AUTHOR’S NAME – Abirami Mohan, LL.B (Comple.).

INSTITUTION NAME – Karnataka State Law University from B.M.S. College of Law, Bengaluru.


There are many climate-changing laws around the world. Some laws have a direct impact on climate change whereas others have an indirect impact. The laws are made by considering many factors, especially the atmospheric conditions. The exploited and endangered circumstances raised the need for laws to save the environment.


We have many laws across the world and some laws are mandatory to be followed as it’s proposed by an international organization or have international validity. Some laws are made by the countries by inspecting the climatic conditions of the atmosphere and required measures are taken for the betterment of the environment. The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere was a major concern of many countries. By implementing laws there has been a greater variation in this. The COVID-19 pandemic really changed the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A reduction in the concentration of harmful gases was observed as there were no vehicles and that really helped nature to heal. The law will be used to adopt new measures with the influence of the existing methods for the protection of the environment.


The Stockholm Conference in the year 1972 was the first International Conference on Human Environment to solve problems of conservation of the environment, the result of which gave twenty-six principles. This was a turning point in the development of international environmental politics. The UN General Assembly in the year 1972 established the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) as the central node for global environmental cooperation and the making of multilateral environmental treaties.[i] The IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) developed a charter for nature named as World Charter for Nature, 1982 which provided protection to the global environment from the impact of industrialization. The Vienna Convention was signed to develop scientific knowledge of ozone layers and check the possible adverse effects resulting from their depletion.[ii] This did not set any targets. It was Montreal Protocol, 1987 which aimed to protect the ozone layer and replace CFC with HFC. Brundtland report brought the term “Sustainable development”. A major milestone in the efforts of the global community was the Earth Summit, on 21st June, 1992. The conference was attended by many nations. It came up with twenty-seven principles and guides to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century. Earth Summit adopted five documents namely Rio Principles, Agenda 21, Forest Principles, Biodiversity Convention, and Climate Convention. UN Bio-diversity Convention is a treaty that aims at the conservation of bio-diversity, sustainable use of bio-resources, and sharing the benefits received from gene stock. Kyoto Protocol,1997 was an international agreement linked to the UN framework convention on climate change which sets obligations for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gases. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 2000 sets out a comprehensive regulatory system for ensuring the safety transfer, handling, and use of living-modified organisms with a focus on transboundary movement. AARHUS Convention or Human Right to Healthy Environment grants access to information, Public Participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters. It focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities. Earth Summit+10 and Rio Summit+20 were conducted after few years from the date it started. Paris Agreement, 2015 is the new hope for a greener future to combat climate change and investment towards a low carbon and sustainable future.[iii]


We had pre-constitutional laws in the Colonial period, enacted in the year 1878 and then replaced in the year 1927. Environmental protection was included in the Constitution when it was drafted. The forty-second amendment of the Constitution added Article 48-A which says “protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding forests and wildlife.”  The state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.[iv] Article 51- A (g) of the Fundamental Duties states that “it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lake, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” Article 21 of the Constitution which is the right to life includes the right to a clean, healthy, and pollution-free environment. India was one of the signatories to the ‘Declaration on the Human Environment’ adopted in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm from 5th to 16th June. A separate was then established in the year 1980 named the Department of Environment which was turned into the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the year 1985.[v] The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the head administrative structure in India. It’s winged with the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards.[vi] It’s responsible for regulating environmental programs and enacting legal and regulatory frameworks for the same.

The major laws of the country are mentioned below:

  1. The Indian Forest Act, of 1878, was replaced with the Indian Forest Act, of 1927.
  2. Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972[vii]
  3. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 (Water Act) and The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules,1975 (Water Rules)[viii]
  4. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977(Water Cess Act) and The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978 (Water Cess Rules)[ix]
  5. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (Forest Act) and Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003 (Forest Rules)
  6. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (Air Act)
  7. Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986
  8. Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
  9. Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 (Noise Rules)
  10. Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 (BMH Rules)
  11. Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  12. National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
  13. E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (E-Waste Rules)
  14. Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016
  15. Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
  16. Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
  17. Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016
  18. Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016



In India, we have adopted many climate laws and have been following them for a very long time. More and more measures are taken into consideration for the overall development of the condition. New laws are enacted considering the needs of nature. Climate laws have a greater impact on the environment.[x] The recommendations and limitations made through law have made people more aware of nature and the need to protect it. Many organizations and campaigns were held at many places to work in favor of environmental protection. Certain obligations are created by the law and people are forced to follow it.[xi] The fines imposed by the law make people follow the rules and regulations. The law makes people aware that it is our duty to protect the environment for future generations.


  1. Jagannath v. Union of India (1996)

In this case, the Supreme Court directed the closing down and demolition of shrimp industries in the coastal regulation zone and implemented the “Precautionary Principle” and “Polluter Pays Principle” and held them liable for payment of compensation for reversing the ecology and compensate the individual for loss suffered.[xii]

M.C.Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 2004 SCW 4033:

The Supreme Court held that the development and the protection of the environment are not enemies. If without degrading the environment are not enemies. If without degrading the environment or minimizing adverse effects thereupon by applying stringent safeguards, it is possible to carry on development, in that eventuality, the development has to go on because one cannot lose sight of the need for the development of industries, projects, etc.[xiii] including the need to improve employment opportunities and the generation of revenue. Thus, a balance has to be struck.


People United for Better Living in Calcutta v. State of W.B., AIR 1993 Cal 215:

The Calcutta High Court observed that it is true that in a developing country, there shall have to be developments, but that developments must be in harmony with the environment.[xiv] There has to be a proper balance between economic growth and the environment. So that both can exist without affecting each other.


A small initiative can create a greater impact on the lives of people. Every citizen is liable for the exploitation of the environment and it’s our duty to protect the environment in whatever ways we can. All of it starts from local planning and home insulation schemes. Following the schemes of many international treaties may be for the organizations, but people can do their obligations by smaller actions. More than the legal measures, individual contribution does matter.

[i] Un,, (last visited Mar. 6, 2024).

[ii] ozonecell,, (last visited Mar. 6, 2024).

[iii] unfccc,, (last visited Mar. 6, 2024).

[iv] Shekar Dattatri, The Institutional Framework for Wildlife Conservation in India, conservationindia, (Feb. 01, 2024, 4:19 PM),

[v] mygov,, (last visited Mar. 6, 2024).

[vi] Jacques-Yves Cousteau, POLLUTION CONTROL BOARDS IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW, lawdaily, Feb. 01, 2024, 4:19 PM),

[vii] Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, No. 53, Acts of Parliament, 1972 (India).

[viii] THE WATER (PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1974, Act No. 6, Acts of Parliament, 1974 (India).

[ix] The Water (Prevention and Control of Polltion) Cess Act, 1997, Act No., Acts of Parliament, 1997 (India)

[x] Abbass, K., Qasim, M.Z., Song, H. et al. A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 42539–42559 (2022).

[xi] apu.apus,, (last visited Mar. 6, 2024).

[xii] S. Jagannath v. Union of India (1996)

[xiii] Ashok Sharma vs State of Rajasthan on 7 March, 2024.

[xiv] People United for Better Living in Calcutta v. State of W.B., AIR 1993 Cal 215.