Environmental Regulation and Governance
Environmental governance has become a popular concept in the past few decades. Since the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984, the term environmental governance has been
applied by institutions, states, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to India’s diverse areas of development and well-being. Broadly speaking, environmental governance “is the term we use to describe how we as humans exercise our authority over natural resources and natural systems.” It is about questions concerning “how we make environmental decisions, who makes them, and how they are held accountable.” It encom-passes all sectors, including biodiversity conservation, sustainable and equitable use of forest, land or water and other biotic resources, pollution and hazardous waste regulation, decision-making on massive irreversible transformations of ecosystems for developmental purposes, and now the question of climate change. The term also encompasses more actors. While “regulation” refers primarily to the actions of state agencies, “governance” includes all actors: regulatory agencies, regulated entities, legislature, judiciary, media, and the public. The role of other actors, especially the judiciary, has become quite visible in the Indian context in recent times.