India year book provides details of the most authentic government schemes and policies that can be directly asked in the IAS prelims exam.
Hence, it is important for IAS aspirants to cover the environment chapter of the India year book so as to better understand the latest government initiatives in conservation.
Environmental Education, Awareness and Training
The ‘Environmental Education, Awareness and Training’ are a flagship scheme of the Ministry of:
• To enhancing the understanding of people at all levels about the relationship between human beings and the environment
• To develop capabilities/skills to improve and protect the environment
This scheme was launched in 1983-84 with the following basic objectives:
• To promote environmental awareness among all sections of the society;
• To spread environmental education, especially in the non-formal system among different sections of the society;
• To encourage nongovernmental organisations, mass media and other concerned organisations for promoting awareness about environmental issues among the people at all levels.
• To mobilise people’s participation for preservation and conservation of environment
1 National Environmental Awareness Campaign
• The National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) was hence launched in mid-1986 with the objective of creating environmental awareness at the national level.
• In this campaign, nominal financial assistance is provided from all over the country for conducting awareness raising and action oriented activities.
• The programme facilitates the transfer of technical know-how to different people including local population.
• The MoEFCC and US Government signed an agreement in August 2000 to implement the Globe programme in India.
• Indian Environmental Society is an implementing agency for Globe in India.
• Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is an international environmental science and education programme.
The goals of Globe are:
• To enhance the environmental awareness of individuals throughout the world
• To contribute to scientific understanding of the Earth
• To help all students reach higher levels of achievement in science and mathematics
3 National Museum of Natural History
• The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is an institution devoted to environmental education.
• It was opened to the public in 1978, on June 5, the World Environment Day.
• The museum undertakes environmental education through the means of exhibition programmes and educational activities.
• The NMNH is the pioneer museum, which has initiated several specialised programmes to cater to the needs of persons with disabilities.
• It also arranges many local and national level competitions leading to Young Environmentalist of the Year Award (YEYA).
4 Centres of Excellence
The Ministry launched the scheme Centres of Excellence (CoE) in 1983 to promote institutions in priority areas of Environmental Sciences and Management.
The main objectives of the case include:
• To encourage and support institutions to undertake activities to develop or strengthen the capabilities and capacities of the identified units, so that they may contribute to the process of sustainable development
• To create awareness among various sections of the population of the country regarding environmental issues, with a view to encourage and enhance public participation
• To enhance and strengthen the country’s human, scientific, technological, organisational, institutional and resource capabilities
• To undertake cutting edge research and to provide inputs for policy decisions in the Ministry
II National Green Tribunal
• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was established in 2010 under the NGT Act, 2010.
• The NGT has been established for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
• The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but is guided by principles of natural justice.
• The Tribunal is mandated to make an endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within six months of filing.
• It also hears cases relating to the enforcement of any legal rights relating to the environment and providing relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
• It is a specialised body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multidisciplinary issues.
III Climate Change
The financial year 2015-16 was important for climate change both at the domestic and international level.
• It started with the preparation of the third National Communication (NATCOM) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
• Under the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change (PMCCC) all national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) were asked to revisit their plans.
• New missions on wind energy, health, waste to energy and coastal areas were also taken up.
• The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) was made operational in 2015- 16.
• To develop institutional capacities and implement state-level activities to address climate change the State Action Plan on Climate change (SAPCCC) is being prepared.
• To create and strengthen the scientific and analytical capacity for assessment of climate change in the country different studies under Climate change action programme (CCAP) has been initiated.
B. India’s Role:
• India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC.
• During COP21 in Paris, India Pavilion was set up to showcase and share information on India’s action on climate change.
• The National Designated Entity (NDE) for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has been established in the climate change division.
C National Communication Submitted to the UNFCCC
• India has undertaken to communicate information about the implementation of the Convention.
• It will also be taking into account the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and specific regional and national development priorities, objectives and circumstances.
• The elements of information provided in the communication include a national inventory of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases.
• The communication is meant to provide the context and the national circumstances, inter alia India’s geography, imperative of development needs, climate and economy.
• India has submitted its second National Communication (NATCOM) to the UNFCCC in 2012. The second NATCOM provides information about the emissions of Green House Gases (GHG) for the years 2000 and 2007.
Biennial Update Reports (BURs):
• The Biennial Update Reports (BURs) our new reporting obligation under the transparency arrangement of sharing information on the implementation of the Convention.
• The BUR is a form of enhanced reporting, containing updates of national greenhouse gas inventories and information on mitigation actions, financing, technical needs and support received.
The first BUR encompassing information on
• National Circumstance
• GHG Inventories for the year 2010
• Mitigation Actions
• Analysis of Constraints
• Gaps and related financial, technical and capacity need
• Other related information along with information on domestic Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) arrangements have been released.
D National and State Action Plans for Climate Change
The Missions are under constant review of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. The Ministry has also motivated state governments to prepare a State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC). These SAPCCs aim to create institutional capacities and implement state-level activities to address climate change.
Eight national missions in the area form the core of NAPCC:
• Solar energy
• Enhanced energy efficiency
• Sustainable agriculture
• Sustainable habitat
• Himalayan eco-system
• Green India
• Strategic knowledge of climate change
E National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change
• The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) is meant to assist national and state level activities in meeting the cost of adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
• This scheme has been taken as Central Sector Scheme with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as National Implementing Entity (NIE).
• The overall aim of the fund is to support concrete adaptation activities which are not covered under ongoing schemes of State and National Government that reduce the adverse effects of climate change facing community sector and states.
F Climate Change Action Programme
The Ministry is implementing a scheme titled ‘Climate Chance Action Programme’ (CCAP) with an objective to create and strengthen the scientific and analytical capacity for assessment of climate change in the country.
The CCAP includes:
• National Carbonaceous Aerosols Programme (NCAP)
• Long Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO)
• Coordinated Studies on Climate Change in North East Region (CSCCNER)
National Carbonaceous Aerosols Programme (NCAP)
• The NCAP is a major activity involving multi-institutional and multi-agency study.
• In this initiative, the ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Indian Space Research Organization, the Ministry of Science and Technology and other associated agencies.
• The main aim is to enhance the understanding the role of Black Carbon in climate change through monitoring and assessment of the impacts of Black Carbon using modelling techniques.
The work programme envisages three Working Groups:
• Long Term Monitoring of Aerosol (Working Group-I)
• Impact of Aerosol on Himalayan Glaciers (Working Group-II)
• Modelling of Black Carbon emissions in India and assessment of its impacts (Working Group-III)
G International Negotiations on Climate Change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The key contributions envisaged in India’s INDCs are as follows:
• To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at the corresponding level of economic development
• To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from the 2005 level.
H. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
The National Designated Entity (NDE) for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation [NDE (REDD+)] has been established in the Climate Change Division of this Ministry.
The key function of NDE will include:
• Exchange of information as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirements
• Identification of possible needs and gaps in coordination of support
• Sharing of information on knowledge, experiences and good practices
• Improvement of the effectiveness of finance
• Approval of the national level REDD+ proposal for submission to UNFCCC.
I. Climate Technology Centre and Network and Technology Executive Committee
The National Designated Entity (NDE) for the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and Technology Executive Committee (TEC) has been established in the Climate Change Division of this Ministry.
The key function will include:
• Leading and coordinating the formulation, selection and submission of requests for technology needs assessment and support
• Foster collaboration and access to information and knowledge to accelerate climate, technology transfer in the country
• Facilitating and monitoring the implementation of CTCN response assistance
• Strengthen network, partnership and capacity building for climate technology transfer
IV. Ozone Layer Protection
• Ozone, a triatomic molecule of oxygen is formed from oxygen naturally in the upper levels of the earth’s atmosphere by high-energy Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun.
• The UV radiation breaks down oxygen molecules, releasing free atoms, some of which bond with other oxygen molecules to form ozone.
• About 90 percent of ozone formed in this way lies between 10 and 50 kilometres above the earth’s surface, called the Stratosphere.
• The ozone found in the part of the atmosphere is called the ozone layer.
The Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer:
• The Montreal Protocol has been recognised as the most successful international environmental treaty in history.
• It has been universally ratified and all the 197 United Nations member countries of the world are the parties to the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol.
• In the 29 years of operation of the Montreal Protocol has led to phase-out of production and consumption of several major Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) such as:
• Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Carbon tetrachloride (CTC) and halons globally since 1st January 2010
• The production and consumption of methyl chloroform have been phased out globally by 2015, with possible essential use exemptions.
• The production and consumption of methyl bromide were phased out globally in 2016, except use in quarantine and pre-shipment applications.
• Global systematic observations have confirmed that atmospheric levels of key ODSs are declining and the global ozone layer should return to pre-1980 levels by around the middle of this century and the Antarctic ozone around 15 years later.
V. International Cooperation and Sustainable Development
International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (IC&SD) Division of the Ministry coordinates matters related to international environmental cooperation and sustainable development including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
India is a founder member of Global Environment Facility (GEF) which aims to provide incremental finance for addressing global environmental benefits which are also identified national priorities.
The GEF mandate is decided as per the guidance provided by the Conference of the Parties of the multilateral environmental conventions namely
• Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
• United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
• United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
• Stockholm Convention on PoPs
• Minamata Convention on Mercury
The GEF grants are available under five focal areas, namely, biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, international water and chemicals and waste.
Last year was a landmark year leading to the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 by 193 countries including India. The outcome document is known as the Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights poverty eradication as the overreaching goal of the new development agenda
SDC’s has at its core the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The emerging development agenda is unique in that it calls for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income. The SDGs are expected to be achieved by 2030.