What are the major impacts of climate change on India? Discuss the mitigation and adaptation strategy employed by the country to tackle it.

Model Answer

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in average temperatures and weather patterns and their impacts on the planet. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels have been the main driver of climate change.India is more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its diverse terrain, rapid use of natural resources, industrial development and urbanization.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), India can face the following impacts of climate change:

  • Glacial retreat in the Himalayas:Rising temperature and rain can cause glacial lake outburst floods. It could be evident from the February 2021 incidence of glacial burst from Uttarakhand.
  • Flooding, Landslides and Cyclones: Compounding effects of sea-level rise and intense tropical cyclones lead to flooding in India’s various regions. e.g., Mumbai and Konkan region (2021 flood) is prone to sea-level rise and flooding. Increasing cyclones (in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal) in the last 3-4 years are the cause of concern.
  • Draughts: Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially northwestern India, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh. Agricultural production will be affected by 2040.
  • Erratic monsoon: Monsoon rain will be dominated by aerosols and internal variability shortly, but in the long term, it will increase.Erratic monsoon rain caused a devastating loss in the 2021 flood in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Kerala.
  • Intense heat stress:Heat extremes are increasing, and marine heatwaves will continue to increase. These are likely to impact India in recent years as it currently affecting the Andhra and Telangana region.

Most of these impacts are irreversible and hence cannot be remediated even if GHG emissions decline dramatically. Therefore, India employed the following strategies to mitigate the climate change impact and adapt to it.

Mitigation:

  • NAPCC: It includes reducing the emission of greenhouse gases that cause the temperature rise. In 2008, the (Government of India) GoI initiated the NAPCC outlining existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • Paris Agreement: Under this, India committed to a) reduce GHG emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35% below 2005 level by 2030, b) 40% of power capacity will be generated through clean energy sources, and c) it will create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 bn tonnes of CO2 through additional forest and tree cover.
  • National Clean Energy Fund:In 2010, the GoI created the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) to finance and promote clean energy initiatives and fund research in clean energy in the country. 

Adaptation:

  • It includes building the capacity of the community through financial, technical and other infrastructural support to minimize the losses due to climate change.
  • Interlinking of rivers project to avoid the problem of scarcity of water
  • Adopting climate-smart agriculture to produce more in less input with avoiding impacts of climate change.

According to the World Bank, climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture and fuelling the spread of malaria and other diseases. Therefore, implementing global and individual country’s efforts under the Paris agreement is the urgent need of time.

Subjects : Environment

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