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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 Political Science Chapter 6 Environment and Natural Resources

Class 12 Political Science Chapter 6 Environment and Natural Resources

The Environment and Natural Resources of Class 12 Political Science Chapter 6 gives students a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of managing natural resources and addressing environmental challenges. In this chapter, students will gain valuable knowledge about the definition of global commons, the outcome of Rio’s summit, addressing environmental challenges, and managing natural resources. This chapter is essential for your class’s 12th board exam in the past year exam where many questions came from this chapter. Memorysclub political science team of teachers provides the most suitable exam-oriented solutions for class 12 environment and natural resources vital questions and answers.

1.Which among the following best explains the reason for growing concerns about the environment?

(a) The developed countries are concerned about projecting nature.
(b) Protection of the environment is vital for indigenous people and natural habitats.
(c) The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become pervasive and has reached a dangerous level.
(d) None of the above.

Answer. (c) The environmental degradation caused by human activities has become persuasive and has reached a dangerous level.

2. Mark correct or wrong against each of the following statements about the Earth Summit:

(a) It was attended by 170 countries, thousands of NGOs and many MNCs.
(b) The Summit was held under aegis of the UN.
(c) For the first time, global environmen¬tal issues were firmly consolidated at the political level.
(d) It was a summit meeting.

Answer. (a) Correct (b) Wrong
(c) Correct (d) Wrong

3. Which among the following are true about the Global Commons?

(a) The earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, ocean floor and outer space are considered as part of the Global Commons.
(b) The Global Commons are outside sovereign jurisdiction.
(c) The question of managing the Global Commons has reflected the North- South divide.
(d) The countries of the North are more concerned about the protection of the global Commons than the countries of the South.

Answer. (a) The Earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, ocean floor and outer space are considered as a part of global commons.

4. What were the outcomes of Rio-Summit?

The Rio Earth Summit, officially known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. The summit aimed to address global environmental and developmental challenges. Several key outcomes emerged from the Rio Earth Summit:

  1. Agenda 21 is a comprehensive action plan that outlines strategies for sustainable development at the global, national, and local levels. It covers a wide range of issues, including poverty, health, biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable consumption.
  2. The Rio Declaration is a set of 27 principles that articulate the rights and responsibilities of states concerning sustainable development. It emphasizes the need for cooperation, precautionary measures, and the eradication of unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
  3. The Forest Principles, officially known as the Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation, and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests, outline guidelines for sustainable forest management.
  4. CBD is an international treaty established at the Rio Earth Summit with the goal of promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It emphasizes the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

The Rio Earth Summit outcomes collectively contributed to shaping the global agenda for sustainable development, environmental conservation, and international cooperation in the subsequent decades. These agreements and principles continue to influence policy making and action at national and international levels.

5. What is meant by Global Commons? How are they exploited and polluted?

Global Commons:

Global Commons refers to shared resources that are not owned or governed by any single country but are essential for the well-being of humanity and the health of the planet. These resources are considered common heritage, and their use and preservation require international cooperation. Examples of Global Commons include the atmosphere, outer space, the high seas, and Antarctica.

Exploitation and Pollution of Global Commons:


  • Exploitation: The atmosphere is exploited through the release of greenhouse gasses, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), resulting from human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
  • Pollution: Increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming and climate change, leading to adverse impacts such as rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and disruptions to ecosystems.

High Seas:

  • Exploitation: Overfishing is a common form of exploitation in the high seas. Due to the absence of clear international regulations, some fishing practices are unsustainable, leading to the depletion of fish stocks.
  • Pollution: The high seas are affected by pollution from shipping activities, including oil spills, discharge of ballast water, and plastic pollution. These pollutants can have severe ecological consequences.

Outer Space:

  • Exploitation: The use of outer space for satellite deployment, space exploration, and commercial activities has increased. However, concerns arise when activities result in space debris, orbital congestion, and the potential militarization of space.
  • Pollution: Space debris, consisting of defunct satellites and fragments from collisions, poses a risk to operational satellites and future space missions. Pollution in outer space is a growing concern as human activities increase.


  • Exploitation: The Antarctic Treaty System prohibits military activities, mineral mining, and nuclear testing, but tourism and scientific research activities have increased. Some fear that potential future exploitation, such as mineral resources, may challenge the current conservation-oriented approach.
  • Pollution: While Antarctica remains relatively pristine, the influx of tourists and scientific expeditions has the potential to introduce pollutants, invasive species, and disturbances to the delicate Antarctic ecosystem.

Addressing the exploitation and pollution of Global Commons requires international collaboration, governance frameworks, and sustainable management practices. Treaties and agreements, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the Antarctic Treaty, play crucial roles in regulating activities and promoting responsible stewardship of these shared resources. Sustainable practices, technological innovations, and global cooperation are essential to ensure the long-term viability of Global Commons.

6. What is meant by ‘Common but differentiated responsibilities’? How could we implement the idea?

The concept of “common but differentiated responsibilities” means that all countries should work together to protect the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystem. However, different countries have different responsibilities based on their contributions to global environmental degradation. Developed countries have a greater responsibility to pursue sustainable development due to the impact their societies have on the environment and their greater access to technological and financial resources.

We could implement the idea with the help of conventions and declarations:

  1. The Rio Summit, held in June 1992, resulted in conventions addressing climate change, biodiversity, and forestry and recommended a set of best practices known as Agenda 21.
  2. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) emphasizes that parties must act to protect the climate system based on common but differentiated responsibilities.
  3. An international agreement called the Kyoto Protocol established targets for developed nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

7. Why have issues related to global environmental protection become the priority concern of states since the 1990s?

Since the 1990s, global environmental protection has become a top priority for nations worldwide. This is because the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992, brought attention to environmental issues on a global level. This was achieved through Agenda 21, which drew the attention of various states to the importance of environmental protection.

  1. Rio-Summit 1992 dealt with climatic change, biodiversity, and forestry.
  2. Agenda 21 aimed to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability.
  3. The Kyoto Protocol established targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These conferences and summits brought global attention to environmental issues and encouraged cooperative efforts among states to address environmental degradation.

8. Compromise and accommodation are the two essential policies required by states to save Planet Earth. Substantiate the statement in the light of the ongoing negotiations between the North and South on environmental issues.

Compromise and accommodation are two essential policies to save the planet, but states in the North and South have different notions about environmental issues.

  1. The Northern States (Developed) are concerned with ozone depletion and global warming, while the Southern states (Developed) prioritize the relationship between economic development and environmental management.
  2. The developed countries of the North want to discuss the environmental issues that stand equally responsible for ecological conservation.
  3. The developing countries of the south believe that much of the world’s ecological degradation is caused by industrial projects of developed countries.
  4. Developed countries are responsible for more environmental degradation, so they should take more responsibility.
  5. The developing countries undergoing industrialization should be exempted from restrictions imposed on developed nations.
  6. The development, application, and interpretation of rules of International Environmental Law should consider the unique needs of developing countries.

All the provisions mentioned above were agreed upon during the Earth Summit in 1992, where they adopted common but differentiated responsibilities.

9. The most serious challenge before the states is pursuing economic development without causing further damage to the global environment. How could we achieve this? Explain with a few examples.

Achieving sustainable economic development is a difficult task that requires a shift towards environmentally-friendly practices. Here are some strategies and examples to achieve this goal.

Transition to Green Energy:

  • Strategy: Invest in renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimize environmental degradation.
  • Example: Countries like Denmark and Germany have successfully transitioned to a significant share of renewable energy in their energy mix, reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact.

Circular Economy Practices:

  • Strategy: Adopt circular economy principles that focus on reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling, thereby minimizing the environmental impact of production and consumption.
  • Example: The Netherlands has implemented circular economy initiatives, promoting recycling and sustainable production practices.

Sustainable Agriculture:

  • Strategy: Implement sustainable farming practices that reduce the use of harmful pesticides and promote soil health and biodiversity.
  • Example: Costa Rica has adopted agroecological practices, emphasizing organic farming and conservation, contributing to sustainable agriculture and environmental preservation.

Eco-Friendly Infrastructure:

  • Strategy: Develop infrastructure projects that prioritize environmental sustainability and resilience.
  • Example: Singapore’s commitment to green building practices, including vertical gardens and energy-efficient designs, showcases how infrastructure can be developed with minimal environmental impact.

Responsible Forest Management:

  • Strategy: Implement policies and practices that promote responsible forestry, preventing deforestation and promoting reforestation efforts.
  • Example: Bhutan’s focus on maintaining a carbon-neutral status involves sustainable forestry practices and extensive tree planting initiatives.

Promotion of Sustainable Transportation:

  • Strategy: Invest in public transportation, electric vehicles, and non-motorized modes to reduce emissions and alleviate environmental pollution.
  • Example: Norway’s promotion of electric vehicles and extensive public transportation infrastructure has contributed to a reduction in carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  • Strategy: Encourage businesses to adopt environmentally responsible practices through CSR initiatives.
  • Example: Companies like Patagonia and Unilever have implemented sustainability initiatives, from using eco-friendly materials to reducing their carbon footprint, showcasing how businesses can contribute to environmental protection.

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