The environment ministry told the Lok Sabha 12,496 environment, forest, wildlife and coastal zone regulation clearances were granted in 2022. The number of clearances jumped 21 times compared to 2018, when 577 nods were given. These clearances were granted through the government’s Parivesh portal. The ministry also informed the Lok Sabha the average time to give clearances has dropped from 150 days in 2019 to 70 days in 2022.
National Coastal Mission in limbo due to lack of funds, finds report
While India’s coasts get battered by the effects of climate change, the government has slashed the money allocated to the National Coastal Mission. The mission aims to conserve the coastal environment. The Standing Committee submitted a report to the Parliament, which revealed how the Rs723.6 crore proposed for the mission was allocated just Rs12.50 crore in the 2022-23 budget.
The report stated that the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) primarily depended on the World Bank to fund the mission. But the WB later pulled out of the project for administrative reasons. This has left the mission in a limbo, the report found.
Major institutional investors to stop funding new oil and gas projects to accelerate energy transition
The Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), a grouping of 85 international institutional investors, announced it will require its members to stop direct investment in new upstream oil and gas projects. The NZAOA, brought together under the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPI), controls a total of $11 trillion in assets under management. Its members include major investors Aviva, Unipol, Allianz and others. The group stated that the shift away from fossil fuels must accelerate to speed up progress towards the energy transition and align the global economy to 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming by 2050 targets. Credible net-zero scenarios “cannot be achieved if there are new upstream infrastructure investments in new oil and gas fields”.
EU set tougher national emission targets, agree to expand forest carbon sinks
Members of the European Union approved laws adhering to tougher national targets for emission cuts in certain sectors and expansion of natural carbon sinks such as forests. The sectors include road transport, heating of buildings, agriculture and waste management. Both laws are part of the EU’s policy making plan to cut emissions by 55% by 2030.
Richer countries will face tougher targets, This means Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden will face 50% emission cuts, while Bulgaria will have to meet a 10% goal.
World’s top court can weigh in on climate change
A resolution calling for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory opinion on climate change was successfully adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on March 29. The resolution, put forward by the government of Vanuatu and co-sponsored by more than 120 countries was adopted by consensus. The campaign was launched just a few years ago by law students in the Pacific Islands.
Vanuatu is a low-lying Pacific island nation which is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The said court will now hold hearings and hear evidence on the obligations of states in respect to climate change, with a view to handing down an advisory opinion in 2024.