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The Editorial Analysis- India’s Climate Imperative

India’s Climate Imperative- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 3: Environment- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

The Editorial Analysis- India’s Climate Imperative -_3.1


India’s Climate Imperative in News

  • In the absence of COVID-19, climate change-induced disasters would have been India’s biggest red alert in recent years.


India’s Climate Vulnerability

  • Rise in Temperature: Temperatures over the Indian Ocean have risen by over 1°C since the 1950s, increasing extreme weather events. Few examples of catastrophes are-
    • The heatwave that scorched Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and New Delhi this year;
    • Torrential downpours in south India in 2021; and
    • The super cyclone Amphan that battered West Bengal and Odisha in 2020.
  • Climate Migration: India is the fourth worst-hit in climate migration. Heat waves in India have claimed an estimated 17,000 lives since the 1970s.
    • Impact: Labour losses from rising heat, by one estimate, could reach ₹1.6 lakh crore annually if global warming exceeds 2°C, with India among the hardest hit.
  • Heat Waves: Heatwaves are aggravated by deforestation and land degradation, which also exacerbate fires.
    • Agriculture, being water-intensive, does not do well in heat wave-prone areas.
  • Sea Level Rise: Floods and storms are worsened by vast sea ingress and coastline erosion in the low-lying areas in the south.



India’s Climate Imperative- Way Forward

  • Resilience Against Weather Extremes: India needs to adapt to climate impacts by building resilience against weather extremes.
  • Various Flood Resistant Measures:
    • Kerala has some flood-resistant houses constructed on pillars.
    • Communities can build round-shaped houses, considering optimum aerodynamic orientation to reduce the strength of the winds.
    • Roofs with multiple slopes can stand well in strong winds, and central shafts reduce wind pressure on the roof by sucking in air from outside.
    • Southern States need stronger guidelines to avoid construction in locations with drainages.
    • It is vital to map flood-risk zones to manage vulnerable regions.
    • Environment Impact Assessments must be mandatory for commercial projects.
  • Mitigation Measures: India needs to work to mitigate environmental destruction to prevent climate change from becoming more lethal.
    • Leading emitters, including India, must move away from fossil fuels.
    • But climate mitigation everywhere is painfully slow, because of a lack of political will.
    • India has made slow progress in choosing 2070 as its target for net zero emissions.
  • Promote Sustainable Agriculture to counter Heat Waves: A solution is to promote agricultural practices which are not water-intensive and to support afforestation that has a salutary effect on warming.
    • Financial transfers can be targeted to help farmers plant trees and buy equipment — for example, for drip irrigation that reduces heavy water usage.
    • Insurance schemes can transfer some of the risks of extreme heat faced by industrial, construction and agricultural workers to insurers.
    • Climate-resilient agriculture calls for diversification — for example, the cultivation of multiple crops on the same farm.
    • There will need to be more localised food production. Weather-based crop insurance would help.
  • Raising Climate Finance: India’s share in disaster management should be raised to 2.5% of GDP.
    • Climate finance is most suited for large-scale global funding from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank.
    • World Food Programme’s funding for Nepal and Bhutan for community-based adaptation and agricultural resilience for vulnerable communities provides an interesting model.

State Energy and Climate Index (SECI) 2022


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