India’s INDCs Sets Ambitious Targets for Fighting Climate Change
India’s INDCs Sets Ambitious Targets for Fighting Climate Change

Harshita Bisht

20 October 2015

Announcing its action plan on climate change, India has committed to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 using 2005 levels as a baseline. This announcement was made on 2nd October, 2015 when India formally submitted its climate contributions to United Nations ahead of climate talks scheduled in December, 2015 in Paris.

Setting ambitious targets, India has not only committed to bring down its Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally but has also pledged to substantially increase its share of renewable energy by 2030. With an immense push on clean energy sources, India has committed to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030. To further fulfill this action plan, India has committed to increase in forest and tree cover by 2030 to create carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. It has further elaborated that decarbonizing sectoral measures will play an important role in meeting country’s goals in a climate compatible manner. This is an important milestone for India, which has put forward ambitious actions on emission reductions while clearly explicating its renewable energy and forestry targets.

In addition to India’s efforts on emission reduction and low carbon development, India’s contributions have also emphasised on country’s adaptation needs to climate change. Stating the vulnerability climate change poses on different sectors in the country, India has  also identified the importance of enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.

Setting a low carbon development and climate resilient pathway for itself, India’s INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) have also emphasised on technology and financing needs for enhanced actions against climate change.  The government has said the new emission intensity reduction targets and adapting to climate change will require approximately $2.5 trillion at 2014-15 prices between now and 2030. Stating this, India has also highlighted the need to mobilize domestic and new and additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap. On the technology aspect, India has advocated the transfer and grounding of technologies and their knowhow as a crucial measure for enhancing adaptation and mitigation measures in developing countries. Global collaboration in research and development of technologies and supporting their transfer free of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) costs, to developing countries could act as an enabling factor in this direction.

Considering its actions as fair and utmost ambitious, India has also reiterated development needs for addressing the challenges of poverty eradication, food security, energy and other sustainable developmental goals. Echoing the economic development needs of the country, the comprehensive pledges aims to have a balanced emphasis on economic development and environment.

Harshita Bisht

Development Alternatives

+ More
Vulnerabilities and Adaptation to Climate Change in Rural Areas in the State of Madhya Pradesh

Dr Malti Goel

15 October 2014

Climate change due to increased anthropogenic activities has become one of the biggest environmental threats facing the world in the 21st century. It is a potential risk and can cause irreversible harm to societies and ecosystems. A rising world population in the mid-century and end-century are expected to create further chaos. Almost all sectors of economy, especially social-economic namely; agriculture, forestry, water resources, human health, coastal settlements including energy, are most vulnerable and will need to adapt to a changing climate as well as take action to mitigate its adverse impacts. India has a National Action Plan on Climate Change, announced in 2008 with the intent to develop sectoral response towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of the climate change policy, various states have now prepared their action plans consistent with the strategies outlined in the national action plan.

Vulnerability Assessment is the key component in the approach of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, for the state action plans. For Madhya Pradesh, the State Action Plan on Climate Change (MP-SAPCC) has been strategised by the state level nodal agency Government of Madhya Pradesh Climate Change Cell (GoMP-CCC) established in 2009 within Environment Planning & Coordination Organisation (EPCO) of the Housing and Environment Department. Policy reforms, institutional arrangements, stakeholder participation, and estimation of regional climate change vulnerabilities are major highlights of SAPCC. Assessment of vulnerabilities is the process of identifying, quantifying and prioritising threats from potential hazards to population, infrastructure, development goals etc. Vulnerabilities cannot be measured directly and have to be inferred with the help of various variables.

The GIZ project on ‘Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA-RAI)’ aims to assess vulnerability and contribute to improving livelihoods and adaptive capacities of rural communities in India. The project focuses on integrating the issue of climate change adaptation in policy decisions of development plans in different sectors. District wise vulnerability in terms of time, human and financial resources has been assessed mainly for their impact on natural resources, land use, forests, biodiversity, and agriculture. The CCA-RAI has taken a structured approach to risk assessment at the state level, nullifying the gap between global scenarios and local risk assessments. The objective of the project is to develop an understanding towards the interventions required to improve the livelihood and adaptive capacities of vulnerable rural communities and formulate strategies for climate change adaptations favouring sustainable development in the rural sector, with demonstrative pilots at selected locations.    

The state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) is marked with a complex social structure. A predominantly agrarian economy, difficult and inaccessible terrain, and scattered settlements over a vast area, together pose several formidable problems to service delivery systems. Many areas, both on rural and urban fronts are vulnerable to climate change. The state needs to scale up its anti-poverty measures. In this regard, considerable experience in tackling challenges associated with social issues exists. It is envisaged that accumulated knowledge at various fronts will be vital in facing the climate change vulnerabilities.

It can be seen that the social, economic and environmental indicators vary widely within the districts in Madhya Pradesh. The highest range among the social indicators is being recorded for decadal growth rate of population, percentage of people below poverty line, percentage of households with access to sanitation facilities and number of slum dwellers per slum. The variations in the economic indicators in term of analysis of the per capita income and net district domestic product at current prices shows that Indore has the highest value, while the lowest value is observed in Dindori. Population served per health centre which includes community, primary and sub-health centres shows good range of variation among the districts with the highest range being observed for Bhopal and the least for Mandla. Similarly, among the environmental indicators for fertilizer consumption, yield of all crops average, livestock population, flood discharge and annual average rainfall shows the highest range in variation.

The changing pattern of climate is expected to lead to increased frequency and/or severity of extreme events. It would increase the vulnerability of the state to natural disasters such as drought, flood and cyclones. The poor and rural communities which are comparatively more dependent on ecosystem services are, therefore, likely to be more affected by deteriorating environmental conditions and factors limiting resource availability. The analyses of changes in monsoon rainfall pattern due to global climate change make significant inferences. Madhya Pradesh has a subtropical climate. Hot dry summer extends from April to June followed by monsoon from July to September and winter months (November to February) are cool and relatively dry. Using PRECIS portable regional climate model with a grid resolution of 0.44° x 0.44° and output from global coupled atmosphere-ocean (HadCM3) information on summer monsoon rainfall is captured to delineate regional impacts. Indian RCM (Regional Climate Model) PRECIS has been configured for a domain extending from about 1.5°N to 38°N and 56°E to 103°E. Using model calculations, a comparison of observed and baseline precipitation in various districts of the state is shown in Fig. 1. Precipitation is projected to increase by about 11% and 30% towards mid-century and end-century, respectively. In Fig. 2, the projected changes in precipitation for the mid-century and end-century are depicted.

 Fig. 1. Comparison of Observed and Simulated changes in Precipitation for Madhya Pradesh

Fig. 2. Projected change in mean annual precipitation in Madhya Pradesh for mid and end-centuries

The model simulations have indicated an all-round warming over the Indian subcontinent associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Maximum of maximum and maximum of minimum temperatures consistently show increasing trend and significant warming over. Climate extremes are also predicted to show significant increasing trend for warm day/night and consecutive dry days and decreasing trend for cool day/night.

Composite Vulnerability Index (CVI) is a parameter defined to facilitate decision making. Using multivariate analysis, CVI has been created by standardising indicators across the range of data to give relative weightage to its 50 districts. By looking at the CVI ranks, one can make out which district is the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. While individual Vulnerability Assessments (VA) are made on the scale of 1 to 50, CVI is graded on a scale of 0 to 1. Districts which are at the bottom end of the range with “low” scores nearing zero have the highest relative vulnerability. The districts at the top of the range with “very high” scores nearer to 1 do not necessarily have low absolute vulnerabilities; rather they are better off compared to other districts of Madhya Pradesh. All 50 districts are grouped into four categories, ‘very high’, ‘high’, ‘moderate’ and ‘low vulnerability’ according to their degree of vulnerability using cluster analysis. A composite vulnerability map has been prepared for baseline, mid-century as well as end-century scenario.


+ More
Adaptive Planning: For Climate Resilient Communities

Amit Anand, State Representative, UNDP Madhya Pradesh

15 September 2014

Mandated by the Government of India, all states are required to develop their State Action Plans on Climate Change on lines of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The states are also supposed to mainstream appropriate Climate Change strategies in the relevant state policy, plans and schemes/ programmes.

While mainstreaming of Climate Change concerns in policy happens at the institutional level, mainstreaming at the programme/ scheme level needs to be preceded by plans that help communities better adapt to those climate change related vulnerabilities and challenges. This involves identifying sector-specific vulnerabilities of the communities and the region, capacity building of communities, capacity development of institutions facilitating the planning/implementation process, integration of those concerns in the plans for the scheme/ sector and a mechanism that ensures that activities are undertaken as per the prepared plans during implementation.

A number of approaches and mechanisms have been tested to identify the best ways in which adaptation can be integrated into the development process and each one of these approaches poses different issues and challenges:

  • Eco-system based approach versus administrative approach to Adaptive Planning.
  • Focus on community-specific vulnerabilities versus regional vulnerabilities.
  • Reliance on technical vulnerability assessment (quantitative) versus participatory vulnerability assessment (qualitative) as the basis for planning.
  • The larger debate related to sectoral planning versus convergent planning.

With several uncertainties associated with the implications of climate change for a given community, it is evident that adaptive planning can only attempt to help a region/ community understand the type of vulnerabilities that may emerge or intensify and understand what are the best approaches to cope with and minimize the impact of those potential changes on different set of people within the community. There is, of course, consensus on one issue- that adaptation plans need to have the flexibility to be able to respond to somewhat altered scenarios.

In terms of approaching adaptive planning there could be two points of view:

  1. One is to look at adaptive planning in the context of disasters and enlarging the scope of the disaster preparedness/ management plans to incorporate longer term climate change risks.
  2. Another approach, though relatively untested, and which needs much more effort, tries to look at adaptation within the context of regular development planning process and how departmental / village plans can be best informed by potential climatic changes.

At another level, when we look at how adaptive planning needs to unfold and its point of entry on the ground, there are differing perspectives including:

  1. Initiating work directly with communities facing a common set of vulnerabilities, in order to test approaches intensively but on a small scale and then take those learnings to scale.
  2. Placing premium on first working closely with an identified vulnerable sector, building capacities of the service-providers from the top down and then engaging with the communities with this ‘capacitated’ support structure.

Both the above approaches have their pros and cons; the former providing a more grounded approach but expecting the ever-evasive convergence from multiple stakeholders, and the latter providing the necessary institutional framework without the guarantee that the capacities will actually get created on the ground. It is important to find the most optimal path that could ensure adequate community involvement in identifying challenges, the mandate to plan for those vulnerabilities, the right institutional support mechanism and finances to implement those participatory plans through the regular developmental planning process.

Another larger question that also needs to be debated is the overall planning process in the country within which adaptive planning needs to be embedded. With issues like lack of local participation in the planning process, lack of convergence among stakeholders, scheme-based responses to village needs, multiplicity of plans (village/district plans, plans for flagships, departmental plans) which do not necessarily dovetail into one another, ‘transmission losses’ of local priorities at each higher step towards aggregation of plans and the limited capacities of mentoring institutions and functionaries at the local level, any step towards adaptive planning needs to factor in these limitations of the current planning process.
It is about time planners in India began thinking about how planning could be  used as an effective tool for creating resilience among vulnerable communities.


+ More
How Madhya Pradesh is Fighting Climate Change
How Madhya Pradesh is Fighting Climate Change

"Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich environment and long tradition of symbiotic relationship between people and natural resources"

Dr Malti Goel

Vulnerabilities and adaptation are key activities of any climate change action plan. India has a National Action Plan on Climate Change announced in 2008, with the intent to develop sectoral response towards vulnerability of climate change as well as its mitigations and adaptation. As part of the climate change policy, various States are expected to give their action plans consistent with the strategies outlined in the national action plan. 

Looking at the priority list of states, Madhya Pradesh the ‘heart of India’ with 72% of its population in rural areas, has high vulnerability to the vagaries of climate change in its most regions. This land-locked state is rich in minerals and has several major river basins. Its eleven agro-climatic zones and five agro-ecological zones with nine national park and twenty five wild life sanctuaries make it rich in biodiversity. The state has low average per capita income, low per capita GHG emission of 0.66 tons and a medium contribution to country’s GDP as compared to many other states, hence is on the path of rapid development. 

Highlights of SAPCC
State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) for Madhya Pradesh has been strategised by state level nodal agency Government of Madhya Pradesh Climate Change Cell (GoMP-CCC) established in 2009 within Environment Planning & Coordination Organization of the Housing and Environment Department. The cell adopted bottom-up approach to develop the SAPCC by holding a number of consultations/workshops with academia, educational institutions, government departments, society representatives and other stakeholders in its all eleven agro-climatic zones. As climate change will impact large number of sectors across different regions, the draft Plan prepared under GoMP UNDP project provides mandates for each key stakeholders. Focus has been on strengthening of capacity building and to ensure efficient implementation.

The major highlights of SAPCC include pro-active approach in identification of policy reforms, institutional arrangements, stakeholder participation, and estimation of regional climate change vulnerabilities. Mainstreaming of climate change concerns in various inter-sectoral schemes and development projects has been devised as a strategy. However, in the absence of regional climate modeling studies about the future climate scenario until the end of the century, estimated vulnerability of some districts is seen more than others. District ranking on vulnerability scale has been attempted requiring more rigorous adaptation actions in some.

State Knowledge Management Center on Climate Change (SKMCCC) envisages to address cross-cutting issues in environment protection & climate change. It proposes to develop state-of-art evaluation tools to provide policy makers with choice of strategies to be implemented - viz sectoral greenhouse gas inventorization and generation of Marginal Abatement Cost Courses (MACC). The industry, classified as mineral based and non-mineral based, is both large and medium. Actions are being taken to adopt Perform, Achieve and Trade mechanism for energy efficiency improvement (in line with National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency-NMEEE). Management of waste, application of clean development marketing and capacity building needs form part of the agenda. The SAPCC of the state incorporates the need for reviewing the State Industrial Policy 2004 and Mineral Development Policy 1995 to integrate climate change considerations.

SAPCC Sectoral Approach
In this era of economic globalization, energy is the driving force for economic growth. In the energy sector Madhya Pradesh has 8324 MW of installed capacity, energy shortages are prominent. In the planned capacity addition of 11,000 MW during next 5 years, more coal based generation has been targeted with related policies to reduce GHG emissions.  Improvement in efficiency of generation technologies, development of low carbon pathways through application of carbon capture & storage, and switch to clean fuels are identified strategies. Renewable energy share however, remains low at about 3%. Much is desired in research & development and application of technology from biomass and solar energy generation. 

Rural populations of the state are vulnerable to shifting cropping patterns, uneven rainfall and longer dry spells. Adding to these are health hazard impacts of climate change. Strategies to institutionalize climate change concerns in the annual plans of Panchayat look promising. In this context, under a GIZ supported project a beginning has been made to introduce sustainable pattern of livelihood with the help of local Panchyat and community participation The case study of Nivas and Bichhia blocks of Mandla district by Oneworld revealed effectiveness of a ‘Village Institution Model. Such models need to be replicated through policy mandates to handle challenges of sustainability, natural resource conservation and overcome risks of climate change. 

The SAPCC projects strategies for improved understanding of for Agriculture, Forestry, Animal Husbandry, Water and Health among other sectors. In view of state’s large endowments of fresh water resources and ground water reserves, improved water resource management practices, water conservation augmentation and preservation of water resources at all scales are high priority areas for the state to fight climate change.

Towards a Climate Change Resilient State
Migration to cities, urban development and governance are other key concerns of climate change adaptation strategies. Energy consumption in cities and towns has been increasing. There is a need for a review of city development plans with a climate change perspectives in sustainable urban planning of cities, promotion of green buildings, preservation of lakes and increasing urban plantation. It is essential to ensure integration of strategies with development plans of the state. The plan highlights for the need of role clarity amongst the institutions and to clearly define the role of each authority in the various activities. Target wise allocation of funds along with their sources will facilitate smoother implementation. 

Towards a climate change resilient state, the SAPCC clearly shows a plan of action for addressing concerns of climate change. The estimated budget for activities that need to be implemented within five years is specified. Policy reforms are at the top of activity agenda. It is imperative that inter-departmental coordination is ensured in successful implementation of strategies for sustainable development. The focus is changing in the national policies and public awareness has to grow. As they say ‘Climate Change’ is not adequate to describe the alarming conditions, the more appropriate would be ‘You will be burn to a crisp and die’ according to Yale Center on Climate Change Communication.

The author is Former Adviser, DST. Currently, she is Executive Director, Climate Change Research Institute and is associated as Senior Adviser with OneWorld for Madhya Pradesh Climate Change Knowledge Portal.

+ More