A nine-year-old child has moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) alleging inaction by the Centre to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change, prompting the green panel today to seek reply from the Environment Ministry. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Central Pollution Control Board asking them to respond in two weeks.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Uttarakhand resident Ridhima Pandey through her legal guardian seeking directions to all appraisal bodies to assess the climate related issues while granting environmental clearance. The plea, filed through advocates Rahul Choudhary and Meera Gopal, contended that India is one of the most vulnerable countries to adverse climate change impact and its citizens were already experiencing adverse climate change impacts across the country.
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The petition said that children are more vulnerable than adults to pollution from the burning of fossil fuels that causes global climate change and referred to issues like rise in sea level, destruction of mangroves, melting of glaciers and snow packs and reduction in freshwater supply.
“The 34th Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India titled ‘Performance Audit on Renewable Energy Sector in India Union Government, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’, it was reported that the Central Government had failed to meet its targets for scaling up use of renewable energy sources under the National Action Plan on Climate Chang (NAPCC).
“The NAPCC envisages raising renewable energy sources to 8 per cent of the national energy mix for electricity by 2012-13 and 9 per cent by 2013-14. However as per the CAG report, the national achievement for purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources in those 2 years was only 4.28 per cent and 4.51 per cent, respectively,” the plea said.
Alleging that there was a huge gap in implementation of the environmental legislations in the country, it said that climate change has become a worldwide concern in recent years caused by anthropogenic activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.