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Does corruption extenuate climate change funds?

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Corruption is a substantial obstacle in our endeavours to constraint climate change. It sounds weird, but when we peel some layers off it, we get to see a dirty picture. Contemporary India is struggling with several moral and administrative issues to rectify but, nature doesn’t seem to find empathisers. When it is about our climate and nature, time is always scarce as we humans can’t control the damage.

The need of the hour is to address the hindrances caused for immediate results of government policies working towards grappling onto the few last strands of environmental remunerations.

The Indian government has several  schemes in place to tackle the increasing delinquency of climate change such as- National River Conservation Plan, Ecomark Scheme of India (ECOMARK) – Ecomark Labelling, National Afforestation Programme: A Participatory Approach to Sustainable Development of Forests, National Action Programme to Combat Desertification and Grants-in-aid Scheme for Voluntary Agencies.

The aim of these, and several other initiatives, is to increase the forest and tree cover over those areas of the country where it is less or negligent. This can be done with the help of afforestation and regeneration of degraded forests. We need to safeguard the remaining forests, wildlife and water resources. These schemes also aim at surveying of innumerable regions for identification of new species (conservation and protection of forests, rivers, biodiversity wetlands, wildlife and eco-sensitive zone) and prevention of contamination (air, water, noise and industrial pollution).

A better environmental governance is frantically needed today. However, to attain that we will have to get rid of the pile of corruption.

Earlier this year, the Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta busted an Indian Forest Service officer – divisional forest officer S K Palshi, and detained disproportionate assets worth over 30 crore rupees.

“We have recovered Rs 15 lakh cash, four cars, jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh. Some of the details of properties of the DFO are — houses and plots in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, Indore and Bhopal, and an LPG agency in the name of his wife Ranjana Palshi,” said O.P. Sagoriya, district Superintendent of Police (Lokayukta), Ujjain in an interview to a newspaper.

On the other hand, Nagpur Deputy Conservator of Forests Deepak Bhatt was caught red handed with Rs 19.25 lakh for managing transfers of forest guards by Anti-Corruption Branch Deputy Superintendent of Police Sanjay Purandare, few months ago. Also, a Forest Department official was caught taking a bribe of Rs 1.50 lakh for illegal felling of trees by ACB.

 

If such things, like felling the trees for money, continue, then how do we expect to have a better green cover? Similarly, we always hear about illegal poaching of tigers, rhinos and elephants from reserves and jungles. This means that the forest department isn’t doing its job which, in return, cause irreversible damages to the habitat and ecology.

The natural habitat, as well as the climatic conditions in several areas, is on its way south. The only means to help us halt global warming or guard whatever is left is to work on generating greater awareness of corruption in the environs affiliated agencies. This logic couldn’t be more obvious. If the money to protect climate change will not support the required strategy than we all will be in serious trouble.

Corruption aggravates the effects and expenditures of climate change and thus hinders our capability to fight it.

The corruption in environmental supervisory constricts and weakens the efficiency of the administration systems. This is because corruption decreases the social and economic cost of implementing environment protection schemes. In a corrupt setting, actors prioritise personal profits at the cost of socially optimal consequences leading to the disaster of safeguarding the environment which inevitably contributes to climate change.

Corruption largely funds to the elimination of species, manipulation of natural resources, along with the pollution and degradation of ecologies and wildlife habitats, and spread of diseases and hostile species.

The biggest question here is do we have a strategy to keep a check on whether these agencies are achieving what they should?

Are, our local communities included in the construction of these environmental schemes, who are the biggest contributors to the ground level work in restoring the environment.

We the citizens of India need to focus are interests in the non-conventional zones of corruption. Political scams and industrial favours have become more common than religious festivals in India, hence, we need to correlate issues and understand their interdependence to develop better solutions to the life threating problems faced by us.

Climate change is of crucial importance to us as well as the world and the biggest hindrance in our way to find solutions is corruption. With time slipping out of our hand, we cannot afford to let our limited recourse go in vain.

When corruption seems to majorly affect the poor and middle class of India, with such delinquent pores in our conservational gambit no one is apart from its effects. This concern not only brings all Indian class and masses together but also forces us to pursue collaborative efforts as only the restriction in corruption can let us save the last strands of a healthy environment.

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Green Groups In Brazil Prepare A Climate Change Plan

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro's campaign

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Brazil, rainforests
This photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. VOA

With its wooden walls and posters on protecting forests and fauna, Brazil’s pavilion at the U.N. climate talks in Poland offers no hint of the angst at home and abroad over mixed messages on global warming from its president-elect.

But campaign promises made by Jair Bolsonaro that could weaken protection for the Amazon rainforest are a hot topic of conversation among visitors, said Caio Henrique Scarmocin, one of three hosts on the stand.

At the conference, whose outcome will be key to implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists and environmental activists said they were laying the groundwork should calls for Bolsonaro to protect Brazil’s forests fail.

Campaign statements from Bolsonaro, who takes power in January, suggested indigenous lands could be opened up to economic exploitation, including agribusiness and mining, and environmental fines eased.

Brazil President, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a meeting in Brasilia. VOA

The ability of Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, to fine those who break environmental laws is one of the government’s best defenses against the destruction of forests, stoking fears of a deforestation spike under the new government.

Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a far-right platform, also pushed the Brazilian government to withdraw its offer to host next year’s U.N. climate conference.

“He has a hostile approach over environmental issues,” said Paulo Barreto, a researcher with Imazon, a Brazilian institute monitoring deforestation in the Amazon.

Brazil is home to about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, considered by many as nature’s best weapon against global warming, because trees absorb and store carbon from the air.

Alfredo Sirkis, executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, said he thought dialogue with the incoming government was still possible.

Rainforest, Brazil
In this May 4, 2018 photo released by Ibama, the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute, members of a specialized inspection group of Ibama walk with their weapons up through an area affected by illegal mining, after landing in helicopters in Munduruku indigenous lands in Para state in Brazil’s Amazon basin. VOA

But if environmental roll-backs proceed, there was a “contingency plan,” he told journalists.

A coalition would assemble regional governments committed to respecting Brazil’s emissions reduction goals set under the Paris pact, said Sirkis.

Governors in as many as seven Brazilian states, including Amazonas, Pernambuco, the Federal District, Espirito Santo, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, had already expressed interest in joining, he said.

“This is for starters,” said the former congressman.

A spokesman for the presidency of Brazil at the climate talks declined to comment.

U.S. shows the way

The plan has similarities with “We Are Still In,” a U.S. group of more than 3,500 mayors, governors and business leaders who have promised they will not retreat from the Paris deal.

Brazil, cuban doctors, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro talks to the media, in Brasilia, Brazil. VOA

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump gave notice the United States would leave the accord — although it cannot formally withdraw until 2020 — arguing it was bad for the economy.

Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of WWF-Brazil, said his group had been in touch with the U.S. campaign through WWF-US, which is part of the “We Are Still In” secretariat.

The American coalition has its own pavilion at the U.N. climate talks.

“We are learning from ‘We Are Still In’ the importance of sub-national (governments) and companies enhancing commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” Voivodic said.

But WWF-Brazil is not yet trying to emulate the model because it wants to prioritize dialogue already under way with the transition government, he added.

“It could be an option, but we are not going in the direction of starting planning this,” said Voivodic.

Deforestation, Brazil
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Brazil’s future environment minister told Reuters on Monday his “inclination” was not to leave the Paris Agreement, after Bolsonaro said on the campaign trail he might quit the deal, under which countries set their own targets to cut emissions.

Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, said he also looked to the United States as a vague blueprint to build a similar “resistance movement.”

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro’s campaign, he said.

Also Read: Many Countries Refused To Endorse Landmark Study as Climate Conference Enters Second Week

Also mirroring tactics used in the United States, his group does not exclude filing lawsuits to push back against potential weakening of environmental and climate regulations in Brazil.

“It’s on the table,” he said, adding that it was still a last-resort option. (VOA)