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Gist of YOJANA : Development and Environment: Maintaining the Fine Balance

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Published: 27th Feb, 2020

Gist of YOJANA : Development and Environment: Maintaining the Fine Balance
  • The Stockholm Conference 1972, on the “human environment” brought to light the urgency of tackling environmental problems through various efforts.
  • The environment is a critical challenge to the continuation of our growth and to the extent of which growth translates into improved quality of life.
  • The purpose of economic development in any region is to provide opportunities for improved living and jobs to people. While industrial development invariably creates more jobs in any region, possibilities of adverse effects on the environment also increase.
  • Environmental protection measures have become necessary for the development and to sustain the environment at the same time.

Sustainable Development: Coupling Environment management with development

  • Sustainable development does not end with the sustainability of environment and resource system. It also requires the sustainability of economic and social systems.
  • Development and environmental protection can easily go together. It would be better to begin new projects with built-in environmental safeguards rather than to make haste only to regret later.

 India’s effort in sustainable development while safeguarding the environment

  • India’s installed capacity of diesel generating sets forms a third of its total grid-connected capacity.
  • As a deterrent, incentives for both capital investment and power generation by solar rooftop have been encouraged.
  • The gap between the thermal power and solar power has been narrowing.
  • In 2018, renewable energy has reached 73 GW accounting for over 20 per cent.
  • The installed capacity of renewable energy in the country recorded 83.4 GW as on 31 October 2019 while wind energy accounts for 37 GW and Solar 7 GW.
  • The growth in clean technology will further help in making a sustainable and safe environment. For example, sustainable mobility solutions can increase access while reducing congestion and increasing productivity.
  • The Government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It is a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to achieve 20 to 30 percent reduction in PM10 and 5 concentration by 2024.
  • The overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.
  • The UNFCCC defines “climate change” as a change in climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere. The efforts needed to address climate change include mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on one hand and building adaptive capacities on the other.
  • India is committed to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. India inked Paris Climate Change deal to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.  India announced its new plan, also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, (INDC) in 2015 (175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022).
  • Indian companies are increasingly adopting internal carbon pricing (ICP) as an important tool for managing climate risks.
  • ICP provides incentives to relocate resources towards low-carbon activities. Just 478 units reduced 2 per cent of India’s annual CO2 emission.
  • Seeking to boost the global economy’s shift to clean energy, the World Bank announced that it would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction from 2019.
  • Despite such development, however, according to the annual audit report of UNEP, national pledges on emission reduction made by countries under Paris Agreements will only account for one-third of what is needed to avoid the worst impact of climate change.
  • Even full implementation of the countries’ unconditional ‘NDC’ (nationally determined contributions) would lead to a temperature increase of at least 3 degree Celsius by 2100.

Steps need to be taken

To a large extent, an effective pollution regulating system will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.  At the operational level, the industries have to be closely monitored by a responsive and competent body.  There is a need to improve the capabilities as well as strengthen our regulatory institutions.  The Central and state pollution control boards are understaffed and often lack infrastructure. There is an urgent need to strengthen these agencies by recruiting professionals, taking up R&D work and provision of better infrastructural support.   

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