India: Threat of climate change
Climate Change is a long-term phenomenon and has been duly recognized by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007. The Government is aware of the adverse impacts of climate change viz. increased frequency of extreme weather events, variation in pattern of monsoons, rise in surface temperature, sea level rise and melting of glaciers. Climate Change is also likely to have adverse impacts in various sectors such as water resources, agriculture, forests, natural eco-systems, coastal zones, health, energy and infrastructure. No studies have quantified the threat to developmental areas.
The international community including India is actively engaged in finding ways and means of preventing climate change. As a part of the global efforts, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 and its Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997.
Being aware of the likely implications of climate change the Government formulated National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and released it on 30th June 2008. The National Action Plan outlines eight Missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan Ecosystems, Green India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change. These National Missions form the core of the National Action Plan, representing multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in the context of climate change. The National Missions are being institutionalized by respective Ministries for implementation.
Besides, Government has taken several steps towards sustainable development through a range of policies and programmes to mitigate climate change aimed at energy conservation, improved energy efficiency in various sectors; promoting use of renewable energy; power sector reforms; use of cleaner and lesser carbon intensive fuel for transport; fuel switching to cleaner energy; afforestation and conservation of forests; promotion of clean coal technologies and encouraging Mass Rapid Transport systems.
Programmes relating to adaptation to climate variability, in the areas of agriculture, water resources, health and sanitation, forests and strengthening of coastal zone infrastructure are being implemented in the country.
National Action Plan outlines steps that will enable the country to adapt to climate change and enhance the ecological sustainability of India’s development path while yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.