DEBATING ACLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION FOR INDIA: HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENFORCEMENT

Updated: Oct 18

Introduction

The identification of the ever-growing threats ensuing from climate change has paved the way for several developments vis-à-vis international and national legal frameworks. In particular, India has worked towards climate change adaptation and mitigation over the past several years and has become a popular developing country in its realm. Climate change policy itself covers a wide range of areas within environmental parameters, and in India, climate change policies generally cover an array of climate influencing parameters including, but not limited to, types of energy, environmental pollution, forestry, and disaster management.

India has ratified or committed to several important international conventions and climate change policies, including the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is seemingly in due course to implement the 2030 Agenda of which climate change is a fundamental tenet. It has since National Mining Policy, 2019 and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs as under the Paris Agreement), further highlighting and enhancing older legislations and policies including National Action Plan on Climate Change (2008),the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, The Forest Conservation Act and more. Though many of these policies are climate-related, the one key element absent from Indian policy is a comprehensive national legislation on climate change action concerning adaptation and mitigation, outlining various goals, accountability and assessment systems, and strategies for combatting climate change.Many have explored the possibility of the same, which is pertinent on the grounds of its implications on environmental conservation and humanitarianism. This article discusses the need and scope for a legislation, in light of the parameters of human rights and enforcement.


India and the Prospects of a Legislation

As mentioned, India does have several legislations, and other judicial support regarding climate change, and the need for a national legislation is most definitely a contested idea. Those who favour such a legislation keep in mind that India is en route to achieving two of the three targets in the NDCs and shall require legislative attention to achieve the third on carbon sinks, with other experts calling for a mere streamlining of the various separate initiatives and policies. The former contention has been prevalent regarding the redressal of gaps vis-à-vis Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) policy. This is key as India is one of the top five countries vis-à-vis emissions, with the COVID- 19 pandemic creating a further hindrance for India in an important year for the climate change discourse. To enhance mitigation efforts during such times would thus require adequate national and local policies, especially since qualitative reviews show that the existing framework of policies is ‘fragmented’ and ‘incoherent’ even stating that the ‘uncoordinated national policies’ would not be adequate eventually.

To suggest that most estimations vis-à-vis India’s contribution regarding energy sources, pollution and global warming would fall under the ‘uncertain’ category, as they are based on assumptions regarding economic growth. Thus, there may be increased challenges and slower advancement than theorized. As of 2020, climate change policy trackers did project that India could achieve its commitments under current policies, but highlighted that such may not be consistent with expectations under the Paris Agreement regarding the restriction of global temperature rise as under 1.5 degrees Celsius. While it is possible to identify laws and legislation which serve as an equivalent to a paramount, all-encompassing legislation evidence to suggest that most estimations vis-à-vis India’s contribution regarding energy sources, pollution and global warming would fall under the ‘uncertain’ category, as they are based on assumptions regarding economic growth. Thus, there may be increased challenges and slower advancement than theorized.

As of 2020, climate change policy trackers did project that India could achieve its commitments under current policies, but highlighted that such may not be consistent with expectations under the Paris Agreement regarding the restriction of global temperature rise as under 1.5 degrees Celsius. While it is possible to identify laws and legislation which serve as an equivalent to a paramount, all-encompassing legislation. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that most estimations vis-à-vis India’s contribution regarding energy sources, pollution and global warming would fall under the ‘uncertain’ category, as they are based on assumptions regarding economic growth. Thus, there may be increased challenges and slower advancement than theorized. As of 2020, climate change policy trackers did project that India could achieve its commitments under current policies, but highlighted that such may not be consistent with expectations under the Paris Agreement regarding the restriction of global temperature rise as under 1.5 degrees Celsius. While it is possible to identify laws and legislation which serve as an equivalent to a paramount, all-encompassing legislation on this subject-matter in India (such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change), a flagship policy is yet to be seen. Overall, the idea of a national comprehensive legislation is perhaps well-founded in light of the aforementioned. . on this subject-matter in India (such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change), a flagship policy is yet to be seen. Overall, the idea of a national comprehensive legislation is perhaps well-founded in light of the aforementioned. . on this subject-matter in India (such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change), a flagship policy is yet to be seen. Overall, the idea of a national comprehensive legislation is perhaps well-founded in light of the aforementioned. evidence to suggest that most estimations vis-à-vis India’s contribution regarding energy sources, pollution and global warming would fall under the ‘uncertain’ category, as they are based on assumptions regarding economic growth. Thus, there may be increased challenges and slower advancement than theorized. As of 2020, climate change policy trackers did project that India could achieve its commitments under current policies, but highlighted that such may not be consistent with expectations under the Paris Agreement regarding the restriction of global temperature rise as under 1.5 degrees Celsius.While it is possible to identify laws and legislation which serve as an equivalent to a paramount, all-encompassing legislation. on this subject-matter in India (such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change), a flagship policy is yet to be seen. Overall, the idea of a national comprehensive legislation is perhaps well-founded in light of the aforementioned.