Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Conservation of Environment
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Climate Change and India in 2021
- High Vulnerability to Climate risks: 75% of districts in India, home to over half the population, were vulnerable to extreme climate risks. Drought-affected districts have increased by yearly average of 13 times over the last two decades. The frequency of cyclones has also doubled.
- Increased Frequency of extreme Climate events: While India witnessed 250 extreme climate events between 1970 and 2005, the country recorded 310 extreme climate events after 2005 alone.
- Financial Losses: Between 1990 and 2019, India incurred losses exceeding $100 billion.
- Enhanced Intensity of Extreme Climate events: The intensity of floods increased eightfold and that of associated events such as landslides and heavy rainfall increased by over 20 times since 1970.
- Swaping Trend: Over 40% of Indian districts now show a swapping trend: flood-prone areas are becoming drought-prone, and vice-versa.
Steps India should take in 2021 to enhance its resilience and adaptive capacity against extreme climate events
- Focused Mission: India should create an Environment and Health De-risking Mission to increase emergency preparedness, secure critical resources and build resilient infrastructure and governance systems to counter the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.
- Decentralization: Focus on democratising local climate-related and weather-related data along with integrating risk projections in national, sub-national and district disaster and climate plans.
- Focus on Indigenous Communities: Restoration, revival, and recreation of traditional climate-resilient practices, with a special focus on indigenous communities, often on the front lines of ecosystem conservation.
- Creation of Comprehensive Climate Risk Atlas: This Atlas should identify, assess and project chronic and acute risks at a granular level to better prepare against extreme climate events. The Atlas would also help in assessing the resilience and adaptation capabilities of communities & business and act as risk-informed decision-making toolkit for policymakers. It would help in climate-proofing critical infrastructure.
- Financing Tools: To finance climate action at scale, risk financing instruments and risk retention and identification tools should be supplemented by contingency and adaptation funds such as the Green Climate Fund. This will enhance the public finance pool and gear up efficient allocation across sectors at risk by mobilising investments on critical infrastructures and resilient community actions.
- International Collaboration: As the permanent chair of the recently formed Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, India should play a pivotal role in attracting private investments into climate-proofing of infrastructure. It should also promote adaptation-based infrastructure investment decision making in these countries.
Connecting the dots:
- Paris Climate Deal
- Do you think COVID-19 has enhanced environmental consciousness of the world?