Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Sunday said India’s per capita carbon emissions are among the lowest in the world and therefore western industrialized nations should shoulder most of the financial burden of fighting climate change.
Speaking at the “Conference on Environmental Diversity and Environmental Jurisprudence: National and International Perspectives” at Chandigarh University, the minister also stressed the need to strike a balance between development and the environment.
He said India’s environmental laws and policies are not only about protection and conservation – but also about equality and justice.
“There will be no environmental justice and equity if the people most affected by environmental protection measures are those who are not responsible for the problem.
“It operates both globally and locally: India’s per capita carbon emissions are among the lowest in the world (two tonnes) and as such, western industrialized countries must bear most of the financial burden of fighting climate change,” a statement said. quoted by the minister.
Yadav also spoke of “the wave of environmental litigation over the years that has hurt development”.
”Society must prosper, but not at the expense of the environment and the environment must be protected but not at the expense of development. The need now is a balance between the two,”he said.
Yadav said the latest IPCC Working Group III report confirmed India’s emphasis on equality at all scales in climate action and sustainable development. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations agency for climate change assessment. “Justice remains a central element in the UN climate regime, despite shifting differences between states over time and challenges in assessing fair distribution,” the minister quoted the report as saying.
He said India has the largest number of forest-dependent people in the world and their livelihoods, culture and existence depend on access to forests.
“In our passion to protect the forest, we cannot ignore the existence of such a large community of forest dwellers. It is for this reason that the notion of western conservation, which excludes local communities, can have serious consequences for the rights of forest dependent communities,” added Yadav.
”Similarly, our coastal area provides a livelihood for the largest fishing community in the world whose existence is very dependent on the integrity of the coastal area. Therefore, although it is important to focus on building climate resilience infrastructure in coastal areas, it is also important to ensure that there are no adverse impacts for those whose livelihoods depend on the coast,” he said.
Yadav stressed that environmental law, although developing in recent times, is still in its infancy.
”The concept of accountability needs to be developed both at the national and international levels. Environmental jurisprudence is still focused on punishing polluters or hunters at the local level while the realities of climate change, sea and air pollution require us to design mechanisms that can see beyond national boundaries. This is important given the fact that there are limited mechanisms to hold polluters to account if their origin is not domestic,” he said.
The Minister also praised the judiciary for playing an important role in solving environmental problems.
”Industrialization and environmental preservation are two conflicting interests and their harmonization is a big challenge in front of the judicial system and the state government system,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is created automatically from the syndicated feed.)