Tackling the climate crisis

Synopsis: India is doing its part towards climate risk mitigation, but it also needs to develop adaptation strategies and look towards building resilience.

Introduction

IPCC’s 6th assessment report has warned India against more intense heat waves, heavy monsoons and rise in weather extremes in the future. Hence, the pressure to speed up mitigation and adaptation is at an all-time high.

What steps is India taking towards fulfilling its mitigation commitments?

India is doing well in achieving its mitigation commitments of reducing emission intensity and enhancing renewable capacity.

India is targeting 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030 and it has launched mega solar and green hydrogen missions.

The Shoonya programme by NITI Aayog, which aims to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles, is yet another effort towards adoption of clean technologies.

Note: Adaptation can be understood as the process of adjusting to the current and future effects of climate change. Mitigation means making the impacts of climate change less severe by preventing or reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere

With increasing climate risks, India needs to develop adaptation strategies and build resilience.

What steps should India take to develop adaptation strategies and build resilience?

India has some dedicated initiatives towards adaptation, such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change and the National Adaptation Fund. However, a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience actions is needed to save hard-earned developmental gains and adjust to new climate conditions.

India can take the following steps:

Improved early warning systems: It can be more prepared for climate change with high-quality meteorological data. With improved early warning systems and forecasting, we can tackle the crisis better. Premier research institutes can be roped in to develop regional climate projections
for robust risk assessments.

Markets for environmentally-friendly products: For sustainable production systems, it is necessary to develop well-functioning markets for environmentally friendly products and disseminate them for the desired behavioural change.

Private sector participation: It is important to encourage private sector participation for investment in adaptation technologies and for designing and implementing innovative climate services and solutions.

Utilizing traditional knowledge: We need to protect mangroves and forests to address climate-related risks by blending traditional knowledge with scientific evidence and encourage local and non-state actors to actively participate.

Major social protection schemes must be climate-proofed. India has an opportunity to create resilient infrastructural assets, diversify the economy and enhance the adaptive capacity of rural households.

Effective feedback mechanism: For continuous monitoring and evaluation, effective feedback mechanisms must be developed for mid-course correction. Periodic fine-tuning of State Action Plans on Climate Change is crucial.

What is the way forward?

Proactive and timely need-based adaptation is important. Without it, there will be a huge fiscal burden in the future. A more collaborative approach towards climate change adaptation is crucial. Next-generation reforms will promote new business and climate service opportunities across several sectors and thus create a sustainable economy.

Source: This post is based on the article “Tackling the climate crisis” published in The Hindu on 12th Oct 2021.

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