Climate change is already covered under the environmental impact assessment, the National Green Tribunal has said while disposing of a nine-year-old girl's plea alleging inaction by the Centre to mitigate the adverse impact of the issue. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the authorities acting under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, have to perform their obligation of impact assessment as per statutory scheme which has not been challenged in the plea.
"In this view of the matter, we do not consider it necessary to issue any direction under section 14 and 15 of the National Green Tribunal, Act, 2010. There is no reason to presume that Paris Agreement and other international protocols are not reflected in the policies of the government of India or are not taken into consideration in granting environment clearances," the bench said. The tribunal's direction came while disposing of the plea by Uttarakhand resident Ridhima Pandey through her legal guardian seeking directions to all appraisal bodies to assess the climate related issues while granting environmental clearance.
The plea had contended that India is one of the most vulnerable countries to adverse climate change impact and its citizens were already experiencing adverse climate change impacts across the country. The petition had said that children are more vulnerable than adults to pollution from the burning of fossil fuels that causes global climate change and referred to issues like rising in sea level, destruction of mangroves, melting of glaciers and snow packs and reduction in freshwater supply.
"The 34th Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India titled 'Performance Audit on Renewable Energy Sector in India Union Government, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy', it was reported that the Central Government had failed to meet its targets for scaling up use of renewable energy sources under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
"The NAPCC envisages raising renewable energy sources to 8 per cent of the national energy mix for electricity by 2012-13 and 9 per cent by 2013-14. However as per the CAG report, the national achievement for the purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources in those 2 years was only 4.28 per cent and 4.51 per cent, respectively," the plea had said. Alleging that there was a huge gap in the implementation of the environmental legislation in the country, it had said that climate change has become a worldwide concern in recent years caused by anthropogenic activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
(With inputs from agencies.)