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Pachauri urges legal mechanism needed to fight climate change

August 19, 2007 at 5:37 pm | In Climate change, Framework, India University, Lawmakers, Legal profession, Mechanism, UNFCCC |

Bangalore, Aug 19 (IANS) There is need for a legal mechanism to fight the challenges of climate change and global warming that are threatening the environment, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) director-general R.K. Pachauri said Sunday.

Delivering the convocation address at the 15th annual convocation of the National Law School of India University here, Pachauri told the graduating students there was no effective means to address the problem of climate change on an equitable and ethically fair basis.

“Though the people and the political class are clamouring for a solution to the menace of global warming and the impending climate change, there is no legal mechanism by which a global agreement such as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) can be given adequate teeth for compliance or a system to penalise those flouting such agreements.

“It is time the legal profession turns its attention to the global dimensions of this serious challenge and motivate decision-makers to bring about a transformation of institutions and agreements to protect the lives of those who would be worst affected by the impact of climate change,” Pachauri said.

Drawing the special attention of Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, who presided over the convocation as the chancellor of the law university, Pachauri said the legal community had a unique opportunity and responsibility to find a solution that was acceptable to all stakeholders in protecting the global environment.

“As enforcing the rule of law has a direct bearing on the executive and the people, the lawmakers will have a profound impact on thinking, articulation and implementation of solutions. We have a short window of time to take the lead in creating a compelling rationale for action to prevent an imminent disaster.

We have only one planet that supports life as we know it. If we want that life to continue without undue risk and threat of disaster, we have to act with a sense of urgency,” Pachauri exhorted the legal community.

As chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Pachauri lamented there was no strong legal structure or arrangement to address the climate change problem within the requisite time frame in many parts of the world.

Expressing concern over the melting of glaciers across the global at a rapid rate, the TERI chairman said as a consequence the Indian sub-continent would have major implications for river flows, especially in the northern states affecting the lives of half a billion people.

Agriculture is also susceptible to the impacts of climate change, as evident from the adverse affect on the wheat crops in Haryana and Punjab. The worst impact of climate change will be felt by the poorest communities, especially those living in the tropics and sub-tropics. Likewise, the mega deltas in Asia are prone to coastal flooding, and given the large number of people who live in cities like Dhaka, Kolkata and Shanghai, the impact of sea level rise on them will be severe.

Referring to the pro-active role of global agencies such as the UN in combating global warming and overcome the impact of climate change, Pachauri said though the UNCCC and the Kyoto Protocol had a major influence on the governments in paying due attention to the role of adaptation, the IPCC was in the process of finalising the fourth report by November for deliberations in the next conference of the parties to the convention to be held in Bali (Indonesia) in December.


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