Why India should Focus More on Climate Change Adaptation?

Synopsis- Climate Change initiatives are not working as per their aims. India’s climate policy should focus on Climate Change Adaptation measures instead of emission mitigation.


  • The United Nations COP-26 summit is set to take place in Glasgow in November 2021. This conference was originally scheduled to be held last year but delayed due to COVID-19.
  • The COP-26 will be the first time after the Paris Climate agreement concluded in 2015. Countries will be expected to raise their nationally determined commitments they made as part of that agreement.

Target announced by the major economies to reduce emissions

Countries globally are more focussed upon Climate Change Mitigation instead of adaptation, as depicted below:

  • The EU and the UK have committed to net-zero GHGs by 2050.
  • Japan, Korea, Canada, South Africa all have statements of intent for 2050 targets in either GHG or carbon terms.
  • The US rejoined the Paris Agreement under the Biden administration and will achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
  • China has announced a 2060 carbon neutrality target.
What are the Climate Change challenges in front of India?
  1. Present strategies are not effective in containing the Temperature rise- The original commitments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions might be enough to limit global warming to near 3˚ C by 2100, but it is still not enough to limit it to 1.5˚ C.
  2. As depicted in the data above, the Net Zero target strategy is not that effective. Climate Change is already a reality and India’s population is much more vulnerable. India needs to focus on Adaptation strategies rather than just focussing on mitigation.
  3. US-China collusion on climate policy framing before COP- 26 same as Barack Obama and Xi Jinping before Paris climate summit.
    • Indian interests were neglected at that time despite China being part of the BASIC group. There is a full possibility that the interest of India will not be taken into account this time also.
  4. Financing – By 2020, developed countries committed to mobilize $100 billion in climate financing each year, including a mix of mitigation (carbon reduction) and adaptation projects. According to the OECD, they delivered $21 billion short at the end of 2018. 
    • As per estimates of the Indian finance ministry only a billion dollars in new and additional finance transferred to developing countries annually.
What should India’s stance be at these meetings?
  • Both climate mitigation and Adaption strategies are required. India should focus more on adaptation measures to climate changes. Adaptation and mitigation should be given equal weight if climate change action is discussed.
  • India should highlight the finance component – Developed countries, must keep their pledge to channel $100 billion annually.
  • India needs to implement a new climate change policy to protect its interests and commit to a global climate regime that benefits rather than hinders India’s growth prospects.
  • Delinking from China. India must delink from China and make BASIC a consultative forum only. India needs to forge a coalition with like-minded developing countries on climate change.

India should focus more on Climate Change Adaptation rather than following the Net Zero targets like countries.

Climate mitigation

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