are as follows
- FOSSIL FUELS — Gases such as CO2 and methane trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. These types of gases are mostly created by burning coal, fuels, oil, wood, etc.
- DEFORESTATION — It means cutting down trees on a large scale. A total of 8,712 square km of forest was destroyed from Aug 202 to July 2021, according to satellite data.
- FLUORINATED GASES — These types of gases are damaging gages on a large scale which are emitted from electric appliances such as air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and heat pumps. When such types of gases are emitted out it spreads pollution in our atmosphere destroying nature and climate.
- INCREASING LIVESTOCK FARMING — Increasing demand for meat has led to the agriculture of animals and also the killing of animals on a large scale. Animals need fields and crops to eat to fulfill the demand of human beings which leads to deforestation.
The central initiative on climate change is the National Action Plan on Climate Change which focuses on the principle of sustainable development that helps in the growth of our environment and also reduces greenhouse gases. There is also one more act that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to work with states to reduce harmful gas emissions including carbon dioxide and methane called the Clean Air Act.
DATA MONITORED BY NOAA: -
- The temperature of the globe rose about 1.8 F from 1901 to 2020.
- Glaciers in our country are melting and the thickness has decreased more than 60 feet since 1980.
- The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen about a total of 40% since the Industrial Revolution.
- Earlier snow melting used to take place after a long time on average but now due to changing climate and atmosphere snow is melting earlier.
- Sea level rise has increased from 1.7 mm to 3.2 mm per year since 1993.
- The global average surface temperature has increased by approximately 0.65 over the last 50 years.
It was recorded by the study of the International Federation of Red Cross society that globally between September 2020 and February 2021, around 12.5 million people were displaced by adverse impacts of climate change. The rapid growth in the Global South, increase in water stress, land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and loss of human settlements among others is a big disadvantage and is impacting climate to a huge extent.
There is a huge increase in cases where most people of India are getting affected because of malnutrition and child stunting. There is an impact of climate change on human beings in various ways as below.
- Health effects due to malnutrition — There is an increase in rainfalls which affect the crops and agriculture in turn destroys crops threatens food security.
- Health effects due to increase in sea level — Due to the rise in the sea levels, rivers and water deaths caused due to floods are very common these days. It causes huge loss of life and as well as property. Due to this, there is no availability of fresh water which has a health effect on nutrition.
- Health effects due to uncertain weather conditions — There are an uncountable number of natural disasters resulting from killing people on a large scale, affecting their lives and daily routine. Extremely tough weather conditions can cause floods, droughts, and 100’s people to become homeless due to climate change and have bad effects on the environment.
STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT: -
The government has taken various steps to avoid the problems that are caused due to climate changes in our country. Some of them are being discussed below.
- Government research and development programs such as Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy has been implemented so that all the clean technologies can be brought to commercial use.
- The department of transportation is required to set acceptable standards that improve the fuel quality and economy of motor vehicles so that less pollution is caused.
- The Department of Defense has planned for the global security consequences of climate change.
- Voluntary programs such as the Natural Gas Star program work with different businesses to reduce emissions often with public recognition.
- Various programs and acts have been made to avoid wastage of water such as the Water prevention and control of pollution act 1974.
- The Indian government has also taken proactive measures to deal with the challenge of climate change.
- Acts such as the Indian forest act have been implemented in India to control deforestation and destruction of crops for the well-being of humans and the betterment of climatic conditions.
LAWS, ACTS, AND JUDICIARY:-
In the past few years, our constitution has made laws related to the environment whereas earlier there was no mention of the environment. The environment protection act was formed in 1986 to protect and safeguard the environment from various hazardous activities so that there can be an increment in the standard of living of people. It came into existence after (BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY) under article 253 of the constitution of India. There were some other acts which directly came under The Environment Protection Act which are as follows:- The National Green Tribunal Act 2010, The Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1981, The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974, etc.
# After the 42nd amendment, the words ecology and environment were added under articles 48A and 51A(g). Fundamental rights are given to every individual citizen of India which also puts a responsibility on them to preserve the environment for future generations and present generations as well. Article 21 of the Indian constitution mentions the right to life, although there is no direct mention of climate change life includes the right to live with dignity and in such an environment that is free of pollution which indirectly states that we should protect the environment and our climate for better living.
# The state’s responsibility for the protection of the environment was laid down under the DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY under article 48A which reads as follows “ The state shall strive to preserve and improve the environment and the country’s forests and wildlife.” Provided that values which have been set in part IV of the constitution of India are central in the country’s governance.
# The 42nd amendment not only restricts the duty to protect the environment alone in the hands of the state but also laid down the duty of citizens to protect the environment which is laid down under article 51A(g) mentioned under section IV-A OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES. It states that “Every citizen of India has a responsibility to conserve and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living beings.” Other constitutional amendments include two entries 17A forests and 71B wildlife protection.
CONSTITUTIONAL POLICIES AND ACTS REGARDING CLIMATE CHANGE:-
As discussed earlier in this article, to have less effect of this climate change and environment on human beings, various acts were passed by parliament, many policies were formed in a bona fide manner for climate, and many new clauses were inserted in our constitution. A short glimpse of acts and policies is mentioned below to have a little bit of vast knowledge about this climate conditions and its impact:-
- NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT POLICY 2006 — This policy was formed to emphasize conservation and prevention of degradation. A pledge was taken under this policy to measure the performance of the environment daily. Nowadays climate change is the greatest existing threat to American wildlife, and also to the communities that are around the country. This policy ensured that people are dependent on particular resources to obtain better livelihoods.
- NATIONAL POLICY ON POLLUTION ABATEMENT 1992 — This policy adopted various guidelines and principles equal decision making at all levels like polluter pays principle, prevention of pollution at source, public participation in decision making. It also promoted the use of economic instruments in prevention and control strategies.
- ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT 1986 — It is also known as the umbrella act and was enacted to protect and improve environmental and climatic conditions. All the decisions that were made at the UN conference need to be implemented in light of the worst climatic conditions in our country. It also helps in reducing pollution which makes the air free from any dust and clears the climate that is good for health.
- FOREST CONSERVATION ACT 1980 — There was a rapid increase in deforestation which enacted the forest conservation act was to protect the forests. A vicious cycle can be understood that forests were saved which led to more and more plantation of trees which in short leads to good carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere which in turn leads to the good health of human beings by intaking of fresh air and gases.
- THE FACTORIES ACT 1948 — The main aim behind this act was to ensure all the workers in their working conditions as well as in their employee benefits. In short, it was made to ensure all the safety measures to staff and health safety which indirectly contributes to the environment. After the decision of the Supreme court in Bhopal Gas Tragedy, there was an amendment in this act which added more special regulations and the law related to workers became more strict.
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND JUDGEMENTS:-
The government of India has taken steps to plan State Action Plans on climate change to introduce various sectoral activities that can tackle climate-changing conditions. It will help in changing the quality of natural resources which will adversely affect its people’s livelihood. THE INDIAN CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT NETWORK has been formed which consists of 127 research institutions that research climate change science.
- M.C.MEHTA V. UNION OF INDIA — In this Supreme court laid down the displaying of messages related to environment and media information of utmost importance. It was also held that subjects related to the environment should be taught in schools and universities. To ensure all its directives, states were required to enforce them strictly.
- INDUSTRIAL AREAS DEVELOPMENT BOARD V. SRI. C KENCHAPPA AND ORS.- In this case, judges mentioned specifically the environmental degradation that was caused due to industrialization and urbanization which leads to global warming and didn’t allow to leave the area as a buffer zone.
- FAMOUS TAJ MAHAL CASE — In this PIL was filed to avoid Taj Trapezium air pollution. Under this sulfur dioxide emitted from industries when combined with oxygen formed sulphuric acid which was having a corrosive effect on white marbles and the climate was getting polluted. So the government was directed to assist industries and workers.
Climate change which leads to global warming is one of the serious issues that harm our climate as well as on the health of people., animals and environment. The destruction of trees and crops will lead to deforestation causing more and more deaths and indirectly will also affect the achievement of significant growth objectives of our nation. So, keeping all this in mind serious actions should be taken for the betterment of developing countries like India. Although various steps have been taken by the government and also laws have been formed by the government of India to curb the menace of climate change.
1. https://www.thenationalnews.com ( Impacts of climate change )
7. World Health Report 2002. Geneva: WHO,2002
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