Climate change and Indian cities: Judicial responses through the lens of sustainability transformations

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Abstract

Cities and urban communities constitute a challenging paradox. Both are contributors to climate change and simultaneously are essential focal bases for economic activity. Urbanisation, population growth, economic development, and prosperity contribute to increased city greenhouse gas emissions. Envisioning and shaping a shift toward more ambitious climate responses is both an opportunity and a challenge for cities to action transformations toward sustainability. The discourse on sustainability transformations involves the reorientation and restructuring of governance processes and actions. Though the governance of transformation involves multiple actors, this article examines the role of the Indian judiciary in steering a transformation process toward a sustainable and equitable future. Indian city-and-climate change case law is examined as a case study. Sectoral examples from construction, waste, livestock, transport, and renewable energy illustrate key areas addressed through the judicial incremental-reformist approach. Bolstering the implementation and enforcement of environmental and climate laws alongside the infusion of a powerful sustainability agenda, the Indian judiciary creates enabling conditions for transformational change.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClimate Law
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Mar 2024

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