Make community climate-friendly

Thirty states have prepared their State Action Plan on Climate Change to address the impacts.

We have only 2.4 per cent of the world surface area but support 17.5 per cent of world population and house largest proportion of global poor (30 per cent), around 24 per cent of population without access to electricity (304 million), about 30 per cent still relying on solid biomass for cooking and 92 million without access to safe drinking water.

It is natural that with development indices, our per capita Green House Gases (GHG) emissions will be minimum (1.56 metric tonnes in 2010) while in most of developed countries it varied between seven and 15 mt, which is the actual reason for global warming. In view of our negligible per capita GHG emissions, Kyoto Protocol, one of the global measures to combat global warming, has not stipulated any emission caps.

But the USA, the biggest GHG contributor of the GHG, kept insisting that we should declare our upper limit for GHG emissions as our cumulative GHG emissions are significant. Around 363 million people (30 per cent of the population) live in poverty, about 1.77 million people are houseless and population projects indicate that by 2030, about 40 per cent of our population would be urban as against present 30 per cent and such growth is bound to multiply GHG emissions as well.

Subsequent to our prime minister’s address to UN General Assembly, emphasising collective action by global community, the Government of India came out with Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), wherein we agreed to reduce our GHG emissions by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from the 2005 level and to ensure 40 per cent cumulative electricity generation from renewable resources by 2030, and creating additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes, all these measures would require investment of around $206 billion (at 2014-15 prices) between 2015 and 2030.

Our INDC is multi-pronged in approach and focus is on to reduce the GHG emissions based on efficient technology. This is envisaged to be realised through four missions – Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency and National Mission for Green India, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat. Intended vehicles are to shift to renewable energies, energy efficient appliances, ranging from Condensed Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) to efficient automobiles.

Under Solar Mission, we have already installed 2,970 MW of grid-connected (primarily corporate ventures), 364 MW of off-grid (primarily community based) solar generation capacity. Our total renewable energy generation is about 37,010 MW with wind power alone at 24,088 MW alone (purely corporate measures).

The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency is envisaging market-based mechanisms to popularise energy efficient appliances to achieve annual fuel savings of 23 million tonnes of oil-equivalent, avoided capacity addition of over 19,000 MW and 98.55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This approach appears to offer better chances of success as it present win-win situation for all stakeholders involved. In other words, energy efficiency results in savings for all end user of energy and in view of it, thrust for domestic research is vital and this support should also focus on domestic consumer as well.

Ecosystem services
The second approach of INDC is creation of Caron Sink through Green India Mission, by crating forest/tree cover of five million hectares and improving the quality of forest cover on another five million hectares by 2030. Such programme, if implemented effectively, will certainly improve ecosystem services including biodiversity, hydrological services and also increase forest-based livelihood income of about 3 million households living in and around the forests.

But going by the track record of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, progress on Compensatory Afforestation Programme (CAMPA), the envisaged programme appears to give more than minor problems during its implementation, unless the ministry revises its action plans.

Third approach is the preparedness to deal with the consequences of climate change and to mitigate the intensity of negative implications of climate change. The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, National Water Mission and the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture are created for this purpose. Significant knowledge base pertaining to water and agriculture is already existing but the limiting factor is its access.

The need of the hour is building bridges between the knowledge base and end users to ensure effective use of the knowledge. Similarly, the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change is created to examine the climate change in various perspectives and also generate suitable mitigation models at national levels. Further, 30 states have prepared their State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCCs) with both adaptation and mitigation component to address climate change impacts, though adaptation has been identified as a more important element of the Plan.

A combined budgetary requirement of Rs 11.32 lakh crore has been assessed for impleme-ntation of SAPCCs and allocation of resources should be considered on priority basis as well. In addition to the timely declaration of INDC by the government, it should actively catalyse community to be more climate-friendly and partner with it in its fight against climate change to derive maximum impact.

(The writer is associated with Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijayapura, Karnataka)

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