Kerala Plus Two Political Science Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 8 Environment and Natural Resources
Which among the following best explains the reasons for growing concerns about the environment?
a) The developed countries are concerned about protecting nature.
b) Protection of the environment is vital for indigenous people and natural habitats.
c) The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become pervasive and has reached a dangerous level.
d) None of the above.
c) The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become pervasive and has reached a dangerous level.
Mark correct or wrong against each of the following statements below that describe the Earth Summit
a) It was attended by 170 countries, thousands of NGOs and many MNCs.
b) The summit was held under the aegis of the UN.
c) For the first time, Global environmental issues were firmly consolidated at the political level
d) It was a summit meeting.
Which among the following are TRUE about the global commons?
a) The Earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, Ocean floor and outer space are considered as part of the global commons.
b) The global commons are outside sovereign jurisdiction.
c) The question of managing the global commons has reflected the North-South divide.
d) The countries of the north are more concerned about the protection of global commons than the countries of the South.
Fill up the following diagram with the appropriate explanations given below
|1. Global South
|2. Global North
a) Rich and developed countries bf the first world.
b) Poor and developing countries of the third world.
The following table shows some developments about the protection of environment. Arrange them appropriately in accordance with the years given in column B.
|Limits to growth
1 – c 1992
2 – d 1960
3 – b 1987
4 – b 1987
Match the following
|a) Limits to growth
|b) Earth Summit
|c) Kyoto Protocol
|The club of Rome
|Agenda – 21
a. Limits to growth-The Club of Rome
b. Earth Summit – Rio-de-Janeiro
c. Kyoto Protocol -1997
d. Rio Summit-Agenda 21
In the global level there are several attempts for the protection of environment such as, Earth Summit, Kyoto protocol etc. As a student can you identify any two steps taken by Govt, of India in this regard?
- In 2001, the India Government passed the Energy Conservation Law. Its purpose was to ensure the most efficient use of energy.
- In 2003 the electricity law was passed .its purpose was to make energy by renewable sources.
With the increase in the global issues the scope of political science is widening day by day. Recently the leaders of different countries and political scientists around the world are giving more attention towards issues connected with environment such as pollution, climate change, global warming etc. Do you think these matters are to be looked after by these personalities instead of scientists. Give your reasons.
Truly speaking, since those things are related to geography, it is the scientists in that area that should handle them. But politically also they have significance. The repercussions of these problems will affect the social and economic spheres of people. Their results will be visible in politics also. Here are some examples:
- Reduced agricultural lands will affect food production.
- Drinking polluted water will bring health problems. According to the Human Development Report of the UNDP, some 1.2 billion people do not access to pure water.
- Deforestation destroys biodiversity. Forests help in maintaining the climate, in the distribution of water and biodiversity on earth.
- The reduction in the ozone layer adversely affects the environment and people.
- The pollution of shores is on the increase globally. All these problems are political important. But they are not something that can be solved by the action of any single government. Therefore they are part of world politics. The biggest questions are: Who is responsible for the destruction of the environment? Who will its price? Who can set it right? Who has greater power? Thus they all are things to be thought deeply.
The ‘Earth Summit’ is the name given to the United Nations conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. Can you identify the reason behind considering this conference as ‘Earth Summit’.
Since 1960 itself, environmental problems and economic development have been a crucial problem. In the book “Limits of Growth” published by the Club of Rome in 1987, and in the Brundtland report titled “Our Common Future”, this problem was highlighted. This was the main topic of discussion in the Conference at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This was the first international conference on environment. Therefore it is called “Earth Summit”.
The developed and developing countries are having different perceptions about the protection of environment and economic development. This is clearly manifested in the Each Summit. Carefully evaluate the result of Earth Summit.
In the Earth Summit 170 nations and 1000s of NGOs and Multi National Corporations took part. The reactions of the North Countries and South Countries on the environmental agenda were quite different. The North Countries stressed the problems of ozone layer and global warming. But the South countries were more concerned with economic development and environmental management.The Earth Summit came out with some good suggestions regarding environment, climate change, biodiversity, forestation, etc.
These recommendations were known as Agenda-21. But because of certain differences of opinion and other difficulties, they could not be implemented. Another important thing that happened in the Earth Summit was the correlation between economic development and environment. This is known as sustainable development. Agenda-21 stressed economic development and not environmental protection.
“Global Commons” is a concept developed during the recent years. Protection of global common is a major challenging factor. Try to explain the concept of ‘Global Common” and identify the difficulties for protecting the global commons.
Some places or areas do not fall under the sover eighty of any country. In this condition, the UN had to come forward to protect them. These are collectively known as “Global Commons”. The earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, the bottom of the seas, space etc. come in this category.
The responsibility to protect these is not that easy. The reasons for that:
- There are some complex Agreements which include the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Montreal Protocol of 1987, and the 1991 Antarctic Environmental Protocol.
- On the basis of not-co-clear scientific proofs, it is difficult to carry out the Environmental Agenda within a limited time. In the 1980s, some holes were discovered in the ozone layer in the Antarctic region. Such discoveries are opportunities to solve the environmental problems and, at the same time, they are also great challenges.
- From the use of the space, we can clearly see the inequalities between Global North and Global South.
- Technical and industrial development is the main problem when it comes to ocean floors.
The conflict between Global North and Global South about the solutions for environmental problems creates much difficulty in dealing with environmental is-sues. Prepare a short note about different views of Global North and Global South.
Global North (Countries of the Northern Hemisphere) represents the developed nations. The Global South represents the developing nations. The approach of both these groups regarding environment is very different. They are:
- The Global North says that ail countries are equally responsible for the protection of the environment.
- But the Global South has a different view. They say that it is the industrial development of the Global North that caused and is causing the environmental damage.
- Developing nations are on the path of progress. Therefore the restrictions placed on the developed nations should not be made binding on the developing nations.
The developing nations say that keeping their needs in mind, there should be new laws and interpretations. This argument was approved in the Earth Summit on 1992. This new principle is called “Common but different responsibility”.
‘Kyoto Protocol’ can be regarded as the first major leap towards the protection of environment. Evaluate the significance of ‘Kyoto Protocol’.
Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement controlling the industrial nations from green gas emissions. Carbon dioxide, Methane, hydrofluro carbons etc. are the main things that cause global warming. The Kyoto Protocol was put into effect on the basis of the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC says that countries have ‘common but different responsibility’ in the matter of environmental protection.
- Greenhouse gases are mostly emitted by the developed nations.
- The per capita emission from the developing countries is less.
- There should be concessions to countries like China and India. These are the principles of the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Recently, America has objected to this protocol. America wants India and China also to be included in this Protocol. So America hasn’t signed it.
Protection of environment created serious debates be-tween global North and Global South. India’s Policy as a leading figure of Global South, has vital importance in this debate. Make a brief note about the policy adopted by India in the environmental problems
India’s stand in the environmental problems is very ‘ clear. India signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. India and China do not have to adhere to the restrictions made in the Kyoto Protocol as they are developing, and not developed, countries. The quantity of the greenhouse gases emitted by them is very little.
But some countries say that India and China also emit a lot of greenhouse gases. But this argument was countered in the G-8 meeting of June 2005, saying that the quantity of the greenhouses gases emitted by developing nations is comparatively less. India’s stand is that environmental protection is a “common but different responsibility” of nations.
The UNFCCC has also approved what is known as ‘historical responsibility’. India bases its stand on this principle. Because of that some of the discussions and decisions that took place recently within the UNFCCC can’t be accepted by India. India does not accept the view that the industrially growing nations should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It is against the principles and decisions of the UNFCCC.
Here are the main steps India took in the matter of environmental protection.
- According to India’s auto fuel policy, only purified fuel should be used in vehicles.
- The energy consideration law passed in 2001 aims at the correct use of energy.
- The Electricity Act of 2003 recommends the use of renewable sources for the production of electricity.
- In 2011-12, eleven million hectors of land was used by the Bio diesel Mission for increasing the production of bio diesel. Apart from all these, India is trying its best to import ‘ natural gas and also to use the latest technology for purifying coal.
Environmental Movements are becoming stronger day by day. These movements are acting more effectively than the Government for the conservation of environment. Can you identity the major areas in which these movements are more effective and stronger?
As the equilibrium of the environment is lost, many more Environmental Movements have come up with the intention of working for environmental protection. They take strong steps to achieve their goal. Here are the examples of such steps.
a. There is a kit of pressure fropi,the onganiations that stand for the protection of forests in Global South countries like Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, African mainland and India. But in spite of all that, a lot of deforestation is going on in these places.
b. Movement against mineral industries is another example. In countries of the Global South, the new economic policies bring opportunities for mineral industries. The economic liberalization policy also helps. This will necessitate digging deeper into the earth and the use more chemicals. It also will pollute rivers and cause the extinction of many plant species. There were protests and resistance against these mindless developments. In the Philippines, there is a powerful chain of movements against the Western Mine Corporation.
c. Another move is against dams. There have been environmental movements against huge dams. They all were for protecting rivers and valleys. The first movement against dams was in Australia to save the Fratiklin River and the forests around it. There were similar movements in Turkey, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and China. The Narmada Bachao Andolan in India had attracted world attention.
The colonial and imperialist countries occupied dominance upon the rest of the world through collection of resources from various parts of the world. This gradually developed the concept of resource geopolitics. Try to expand the concept of resource geopolitics:
Geopolitics asks questions like who is the beneficiary of the natural resources, How, Where and Why? Europe tried to extend its dominance all over the world with the intention of getting these resources. Western countries looked at the resources and their ownership in relation to war and authority. They had given a lot of priority to naval routes and oil.
During the Cold War, there was severe competition between the Soviet Union and countries of the Global North. Global North used different means to get their resources. To get them they used military power, ensured that the sea routes for travel and communication were safe, hoarded essential minerals in huge quantities and signed agreements with different international companies. After the Cold War, the safety of some minerals is giving anxiety to some countries. This is more so in the case of radioactive elements. Even now, the Global North uses resources the way they want.
‘Oil and Water’ are the two major resources connected with geopolitics. Most of the developed and developing countries are adopting policies to ensure access to these resources. Explain the importance of these resources in geopolitics ?
Recently the geopolitics of resources has become a major issue in international politics. Water and oil are the most important of them. Wealth from oil can cause political turmoil. Therefore the history of oil is the history of battles and wars. The Gulf Region produces nearly 30% of world’s oil needs. 65% of the entire oil deposits is in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia ‘ is the number one producer and Iraq is the second. Naturally, the developed countries show a lot of interest in this area. That is why there is so much of trouble in the Gulf region. It is America, Europe, Japan, China and India that need the greatest amount of oil. So each country wants to ensure that there is availability of enough oil.
Lack of pure water is becoming a big issue in geopolitics. With the advent of the 21a century, disputes started in the sharing of waters. Nations disagree on the issue of sharing river waters. Those who give water and those who take water have different needs and interests. Sometimes it is pollution, sometimes it is irrigation and sometimes it can be the construction of dams. Mankind needs water and therefore disputes for water have become dangerous issues.
‘Water’ is a major resource in geopolitical conflict. Can you identify some conflicts that arose due to the management of water resources between rivers?
There are many examples regarding the importance of water and its availability. Here are the most important:
- In the 1950s, there were serious and violent disputes among Israel, Syria and Jordan. They were about the sharing of waters of the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers.
- There were disputes among Turkey Syria and Iraq, it was about building a dam in the Euphrates River.
- India and Pakistan had disputes regarding the sharing of the waters of the Indus River.
The UN defines indigenous populations, “as comprising the descendants of peoples who inhabited the present territory of a country at the time when persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived there from other parts of the world and overcame them”. At present there are about 30 Crore indigenous peoples spread around the globe. Identify the challenges that the indigenous people are facing and the demands raised by them.
Indigenous people are those who live in the same or similar natural environment and have similar life style. When they lose their land they also lose their livelihood. The loss of land endangers their existence itself and this is their biggest challenge.
The needs of indigenous people (Adivasis):
- They should have their own existence and individuality.
- They are living in their land from time immemorial.
- They should get the land in which they live. If they have no land their livelihood will be lost. They demand equal rights in the world gatherings.
In many traditional societies there is a practice of protecting nature for religious reasons. The sacred groves in India is an example for this traditional practice. Prepare a brief note about the Sacred Groves.
The sacred groves help in the forestation process. There are large sacred groves which extend for acres whereas there are smaller groves which simply have a few trees and plants. These groves have the touch of religiosity and culture. Hindus generally worship things of Nature. Many of the temples originated – because of these sacred groves. Because of the religious angle, these groves were protected for long. But now in the name of development these groves are also destroyed.
Analyse briefly about India’s stand on environmental issues.
India recognized the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and signed it in 2002. India fully agrees to the principle of ‘common but different responsibility’. Through different activities India has taken part in the efforts of the world for protection of the environment.
The Kyoto Protocol was agreed in
Which of the following countries is exempted from the requirement of the Kyoto Protocol?
What were the outcomes of the Rio summit?
The Rio Summit was in June 1992. After prolonged discussions, some decisions were taken regarding climate change, geo diversity, and protection of forests. It also prepared a schedule of development schemes known as Agenda-21′. It is known as sustainable development.