Hunting ground: New government guidelines for ecotourism in forest areas could affect the ecology and wildlife, warn environmentalists | Photo: Hindustan Times

National wildlife board approves guidelines for ecotourism projects in forest areas

In a move that has been criticised by environmentalists, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) gave its nod to guidelines that boost ecotourism projects in forest areas. The NBWL, in a June 11 meeting, also appended a list of protected areas where such projects can be developed. In a previous meeting, held on March 8 this year, the Union environment ministry had told the NBWL that the guidelines aim to provide a deeper understanding of conservation of forest and wildlife areas and simultaneously help to boost incomes and opportunities for local communities in a sustainable manner. Experts, however, pointed out that temporary and permanent infrastructure that is built for such ecotourism projects can fragment forest areas and also disrupt wildlife areas. 

Arunachal govt refuses to reply to RTI query on cost-ratio analysis of Etalin hydro project  

The controversial Etalin Hydroelectric Project in Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, is once again in the news. The state government refused to divulge details of the cost-benefit ratio analysis as part of a query under the Right To Information (RTI) act. The government said it was not at liberty to disclose the data because it did not have the consent of the developer. The 3,907MW project has been flagged by experts because it involves clearing 270,000 trees in sub-tropical evergreen and rainforests that are also a vital tiger area.

Prevent debris dumping while four-laning NH-44 or project will be halted, NGT tells NHAI

India’s green court reprimanded the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for violating environmental norms while four-laning National Highway 44 from Udhampur to Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) observed that no work had been done to prevent the illegal and unscientific dumping of debris on the site of the project, which has been ongoing for the past four years. The debris dumping has been polluting the nearby Chenab river and its surrounding water bodies. The NGT warned NHAI that it would halt the project if necessary action is not taken.  

EU adopts ‘Fit for 55’ climate plan

On July 14, the European Union adopted a “Fit for 55” package of proposals. These will make the region’s policies on climate, transport, energy use, taxation and land use suitable for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. 

These “comprehensive and interconnected” sets of proposals aim to apply emissions trading to new sectors, tighten the existing emissions trading system, up the usage of renewable energy, launch low-emissions transport modes faster along with the infrastructure and fuels to keep them running, and align taxation policies to the European Green Deal. 

Govt’s duty to protect Australia’s youth from climate crisis impact, rules federal court

Australia’s environment minister Sussan Ley is still to approve Whitehaven Coal’s plans to expand its Vickery coal mine project near Boggabri, New South Wales. But the country’s

federal court recently reminded Ley of her “duty to take reasonable care” to ensure the nation’s youth don’t suffer due to carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the expansion. The court was hearing a case filed by eight schoolchildren and an octogenarian nun against the expansion. Experts said this court declaration about “duty of care” could have far-reaching consequences as far as fossil fuel projects are concerned. The minister has 28 days to reply to the ruling.

Australia, meanwhile, ranked last on climate action out of a list of 193 countries in a report that assessed progress made towards global sustainable development goals. The Sustainable Development Report 2021, first reported by Renew Economy gave the country 10/100 while assessing emissions from fossil fuels, imports and exports, and carbon pricing policies.  

A new study linked the loss of sea ice in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic to the trend of extreme monsoon rainfall in central India in September. The study conducted by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research stated that since the 1980s especially, while the frequency of extreme rainfall for that month in central India has been increasing, 

Court gives French govt 9 months to take steps necessary to reach 2030 emissions goal

 The Council of State, France’s top administrative court, ordered the government to take all necessary additional steps in the next nine months to ensure the country reaches its climate crisis targets. Failure to do so would lead to possible sanctions, which include hefty fines, the court warned. The court observed that France was not on track to reach its goal of cutting 40% emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels. Environmentalists and experts hailed the judgement, calling it “historic”. The decline of greenhouse gas emissions in France between 2015 and 2018 was only half of what it should be if the country is to meet its 2030 target.

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