Environmental Governance is Political Risk: Kerala Drowns

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Courtesy: NDTV

Environmental governance is a tick box measure in India and in the Global South. The ‘permit kahan hain’ (where is the permit) mindset of the industry hinders proactive resilience building which essentially environmental compliance and justice are at its genesis. Yesterday it was Uttarakhand, today it is friends in Kerala and Mumbai suffers every year.

And yes, Sustainability spends are not a cost center to be accounted for in the overall project cost. A flood risk assessment on your plot is a step in bracing for a climate change driven wet future. A well prepared EIA flags off those signals. Read into them well. Consider them risk abatement. At the regional level get strategic environmental assessments done for your port or airport or the industrial zone, to understand the drivers behind enterprise level risk. The world is getting hotter and climate inequality is a reality. Combine these ESG risks with Geopolitical Risk and the risk levels for your investment amplify.

Development depends upon the environment and not the other way around. The dynamic minister of infrastructure Shri Nitin Gadkari ji just mentioned in the media a few days back the EIAs should not be mandatory for Road and Port projects. I would love to understand his rationale.

If the Gadgil report for the Western Ghats would have been considered, Kerala would be better prepared. A balanced reasoning for environmental governance with science and data at its heart should be the basis of a new paradigm in this alt facts era, good science saves lives in the long term. The environmental mess in terms of an algal bloom in Florida has entered the political realm. When Quality of Life gets impacted, trivial environmental issues become a political risk. Pragati (development) and Parvayavaran (environment) go together.

(Manishankar Prasad)

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