Meena Kumari Committee, Kasturirangan report, IPCC Report, Blue Carbon, Subramaniam Committee on Environmental Laws
Meena Kumari Committee - Deep Sea Fishing
Production in India from the near-shore waters has plateaued and that there is very little scope for increasing production in waters up to a depth of 200 metres. But waters beyond a depth of 500 m are not optimally exploited, and there is considerable scope of expansion in this zone, mainly for tuna and tuna-like species, which are in demand in the international market.
- Creation of a buffer zone between the near-shore and offshore regions (waters between 200 m and 500 m in depth) along the coast and to regulate fishing there “in order to augment resources in the near-shore areas as well as the deep-sea regions in the EEZ”
- Throw open off-shore regions for fishing by foreign and joint venture companies until the domestic fishers acquired the capability and techniques for effective deep-sea fishing.
- Allow tuna fishing by deep-sea vessels even during the period of uniform ban on fishing implemented by the Government of India every year “as this ban period does not coincide with the spawning seasons of tuna species such as yellow fin and big eye tuna”, which are high-value products in the international market
Kasturirangan Panel’s report on conservation of the Western Ghats
Kasturirangan panel was set up to study the Gadgil committee report on Western Ghats, which faced unanimous opposition from state government for recommending almost 3/4th of the hills, including plantations, cultivated lands & large habitations, be turned into a restricted development zone with an over-arching authority to regulate the region superseding the elected authorities role.
Around 60,000 sq km of Western Ghats, spread across six states, should be turned into a no-go area for commercial activities like mining, thermal power plants, polluting industries and large housing plans.
- Suggested that 90% of the natural forests left in the Western Ghats complex – adding upto 60,000 sq km & constituting 37% of the entire hilly belt — be conserved under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA)
- Villages falling under ESA will be involved in decision making on the future projects. All projects will require prior-informed consent and no-objection from the gram sabha of the village.
- a complete ban on mining activity in this zone and current mining activities should be phased out within five years, or at the time of expiry of the mining lease.
- Banned development of any township or construction over the size of 20,000 sq m in the ESA zone.
- It has not recommended a ban on hydroelectric projects in the zone, but put a regime of stricter clearances for dams and other projects
- The report has steered clear from demanding a strict ecological control over the Western Ghat complex requiring changes and regulations on agricultural practices the way Gadgil committee report had suggested.
People from Udupi, Karnataka have urged the government to reject the recommendations of Kasturirangan Panel as 35 villages in Udupi district in the Western Ghats come under the ambit of the report and the report also proposed a buffer zone of 10 km from the boundary of Western Ghats, which would include another 38 villages. The people are against the report as it would hamper development in the villages.
IPCC 5th AR
IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to climate change.
- An increasing trend in the anthropogenic emissions of GHG since industrial revolution, with about half of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions during last 40 years.
- 1983- 2012 is likely to have been the warmest thirty year period of the last 1400 years.
- CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes have contributed a major portion of total GHG emissions during the period 1970 – 2010
For temperature increase to remain below 2° C of pre-industrial levels the world can emit only about 2,900 Giga tonnes (Gt) of CO2 from all sources from the industrial revolution till 2100.
Till 2011, the world has emitted 1,900 Gt of CO2, thus already consuming around 2/3rd of this budget. This means that out of the budget of 2,900 Gt, only 1,000 Gt remains to be used between now and 2100.
The World Resources Institute estimates that if emissions continue unabated, the remaining budget will last only 30 more years.
Carbon captured by the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems. The carbon captured by living organisms in oceans is stored in the form of biomass and sediments.
- Mollasces, Phytoplanktons
- Mangroves, Salt marshes and Seagrasses
Blue carbon estimation in eastern costal area led to a conclusion that Sunderbans’ capacity to absorb carbon has gone down – due to the increased salinity and Maldah River’s pollution.
Subramaniam Committee on Review of Environmental Laws
- Proposed new Environment Loss Management Act (ELMA)
- Recommended full-time expert bodies, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) & State Environment Management Authority (SEMA), to be constituted at Central & state levels respectively.
- NEMA & SEMA recommended to evaluate project clearance in a time bound manner, providing for single window clearance
- fast track procedure for linear projects (roads, railways and transmission lines), power & mining projects
- an environmental reconstruction cost should be assessed for each project on the basis of the damage caused by it to the environment & should be dovetailed with the cost of the project
- Proposed an Environment Reconstruction Fund for accumulation of this cost and other penalties recovered from projects.
- Area for compensatory afforestation in the revenue land should be doubled from the current one hectare, for each hectare of forestland diverted to non-forest use for development projects.
- Recommends identification of no go forest areas – primarily with over 70 per cent canopy cover and protected areas— which shall not be disturbed except in exceptional circumstances and that too only with the prior approval of the Union Cabinet.
- Recommended increasing the net present value of the forest paid, paid by the project proponents for diversion of forests, to five times of what it is today
- Recommended reducing power of NGT & suggests district-level courts to decide on infringement of environmental laws.
- Proposes a National Environment Research institute on the lines of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education.
MoEF constituted the committee to review the key environment laws viz.
- Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) of 1972
- Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974
- Forest Conservation Act (FCA) of 1980
- Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981
- Environment Protection Act (EPA) of 1986
- Later, the Indian Forest Act (IFA) of 1927, the colonial law which governs the forest administration in the country, was also added to the list of laws for the committee to review.