Q. 1. Read the following passage and answer the following questions :
There is a growing significance of environmental as well as resource issues in the world politics.If the various governments take steps to check environmental degradation, these issues will have political consequences. Most of them are such that no single government can address them fully. At the Rio Summit, the First World countries were pursuing a different environmental agenda than the Third World countries. The Indian government is already participating in global efforts through a number of programmes. India’s international negotiating position relies heavily on the principles of UNFCCC.
(i) How the First World countries pursued a different environmental agenda from the Third World countries?
(ii) The issue of global warming has deeply affected the world. Substantiate the statement with three examples.
Ans.(i) A. At the Rio Summit, the rich and the developed countries of the First World generally referred to as the ‘Global North’ were pursuing a different environmental agenda than the poor and developing countries of the ‘Third World’, called the ‘Global South’. The Northern states were mainly concerned with ozone depletion and global warming. They wanted to discuss the environmental issue as it stands now and wanted everyone to be equally responsible for ecological conservation.
B. The Southern states on the other hand were anxious to address the relationship between economic development and environmental management. The developing nations of the South felt that much of the ecological degradation in the world is the product of industrial development undertaken by the developed countries.
(ii) A. Throughout the world, cultivable area is barely expanding any more, and a substantial portion of existing agricultural land is losing its fertility, grasslands have been overgrazed and fisheries over harvested. Water bodies have suffered extensive depletion and pollution, severely restricting food production.
B. A steady decline in the total amount of ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere poses a real danger to ecosystems and human health.
C. Natural forests, which help stabilise the climate, moderate water supplies, and labour a majority of the planet’s biodiversity on land are being cut down and people are being displaced. The loss of biodiversity continues due to the destruction of habitat in areas which are rich in species.
Q. 2. Analyse any three threats to the global environment these days.
Ans. THREATS TO GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
(i) Deforestation – Natural forests which help to stabilise the climate, moderate water supplies and harbour a majority of the planets, biodiversity on land is being cut down leading to loss of biodiversity and loss of habitat.
(ii) Steady decline in the total amount of Ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere.
(iii) Increase in coastal pollution because of the land–based activities. Unchecked human settlement of coastal zones leads to deterioration in the quality of marine environment.
(iv) Rapid industrialisation and intensive mining of minerals.Or any other relevant points.
Q. 3. What was the Earth Summit? How far has the Summit proved to be useful? Explain.
What were the outcomes of Rio Summit?
Ans. The Earth Summit was conference on environment and development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. The focus of this conference was primarily on global environment and the relationship between economics, science and the environment in the political context.
It proves to be useful through following steps :
(i) The Rio Summit produced conventions dealing with climate change, biodiversity, and forestry and recommended a list of development practices called ‘Agenda 21’.
(ii) The implementation of ‘Agenda 21’ was intended to involve action at international, national, regional and local levels.
(iii) There was unanimity on combining economic growth with ecological responsibility. This approach to development is commonly known as sustainable development.
(iv) However, some critics indicated that Agenda 21 was biased in favour of economic growth rather than ensuring ecological conservation.
(v) Forest principles is an informal name given to the non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all type of forests. It is a non-legally binding document that makes several recommendations for conservation and sustainable development forestry.In 1994, the Montreal Process was began as a result of the forest principles.
Q. 4. Explain the meaning of global commons? How are environmental concerns becoming important in global politics?
Why have issues related to global environmental protection become the priority concern of states since the 1990s?
Ans. Commons are those resources which are not owned by anyone but rather shared by a community.This could be a common room, community center, river, park, etc. Similarly, there are some regions or areas of the world which are located outside the sovereign jurisdiction of any one state, and therefore require common governance by the international community. These are known as global commons. They include the Earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, the ocean floor and the outer space.
Although, environmental concerns have a long history, awareness of the environmental consequences of economic growth acquired an increasingly political character from the 1960s onwards. The Club of Rome published a book in 1972 titled Limits to Growth, dramatising the potential depletion of the Earth’s resources against the backdrop of rapidly growing world population. International agencies began holding international conferences and promoting detailed studies to get a more co-ordinated and effective response to environmental problems. Since then, the environment has emerged as a significant issue of global politics.
The growing focus on environmental issues within the arena of global politics was firmly consolidated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. This was also called the Earth Summit. The Summit was attended by 170 states, thousands of NGOs and many multinational corporations. The Summit produced conventions dealing with climate change, biodiversity, forestry, and recommended a list of development practices called Agenda 21. But it left unresolvedconsiderable differences and difficulties. There was a consensus on combining economic growth with ecological responsibility. This approach to development is commonly known as sustainable development.
Q. 5. Explain any three environmental concerns in global politics.
How are the Global Commons being exploited and polluted?
Ans. Some environmental issues have been considered as the global issues.
(i) Natural resources are being depleted, i.e.,cultivable area has not been sustained any more, agricultural land lost fertility and grasslands have been overgrazed.
(ii) Water bodies have suffered both depletion and pollution.
(iii) A steady decline in ozone layer also poses a threat to ecosystem and human health.
(iv) Natural forests stabilise the climate, moderate water supply and habitat various species, which are also being lost causing destruction to biodiversity through industrial pollution, etc.
(v) Because of the land-based activities, coastal pollution is also increasing which affects fisheries.
Q. 6. The most serious challenge before the states is pursuing economic development without causing further damage to the global environment.How could we achieve this Explain with a few examples.
Ans. The economic development can be achieved even without damaging global environment by following practices:
(i) In June 1992, Earth Summit provided some conservative measures for sustainable growth without damaging environment anymore.
(ii) The Antarctica Treaty of 1959 covered Global Commons for mutual economic development.
(iii) Kyoto Protocol recommended cut on greenhouse emissions from industrialised countries to protect environment and to develop industries also.
(iv) Resource geopolitics allocates and distributes natural resources among the nation states of global arena for sustainable development of nations.
Hence, the above mentioned practices protect the global environment and even though the states are developing, we could achieve this challenge only if we follow the provisions and practices mentioned in all these conferences and summits.