Environment And Natural Resources Class 12th Contemporary World Politics CBSE Solution

Class 12th Contemporary World Politics CBSE Solution

Exercises
Question 1.

Which among the following best explains the reason 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


Answer:

(c) The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become pervasive and has reached a dangerous level.


Explanation- The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become pervasive and has reached a dangerous level.


Industrial revolution has caused a severe change in climate that has resulted in global rise in average temperature which can cause the glacial ice to melt and increase the sea level. This forges a great problem for island nations which might get totally submerged under water. Coastal cities also run the risk of submergence under water. There is a global rise in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour etc.) emitted by industries, automobiles, animal husbandry and various other human activities. They act as a blanket around the earth refusing the heat to exit and hence increasing the average temperature of the earth and causing fluctuation in the climate of various places. The ozone layer of the earth is also facing serious threat and is depleting at an accelerated rate. An ozone hole was discovered over the Antarctic in the 1980s. The earth is degrading and a major contribution in this is made by humans.



Question 2.

Mark correct or wrong against each of the following statements about 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.


Answer:

(a) Correct.


The summit was attended by 170 countries, thousands of NGOs and many MNCs.


(b) Correct.


The summit was held under the aegis of UN.


The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit , Rio SummitRio Conference, and Earth Summit, was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.


(c) Correct.


The growing focus upon environmental issues was firmly consolidated on the political level at the United Nations Conference on Environment and development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, also called the Earth Summit. 170 nations of the world were a part of this conference and came together in order to take steps towards environmental conservation.


(d) Incorrect


The Earth Summit was a United Nations ‘conference’.



Question 3.

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 the global commons than the countries of the South.


Answer:

(a) True.


Explanation – Just like a common room or a park, the ‘global commons’ are those resources which are not owned by anyone but rather shared by a community. They are areas or regions of the world located outside the sovereign jurisdiction of any state and therefore require common governance by the international community. Based upon this classification, the Earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, ocean floor and outer space are considered as the global commons.


(b) True.


Explanation- The global commons are resources that belong not to any individual person or nation but to the community as a whole. Therefore, sovereign jurisdiction doesn’t apply over them and their matters are taken care of by international community.


(c) True.


Explanation- The question of managing the global commons has reflected the north south inequalities as evident from the history of outer space as global commons. Technology and industrial development are crucial issues related to the earth’s atmosphere and the ocean floor. There is difference between the northern and southern countries in their approach to tackle the environmental crises.


(d) False.


Explanation- the countries from both the hemispheres are equally concerned about the conservation of environment. However, they just differ in their approach. The southern countries want the developed northern countries to take up more responsibility for degradation of environment because of industrialisation. The southern countries want their special needs to be addressed as they still have lot of scope for developing. Therefore, a concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ has been achieved.



Question 4.

What were the outcomes of the Rio Summit?


Answer:

The Rio summit produced conventions regarding climate change, biodiversity, forestry and recommended a list of development practiced called Agenda 21. However, several differences and difficulties were left unresolved.


There was a consensus on combining economic growth with ecological responsibility, also known as ‘sustainable development’. However, Agenda 21 didn’t clarify how this goal was to be achieved. Also, some called it to be biased towards economic growth rather than ecological conservation.



Question 5.

What is meant by the global commons? How are they exploited and polluted?


Answer:

Commons are the resources that do not belong to anyone but a whole community, for example- parks, common rooms etc. Similarly, global commons are areas or regions of the earth which do not belong to any one nation but to the world as a whole. Example – atmosphere, outer space and ocean floor. They do not come under the jurisdiction of any sovereign. They come under common governance of an international body. They include earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, ocean floor and the outer space. They are exploited and polluted because-


• The global commons have been used extensively by the developed countries during their industrialisation. Greater technology has also lead to greater exploitation of the global commons. It has exploited atmosphere and the ocean floor.


• There is inequality between the north and the south countries which makes it difficult to reach to a common consensus.



Question 6.

What is meant by ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’? How could we implement the idea?


Answer:

‘Common but differentiated responsibility’ is a principle which was given in the Rio Summit 1992.


There was a difference in approach in the solutions regarding environmental conservation between the northern and the southern countries. The northern countries want everybody to be held equally responsible for environmental conservation while the southern countries that are still developing feel that much of the ecological degradation is because of the industrialisation carried out by the developed countries. If they’ve caused more degradation, they must take more responsibility for conservation of ecology. Moreover, southern countries are still developing and therefore have some special needs. These special needs of the developing countries must be taken into account in the development, application and interpretation of rules of international environmental law.


The idea could be implemented by-


• Agenda 21, a list of developmental practices, was recommended in the Earth Summit which produced conventions climate change, biodiversity and forestry.


• An international agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol was formed which set targets for the industrialised countries to cut their green house gas emissions that give effect to global warming.


• The nations participating in the summit reached to a common consensus regarding ‘sustainable development’ i.e. combining economical growth with ecological responsibility.


• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 also provided that the parties should act to protect the environment on the basis of ‘Common but differentiated responsibility’.



Question 7.

Why have issues related to global environmental protection become the priority concern of states since the 1990s?


Answer:

Issues related to global environment protection had become priority concern of states because-


• By 1990, the process of industrialisation had already caused immense damage to the environment which was visible in the changing climate.


• In 1987, the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, had warned that traditional patterns of economic growth were not sustainable in the long term, especially with demands of south for further industrial development.


• The north and the south both had different approach to ecological conservation (which led to birth of common but differentiated responsibility). Also, the state of the Global Commons i.e. the ocean floor, earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica and outer space had started deteriorating at high rate. There had emerged a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica.


• The climate had started varying and due to global warming the average temperature of the earth had risen. This could result in melting of ice caps and subsequent submergence of island nations and coastal countries.


Therefore, since 1990, the UN made ecological conservation one of its primary concerns.



Question 8.

Compromise and accommodation are the two essential policies required by states to save planet Earth. Substantiate the statement in the light of the ongoing negotiations between the North and South on environmental issues.


Answer:

The north and south had differences between themselves regarding the framing and executions of policies related to conservation of environment. While the industrialised northern nations wanted all the countries to be equally responsible for climate change and implement policies equally, the southern countries wanted the north to hold more responsibility as they’d already done their share of industrialisation and contributed more to climate change than the southern countries. The ongoing negotiations between the north and the south are-


• The north is more concerned about ozone depletion and global warming while the south wants to look at the issue of relationship between economic growth and ecological conservation.


• The 1992 United Nations framework Convention on climate change also provides that the parties should act to protect climate on ‘the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’.


• In view of different contribution of global environmental degradation, states have common but differentiated responsibilities.


• Since the developing countries are still under process of industrialisation, they should be given some exemption in restrictions imposed by conventions, protocols etc. and should be taken into consideration while process of development, application and interpretation of rules of International Environmental Law.



Question 9.

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.


Answer:

The earth has already been damaged enough by industrialisation and there was need to find a way to grow economically and not cause environmental degradation at the same time.


This could be achieved by ‘Sustainable Development’ i.e. combining economical growth with ecological responsibility. This motive can be achieved in the following ways-


• In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol set targets for industrialised nations to cut their green house gas emissions.


• The members of the group have both rights and duties with respect to the common resources i.e. its nature, level of use and the maintenance of a given resource.


• The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 covered global commons for mutual economic development.


• The Earth Summit of 1992 provided some measures to combat the increasing environmental degradation.


• Resource geopolitics (resource geopolitics is all about which nation gets what, where, when and how) has also emerged as a way to allocate and distribute natural resources among the nations for their global sustainable development.


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