India launches National consultation for air pollutants

To meet the challenges of pollution on both local and global scale, India today launched a national technical consultation for air pollutants on a market-friendly emissions scheme.

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2011, 22:16 PM IST

New Delhi: To meet the challenges of
pollution on both local and global scale, India today launched
a national technical consultation for air pollutants on a
market-friendly emissions scheme.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh said it is "a very small" but "a
necessary step" in environmental regulation to address global
climate change.

"There is a debate on carbon trade globally. Today
what India is doing with this initiative is a cap and trade
for local pollutants," Ramesh said.

Advocating "stricter and more robust" environmental
regulations, the Minister said, it certainly could do with
less environmental regulators.

"So, we had to find a way of regulating without
regulators," Ramesh said.

"I look upon today`s initiative as a first step that
India is taking to enforce environmental regulations in a
market-friendly manner," Ramesh said.

Maintaining that the Government is not doing "this
carbon trade initiative because of the global negotiations on
Climate change," he said the initiative is linked to tackle
public health problem due to the local polluters.

Ramesh said this initiative would also "convince the
market wallahs" that the Environment Ministry, which is being
criticised for being anti-market and anti-industry, is also
interested in the growth of market in an environment friendly
manner.

Emissions trading as a regulatory instrument can
transform the trade-off between environmental quality and
growth for the betterment of the Indian environment.

Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are the leading
industrial states and industial growth in these states has
contributed to growth in emissions of various pollutants in
air and water, including particulate matter.

These states, as a pilot initiative, have now started
implementing market-based instruments, such as Emissions
Trading Schemes (ETS) for air pollution. The scheme has the
benefit of enabling lower pollution levels at lower overall
costs of compliance.

The ETS allows the regulator to set a cap on the
aggregate level of pollution permitted, and then allow a self
-regulating system to ensure that pollution does not exceed
this cap.

PTI