The Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone’s zonal master plan (ZMP), which was finalised by the Uttarakhand government and approved by the environment ministry last month, did not take into account objections put forth by the expert members of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee that was in-charge of preparing the plan.
Annexures to the ZMP, published on the Union environment ministry’s website, mention the concerns raised by the NGT panel such as cutting into the slopes for roads and change in land-use norms. Experts and activists previously raised their own concerns that the ZMP would make the Bhagirathi region vulnerable to natural disasters.
Trump’s biggest climate rollback to be investigated by EPA inspector general
In a move that could prove to be a setback for the Trump administration, the internal watchdog of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) launched an investigation into the government’s decision to weaken the Obama administration regulations to tackle climate change.
The Trump administration had announced the biggest rollback of federal climate change rules in March. The EPA’s inspector general asked top agency officials to surrender all documents related to the rollback. The investigation will be focused on understanding whether the move by the Trump administration was “consistent with requirements, including those pertaining to transparency, record-keeping, and docketing, and followed the EPA’s process for developing final regulatory actions.”
Strengthen Ireland’s climate action plan, Supreme Court tells govt
In a significant win for environmentalists, Ireland’s Supreme Court ordered the government to take more aggressive climate change action after noting that current emission cutting plans fell ‘well short’ of the action required to meet the country’s climate commitments. Under its Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015, Ireland needs to cut its emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
The court was hearing a case filed by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), which pointed to the shortcomings of Ireland’s National Mitigation Plan published in 2017. The NGO said the developed countries such as Ireland should be looking at cutting emissions by 25-40% by 2020 from 1990 levels.
Russia raises concerns about EU’s carbon border tax plan
Russia made its displeasure over the EU’s proposed carbon tax at the bloc’s borders known as it raised concerns the move would not adhere to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The country’s economic development minister, Maxim Reshetnikov, made it clear last week that Moscow was ‘concerned’ that the carbon tax was an attempt to use the climate agenda to ‘create new barriers’.
France set to ban heated terraces for restaurants, cafes
In an encouraging move towards environment protection, France announced plans to ban heated terraces for cafes and bars. The country’s ecology minister made the announcement, calling outside heating or air conditioning an ‘ecological aberration’. More than 75% of restaurants and cafes in Paris have a heated terrace, according to trade groups.
The ban will come into force in the winter season, keeping in mind the blow restaurants have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country will also made it mandatory for all heated or air-conditioned public buildings to keep their doors closed in a bid to stop wastage of energy.