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Unit 4
Concept and Definition of Carbon Usage

Learning Outcomes

  • Learner gets familiarized some key concepts of carbon usage in the environment.
  • Gets a general understanding of environmental politics.
  • Gets thorough knowledge on EIA.
  • Becomes aware about the different processes involved in initiating a new developmental project.


Now you know about global warming. One of the main reasons for global warming is the excess deposit of Carbon dioxide in the Universe. Have you ever thought that if we could store this carbon, then we could reduce this global warming? Here we have a method called Carbon sequestration – the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean. Related to this process, we speak of Carbon footprint, carbon credit and Carbon trade. It is also of great importance to be aware of Environmental economics, green economy or green economics, circular economy and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Key words

Carbon sequestration, Carbon foot print, Carbon trading, Environmental economics, Green economy, EIA


Now you know about global warming. Have you ever thought that if we could store this carbon, we could reduce this global warming?

4.4.1 Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change and also aims at stabilizing the amounts of the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere, and reducing the human ‘carbon footprint’. Thus, carbon capture and sequestration are the processes of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation. Carbon sequestration occurs both naturally and as a result of anthropogenic activities and typically refers to the storage of carbon that has the immediate potential to become carbon dioxide gas.

Carbon dioxide is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes. These changes can be accelerated through changes in land use and agricultural practices, such as converting crop and livestock grazing land into land for non-crop fast-growing plants. Artificial processes have been devised to produce similar effects, including large-scale, artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced carbon dioxide using subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, ageing oil fields, or other carbon sinks, bio-energy direct air capture when combined with storage.

  • Clearly defined, how carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere is called carbon sequestration.
  • Carbon sequestration is both a natural and artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the Earth’s atmosphere and then stored in liquid or solid form.
  • It is a process of capture and deliberate, whether natural or artificial, storage of CO2 over a long period of time. The initial purpose of doing this is to delay global warming and avoid extreme climate change.
  • Other forms of carbon are also stored during this sequestration process.
  • It is the removal and storage of carbon from the atmosphere to sinks oceans, soil, forests through physical means and the natural process best known is photosynthesis. Advantages of carbon sequestration

  • It makes us plant more trees and preserve forests: Forests and vegetation have been identified to be key players in capturing and storing carbon dioxide, capturing about 25% of all carbon emissions.
  • It helps reduce global warming: About 45% of carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere and the rest is sequestrated naturally by the environment. If more carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere, it creates a blanket-like effect, where more heat is trapped in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming.
  • It reduces ocean acidification: About 30% of all carbon dioxide emitted from burning fuels is absorbed by the upper layer of the ocean. This raises the acidity levels of ocean waters, making it harder for marine life to survive, or even build their shells. This eventually affects the fish we eventually eat, which therefore has an indirect effect on humans. Carbon sequestration reduces marine life disturbances and human beings will therefore not be affected by the same
  • Helping mitigate carbon dioxide emissions: Technology is advancing daily, to help sequester carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and industrial smokestacks, burying it deep in the oceans or within the earth. Disadvantages

  • Carbon dioxide may be stored deep underground. At depth, hydrostatic pressure acts to keep it in a liquid state. Reservoir design faults, rock fissures, and tectonic processes may act to release the gas stored into the ocean or atmosphere.
  • The use of the technology would add 1–5 cents of cost per kilo-watt-hour, according to an estimate made by the panels about climate change. The financial costs of modern coal technology would nearly double. Types of Carbon sequestration

Biological Carbon Sequestration –

It is the storage of carbon dioxide in vegetation such as grasslands or forests, as well as in soils and oceans. What are the biological methods of carbon sequestration?

  • In Oceans- Carbon goes in both directions in the ocean. Oceans absorb roughly 25 percent of carbon dioxide emitted from human activities annually. When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from the ocean, it creates what is called a positive atmospheric flux. A negative flux refers to the ocean absorbing carbon dioxide. Colder and nutrient rich parts of the ocean are able to absorb more carbon dioxide than warmer parts. Therefore, the polar regions typically serve as carbon sinks.
  • In soils- Carbon is sequestered in soil by plants through photosynthesis and can be stored as soil organic carbon (SOC). Agro eco-systems can degrade and deplete the SOC levels but this carbon deficit opens up the opportunity to store carbon through new land management practices. Soil can also store carbon as carbonates. Such carbonates are created over thousands of years when carbon dioxide dissolves in water and percolates the soil, combining with calcium and magnesium minerals, forming “caliche” in desert and arid soil.
  • In forest- About 25 percent of global carbon emissions are captured by plant-rich landscapes such as forests, grasslands and rangelands. When leaves and branches fall off plants or when plants die, the carbon stored either releases into the atmosphere or is transferred into the soil. Wildfires and human activities like deforestation can contribute to the diminishment of forests as a carbon sink.
  • In grasslands: grasslands and rangelands are more reliable areas of storing carbon than forests due to the rapid wildfires and deforestation affecting forests. Grass-lands can sequester more carbon underground and when they burn, the carbon stays fixed in the roots and soil instead of in leaves and woody biomass. Granted, forests can store more carbon than grass-lands, but in unstable conditions like climate change, grasslands can become more resilient.


Geological Carbon Sequestration

Geological carbon sequestration is the process of storing carbon dioxide in underground geologic formations, or rocks. Typically, carbon dioxide is captured from an industrial source, such as steel or cement production, or an energy-related source, such as a power plant or natural gas processing facility and injected into porous rocks for long-term storage.


  1. Industrial Carbon Sequestration – They capture the carbon in three ways from a power plant, pre-combustion, post-combustion and oxy fuel.
  • Pre-combustion: The carbon is captured in power plants before the fuel is burned. The aim is to remove the carbon from coal before it is burned. The coal is reacted with oxygen to produce synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases.
  • Post-combustion: Here, carbon is removed from a power station’s output after the fuel has been burned. This means waste gases are captured and scrubbed clean of their carbon dioxide before they travel up smokestacks.
    f Oxyfuel or Oxycombustion: The point is to burn fuel in more oxygen and store all the gases produced as a result.

     2. Technological Carbon Sequestration- Uses various technologies to capture CO2 like:

  • Graphene Production:Technology is being used to produce graphene from carbon dioxide as its raw material. Graphene is a technological material, used to create screens for smart phones and other technological devices.
  • Direct Air Capture (DAC): A means by which carbon can be captured directly from the air using advanced technology plants. However, this process is energy intensive and expensive. While the techniques such as direct air capture can be effective, they are still too costly to implement on a mass scale.
  • Engineered molecules: Scientists are engineering molecules that can change shape by creating new kinds of compounds capable of singling out (distinguishing) and capturing carbon dioxide from the air. The engineered molecules act as a filter, only attracting the element it was engineered to seek.


4.4.2 Carbon footprint

Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. A carbon footprint can be a broad measure or be applied to the actions of an individual, a family, an event, an organization, or even an entire nation. It includes direct emissions, such as those that result from fossil-fuel combustion in manufacturing, heating, and transportation, as well as emissions required to produce the electricity associated with goods and services consumed. In addition, the carbon footprint concept also often includes the emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It is usually measured as tons of CO2 emitted per year, a number that can be supplemented by tons of CO2 equivalent gases, including methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases.

According to WHO, a carbon footprint is a measure of the impact your activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is ex-pressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tonnes.

Carbon footprint calculator

  • Many of our daily activities cause emissions of greenhouse gases. Green-house gas emissions vary among individuals depending on a person’s location, habits, and personal choices.
  • The quantity of greenhouse gas emissions from our home electricity use depends on the types of fuel power plant uses to generate the electricity and the amount we use.
  • The quantity of greenhouse gases emitted from the furnace and boiler depends on the efficiency of these items, the size and insulation of the house, and the amount and type of fuel used.
  • The quantity of emissions from the car or truck depends on how much we drive, what our vehicle’s fuel efficiency is, and how we drive (e.g., the amount of time spent idling in traffic).
  • In addition, the more recycling we do will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that result from processing of raw materials.

4.4.3 Methods of reducing carbon footprint

The following are methods of reducing your carbon footprint:

  • Driving more-efficient vehicles (or making sure that your cur-rent vehicles are properly maintained),
  • Taking public transportation,
  • Using energy-efficient appliances,
  • Insulating your home to reduce heating and air conditioning costs,
  • Consuming food that doesn’t require as much transportation, and eating less meat, which has a higher carbon footprint than fruits and vegetables.
  • Purchase items with a comparatively low carbon footprint. Some manufacturers have begun assessing and publishing their products’ carbon footprints.
  • Choose energy-efficient lighting and transition away from incandescent light bulbs
  • Individuals and companies can also offset some of their CO2 emissions by purchasing carbon credits, the money from which can go into projects such as planting trees or investing in renewable energy.

4.4.4 Carbon credit and carbon trading

A carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that provides the holder of the credit the right to emit one ton of CO2 or an equivalent of another greenhouse gas. The main goal for the creation of carbon credit is the reduction of emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from industrial activities to reduce the effect of global warming.

  • Carbon credits were devised as a market-oriented mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Companies get a set number of credits, which decline over time. They can sell any excess to another company.
  • Thus, “cap-and-trade” is an incentive to reduce emissions.

Types of credit

  • Voluntary Remissions Reduction (VER): A carbon offset that is ex-changed in or over the country or voluntary market for credits.
  • Certified Emissions reduction (CER): Emission units (cred-its) created through a regulatory framework with the purpose of offsetting a project’s emissions. The main difference between the two is that there is a third party certifying body that regulates the CER as opposed to the VER.

Carbon trade is the buying and selling of credits that permit a company or other entity to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. The carbon credits and the carbon trade are authorized by governments with the goal of gradually reducing overall carbon emissions and mitigating their contribution to climate change. Carbon trading is also referred to as carbon emissions trading.

  • Carbon trade agreements allow for the sale of credits to emit carbon dioxide between nations as part of an international agreement aimed at gradually reducing total emissions.
  • The carbon trade originated with the Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations treaty that set the goal of reducing global carbon emissions and mitigating climate change starting in 2005.
  • Various countries and territories have started carbon trading programs—for example, in July 2021, China started a national emissions-trading program.
  • Cap and trade, a variation on carbon trade, allows for the sale of emission credits between companies.

These measures are aimed at reducing the effects of global warming but their effectiveness remains a matter of debate.
Carbon Credit and Carbon Trading were created as an answer to the need for controlling emissions (global carbon-dioxide emissions in 2016 were about 36 billion metric tonnes), and as an attempt to reduce the emission of greenhouse and harmful gases coming from industrial activity (industries as power, steel, textile, fertilizer etc. using all fossil fuels – such as coal, oil and natural gas – that are the major materials responsible for greenhouse gas emissions).The Carbon Credits system was officially formalised in the Kyoto Protocol, while the mechanisms that regulate the Carbon Credits market were established in the Marrakesh Accords. Any government or other regulating body willing to limit the carbon dioxide emissions can issue Carbon Credits. Carbon trading follows the principle of an emissions trading (or cap and trade) approach, i.e., a market-based approach in which economic incentives are given to encourage reductions in the emissions of pollutants. One of the positive aspects of this approach is that organisations can decide to use the emissions trading schemes in a flexible way, finding the best option to meet policy targets. Example- Company A emits less than its target amount of CO2; this means that Company A has a surplus of Carbon Credits. Company B, on the other hand, emits more than its target amount of hydrocarbon, so either Company B pays a fine or tries to buy Carbon Credits from an-other company. At this point, Company A and Company B get to an agreement and trade Carbon Credits: Company Asells its surplus to Company B, getting money and a positive image feedback, while Company B buying Carbon Credits from Company A avoids paying a fine.


4.4.5 The Cap and Trade System

This is how carbon trade works: Each nation is awarded a certain number of permits to emit carbon dioxide up to a certain level. If it does not use up all of its permits it can sell the unused permits to another nation that wants to emit more carbon dioxide than its permits allow. Every year, a slightly smaller number of new permits are awarded to each nation. A cap and trade system is a variation on carbon trade. In this case, the trade, while authorized and regulated by the government, is conducted between companies. Each company is given a maximum carbon pollution allowance. Unused allowances can be sold to other companies. The goal is to ensure that companies in the aggregate do not exceed a baseline level of pollution. The baseline is reduced annually.

Carbon Credits are bought, on a voluntary basis, by any country or company interested in lowering its carbon footprint. The Kyoto Protocol divides countries into two groups ac-cording to the level of their economy: industrialised and developing economies. The first group operates in an emissions trading market, assigning to each country a certain emissions standard to meet. If, for example, a country emits less than its permitted amount of CO2, it can sell the surplus credits to other countries that do not meet their emissions level goals established by the Kyoto Protocol. This buying and selling of Carbon Credits is regulated by a legal contract called ERPA (Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement). There is also an-other mechanism, called Clean Development Mechanism and specifically addressed to developing countries, that issues Carbon Credits for supporting sustainable development initiatives (those Carbon Credits are called Certified Emission Reduction, or CER).

Carbon credits can be traded on both private and public markets. Current rules of trading allow the international transfer of credits. The prices of credits are primarily driven by the levels of supply and demand in the market. Due to the differences in the supply and demand in different countries, the prices of the credits fluctuate. The carbon funds provide small investor with the opportunity to enter the market. Buyers and sellers can also use an exchange platform to trade, which is like a stock exchange for carbon credits. In some cases, though, it can happen that it is more economic to pay a fine than to buy Carbon Credits due to their high price.

4.4.6 Environmental Economics

Environmental economics is a sub discipline of economics that applies the values and tools of mainstream economics to allocate environmental resources more efficiently. On the political stage, environmental issues are usu ally placed at odds with economic issues; environmental goods, such as clean air and clean water, are commonly viewed as priceless and not subject to economic consideration. Environmental economists perform studies to determine the theoretical or empirical effects of environmental policies on the economy. This field of economics helps users design appropriate environmental policies and analyse the effects and merits of existing or proposed policies.

  • Environmental economics is an evolving discipline that developed as a result of environmental damage caused by economic activities and the pursuit of sustain-able development.
  • It is concerned with the design of environmental policies and their implementation.
  • Environmental economics deals with a number of issues, such as inefficient natural resource allocation, market failure, negative externalities, and management of public goods.
  • The approach can either be prescriptive or incentive-based.
  • The two main challenges to environmental economics are its transnational nature and its impact on various moving parts of a society.

4.4.7 Origins of Environmental Economics

The origins of environmental economics date back to the 1960s, when industrialization was experiencing a boom, particularly in the western world, and pollution from industrial activity became an increasing concern. Environmental activism also started to increase due to the perceived negative consequences of environmental degradation. The world be-came aware of rapid economic growth and its consequences to the environment.

Environmental economists see the environment as a form of natural capital that provides amenities and life support functions to the earth’s inhabitants. Environmental economics was premised on the neoclassical approach dealing with issues such as inefficient natu-ral resource allocation, market failure, negative externalities, and management of public goods.

As the movement developed over time, other intricate details on the relationship between the environment and the economy became apparent. The study brought about powerful environmental arguments and propositions, which gave rise to contemporary environmental policies and regulations around the world. It led to the establishment of new environmental bodies – chief among them, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972.10. What are the biological methods of carbon sequestration?


Environmental economics encompasses the following concepts:

  1. Sustainable Development
    Sustainable development is defined by UNEP as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The concept analyses the role of economic development in supporting sustainable development. The four basic components of sustainable development are economic growth, environmental protection, social equity, and institutional capacity.
  2. Market Failure
    Market failure occurs if the functioning of a perfect market is compromised; hence, it is unable to efficiently allocate scarce resources at a given price as conditions for laws of demand and supply are not met. An example can be an environmental goods such as clean oceans. It is difficult to price the value of clean seas and oceans, and there exist no markets for clean water bodies where it is traded depending on the degree of cleanliness. It is a standard case of market failure.
  3. Externalities
    Externalities are inadvertent unintentional consequences of economic activity that affect people over and above those directly involved in it. Externalities are also another form of market failure. They can either be negative or positive.,A negative externality creates unplanned outcomes that are harmful to the environment or directly to the general public. An example can be pollution through indusple who benefit from an economic resource without contributing to its establishment are called “free riders.”
  4. Valuation
    Valuation is an important aspect of environmental economics, as it helps to evaluate a variety of options in managing challenges with the use of environmental and natural re-sources. The valuation of ecological resources is a complex process, as it is difficult to assign value to intangible benefits, such as clean air and an unpolluted environment.
    Resources that offer multiple benefits are difficult to value – for example, mountains may prevent flooding, provide scenic beauty, direct river flow patterns, and provide fertile soil for agriculture. Environmental resources can be assigned values depending on use and non-use methods. It is easier to assign value to a product in use by observing what consumers are willing to pay.
    Opportunity cost pricing, replacement cost,trial production, which results in unclean air and water and other health risks. The polluting entities may not incur any costs to address the pollution, even though their activities harm the environment and negatively affect the surrounding community. A positive externality is a benefit to other people not directly involved in its generation. A community nature park can benefit people outside the community who visit family and friends in the area and would not have contributed to its development. Peoand hedonic pricing techniques can be employed in the “use” method. The contingent valuation technique is used for the “non-use” method by measuring what consumers are willing to pay for a product they do not use or enjoy.
  5. Cost-Benefit Analysis
    Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) involves weighing the benefits arising from a policy against the perceived benefits. Hence, the best policy is one in which there is the greatest surplus of benefits over costs.
    CBA starts with a base policy where no changes are made to the status quo. A time horizon is selected where the perceived costs and benefits are expected to be realized. Benefits are instances where human well-being is improved, and costs decrease human well-being. Costs and benefits to be realized in the future are discounted using a discount factor to cater to the time value of money. Benefits include extra income, improved quality of life, clean water, and beaches, and costs include opportunity costs, internal and external costs, and externalities.
  • Green economics refers to an economics discipline that focuses on devising an approach that promotes harmonious economic interactions between humans and nature.
  • It has a broad canvas that incorporates means of interaction with nature to the methodology for goods production and social justice.
  • It is closely related to ecological economics but is different from it because it is a holistic approach that includes political advocacy of sustainable solutions.

4.4.8 Green Economy

Green economy or green economics is a methodology of economics that supports the harmonious interaction between humans and nature and attempts to meet the needs of both simultaneously.

The term green economy was first coined in a pioneering 1989 report for the Government of the United Kingdom by a group of leading environmental economists, entitled Blue-print for a Green Economy. Green economic theories encompass a wide range of ideas, all dealing with the interconnected relationship between people and the environment. Green economists assert that the basis for all economic decisions should be in some way tied to the ecosystem and that natural capital and ecological services have economic value.

In many ways, green economics is closely related to ecological economics in the way that it views natural resources as having measurable economic value and in how they focus on sustainability and justice. But when it comes to the application of these ideas, advocates of green economics are more politically focused. Green economists advocate a full cost ac-counting system in which the entities (government, industry, individuals, etc.) who do harm to or neglect natural assets are held liable for the damage they do.


Fig: 4.4.6 Represention of green economy

4.4.9 Circular Economy

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value.

According to the World Economic Forum, “A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models.”


4.4.10 Principles of circular economy

First, at its core, a circular economy aims to design out waste. Waste does not exist: products are designed and optimized for a cycle of disassembly and reuse. These tight component and product cycles define the circular economy and set it apart from disposal and even recycling, where large amounts of em-bedded energy and labour are lost.

Second, circularity introduces a strict differentiation between consumable and durable components of a product. Unlike today, consumables in the circular economy are largely made of biological ingredients or ‘nutrients’ that are at least non-toxic and possibly even beneficial, and can safely be returned to the biosphere, either directly or in a cascade of consecutive uses. Durables such as engines or computers, on the other hand, are made of technical nutrients unsuitable for the bio-sphere, such as metals and most plastics. These are designed from the start for reuse, and products subject to rapid technological advance are designed for upgrade.

Third, the energy required to fuel this cycle should be renewable by nature, again to decrease resource dependence and increase systems resilience.


4.4.11 Environmental Impact Assessment  

Consider you have to initiate a new work for your class. What are the things you will consider?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse. UNEP defines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers.

EIA systematically examines both beneficial and adverse consequences of the project and ensures that these effects are taken into ac-count during project design. It helps to identify possible environmental effects of the pro-posed project, proposes measures to mitigate adverse effects and predicts whether there will be significant adverse environmental effects, even after the mitigation is implemented. By considering the environmental effects of the project and their mitigation early in the project planning cycle, environmental assessment has many benefits, such as protection of environment, optimum utilisation of resources and saving of time and cost of the project. Properly conducted EIA also lessens conflicts by promoting community participation, informing decision makers, and helping lay the base for environmentally sound projects. Benefits of integrating EIA have been observed in all stages of a project, from exploration and planning, through construction, operations, decommissioning, and beyond site closure.

4.4.12 The EIA Process

The stages of an EIA process will depend upon the requirements of the country or donor. However, most EIA processes have a common structure and the application of the main stag-es is a basic standard of good practice. How-ever, the EIA process is cyclical with interaction between the various steps.

  • Screening: The project plan is screened for scale of investment, location and type of development and if the project needs statutory clearance.
  • Scoping: The project’s potential impacts, zone of impacts, mitigation possibilities and need for monitoring.
  • Collection of baseline data: Base-line data is the environmental status of study area.
  • Impact prediction: Positive and negative, reversible and irreversible and temporary and permanent impacts need to be predicted which presuppose a good under-standing of the project by the assessment agency.
  • Mitigation measures and EIA report: The EIA report should include the actions and steps for preventing, minimizing or by passing the impacts or else the level of compensation for prob-able environmental damage or loss.
  • Public hearing: On completion of the EIA report, public and environmental groups living close to project site may be informed and consulted.
  • Decision making: Impact Assessment Authority along with the experts consult the project-in-charge along with consultant to take the final decision, keeping in mind EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan).
  • Monitoring and implementation of environmental management plan: The various phases of implementation of the project are monitored.
  • Assessment of Alternatives, Delineation of Mitigation Measures and Environmental Impact Assessment Report: For every project, possible alternatives should be identified, and environmental attributes compared. Alternatives should cover both project location and process technologies. Once alternatives have been reviewed, a mitigation plan should be drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent towards environmental improvements.
  • Risk assessment: Inventory analysis and hazard probability and index also form part of EIA procedures.



Stakeholders in the EIA Process

  • Those who propose the project
  • The environmental consultant who prepares EIA on behalf of project proponent
  • Pollution Control Board (State or National)
  • Public has the right to express their opinion
  • The Impact Assessment Agency
  • Regional centre of the MoEFCC

Importance of EIA

  • EIA links environment with development for environmentally safe and sustainable development.
  • EIA provides a cost-effective method to eliminate or minimize the adverse impact of developmental projects.
  • EIA enables the decision makers to analyse the effect of develop-mental activities on the environment well before the developmental project is implemented.
  • EIA encourages the adaptation of mitigation strategies in the developmental plan.
  • EIA makes sure that the develop-mental plan is environmentally sound and within the limits of the capacity of assimilation and regeneration of the ecosystem.

Shortcomings of EIA Process

  • Applicability:
    There are several projects with significant environmental impacts that are exempted from the notification either because they are not listed in schedule I, or their investments are less than what is provided for in the notification.
  • Composition of expert committees and standards:
    It has been found that the team formed for conducting EIA studies is lacking the expertise in various fields such as environmentalists, wildlife experts, Anthropologists and Social Scientists.
  • Public hearing:
  1. Public comments are not considered at an early stage, which often leads to conflict at a later stage of project clearance.
  2. A number of projects with significant environmental and social impacts have been excluded from the mandatory public hearing process.
  3. The data collectors do not pay respect to the indigenous knowledge of local people.
  • Quality of EIA:
    One of the biggest concerns with the environmental clearance process is related to the quality of EIA report being carried out.
  • Lack of Credibility:
    There are many cases of fraudulent EIA studies where erroneous data has been used, same facts used for two totally different places etc.
    Often, and more so for strategic industries such as nuclear energy projects, the EMPs are kept confidential for political and administrative reasons.
    Details regarding the effectiveness and implementation of mitigation measures are often not provided.
    Emergency preparedness plans are not discussed in sufficient detail and the information not disseminated to the communities.


  • Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean.
  • It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There are 4 different types of carbon sequestration methods.
  • Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity.
  • A carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that provides the holder of the credit the right to emit one ton of CO2 or an equivalent of another greenhouse gas.
  • Carbon trade is the buying and selling of credits that permit a company or other entity to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide.
  • Environmental economics is a sub discipline of economics that applies the values and tools of mainstream macroeconomics and microeconomics to allocate environmental resources more efficiently.
  • Green economy or green economics is a methodology of economics that supports the harmonious interaction between humans and nature and at-tempts to meet the needs of both simultaneously.
  • The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making.
  • The different processes in EIA are Screening, Scoping. Baseline study, Impact prediction. Impact assessment, Mitigation, Producing the environmental impact statement, EIS review

Objective type questions

  1. Out of different types of fabrics available in the market, which fabric may have lower carbon footprint?
  2. How can you minimize your carbon footprint?
  3. What is the best way to reduce our carbon footprint?
  4. What is 3Es in Environmental economics?
  5. What is green economy?
  6. What are the three pillars of sustainable development?
  7. EIA commenced in which year?
  8. How many stages are there in EIA?
  9. What does C2C in environmental science stand for?

Answer to Objective type questions

  1. Cotton (because it is organic and biodegradable)
  2. Buy things from a farmer’s market just near your area going on foot.
  3. Use less and buy less.
  4. Energy, Economy and Environment
  5. A green economy is a low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive economy.
  6. The three pillars of sustainable development are energy, economy and environment
  7. 1960s
  8. 4 stages. They are local level, regional level, national level and global level.
  9. Cradle to Cradle

Self Assessment Questions

  1. Define carbon sequestration.
  2. What are the advantages of Carbon Sequestration?
  3. Comment on the disadvantages of Carbon Sequestration.
  4. Write an essay on Carbon Sequestration and its effects.
  5. Discuss Carbon Footprint.
  6. Comment on the method of reducing Carbon Footprint.
  7. Describe carbon credit and carbon trading.
  8. What are the types of carbon credit?
  9. Describe cap and trade system.
  10. Write an essay on environmental economics.
  11. Describe green economy and circular economy.
  12. Write an essay on EIA and EIA process.


  1. Prepare a poster illustrating the cause and consequences of global warming in a city.
  2. Think of some ways to tackle global warming.
  3. Find out your and your family’s carbon footprint of a day
  4. Identify a local project which is planned to be commissioned in your locality and prepare a baseline data.

Suggested Reading

  2. J.M.G. Thomas, P.V.V. Prasad, in Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences, 2003
  3. Gregory J. Retallack, in Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (Second Edition), 2007
  4. Nadine Borduas, Neil M. Donahue, in Green Chemistry, 2018
  5. Daniel Vallero, in Fundamentals of Air Pollution (Fifth Edition), 2014
  6. Inez Fung, in Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology (Third Edition), 2003
  7. Anji Reddy Mareddy, in Environmental Impact Assessment, 2017


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