Norwegian prime minister and director WHO, G.

H Brundtland exemplify sustainable development as ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs’. The notion to project an economy for sustainable development came in ’92 during a UN conference on environment and development (UNCED), popularly known as Earth summit, held at Brazil. Out of its five significant conclusions, Agenda 21 proposes global initiatives and policies on sustainable development in social, economic and practical context for the 21st century. It elegantly summarizes objectives, various conditions and ways to achieve sustainable developments but sadly missed out relevant issues of environmental ethics and implementation details of such ethical decisions. Should we continue to chop off forests and land to supplement urbanization and industrialization? What environmental obligations we need to hold in context of using fossil fuel powered vehicles and green-house-emission industrial processes? What moral we owe to species that are near-extinct and whether we need to check our energy and food consumption for the sake of future generation are some of the eco-centric views we need to follow. 1. Economic and Social Conditions: Progress so far
1.1 GDP Growth Table 1: The 2008-2009 projected values Percentage change over previous year 2008-2009 PROJECTED (%) 1. Agricultural and allied activities 2.0 2. Mining and quarrying 7.5 INDUSTRY = 7.5 3. Manufacturing 7.2 4. Elec. Gas and water supply 6.5 5. Construction 8.5

6. Trade, hotels, transport, storage and communication 7. Finance, insurance, real estate & business services 8. Community and personal services 9. Gross Domestic Product (factor cost and constant prices) Non agriculture (9-1) Gross Domestic Product (factor cost and constant prices) per capita

9.8 10.0 8.4 7.7 8.9 6.2


Source: Economic Outlook 2008-2009 by PM’s EAC.

1.2 Urbanization: As per 2001(the latest) Census Report, 25.73% population of India lives in urban towns and cities; the remaining 74.27% live in villages. 1.3 Population: Table 2: Population Projections for India Indices 1 Projected life expectancy at birth Male Female 2 Total Fertility Rate 3 Projected population (in millions)

Period 200106 63.87 66.91 2.88 1094.1 (2006)

2006-11 2011-16 65.65 67.67 2.68 1178.9 (2011) 67.04 69.18 2.52 1263.5 (2016)

Source: Registrar General of India, (2001), Census 2001

1.4 Comparison between % growth in GDP and Power generation since 2001. Both the power generation and GDP growth has been approximately a constant figure in these years as shown below. However, the steep in power growth is higher than that in GDP for later years.
10 8 GDP and Pow er
GDP Growth


6 4 2 200203 200506 200001 200102 200405 200304 200607
Power Genera tion


Source: Economic Survey 2007

1.5 Power generation and Usage: Categoryb Table 3 : Power generation by utilities (BKWh) 2005- 2006-07 April-December Growtha(%) 06 2006 2007 2006 2007 617.5 662.5 493.3 525.9 7.5 6.6

1.Power Generation i)Hydro-electric 101.3 113.4 91.8 100.7 13.8 9.8 ii)Thermal 497.2 527.6 385.6 407.4 6.1 5.7 iii)Nuclear 17.2 18.6 13.6 12.8 3.0 (-)5.7 Memorandum Item PLF in % 73.6 76.8 75.3 77.2 a= April December b= excludes generation from captives and non conventional power plants below 20 MW units and hydro power plants below 2MW but includes import of power by Bhutan
Energy Usage: Consumption and Production:
World Consumption of Primary Energy by Source 1990 Consumption 1999 Consumption
160 Quadrillion BTU 120 80 40 0


Nuclear Electric


Natural gas



Wind Electric



Energy Resources



Center, State and Private 14%

Type by source

3% 34% Center State Private 8% 52% 64% 25% Thermal RES Hydro Nuclear

Distribution of Installed Capacity as on 31-12-2007

2. Socio-economic Pressures on the Environment: Deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions, water pollution from arsenic, raw sewage runoffs of agricultural pesticides are some of the important environmental issues which demand immediate attention. Electronic waste has become a new environmental menace. World over, almost 50 million tons of electronic waste or e-waste is generated annually. India produces e-waste of about 3,00,000 tones per annum, out of which only 5% of precious metal can extracted [1]. A Silicon Valley Toxics coalition report predicts that 500 million computers will become obsolete by 2007 resulting in 6.32 billion pounds of plastic and 1.58 billion pounds of lead. Toxic materials like lead, cadmium, and mercury etc., make e-waste a health hazard [2]. Further studies of satellite images from NASA suggested that there may be no ice left by 2013 on N-Pole. (Times of India, New Delhi (Late Edition) August 11,
2008 ) Table 4: Green House Gases

GHG(CO2 equivalent) 1994

1,228,540 Giga gram Per Year (Gg)

Per capita GHG (1994) Main Constituent of GHG (1994) Main Contributors of GHG

1.3 tones CO2 (65%), CH4 (31%), N2O (4%) Energy Sector 61%. Agriculture 28%, Industrial Process 8%, Waste 2%, Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) 1%

Source: MoEF, (June 2004), India’s Initial National Commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Govt. of India.

2.1 Emissions of Green House gases Emission of greenhouse gases is one of the major sources of pollution in the world. Prime causes as its defined in the third report of the UN IPCC in 2001 and explicitly endorsed by the national science academics of G8 nations in 2005 are emissions of astronomical volumes of green house gases like CO2 released by burning of fossil fuels, land clearing and agriculture and other human activities The rise in global temperature thus, also tend to bring disastrous changes such as producing new patterns and extremes of drought and rainfall, unsettling of food productions, adversely affecting ecosystem and biodiversity, etc. Ozone depletion is another consequence of our lack of environmental concerns, perhaps more perilous than global warming and acid rains.
Table 5: CO2 Emission by top 10 nations, 2003

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Nation United States Of America China (Mainland) Russian Federation India Japan Germany Canada United Kingdom Republic Of Korea Italy (Including San Marino)

('000 M.T. of CO2) 1580175 1131175 407593 347577 336142 219776 154392 152460 124455 121608
Source : NASSCOM Survey 2007.


% of Global Total

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
al To ta l U SA C hi n R a us si a Ja pa n In G dia er m an y Ita ly K or e M a ex ic o Fr an ce So Pol ut and h A fr ic In a do ne si a U K kr ai ne C an ad a U


lo b


Major Emitting countries of the world (1995 data). Table 6: Share in global CO2 emissions (%) 1990 2003 United States 23.04 23.06 China 10.41 14.07 Russia 9.67 6.38 Japan 4.54 4.79 India 2.63 4.07 Germany 4.24 3.35 Canada 2.19 2.39 United Kingdom 2.76 2.24 Italy 1.91 1.85 France 1.80 1.63 Rest of World 38.61 36.17 1Russia 1990 numbers are for 1992. 2Germany 1990 numbers are for 1991.
Source: Based on data from USDOE.

Table 7: Source wise percentage contribution of CO2 Year LPG Naptha MG Kerosene HSDO LDO FO LSHS Coal All 1 0.33 1.893 1.23 3.443 8.424 0.91 4.19 1.684 77.88 India 980 0 9 4 0 3 2 1.80 3.014 1.70 2.929 9.834 0.37 1.96 1.301 77.07 000 9 6 0 2 6 LPG: Liquified Petroleum Gas; MG: Motor Gasoline; HSDO: High Speed Diesel oil; LDO: light diesel oil; FO: furnace oil; LSHS: low sulphur heavy stock;

Total C 100.000 100.000

Emission of CO2 by type of economy. Per Country Percentage of CO2 emission by Type of Economy
3.5 3 % Emission 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 High-Income Middle-Income Lower-Income

Note: The classification of countries is according to the classification made in the World Development Report, World Bank. The Upper- middle and Lower- middle income countries have been reported together as “ Middle Income” countries. Source: Compiled from ORNL data.

2.2 Water and Sanitation: In 2002, only 30% population of India had sustainable access to improved Sanitation and 86% of the population with sustainable access to improved water source. (HDR, 2005) The per capita availability of fresh water in the country has dropped from an acceptable 5,180 cubic meters in 1951 to 1,820 cubic meters in 2001. It is estimated that this will drop to 1,340 cubic meters by 2025 and to 1,140 cubic meters by 2050. This is alarming as the threshold per capita value for water stress is 1,000 cubic meters. India, with 16% of world’s population has only 2.5% of the world’s land resources and 4% of the fresh water resources. Arsenic contamination of ground water is another major problem. Pollution by agrochemicals has contaminated many drinking water sources. Between 1970-71 and 2002-03, application of pesticide in agriculture increased from 24,320MT to 48,350 MT. In this period the total pesticide used in India

amounted to 18, 39,121.62 MT a portion of which polluted both ground and surface water [3]. Case Study 1: Coastal ‘Dead Zones’ spreading Globally. A recent study published in journal Science showed that there is an alarming amplification (of about one-third this year) in the number of coastal dead zones and their clusters, places of ocean bed where marine life cannot survive due to lack of dissolved oxygen (anoxic area), on the coasts of US, Europe, in Baltic sea (hosting the world’s largest dead zone), at the mouth of China’s Yantgze river and the Pearl River mouth near Hong Kong, in the northern Adriatic Sea, the Yellow Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, anoxic basin is the Cariaco Basin near the coast of Venezuela and many elsewhere. Intensive fertilizer washes off and burning of fossil fuels wash off are the main reason for this phenomenon. (The Times of India, New Delhi, Late Edition, 17.08.08)

2.3 Climate Change: Climate change is one of the most important global environmental challenges facing humanity with implications for food production, natural ecosystems, freshwater supply, health, etc. According to the latest scientific assessment, the earth’s climate system has demonstrably changed on both global and regional scales since the pre-industrial era. Further evidence shows that most of the warming (of 0.1 degree Celsius per decade) observed over the last 50 years, is attributable to human activities [4] The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that the global mean temperature may increase between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. This

unprecedented increase is expected to have severe impacts on the global hydrological system, ecosystems, sea level, crop production and related processes. The impact would be particularly severe in the tropical areas, which mainly consist of developing countries, including India. 3. Economic Development: Prioritizing Sustainability: 3.1 Sustainability: Who’s responsibility? National and global stakeholders, research organizations, sustainability coordinators and people at local level urgently need to broadly hunt rational and innovative approaches and use of bio-technological tools to look for cleaner fuel alternatives and project for sustainable development, so that the dependency on fossil fuels for transportation and power generation, that holds the nerve of industries and countries growth, can be intensely shrink besides strategically shifting the geopolitics slope of oil reserves from oil exporting countries in the middle east, that alone produce 40% of the worlds oil, to a wider spectrum of globe. The government and adjoin local partners has to act like an entrepreneurs, teachers, researchers and consolidated management teams in providing infrastructure, awareness and educational opportunities to all citizens so as to promote inclusiveness of all-citizen potential that has been sadly ignored, to help freeze inflation and rigidifies sustainable growth 3.2 Role of Law and Regulatory & Institutional Authorities: Global Efforts: The United Nations Conference on Human Environment in 1972 at Stockholm was the first international initiative to discuss environmental problems. Later, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WECD) was setup in 1983.In the 1980s, the scientific

evidence linking GHG emissions from human activities with the risk of global climate change started to arouse public concern. The United Nations General Assembly responded in 1990 by establishing the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC held in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro adopted the framework for addressing climate change concerns which included:  ‘The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development’, listing 27 principles of sustainable development.  ‘Agenda 21’, a detailed action plan for sustainable development in the twenty first century, and  ‘The convention on Biological Diversity’

The UN Conference of Parties held in Kyoto in 1997 adopted the Kyoto Protocol as the first step towards addressing climate change. The Kyoto protocol is a legally binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was initially negotiated during a meeting held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. The protocol commits industrialized countries to reducing emissions of six greenhouse gases by five percent by 2012. Some of the reduction targets are for the US (seven percent), the European Union, Switzerland (eight percent), Canada, and Japan (six per cent). The agreement specifies that all parties to the protocol must follow a number of steps, some of which are given below: [5]  Design and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes   Preparation of a national inventory emission removal by carbon sinks Promotion of climate friendly technology transfer

Fostering partnerships in research and observations of climate science, impacts, and response strategies

China, for example, has set for itself a target of reducing its energy intensity by 20% over a period of five years or at the rate of 4% per year. Case Study 2: Rich Countries face Climate Heat. Asian rival India and China have joined forces to make a forceful demand that rich nations set aside 0.5%-1% of the GDP to help the developing world face the challenge posed by climate change and make good their unfulfilled commitment towards cutting back on green-house emissions. The move seeks to pressure these nations to part with funds committed under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Under UNFCC, rich countries are expected to fund measures by developing countries to adapt consequences of climate change. In addition, rich countries, who have been blamed for most of the accumulated climate change causing gas gases in the atmosphere today, are required to provide funding to help other countries reduce emission without fixed targets.

Indian Context: The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (MoEF), is primarily concerned with the implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals and prevention and abatement of pollution. While implementing these policies and programmes, the Ministry is guided by the principle of sustainable development and enhancement of human well being as outlined

in Agenda 21. The Ministry serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and for the follow-up of the United Nationals Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Ministry is also entrusted with the issues relating to multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of regional bodies such as the Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on matters pertaining to environment. Besides legislative measures, a National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development and Development (1992), National Forest Policy (1988), a Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution (1992); Biodiversity Act (2002) and a National Environment Policy (2005) have also been developed. In addition to these, to conserve petroleum products, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) was setup in 1978 by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG). The Bureau of Energy Efficiency was established under the Energy Conservation Act in 2001 and effective 1st March 2002 is now under the Ministry of Power (MOP). The mission of BEE is to develop policies and strategies on self-regulation and market principles within the overall framework of the energy Conservation Act with primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy. Some of the other measures are:   Make clean technologies mandatory in new industries Make functioning treatment facilities mandatory

 

Require environmental audits for industry Provide effective right to information

Case Study 3: Green Idea Maharastra is the sixth state after Mizoram, Asaam, Orissa, MP and Chattisgarh to come up with a State Forest Policy following the national forest commission’s recommendation in 2006. as part of the policy, Maharastra is planning on becoming the first state in the country to levy a green tax to encourage forest development. The policy aims at raising forest cover in the state to a minimum of 33% (101.54 lakh hectares) of total land, as per the recommendations of the Planning Commission and the National Forest Policy, 1998.

Case Study 4: Centre to adopt Dhoraji model for Plastic Recycling India’s first plastic waste recycling-cum-production cluster has come up at Dhoraji in Rajkot district of Gujrat. The centre, under its initiative ‘Keep City Clean & Green’ proposes to setup plastic waste recycling clusters at every 500 km across the country to make the environment pollution-free. (The Economics Times, New Delhi, Monday 18 August

Case Study 5: Solar Energy target set at 10,000 MW The government has set a target of 10,000 mw of solar energy generation by 2020. The initiative is part of the solar energy emission of the National Action Plan for Climate Change. The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) will spell out a comprehensive mission agenda by the end of October 2008 to operationalise the plan to enhancing contribution of solar energy in total energy mix.

Economic Incentives:
Tax may be levied on polluting industries to discourage pollution emission by the company. Natural resources are often sold at a very low price, leading to their exploitation. For example, the subsidies on irrigation water have led to planting of highly water intensive crops in regions inappropriate for this kind of agriculture. Excessive use of water has also resulted in water logging as well as depletion of ground water table making the soil saline. Removing inappropriate subsidies is essential to maintaining natural resources and would encourage development of more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Case Study 6: CII, Coke launch HP water conservation project. In a collaboration that could have a far reaching benefit for the industry, the CII Northern Region and Coca- Cola India announced the launch of Conserve, a water conservation and management project in Himanchal Pradesh at a CII session on water conservation organized in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, recently.

Case Study 7: Green Energy: initiative by Indian Oil As part of the green energy initiative, Indian Oil Corporation’s first Solar Mini Utility for charging solar lanterns was inaugurated at its Kisan Seva Kendraat Sathla, about 25 km from Meerut. This project is being implemented by IOC with technical assistance from TERI. This will, besides giving a 20 times brighter light than local debris, will enable school going children to study after dark too.

Technological interventions: [6]

Cleaner technologies - active research needs to be conducted in producing cleaner technologies – such as cleaner fuel, more efficient cars etc. The global market for low

carbon energy efficient technologies will be $3 trillions by 2050, throwing up significant commercial opportunities. [7] Case Study 8: BPCL to set up solar power project Public sector oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd announced foray into solar power generation by deciding to set up its first solar photovoltaic power project of 1 MW capacity in Punjab. BPCL, which entered into developing renewable energy projects two years back, also has plans to set up new wind power project in Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu of 5-10 MW each. The company is also going for a massive plantation of Jatropha in Uttar Pradesh under the aegis of biofuel mission cell to produce oil in order to replace diesel

Case Study 9: Oil’s Well: New energy sources could change geopolitics. Some scientists are closing in on a chemical process to extract climate-ruining emissions of CO2 from the atmosphere and change it back to fuel again. Researching , developing and introducing new technologies that are cleaner and less dependent on exploitation of fossil fuels could adjust the geopolitical slant to great extent. Remember, the world’s energy consumption has increased by 8 per cent since 1970 and it is expected to go up by another 60 per cent over the next 20 years. It is time to explore urgently all possible alternatives we have.

Efficient irrigation – Since 84% of all water in India is used for agriculture, efficient irrigation is the best method to deal with water wastage. For example, applying water to the

roots of crops through drip irrigation saves a considerable amount of water. It also prevents soil erosion or water logging. Integrated pest management – Using integrated pest management (targeting the insects using natural methods) instead of pesticides would reduce pollution greatly. Vermiculture and organic manures – Vermiculture has been shown to be an effective method to deal with organic solid waste, which is becoming a major problem in urban areas. If the community can be made to sort their garbage (citizen sorting has been effective in many industrialized cities) this can also provide organic manure.

Role of Individuals, Organizations, and NGOs: Responsibility for sustaining environment lies with every human being and every organization. Without there efforts SD can not be achieved. The situation among Indian enterprises is not so encouraging, said the study titled ‘Climate Change: Is India Inc Prepared?’ Some 41% of respondent indicate having goals for carbon reduction by 2010, but 38% of them have no such goals whatsoever [8].

Case Study 9: American Colleges compete to be the Greenest of them all Higher education can’t resist a ranking: besides being best in all avenues, the Princeton University recently added a new arena in its annual guide to colleges this week, it will include a new metric: a “green rating,” giving points for things like “environmentally preferable food,” power from renewable sources and energy efficient buildings. In a Princeton review survey this year of 10300 colleges applicants, 63% said that a college’s commitment to environment could affect their decision to go there.


The current phenomenon to achieve sustainability, as visioned by numerous conferences world wide, seems to virtually house a cold war between developing countries and those with the emission statistics of developed. Clearly, the consumption of the latter is more and so forth their emission rates. However, as seen in various surveys, emissions rate in the developing countries also seems to climbing as industrialization rapids and their government plans to boosts their economies respectively. Poor efficiency products, quest to rapidify progress are amongst other factors that cause a growth rate of emissions in developing countries to rise unexpectedly. Finally, one thing is sure, that we can not afford to neglect environmental issues in face of economic development or poverty alleviation, rather, environmental pressures are themselves related to socio-economic issues like population, literacy and awareness. This relation needs to be exploited to achieve sustainability in its truest sense. Secondly, the economic activities must be conducted using environment conserving and resource saving technologies. Managing environment though better urban designs, improvement in transportation infrastructures and creative use of information technologies needs to be considered seriously. Thirdly, policies for environmental governance should include priorities of law enforcement, providing economic incentives, maximum people’s participation,

institutional reforms and innovative use of technical know-how. It is pity that we have forgotten that the environment we have inherited was sustainable but our activities and carelessness towards it, the careless ness that’s now returning to us in a disastrous shape have put it as a subject of grave concern globally, despairing thousands of environmentalist and biologists.

Of course, it’s a difficult but an obligatory goal, for India to accomplish sustainability but, as pointed out in the preambles of every conference or convention we have seen on environmental issues so far, with a firm determination of the government, private sector, NGOs, and people, and we’ll definitely see India, achieving sustainable development in its truest sense and vitality.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful