Karnataka to weather climate change

Ticking bomb: Studies indicate situation heading from bad to worse
Last Updated : 27 June 2011, 02:05 IST

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The government has entrusted the work of preparing the ‘Karnataka Climate Change Action Plan’ to Environment Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) under the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment. Final touches are being given to the report, which is to be released next month, after extensive consultation with government departments, scientific institutions and independent experts.

Once the plan is finalised, be prepared for several regulatory frameworks and policy interventions ranging from protection and conservation of forest areas to recharge of ground water among others.

Climate change is indeed a matter of concern for the State. Several studies have predicted a changing weather pattern in the coming decades with warmer climate, depletion in rainfall and increase in drought situations necessitating the need for adopting mitigating options.

After Rajasthan, Karnataka is the most vulnerable state in the country to climate change. The arid districts of North Karnataka have earned the State the tag of second driest place in the country.

While the government has the mammoth task of making people change their lifestyle and follow sustainable living principles to reduce global warming, the government itself has a list of dos and don’ts.

Kanwar Pal, Secretary, Environment and Ecology department, says the State is already in a preparatory mode to mitigate the impact of climate change. The government’s move making rainwater harvesting mandatory for all new buildings in Bangalore is a part of the water conservation initiative, he pointed out.

Other measures in this direction include the State’s community-based tank management project for rejuvenation of tanks, subsidies for taking up drip irrigation, priority for organic farming and use of solar energy, policy of phasing out old vehicles and improvement in mass transport system, afforestation programme and clean development mechanism for energy among others.

“Once the action plan is in place, we will streamline and fine tune the policy intervention to mitigate climate change impact,” Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Meera Saxena said.

The inputs provided by Centre for Sustainable Development and the Bangalore Climate Change Initiative - Karnataka (both organisations are also working on the issue) would also be considered before finalising the action plan, Pal said.

EMPRI research scholars working on the report said that action plan would cover major areas including agriculture, forest, energy and water conservation. Short and long term remedial measures to reduce the impact of climate change would be suggested. The role of agencies to implement the remedial measures would also be elaborated in the action plan.

The State government has also constituted a coordination committee headed by the development commissioner to comply with the action plan.

The 20-member committee comprises secretaries of various departments and will monitor the action initiated by departments with regard to the guidelines stipulated for mitigating climate change impact.

The state-level action plans are being prepared as a part of the announcement made by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change in 2008 about the need to formulate a national action plan on climate change.

Published 26 June 2011, 17:14 IST

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