Need For Laws For Climate Change In India

Need For Laws For Climate Change In India

Shelal Lodhi Rajput_JudicateMe


This Blog is written by Shelal Lodhi Rajput from Symbiosis Law School, PuneEdited by Saradarasagnya Oleti.


Persuading polluters to pay for the damage they cause elsewhere, in the interest of helping those worst affected, will be a major challenge in the coming decades. Burden sharing is a very complex issue, and frankly, I don’t see much sign of it happening yet.

–Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman IPCC


One of the greatest environmental, economic and social threat facing the planet today and is a burning topic at both International and national level, a prime aspect of global policy making today is to combat with the problem of climate change. After the age of Industrialization, we continuously facing this problem with more prominence and the problem now is so big that we are approaching at different conferences, treaties and legal framework to combat with this issue. Almost every member state in the United Nations now has a dedicated department and ministry that is tasked with formation of  policy on the environment but the topic  of climate change in somewhat neglected, but now with the passage of time we get to see that it is the need of hour to deal with the topic of climate change more cautiously and seriously. The problem of climate change is evident in the recent years with the evolution of time.

The problem of climate change has grabbed the attention of whole world at every level mainly the reason behind is that it is something that for which mankind has been held responsible for, it is the problem that is created by us through neglection of environmental measure and ample of another reason behind this. The change is universal and we also need the changes as we cannot remain static, if we do so we can’t develop, same goes for the milieu around us but every change in that respect must have positive change. The change that happened should be the beneficial for the mankind. When we take into the account about the topic of climate change, in the recent years earth’s climate changed in a drastic and at an unprecedent way. The problems due to climate change is evident, the earth’s temperature witnessed an abnormal change, it has become warmer than before. The change already affected many of the lives of creatures on earth. This is the ubiquitous issue no nation is untouched from it and the actions in the environment of one nation impacted the whole world in same way. Countries are now just too concerned and some of them have already codified a dedicated law for climate changes, which is a one of the biggest problems in the field of environmental challenges from which we are trying to combat with. At global level we already taken into the consideration of this issue and comes up with many declarations especially after 1992 Rio declaration for curbing the issues like this and many others, despite all this tremendous recent attention global community is now thankfully trying to find the appropriate solution for this problem. The ongoing debate is that who should take responsibility of damages that are already done to climate and from which the problem is provoking today time and again.

The major areas on which the effect of climate change can bee seen in an unprecedented way is in the South Asian region especially in future, the most hard-hitting impact by this will be observed in India and in present already we get to see some abnormal changes in Indian climate. The reason for aforementioned context is clear it is due to its diverse terrain.

There is alarming need for specifically dedicated laws for climate change in India as till now in India we don’t have any sui generis law for combating the issue of climate change. After the Stockholm conference we had come up with the Umbrella legislation for protection of our environment called The Environmental Protection Act, 1986 but now we need a dedicated legislation or some specific laws for tackling the problem if climate change as the  impact of climate change is multidimensional, multifaced and can cause multiple problems such as extreme weather condition which can affect the social economical status of country in a harsh way. Despite having the umbrella legislation of environmental protection, we also come up with other laws in different context like The Biodiversity Act,2002 just to ensure that end objective of legislation must be achieved and it will not be futile.

There is need for change in climate of legal field for tackling the climate change problems. The new laws would be helpful and may act as the instrument of safeguarding the environment also and to combat the problem of climate change. This Article revolves around the theme of need of law for climate change in India, the author here explained A to Z about the theme and also presented some existing statutory provisions vis a vis with the constitutional provisions which implicitly provides or safeguard of environment.


In the present time we don’t have any sui generis (Specific) law or legislation which addressed the subject of climate change, there is need for the same as in the absence of a specific legislation the fundamental legislation that were taken into consideration to tackle the problem of climate changes is the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. But with the evolution of time from 1986 now we are in 2020 there is need for the specific legislation that address the problem of climate change by enshrined the penal provision for punishments if someone found in derogation to the climate change law or who is in anyway contributing to depletion of climate and that lead to harmful effect on environment that causes climate change.

One thing is evident that development of new strategies just as changes in the current approach set up is presently the inescapable need of great importance. India is known for having the individual’s cordial strategies from long, going back somewhere down in to the history when even the present created world, especially the west was just a food finder network. Acharya Chanakya or Kautilya, the principle planner of the Mauryan Kings has a celebrated treatise connected to his name called the Arthashastra or the book of Economic Policies. He has proposed various strategies to be received by the state for the welfare of the subject. Shockingly he has put weight on the strategies with respect to the water and condition more than some other. He has boldly said that the chief obligation of a simply ruler is to be cautious for the water sources and this ought to be the boundary to gauge the ability to be or to stay a lord of any domain. Very separated from anything to do with environmental change, for a considerable length of time India has been attempting to improve the feeble presentation of its power segment. History is evident that from the way back in history we can trace some specific laws for the problems of climate change in India as aforementioned about the Mauryan period, so now this is a need of hour for enacting stringent laws for combating the issue of climate change in India.

Significantly we cannot ignore also that present statutes required some fixing and with the advent of these development we may combat the issue of climate change. As after the enactment of law it became the law of land and so the individuals become more cautious and carful on the issues. As after the enactment of 2002 Act of Biodiversity Act, we get to see the improvement in the wildlife in Biodiversity. In the same way the significance of this new development would be traced after its enactment. We can say that to resolve the problem of climate change the sine qua non is framing of new legislation that should deal with this problem.

India needs a second generation of environmental reforms as India is mostly agriculture based, almost two-thirds of Indians fed their stomach from farming and it is the prime and only source of their livelihood [1]. Climate change is projected to have severe negative effects on country’s growth as it compounds the pressures on every resources of nature due to multidimensional factors. There are different areas on which climate change will badly affect India, to resolve all this the only way is to come up with some stringent and new laws which specifically deals with this problem. We need to inhale the future and exhale the past with the lessons that we get to learn from the enactment of environmental related laws.


The India’s populace highly depends on the sectors that are related to climate and they are climate sensitive sector i.e. Forestry and agriculture, for its survival and livelihood. The laws on the line of climate change would function as an instrument of relief for the multidimensional aspects which cannot be directly linked from the prudence of normal individual that the problem is caused due to climate change. The Impact that law would bring in the country is accountability, after it the steps for combating the problem of climate change would become easier and more feasible The UNFCC and Kyoto have set a precedent as a means of solving a long-term problem but it’s only the initial step towards the implementation of an strategy at global level to combat climate change, the landmark achievement is of an array of national policies. In the parity of the views expressed in aforementioned protocol India has a reason to be more concerned about climate change. The birth of a new legislation would become a ray of hope and is the only resort in front of us to combat this problem. The new laws can change the condition and make climate more stable.

A national legal system is inevitable and integral in the present time to look upon the issue of climate change that concern the country, the impact of this laws would help India to procced with more speed in the development and growth sector. Now we need to come up with the new legislation which enshrined about all the facets of climate change so we can save our environment and mother Earth. Also, time and again it was pronounced by the environmentalists and experts from the envoi legal fraternity that we need a comprehensive law to combat with this mayhem. According to Anjal Prakash Research Director and Adjunct Associate Professor, Indian School of Business said that

“We need a comprehensive and all-encompassing legislation that covers all aspects of climate change. Indian policy so far has been to avoid legislation and combat climate change through policies. It has impressively created number of missions for the same” [2].

The impact of the enactment of the laws on the climate change can be traced from the opinion of experts. We will now see that when this basic need of whole country fulfilled by the legislature and government by enacting news laws on the topic of climate change. The gravity of the topic and the need for the enactment of law can be traced from the recent development and issue that arises before UNSC, the body proposes that UNSC wants to declare climate change as a security threat. The gravity of need of law is also traced from the recent IPCC  report has suggested that human’s just left with a decade to limit the global warming which is a part and parcel problem of climate change.


The supreme and fundamental law of land the constitution of India is amongst the few constitution of the world that is present in the world that took into the consideration to the problem of environment. The Indian legal system is quasi federal in nature. The constitution of India is a living document that easily tends to modify itself with the needs of society without changing its basic structure, the new laws in climate change can be easily enacted in the Indian context without any hinderance. The forefather and framers of constitution already foresighted the issues that we were facing today to some extent. The prolific document that is the world’s bulkiest constitution does not, explicitly, mentioned the word ‘environment’ anywhere but implicitly mentioned all the aspects of it and deal with the same. But with the passage of time the custodian of constitution, judiciary has now enunciated the word environment under the DPSP and fundamental rights to protect the environment, the problem of climate change is no different than just a subset of environmental related problems. Now the judicial mandate has strengthened the mandate of constitution in its true sense. Hence, constitution provides the provision to make climate change legislation which act as a subset of environmental protection. In the past we already observed too many legislations were framed which have indirect nexus with the environmental aspects.

The new laws on climate change is the need of hour but if we now not enacted soon them the damages may be unrepairable and cause unprecedented damages to mankind. The problem of climate change needs a global as well as national solution simultaneously.


The disaster that occurred due to climate change can be seen from time to time after the drastic changes that we are facing in the climate, the list is long but in the recent itself in 2000’s in the Indian context we have witnessed some horrific, unwanted and dangerous disaster that took lives of many innocent individuals. That all disasters were signed and warning from nature that now its high time we need to protect our environment and natural resources. Climate change is a problem that may cause the problems that we even can’t imagine. Some of the prominent event that took place due to climate change in India is as follows:

• The Uttarakhand Disaster 2013

• Chennai Floods 2015

• Drought of 2016

The aforementioned are some of  the recent disaster due to climate changes in the Indian context, of we had specific legislation for the climate change then might be few of them can be prevented as the reason in the 2013 disaster was interference of human with nature, the diversion of river, the construction of buildings by diverting the flow of river and many more things on same lines. Climate change is a challenge for whole world but it is a major challenge for developing countries like ours.  The most serious issues and impact from the climate change is already being felt. The nation is very defenseless against the conceivable effect of climate change, particularly ocean level ascent and moves in rainstorm cycles, since horticulture contributes around 30 percent to the total national output and utilizes around 66% of the work power.

Thus, there is urgent, alarming and growing need of some effective laws to curb the problem of climate change by evolving norms.


‘The only thing that can remain static is change’

There are many challenges that possess in front of humanity but the challenge that needs to be addressed on the urgent basis is about the climate change. This article explained about the challenge about the climate change in the Indian context. The prime concern and lacunae that we have in the Indian context to tackle the problem of climate change is the void of specific laws and due to this no one cannot be held accountable. To tackle this problem an approach was adopted in 2014 by the government, A National Adaption Fund was set up in July 2014 to address the impact of climate change and to develop a climate resilient agriculture. The Indian legislative portfolio already tried to curb the problems related to environment but now we need to implement the specific law for curbing the problems of climate change.

The apex court of India time and again reiterated by broadly construing the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution has made an attempt to address challenges arising climate change. Now it’s the time has come as India already ratified several international conventions relating to climate change that we need to enact a law on climate change. Without the proper legislation and policies that are legally binding, it would be extremely difficult to combat the rapidly changing climate. Law is something that brings in accountability and. what we lack, at the present, is an accountable system which tackles climate change for the benefits of communities, especially the marginalized and poor people. We know that whatever the problem the most affected dis the people who are poor and downtrodden, in the 2013 disaster that occurred due to climate change in Uttarakhand, there we get to see that no matter what happened who commits mistake its always the poor who have to bear the burnt. Hence, there is emergency need for implementing the laws related to climate change on the ground in letter and spirit. When world is still trying to curb this problem and trying to reduce our carbon footprint, there are two countries which have already declared themselves as carbon negative. The topic of climate change is arguably the single most important challenge facing the planet today. All this makes one thing clear that road to curb the problem of climate change is riddled with the obstacles, to solve this problem we need to enact specific legislation

If proper measures were not taken climate change will act as sixth mass extinction event which will end humanity from the earth and might also end all life on this planet.


The climate change is not a problem of just India it is a global problem that needs to be addressed globally. The problem is a challenge before the entire mankind and not only for India. But we can’t ignore this problem at national level also, it will prove as a most severe and harmful problem later and then the damages caused by it cannot be repaired. History is evident and speaks loud and clear that to curb the problem like this we always adopted legal framework as our last resort. The need of sui generis law for climate change cannot be ignored neither it can be terminated on any ground. This move can also prove about India’s willingness and desire as a responsible member of the global community to cooperate the efforts of climate change, also it will help India to solve the problem at local level and to avoid the disasters due to climate change like we witnessed in the recent past. Here is the need of second watershed in the enviro legal context as we have witnessed one earlier after the 1972 Stockholm conference. There is a need for another one to curb the problem of climate change and other environmental related issues India needs a second era of environmental changes that is grounded in an appropriate comprehension of the functions and roles of the three foundations of government.

“The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So, we have to handover to them, at least, as it was handed over to us.”

-Mahatma Gandhi


[1] Shahab Shabbir, “Challenges of Climate change and India’s Policy options” < >


[3]  India and Climate change

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