(Dr. KM George, President SDF – Sustainable Development Forum—Think Tank; Director General,Global Bamboo &Rattan Community -GLOBARC)
There are a few terminologies we must get used to, in the context of discussing the theme of the green economy. They are climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, (IPCC) Intergovernmental panel on climate change, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Green Climate Fund (GCF), Oxfam Report on Climate Finance, Carbon Prices, Carbon Dioxide, Methane Gases, SDGs of the United Nations, global approach and local actions, earth Summit, carbon credit, Climate change adaptation, Climate change mitigation , Environment protection and resilience and the balance between adaptation and mitigation.
- Climate change includes both human-induced global warming and its large-scale impacts on weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known events in Earth’s history.
- It is “a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea-level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic, and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.”
- Global warming is just one aspect of climate change. In fact, they say that global warming refers to the rise in global temperatures due mainly to the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On the other hand, climate change refers to the increasing changes in the measures of climate over a long period of time – including precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns.
- Following the same line of thought, global warming refers only to the Earth’s rising surface temperature, while climate change includes warming and the “side effects” of warming—like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent droughts. Ultimately, this means that global warming is one side of the much larger problem of human-caused climate change.
- When we talk about climate change, we are often talking about the increase in temperatures linked to industrial activities and in particular the greenhouse effects. Therefore, we sometimes speak of global warming, which is said to be “of anthropogenic origin”. Ultimately, the causes of global warming (at least at its current rate) are not natural but driven by the human, economy, and industries.
- Many scientists are studying this phenomenon and trying to understand how activities of human societies are responsible for this heating. These scientists are grouped together in the International Group of Experts on Climate, and they regularly publish reports studying the evolution of climate change, such as the one published in late 2018.
The first assumptions about the greenhouse effect were made by scientist Jacques Fourier in 1824, whose work was followed by several scientists who tried to quantify this phenomenon, like Claude Pouille, John Tyndall, and Svante Arrhenius. In fact, Arrhenius was the one who conducted the first experiment that accurately validated and quantified the greenhouse effect, at the end of the 19th century. He discovered that an air rich in carbon dioxide retains more heat from solar radiation leading to an increase in air temperature.
In the end, he concluded that if large quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere (because of industrial activities that burn coal), the air will be charged with CO2 and more heat will be retained. By that time, the first estimates of temperature increases made by Arrhenius and other scientists were that if the greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere doubled, the average temperature of Earth would increase by 5º Celsius. In 1901, Gustaf Echols used for the first time the term “greenhouse effect” to describe this phenomenon.
For decades, these discoveries were not taken seriously in the scientific community. At that time, many experts believed that nature could self-regulate and that the impact on man was minimal. Notably, many scientists thought the excess CO2 would be absorbed by the ocean anyway, which is true within specific CO2 limits. Nevertheless, the thesis that global warming was linked with greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) was proven to be true and validated in the 1940s by Gilbert Pass. Nowadays, with modern technologies, there is solid evidence that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere affects the ability of the air to retain infrared radiation and heat.
Global Warming Awareness and Green Economy
In the 60s, several scientists showed the assumptions on the greenhouse effect were actually real. For what matters, Charles David Keeling proved, for instance, that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was gradually increasing thanks to its measurements near Hawaii.
By its turn, Roger Revelled also proved that the carbon gases released by burning fossil fuels were not immediately absorbed by the ocean, as was previously thought. This discovery accelerated scientists’ worries about climate change and as a result, society and politicians slowly began thinking about these issues as a possible problem in the future.
A decade later, in 1971, during the first Earth Summit, the definition of global warming and its consequences were broadly discussed and a year later, in 1972, John Sawyer published a scientific report highlighting even more clearly the links between global warming and the greenhouse effect.
For over a decade, evidence of climate change has been accumulated in the scientific community until in the mid-1980s, the world’s 7 largest economic powers (the G7) called on the UN to create a group of experts to study this issue. This was the first time there was a real consideration and a true definition of climate change as a public problem by international institutions.
IPCCwas created in 1988 with the purpose of studying the evolution of the phenomenon of climate change and its consequences. It brought (and stills brings) together hundreds of scientists, climatologists, geologists, oceanographers, and biologists, but also economists, sociologists, engineers and other specialists in various fields – with the goal of having a global vision of this phenomenon. The IPCC is structured in three working groups:
- The first group studies climate change as a phenomenon: they focus on the process and its magnitude;
- The second group is specialized and interested to know the vulnerability of ecosystems and societies, as well as how the planet reacts and adapts to climate change;
- The third and last group is responsible for studying the ways of fighting climate change. The IPCC made its first report in 1990 and they kept making new ones periodically until they published their lastreport in October 2018 that focuses on the impacts of a temperature increase of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, its GHG emission pathways and was built in an attempt to address policymakers more directly.
Overall, in these reports, the IPCC scientific community analyses the causes of climate change and its impacts on the ecosystem and on society by developing predictive models. These models and forecasts are then used by governments and businesses, helping them to put in place strategies to combat climate change or adapt to it.
Impact of Climate Change on the Planet’s Ecosystems
An increase in temperature due to global warming is not only about a heat increase that can be felt by humans or glacial ice melting – it has the potential to affect the planet’s entire ecosystem. As we have been watching in many different countries, from the US (California) to India or South Africa, the weather is getting disruptive. Extreme weather events are more regular and their patterns are changing –they are more intensive, aggressive, and with more energy. This means more storms, floods, cyclones, and droughts will take place over the next years.
At the same time, the regulating capacity of oceans is also being affected by an increase in temperatures. If global temperatures increase dramatically, ocean levels will not only increase – they will also be facing the ecological challenges of oceanic acidification and deoxygenation. At the same time, forest areas (e.g., Amazon rainforest), fragile ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs) and biodiversity (e.g., corals, insects and mammals) are also under threat.
Impact of Climate Change on Societyand the Economy
Furthermore, climate change is already challenging and can further challenge our societies. With the increase in temperatures in some countries, especially in equatorial regions, the flow of climate refugees is changing and increasing, putting pressure on other countries to host them, help them strive and overcome political barriers.
The reasons for this move have to do with natural resources, such as drinking water, that are getting more limited and many crops and livestock that are unlikely to survive (affecting locals but also the global economy of the several industries that rely on raw materials) in specific locations because of the temperature being too hot or too dry, too cold or too wet. And as it turns out, studies say that the wealthiest countries of the world will be the ones experiencing fewer changes in their local climate compared to the poorest regions if the global average surface temperatures reach between 1.5º and 2º Celsius.
Way forward to Climate Change
To fight climate change, we must first reduce our greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. To accomplish this, the first step is to embrace renewable energies that are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat, and avoid creating energy by the burning of fossil fuels. As well, besides swooping the types of energy we produce, we must also make everything more efficient, because even if the energy comes from a renewable source, it still won’t be carbon neutral and will still contribute to ozone depletion.
We need to adapt our lifestyles to overcome these growing challenges that climate change is bringing. For this to happen, we should start to create a worldwide culture of sustainable development, where the energy is used wisely and efficiently, where a circular economy is a strong bet, as well as durable and eco-friendly products. One thing is for sure, we need to own the responsibility of the products that we buy because our demand as consumers influences what we are supplied with.
The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
In the end, the overwhelming majorityof global scientists inall relevant fields agree on the causes of climate change and most of its consequences on ecosystems and the society.
Scientifically speaking, there is no doubt about the existence of global warming and climate change. It is now time to find out what actions will be taken at the political and social spheres to make our world andmore resilient to fight climate change.
Ozone Depletion and Climate Change
Ozone depletion and climate change are linked in a number of ways, but ozone depletion is not a major cause of climate change.
Atmospheric ozone has two effects on the temperature balance of the Earth. It absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation, which heats the stratosphere. It also absorbs infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, effectively trapping heat in the troposphere. Therefore, the climate impact of changes in ozone concentrations varies with the altitude at which these ozone changes occur. The major ozone losses that have been observed in the lower stratosphere due to the human-produced chlorine- and bromine-containing gases have a cooling effect on the Earth’s surface. On the other hand, the ozone increases that are estimated to have occurred in the troposphere because of surface-pollution gases have a warming effect on the Earth’s surface, thereby contributing to the “greenhouse” effect.
In comparison to the effects of changes in other atmospheric gases, the effects of both of these ozone changes are difficult to calculate accurately.
There is an additional factor that indirectly links ozone depletion to climate change; namely, many of the same gases that are causing ozone depletion are also contributing to climate change. These gases, such as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are greenhouse gases, absorbing some of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, thereby effectively heating the Earth’s surface.
Advancing the science of Climate Change 2021
Carbon dioxide is by far the most important driver of climate change. But methane also critical culprit. Other human emissions like sulphate aerosols must be studied for its impact on global warming. The rise in mercury must be given due attention in this context. In 2018some 300,000 people over the age of 65 died in India and China dueto extreme heat conditions. According to the Lancet journal it is54 % more since 2000. In 2003 some 70,000 were killed due to heatwaves in Europe. Climate change will make heatwaves more common and more extreme. Preventing climate change is a global public good. Carbon prices are themost cost-effective way to fight climate change. It must be priced everywhere with a strong political will. Mr Kerry the US climate envoyhas said that the US is looking at introducingcarbon boarder taxes. The IMF hasan alternative plan on tariffs– a globallynegotiated carbon tax. Failing to price carbon adequately may be the greatest dangerof all.
President Biden’s plan to decarbonise America within 30 yearsis a long and bumpy road. It is a plan on heavy incentives. He proposes $174 bn in spending on electric vehiclesand to set up some 500,000 charging stations across the country by 2030. It may stipulate a death date for coal industry within 15 years.
On the eve of the 26th Conferenceof the partiesof the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is claimed that the developed nations arereaching to the target of $ 100 bn annually in climate finance developing nations by 2025. But OECD countries have claimed it be around $ 78.9 bnin 2018. These claims are confusing as it seems come from privateand such other sources too. Besides, these funds arealso accused of comingfrom development projects like health,education,etc. Oxfam says it may be around $ 19 to 22 bn per year. During 2011 – 2016, itwas only $ 26 bn and it rose to $ 36.2 bn in 2017—18 according to UNFCCC standing committee on Finance biannual assessment. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) of $ 3 bnpledgedby president Obama, ended up in disbursing only $ 1 bn by president Trump. Thus, wehave seen broken promises even from the US. Green financehas also remainedskewed towards mitigation. There is an unequivocal clamour for maintaining balance between adaptation and mitigation.
How to Augmentthe Green Process?
- Aggressive tree planting mustbe taken up on war footing. If one tree is cut, plant 10 immediately. Bamboos areknown for their store house effects of carbon and wherever possible plant thebest bamboo varieties for making it to benefit the farmers for value addition, etc aswell as containing soil erosion. Once mature, bamboo poles can be selectively harvested every year, and used to make a wide range of durable products, which lock in carbon for the duration of a product’s lifespan. This high yield makes Bamboo a surprisingly effective carbon sink and important nature-based approach to mitigating global warming.By thesame logic, stop deforestation. The amazon forests are to be replenished as the lungsof the world.
- People to choose the best diet for keeping the balance between nature and the creator. Meat diet is dangerous for the human system asthe body anatomy isdesigned for vegetarian food. The wrongfuel will damage the machinery. Hence for better environment, let people turnback tothe ecological food habits.
- Adopt the solar lifestyle for heating, lighting etc as it is the best for replacing the fossil fuel-based life style. It is sustainable as well in the long run.
- The use of paper mustbe kept minimum in offices and households so that the need to cut treesis minimal.
- The reckless use of power fromfossil fuel must be contained for agradual changeover to eco-friendly sources so that the planetis worthliving for humans and allother creatures and plants.
- All out efforts must be made toeducate schoolchildren, college studentsand even the grown-up men and women to create awareness about carbon emission, carbon credit and its ill effects. Essay competitionsand elocution competitions maybe organised inschools, collegesand NGO typeorganisations like Rotary, Lions, YMCA/YWCA/ WCC/ NSS of schools /colleges,and placesof worship to createawareness on theneed tocut methaneemissions, climate finance, etc. Make use of electronicmedia and print media as well as socialmedia to spherehead anongoingcampaign on the illeffects of the ill effects of the greengasand as howto contain it on war footing. Every home must aim for one bamboo per member. If land is a limiting factor, wemust use pots to plant bamboos.
- Decarbonisation mustbe the talk of the town for policy makers and politicians alike. Mercury rising must influence our thought processday in and day out, if we love the planet that we liveand bequeath to the posterity.The concept of carbon credit must be widely popularised. It represents the right to emit a measured amount of GHG. Carbon credits work as a certification that business or individual owning them is counterbalancing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). The ultimate purpose of carbon credits is, therefore, to reduce the emission of GHG into the atmosphere.
- It is not aboutthe CO2 only. Carbon dioxide isby far the most important driver of climate change. But methane is not small culprit either.Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas. Methane is also a greenhouse gas (GHG), so its presence in the atmosphere affects the earth’s temperature and climate system. Methane is emitted from a variety of anthropogenic (human-influenced) and natural sources.Hence policy focus mustbe directed at it as well.
- The people who are leastresponsible for the global warming are destined to suffer the worst consequences. It is the real irony of the drama. Is it not anything for the consciousness ofworld community? There is an old adage coming from the realmof jurisprudence, “better that the guilty escape, than the innocent suffers”! Here we must focus on salvaging the planet holistically.
- It is said that some $100 billion per year must come as commitment aimed at climate finance. Despite theconflicting claims of its actual quantum among the various groups like Oxfam, how it is being measured empirically is the moot question. What constitutes the $ 100 bn? It is worth recalling that the developed nations have committed under the Paris Agreement to allocate $100 bn per year from 2020 onwards to facilitate emission cuts in poorer countries and also effect technology transfer in this context. Nonetheless, developing countries needed space to grow and the developed ones must move to a net minus paradigm and meet climate finance obligations.
- The extremes of flood and fire are not going away, but adaptation can lessen their impact. Greenhouse gas-emissions have produced a planet more than 1 degree C warmer compared to the pre-industrial days. Six years ago, in Paris, the world nations committed themselves to avoiding the worst of that nightmare by eliminating net greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to hold the temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius. Alas the progress towards that end is woefully inadequate. It is worthwhile to study the most spectacular and scary form of adaptation– solar geoengineering. Research done during the last decade and half has suggested solar geoengineering might significantly reduce some of the harms from greenhouse warming. This offers a ray of hope.The most recent sudden deluge struck again Kerala –India, can be best understood, if we go through the internationally famous Madhav Gadgil Report on Western Ghats ( Copy of its gist is given in the appendix). The future beckons, shall we falter!
- Many questions are on the minds of world leaders in the run up to the UNs COP 2 6 climate submit from Oct 31st to 12th November to be held in Glasgow. It is said that hydrogens moment has come at last. If taken seriously, the hydrogen technologies could eliminate some ten percent of the greenhouse – gas emissions by 2050. Hydrogen has its limitations. But it can play a vital role in bringing about cleaner energy.
- Some 80 percent of the emissions are caused by oil producers, utilities, cement firms, and mining companies. It is assumed that only a tiny number of firms are investing heavily in renewable energy or breakthrough energies. This demands a better energy transition regimeunder the SDGsof the United Nationsby 2030.We must collectively giveit achance to hope!
It is very difficult to acknowledge the help received form others. Here I was helped very generously by Mr. Kuriakose Varkey , Mr. CK Unnikrishanan Nair, Dr. KPP Nambiar and Miss Pavithra Acharya in improving my thought process by imparting the necessary scientific temper to make it appealing to both researchers and practitioners alike.
Madhav Gadgil Committee Report on the Western Ghats of India
Gadgil Commission, an environmental research commission is named after its chairman Madhav Gadgil. The commission is formally known as Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The commission submitted the report to the Government of India on 31 August 2011.
Gadgil Committee Recommendations:
Gadgil committee had eminent ecologists and their report too reflected that. The report was labelled favourable to environment and environmentalists and not development (or illegal mining ). Remember, there is a never-ending debate between environment and development; it’s tough to balance both without compromising the other. Anyway, let’s come back to Gadgil Report highlights.
- The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) designated the entire hill range as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
- The panel, in its report, has classified the 142 taluks in the Western Ghats boundary into Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ) 1, 2 and 3.
- ESZ-1 being of high priority, almost all developmental activities (mining, thermal power plants etc) were restricted in it.
- Gadgil report recommended that “no new dams based on large-scale storage be permitted in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1. Since both the Athirappilly of Kerala and Gundia of Karnataka hydel project sites fall in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1, these projects should not be accorded environmental clearance,” it said.
- Gadgil Committee report specifies that the present system of governance of the environment should be changed. It asked for a bottom to top approach (right from Gram sabhas) rather than a top to bottom approach. It also asked for decentralization and more powers to local authorities.
- The commission recommended constitution of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA), as a statutory authority under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with the powers under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Criticisms of Madhav Gadgil Report
- The major criticism faced by Gadgil Committee report was that it was more environment-friendly and not in tune with the ground realities.
- Recommendations were cited as impractical to implement.
- Gadgil report has asked for a complete eco-sensitive cover for the Western Ghats which hamper different states on energy and development fronts.
- There was a criticism against the constitution of a new body called WGEA. States insist that protection can be given under existing laws.
- Gadgil report doesn’t give a solution for revenue losses due to the implementation of its recommendations.
- Gadgil report is against dams in the Western Ghats, which is a crucial blow on the ailing power sector. Considering the growing energy needs of India, critics argue that this recommendation cannot be taken.
- And the most important: The Gadgil Committee report adversely affects the various mafia . When the Gadgil Committee report was first made public, there were a lot of protests against it from the sand mining and quarrying lobbies in Goa. Many mafias created fear among farmers in Kerala that the Gadgil report is against them, and that they will lose livelihood if its recommendations are implemented.
Darker side and Hidden Agenda
Ministry of environment and forests kept the Gadgil report in safe custody for eight months with them. It was not available for public discussion as expected by Gadgil committee members. People asked for a copy, but the ministry said it could not be given. When an RTI petition was filed, it was not given. Then the matter is taken to the Delhi high court and only when the court passed an order, the ministry released the report!
The court ordered that all the reports should be put on websites. Now it’s there in the ministry website and for those who want to read the 522-page report, the link for the same is here – Report.
As many mafias created fear among the people that the Gadgil report is anti-farmer and anti-people, people burnt the Gadgil Committee report and the effigy of the well-known environmentalist, Madhav Gadgil.
Kasturirangan committee on the Western Ghats
As said earlier, the Kasturirangan committee was constituted to examine the WGEEP report. The committee is often called HLWG – it denotes the 10 member high-level working group (HLWG), headed by Kasturirangan.
(PS: When you finish the 522 page Gadgil Report, you can read the Kasturirangan report here ).
Kasturirangan committee Report Recommendations
- Instead of the total area of Western Ghats, only 37% (i.e. 60,000 sq. km.) of the total area be brought under ESA under Kasturirangan report.
- A complete ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining in ESA.
- Distinguished between cultural (58% occupied in the Western Ghats by it like human settlements, agricultural fields and plantations) and natural landscape (90% of it should come under ESA according to the committee).
- Current mining areas in the ESA should be phased out within the next five years, or at the time of expiry of mining lease, whichever is earlier.
- No thermal power be allowed and hydropower projects are allowed only after detailed study.
- Red industries i.e. which are highly polluting be strictly banned in these areas.
- Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats has made several pro-farmer recommendations, including the exclusion of inhabited regions and plantations from the purview of ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs).
- The Kasturirangan report had said 123 villages fall under the ESA purview.
Criticisms of Kasturirangan committee Report
- The Kasturirangan panel used remote sensing and aerial survey methods for zonal demarcation of land in the Western Ghats. The usage of such techniques, without examining the ground reality, has caused many errors in the report.
- The power is vested with the bureaucrats and forest officials and not with gram sabhas.
- Many fear that the farmers would get evicted if the Kasturirangan Committee report is implemented. Under this report, the mining and quarrying lobbies are expected to flourish. When these lobbies and tourism flourish, it will be disastrous for the environment. There will be a water shortage, there will be pollution. Finally, farmers will have to quit the area. They will not be able to do farming there.
- The use of “erroneous method” had caused inclusion of many villages under Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) though there were only rubber plantations and no forest land!
- Kasturirangan report included ecologically non-sensitive areas under ESA, and left out many ecologically sensitive areas!
- Whenever we study environment, the evergreen topic of debate is between environment and development. It is tough to achieve a perfect balance. The same happened with both these reports.
- If Gadgil report laid too much importance to the environment, Kasturirangan report was biased towards development. Kasturi Rangan report was criticized by many as that it provided loopholes for mining, which if allowed would turn detrimental to the environment, in long-term will affect development too. Kasturirangan report got the tag as anti-environmental soon after its release. But this report was tagged anti-development too by many who fear that their livelihood and interests will be affected.
- Gadgil’s Western Ghats (Western Ghats landscape across 1,29,037 sq km.) is smaller than that of Kasturirangan’s (Western Ghats landscape, according to Kasturirangan is 1,64,280 sq km). Gadgil report marked out 60 percent of the Western Ghats as the highest-priority Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ -1).
Kasturirangan report marks only 37 percent area (but considers wider Western Ghat boundaries) as ESA. Gadgil’s report proposed to declare this entire landscape as ESA, creating three ESZs within it. He prescribed that the existing sanctuaries and ESZ-1 would together cover 60 percent of this landscape. The 25 percent lowest priority areas would be marked as ESZ-3 to allow all developmental activities with precautions. The remaining 15 percent area would become ESZ-2. For example, while no mining would be allowed within ESZ- 1, existing mines could continue in ESZ-2 with a moratorium on new licences. In ESZ-3, new mines could come up.
The Kasturirangan panel, on the other hand, adopted the criteria followed by the Western Ghats Development Programme of the Planning Commission and identified 188 talukas as its Western Ghats landscape, which worked out to 1,64,280 sq km. He marked 37 percent of this stretch as ESA where hazardous industries, thermal plants or mines would not be allowed. In effect, the restriction level of Kasturirangan’s ESA corresponds to that of Gadgil’s ESZ-1.
Now, according to the Gadgil report, the ESZ-1 areas add up to approximately 77,000 sq km (60 percent of 1,29,037 sq km). Kasturirangan’s ESA, on the other hand, accounts for around 60,000 sq km (37 percent of 1,64,280 sq km). That is a reduction of 17,000 sq km in the top priority segment. (Source : Western Ghats – Tehelka).
Another committee to study Kasturi Rangan report!
Yes, Oommen V Oommen Committee : As people turned violent and started protests, OommenChandy, the then Chief Minister of Kerala set up an expert committee (the chairman has same first name as CM, did you see that; though he made life of UPSC aspirants difficult by appointing another committee, he made things a little easy by selecting a chairman whose first name is same as his, so that UPSC aspirants can remember: To the notice of all future committees and commissions! ). The expert committee, appointed by the Kerala government, to study the Kasturirangan report in detail submitted its report to chief minister OommenChandy (CM).
Recommendations of Oommen V Oommen Committee
- The committee recommended the government to make changes in the clauses of Environmentally Fragile Land (EFL) in the Western Ghats.
- The Oommen Committee reported that serious lapses happened in determining the EFL areas. The committee adopted a satellite survey to determine EFL and even plantations and estates were included in it!
- It also recommended stopping land acquisition proceedings according to the Kasturirangan committee report.
- The panel has made several pro-farmer recommendations, including the exclusion of inhabited regions and plantations from the purview of ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs). The Kasturirangan report had said 123 villages fall under the ESA purview.
- The state-level panel said a field survey should be held in places that the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports have identified as ESAs to demarcate forest land and human settlements. After examining the population density of these areas, human settlements should be exempted from the category of ESAs.
- It also said farmers should not be stopped from rearing hybrid varieties of milking animals and suggested that the grace period is given to shift to organic farming be extended from five years to 10 years.
- The report said forest areas should be fenced to prevent the animals straying into it.