Madras HC Seeks Centre's Response on Including Climate Change Assessment in EIA Reports

Madras HC Seeks Centre's Response on Including Climate Change Assessment in EIA Reports

On Tuesday, the Madras High Court directed the Centre to provide a response to a petition that calls for the mandatory evaluation of climate change impacts in Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) reports for industrial projects and constructions.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq, considering the plea a just cause, instructed the Centre to respond within two weeks.

The petition was filed by G Sudarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental organization. The petitioner highlighted that under the 2006 EIA notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, large-scale construction projects require prior environmental clearance from the Centre or State EIA Authority. However, he noted a significant omission: the notification does not address climate change or mandate the assessment of its impact in the EIA report, despite its crucial environmental implications.

He further pointed out that the Supreme Court had recently emphasized every individual's right to be protected from the adverse impacts of climate change under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. He argued that the existing method of preparing the Environment Impact Assessment Report contradicts Article 21 as it fails to require an assessment of climate change impacts.

The petitioner emphasized the importance of assessing the project's impact on climate during both construction and operation phases. This includes examining factors such as carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, sea level rise, coastal erosion, and temperature increase. He underscored the necessity of integrating climate change studies into the environmental clearance process for projects.

Therefore, it was highlighted that in light of increasing concerns about climate change and recent Supreme Court rulings emphasizing the right to a clean environment, integrating climate change assessments into the EIA report was deemed crucial.

Case Title: G Sundarrajan v Union of India

Case No: WP 18037 of 2024
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