Author : Lingampally Mounika, Student at Pendekanti Law College, Hyderabad
“The Earth is what we all have in common”.
Climate change is the change in the Earth’s climatic conditions. It is a modification in the distribution of the patterns of the average weather conditions on the earth. Our planet has witnessed major changes in the patterns of the climatic conditions over the past few decades. The global world now faces one of the most complex and threatening issues it has ever had to deal with i.e. climate change. It is today one of the biggest concern on the planet earth and it may cause undeniable change to environmental, social, and economic factors. The research of our great scientists shows that the cause for the climate change is the emission of Greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere, which are the direct result of human activities. The increasing emission of carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel combustion, vehicular pollution, deforestation, use of chemical pesticides on agricultural land are some of the human activities that are causing climate change. Climate change impacts human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health- clean air, safe drinking water, and healthy food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Between 2030 And 2050 climate change is expected to cause approximately 250000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, and other deadly diseases. Changing climate affects ecosystems in a variety of ways. For instance, change in the average temperature of the weather condition may force species to migrate to other places. Climate change is currently influencing each nation on each landmass. It is upsetting public economies and influencing lives, networks and nations today and even tomorrow. To reinforce the worldwide reaction to the danger of environmental change, nations embraced the PARIS AGREEMENT, where nations have presented the cycle of their public adaptation plans for reacting to climate change. The United Nations Organization has made an Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) which was set up by the World Meteorological Organization to give a target wellspring to logical data, about the part of human exercises in climate change. This paper aims to throw a light on the recent changes regarding the environmental policies as well as various steps taken to mitigate the on-going climatic conditions. This paper also aims to substantiate the usage of the advance technologies in redressing some of the environmental issues.
Keywords: International Conventions, Ecosystems, Environmental issues, Environmental laws.
Climate change is outlined as an extended term change within the Earth’s overall temperature with huge and permanent ramifications. Climate Scientists believe that this isn’t caused naturally by the Earth however by Human activities. Earth’s atmosphere consists of gases, such as Oxygen and Nitrogen and other gases known as Greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide, Nitrous oxide and methane. Some of the main human activities that amidst greenhouse gases are fossil fuel burning, deforestation and waste and recycle pollution. Solid waste landfills are some of the largest pollutants of methane gas. Global climate change is very real and is drastically affecting Planet Earth.
CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
The temperature of the Earth relies upon the balance between the energy that enters and leaves the earth’s framework. Approaching light from the Sun hits the Earth’s surface, the Earth ingests a portion of that vitality warming the outside of the planet, rest of that energy gets reflected and a portion of that energy backpedals on into space. The Greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide trap the energy and send it back to the Earth’s surface warming it up significantly more. This is known as Greenhouse impact. Now a little Greenhouse impact is normal to the Earth, however a large greenhouse effect can be disastrous causing a lot of that energy to stay in our atmosphere and warmth up the Earth at a quickening rate.
Likewise there are both natural and human activities which cause change in the climatic conditions.
NATURAL PROCESSES AFFECTING THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE EARTH:
1.1 Volcanic Eruption:
- Volcano eruptions influence the Earth’s atmosphere in the wider sense. They are responsible for releasing lava from deep within the earth, forming hard rocks on the surface of the planet earth. The dust particles and the dangerous gases which come out during the volcanic eruption have major impact on the climate change. The effect of the volcanic eruption last for months to years.
- Although there are only specific places on the earth, where volcano erupts, but it effects major parts of the planet earth from the material it drive out like: particles of dust, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ash etc. The carbon dioxide released from the volcanic eruption has trivial impact on the earth’s atmosphere, when compared with the quantity of carbon dioxide produced by the human activities.
- Thus, volcano eruption is the major cause for global warming and climate change on the planet Earth.
1.2 Solar Radiation:
- The Sun is regarded as the primary source of energy that drives both biological and physical processes in the world. The energy helps in the plant growth process, which forms the base of the food chain.
- The variations in the earth-sun orbital relationship might affect the climate both directly and indirectly. The change affects the geographical distribution of the sun’s energy over the earth’s surface.
- The studies have shown that the solar arrays which the earth absorbs have the potential to cause changes in the average temperature.
- Thus, change in rate of solar radiation over the surface of the earth leads to climate change.
- GREENHOUSE EFFECT:
- The greenhouse effect is often mentioned as an upgraded greenhouse effect which is an expansion in the concentration of ozone harming substances in the atmosphere. The Greenhouse impact is not some fringe marvel just of significance to a worldwide temperature alteration; rather it is on fundamental level of the Earth’s regular climatic framework.
- Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere that are responsible for the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4), and Ozone (O3) are the foremost ozone depleting substances in the Earth’s climate. Halocarbons, chlorine, and bromine-containing substances are the other human-made greenhouse gases/ozone depleting substances present in the environment. Halocarbons, for example, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are completely unnatural and are manufactured from the chemical industry, wherein they are utilized.
- Carbon dioxide has natural and human source. The expansion in CO2 levels is fundamentally a result of the utilization of non-renewable energy sources and deforestation. The vast majority of CO2 outflows are from the consuming of petroleum derivatives, for example, coal, oil, and gas. Rising CO2 is likewise identified with deforestation, which disposes of a significant carbon sink.
- Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a ground-breaking ozone harming substance transmitted through soil development rehearses, particularly the utilization of chemical fertilizers, nitric corrosive creation and burning of biomass.
- Halocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have no noteworthy characteristic sources and are absolutely man-made. CFCs, commonly known as Freon’s, have been used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators.
- CFCs also cause the breakdown of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The ozone layer is important to humans and other life on earth that protects from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, and may have long term effect on the human immune system.
- Thus, greenhouse gases have a dramatic change in the earth’s climatic condition, causing damage to every species on the planet.
- ANTHROPOGENIC ACTIVITIES AFFECTING THE EARTH’S TEMPERATURE:
- Aerosols may be of either natural-born or anthropogenic inception, impacting the environmental change. Aerosols are the collection of airborne solid or fluid particles that lives in the environment for several hours.
- Aerosols may influence atmosphere in two ways: legitimately through dissipating and absorbing radiation, and indirectly through acting as condensation nuclei for cloud formation or modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds.
- Aerosols generated by the industrial processes such as sulphate (SO4) cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back to space. Some aerosols cool the earth indirectly by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected by the clouds.
- Black carbon particles or ‘soot’ produced when fossil fuels or vegetation are burned, generally have a warming effect because they absorb incoming solar radiation. Black carbon particles setting on snow or ice are a particularly potent warmer.
DEFORESTATION: THE MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
- As the world seeks to hinder the pace of environmental change, to help billions of individuals, and save natural life, trees hold a significant aspect of the appropriate response. Yet the destruction of trees, deforestation keeps on yielding the drawn out advantages of standing trees for the present moment once more.
- Forests still cover about 30% of the world’s land area, yet they are vanishing at a disturbing rate. From 1990-2016 the world nearly lost 502000 sq. miles of backwoods. About 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been obliterated in the course of recent years, and losses recently have been on the rise.
- We need trees for an assortment of reasons since they not only just retain the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, yet they additionally assimilate the warmth catching ozone harming substances which discharge from the human day to day exercises.
- Tropical trees cover alone can provide 23% of the atmosphere relief required throughout the following decade to meet the objectives set in the PARIS AGREEMENT in 2015, according to one estimate.
CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION:
- Farming, grazing of livestock, mining represents the greater part of all deforestation. Forestry practices, urbanisation represents for the rest.
- Forests are additionally cut down because as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for homes and buildings.
- Some of the natural causes of deforestation are forest fires and severe droughts.
- Not all deforestation is intentional. Some of the normal reasons for deforestation are timberland fires and extreme dry seasons.
- According to UNFCC commercial agriculture and subsistence agriculture is the Primary Cause of deforestation across the world.
HOW DEFORESTATION IN THE AMAZON CONTRIBUTES TO CLIMATE CHANGE?
The Amazon Rain Forest retains around 6 hundred million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide every year. Plants convert daylight and Carbon Dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen through photosynthesis. They store the carbon and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Plants discharge Carbon Dioxide when they pass on. Specialists say deforestation has caused the Amazon Rain Forest to assimilate not exactly half as much Carbon Dioxide as it completed 20 years before. The forest is additionally powerless against outside powers. Rising temperatures are causing portions of the Amazon Rain Forest to dry out. Desiccated trees ingests less Carbon Dioxide and more susceptible to fires. Researchers stress that if these patterns proceed, the Amazon Rain Forest could in the end discharge more Carbon Dioxide than it retains. The Amazon Rain Forest is additionally critical to provincial precipitation designs. It releases as much as 20 billion tons of water every day. Plants pull water out of the ground and release it as fume in a cycle called transpiration. The fume rises and forms rain clouds. The cloud that structures over the Amazon carries rain to regions beyond the forest. Deforestation diminishes the measure of water in the environment. This influences provincial precipitation design and can cause dry seasons beyond the Amazon.
WARMING WORLD: FACTORS LEADING TO GLOBAL WARMING:
- According to the statistical report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), global temperature has registered an increase of more than 0.60 Celsius in the past 100 years. In the future, contamination of underground and surface water supplies is likely to take place near coastal areas. According to Prof. G.O.P. Obasi “Even glaciers including those in alpine regions, have been melting and retreating. While registering a 32.5% rise, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1750 to 371 (ppm) at the end of 2001.” 
- Greenhouse effect is, the phenomenon where atmospheric gas that traps the heat of the earth and produces a warming effect in the same manner as to how a glass gets heated in a greenhouse, is known as greenhouse effect.
- The ozone harming substances in the air permits the sun’s bright radiation to infiltrate into and warm the earth. The Greenhouse effect and ozone depletion as such affect climate and bring widespread changes in natural ecosystems, with grass lands and desert areas shrinking.
- Acid rain- effects: formation of acid rain generally begins with the emissions of sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, which are released by automobiles, industrial operations such as smelting and refining, and electrical power plants that burns fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The gases when combined with water vapour in clouds form sulphuric and nitric acids. Thus, acid rain is a combination of gases like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and chlorine with the water vapour which get transformed into carbonic acid, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and hydrochloric acid in the presence of sunlight. When deposited in soils, vegetation, surface waters or man-made objects, these acids cause devastation.
- Acid rain causes erosion and desertification. Its effects bring changes in metals, limestone, marble, roofing, mortar and it is also detrimental to health. Acidity of rain water (pH) varies from place to place depending upon the sulphuric acid which is an active irritant of the respiratory system and can reduce oxygen exchange efficiency. Acid rain may be controlled by DE acidification.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)/ Wonder gases: These were discovered in the year 1928 and are named to be “Wonder gases”. These are organic compounds containing halogens, particularly chlorine and are used mainly as propellants in aerosol cans and plastic foams. Released into troposphere some of them have a long life. When they migrate across the troposphere they get dissociated with ultraviolet radiation and release atoms of chlorine into atmosphere that can cause depletion of ozone layer situated at stratosphere.
- In 1947 Prof. F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J Mohina discovered that when CFCs finally break apart in the atmosphere, they release chlorine atoms and cause ozone depletion.
- Ozone depletion: ozone layer is the thin layer of ozone gas molecules that exit in the atmosphere. Breakdown of the ozone layer/shield makes the ozone layer ineffective in absorbing the ultra violet radiation and in maintaining the normal global weather. It leads to abnormal global warming. Ozone layer over the Antarctic is reported to have weakened since 1980. The layer is located in the stratosphere between 6 and 30 miles above the earth. It assimilates the greater part of the harmful ultraviolet B radiation from the sun and furthermore all the deadly UV-C radiation.
- Paul Crutzen suggested as early as in 1970 about the possible depletion of the layer due to Nitrogen oxides emanated from fertilizers and supersonic aircrafts.
AIR POLLUTION IMPACT ON CLIMATE:
Air pollution is a major public issue. At the point when the air is sullied with any substance, physical, or organic specialist present in nature into the air, it is viewed as air contamination. Air contamination is considered as the world’s biggest natural wellbeing hazard prompting a large number of deaths around the globe every year. Air pollution and climate change may seem to be two different issues, but they are closely interlinked. In the recent past the studies has proven that by controlling air pollution, we can also mitigate climate change. The particulate matter, present in the air, which is evicted from the vehicles or power plant refineries spread around the globe and land in the remote places, which effect the ecosystem and biodiversity of that region. Major health effects due to air pollution are eye, nose and throat infection/irritation, heart, lung diseases and cancer. In 2012 it was estimated that due to air pollution and climate change there were 7 million deaths around the world. Thus, air pollution has major effect on climate change affecting millions of life on the planet earth.
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT ON LIFE, COMMUNITY HEALTH, FOOD AND STANDARD OF LIVING:
- Scientist reveals to us that the world climate is transforming now. These progressions are making new health hazards in communities all over the world for example outrageous climate, undesirable air quality, and far reaching illness episode, which are turning out to be more incessant and serious, affecting individuals in more places
- A change to our atmosphere implies our communities need to prepare for the health risks of higher temperatures. Extraordinary warmth can prompt warmth stroke, heat cramps, drying out, where anybody can be in. But some are at more vulnerable stage they are: pregnant women, older adults, people with heart or lung condition, young children, athletes and outdoor workers.
- A change in the atmosphere likewise implies more incessant and more serious tempests and flooding, which in fact results in down electrical cable and unhygienic circumstances. After a serious tempest, the conceivable wellbeing hazards are: debased food and drinking water, microscopic organisms, infections and poisonous synthetic concoctions in water, trouble in medical services like crisis care, medicine and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In this circumstances the older adults, children, animals, the disabled are the most affected ones. Individuals who witness these occasions have mental trauma, depression and nervousness often.
- As average temperature ascend over the globe, the air quality can likewise change, that may trigger the same number of medical problems as it can.
- Change in the climate can also trigger diseases that are spread by mosquitoes, rats and insects.
- With higher temperature, diseases transmitted by this insects and rats can spread faster to more locations. Some of the diseases are: Zika virus, Lyme disease, West Nile virus and Hanta virus.
- Climate change will affect all of us, but agriculture is an area where it will hit our lifestyles hard.
- Climate change also threatens food security through altered rainfall patterns. There is noticeable evidence that climate change has a measurable effect on the quality and quantity of food produced globally.
- Sea levels are rising mostly because of the warming of seas; water extends with heat like an internal thermometer and somewhat because of liquefying of ice.
STEPS TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE:
- Mitigation is an anthropogenic action to diminish the sinks of an Earth-wide temperature boost, contamination, and ozone depleting substances.
- With the cost effective technological option, we as the responsible humans on the planet Earth can mitigate climate change by stabilizing greenhouse gases, controlling pollution, and global warming. For Example: Control on using CFCs and driving less.
- All the governments of the world should join together in making new laws and policies and implement them to make the world a pollution free planet.
INTERNATIONAL PROTOCOLS AND CONVENTIONS TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE:
- Stockholm conference on Human Environment: Environmental pollution is a global issue and therefore it is a concern of the entire mankind. And to eradicate the negative impact of environmental pollution the UN has convened an international conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972, which is generally called as “Stockholm Conference”. This conference laid down 26 principles and promoted many agencies.
- Kyoto Environmental summit on global warming: (Kyoto protocol): It is universally recognised that carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs and other industrial gases are causing greenhouse effect leading to earth-warming and adverse effects in the climate all over the world. In the earth summit of 1992, conducted on climate change on greenhouse emission it was concluded that an audit meeting would be gathered following a time of 5 years. As needs be, a conference on climate change was gathered at Kyoto in Japan during December 1 to 11, 1997 wherein the advancement made during the previous 5 years was audited and further plans were chalked out by the fixing procedures and destinations for what’s to come. Towards the finish of the meeting it was concluded that the level of outflows of the ozone harming substances predominant in 1990 would be decreased by 8%, 7%, and 6% by European Union, America and Japan, separately somewhere in the range of 2008 and 2012. Correspondingly focuses of the other 21 modern nations were additionally fixed. Thusly Kyoto convention came into power by sanction of 55 individuals from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
- Earth Summit Plus 5: This was a unique session of the UN General Assembly held in New York in June 1997 in assistance of the Rio conference Declaration held 5 years back in 1992. This conference was based on the Agenda 21.
- World summit on Sustainable Development 2002: The objective of this summit was Good Governance, Poverty Eradication and Changing Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. In 2012 there was UN Sustainable Development summit at Rio, outcomes were MDG (Millennium Development Goals) with 8 goals, but in 2015 there were changed to SDG (sustainable development goals) with 17 goals.
ROLE OF THE INDIAN JUDICIARY IN PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT:
For the insurance of condition from contamination, the Hon’ble Supreme Court and furthermore the High Courts have taken multitudinous measures in a progression of their milestone decision. Throughout the long term the Apex Court has been giving exceptional consideration for the security of condition by giving viable bearing to all the people worried about the issue by summoning its capacity under Article 32
- Some of the apex court judgements are: M.C. Mehta V. Union of India,, Ratlam Municipality V. Vardhichand,
- Pollution free environment is a fundamental right under article-21: environmental matters under Article 32, 136 or 226 are traceable to Art.21.
- Right to pollution free environment has been included by the Indian Judiciary by expanding the scope of Fundamental Right under Art.21 of the constitution.
- Article 47 of the constitution states that it is the duty of the state to improve the public health.
- Article 48A of the constitution as embedded by the 42nd amendment expresses that, the state shall endeavour to ensure and improve the environment and to shield the forests and wild life in the country.
- Fundamental Duties: Under the constitution of India Art.51A (g) imposes an obligation on every citizen of India to secure and improve the common habitat including forests, lakes, natural life and to have empathy for living animals.
The impact of climate change is being observed all over the world. Global warming, deforestation, greenhouse effects are some of the causes of climate change. It is creating a situation where every minute, it is damaging a part of the environment as well as human beings. The health issues which the people face because of the change are more vulnerable, than one can ever imagine. I, as a responsible being on this earth, feel that the time has come where every individual should join together to make the world a normal and healthy planet, as change is only an anthropogenic activity/criteria. We as human beings will be completely liable for the destruction of the Mother Earth, if we are not taking part in the process to mitigate the climate change. Because, if this is ignored today, there will be no tomorrow. And our future generations may not enjoy the beauty of the Planet Earth.
 WHO (WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION) Report, 2018
 UNEP-REPORT 2016
 Agreement with the UNFCC( UN Framework on Climate Change) signed 2016
 Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
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