RSS

Why Environment Impact Assessment is must for all projects.

09 Nov

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) integrated environmental assessment (IEA) and reporting processes are led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP derives its mandate from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2997 of 1972, which led to the establishment of the organization. The resolution states in part that UNEP should keep the global environment under review. The UN Conference on the Human Environment whose recommendations led to Resolution 2997 highlighted the importance of environmental assessment and reporting.

Form the above every common man would understand that EIA /IEA is a very important matter. However the Corporate & political class using the same very common man and his “development” needs willingly sideline this every-time everywhere around the World. In this article I will use India and one of its major states – Maharashtra & its capital City Mumbai as an example.

In India states like Maharashtra would like to “fast track” 14 projects which have been languishing for a long time. Why this sudden announcement from none other than the Chief Minister of the state? Simple, its election time and the money bags on whose donations the political parties thrive are not to pleased that their corporate greed has been restrained by such a mundane law like Environment Impact Assessment.

If this is done with the narrow political vision the leaders at present have, it would lead to disastrous consequences for the State and contribute to the Global Warming accelerating the process even further. Here is how.

By mid-century, the scientists say, in some parts of the World; that heat waves could by 5°C hotter. By the end of this century that could be 9°C hotter than they are today. Moreover, it’s no surprise that cities get a lot hotter than rural areas. Metro areas have more roads and taller buildings than the countryside, the better to collect sunlight by day and prevent the release of warmth by night. These distinguishing elements can cause city temperatures to reach greater relative heights — a phenomenon known as the urban “heat island” effect.

The Politicians & the Corporates live and have their HQ is Metro Cities!

Just recently, Australia celebrated a huge achievement, with the passage of the Clean Energy Future legislation that finally puts a price on pollution and gets the Country ready for historical investments in clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency and protection of landscape carbon. Their leaders say that it’s a vote for a new beginning in their campaign for serious climate action, not the end.

Just why did Australia do what it did ? To understand this one must understand the Drivers of Global Warming.

Drivers (including demographic changes, economic and societal processes) lead to more specific pressures on the environment (including land use change, resource extraction, emissions of pollutants and waste, and modification and movement of organisms). These pressures lead to changes of the state of the environment, which are in addition to those that result from natural processes. The environmental changes include climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, changes in biodiversity and pollution or degradation of air water and soils. These changes lead to changes of the services that the environment provides to humankind, such as the provision of clean air and water, food and protection from ultra-violet radiation. As a result of changes in services and mediated by demographic, social and material factors, there are impacts on human well-being (health, material assets, good social relations and security).

Australia being one of the leading polluters and cause of global warming and suffering the consequences of the Ozone hole have had to respond. These responses include both formal and informal attempts to either adapt to the changes in environmental services or to reduce the pressures on the environment.

India’s global warming foot-print is extremely small compared to the developed Nations and this is why it must become more responsible now and prepare by driving the energy revolution and the opportunity to move to 100% renewable energy, plan in the national interest, make the right investment decisions now and put the right management policies in place. The state of Maharashtra and its leadership should show the way how to address  food, water, energy and climate crises – namely, food security. We need to maximise food production and export by lifting agricultural productivity in the face of escalating climate change and oil depletion. Competition for land and water between agriculture, coal seam gas, carbon storage, urbanisation and land grabs must be resolved.

The Development laws should be designed in such a way that they can guide decisions on land use and encourage decisions that will benefit the climate, our biodiversity and our farmers, indigenous communities and other land managers. It is only then all business can be sustained.

Therefore its imperative that EIA should not be treated as an impediment to growth but a valuable tool to assess the long-term sustainability of the project and thereby its profit for the Corporate and Society at large.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s