New Delhi: India which has a large vulnerable population must prioritise its grants and policies around them to mitigate the impact of climate change on these communities, according to some of the authors of the IPCC Synthesis Report. The synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is one of the main scientific bodies on climate change crisis, noted that those who contributed the least to climate change are often the most vulnerable to its impacts.
The report said,
People in highly vulnerable areas up to 15 times more likely to die in floods, droughts, storms (compared to those in in most resilient areas).
Prof Joyashree Roy, Energy Economics programme, Asian Institute of Technology, one of the authors of this report, pointed out that public grants for vulnerable groups are extremely important where there is a need to focus while financing, so that the vulnerability of the most vulnerable is addressed better. She said,
So, redistributive policies across sectors and regions that shield the poor and the vulnerable are extremely important. All these can help in achieving higher and deeper ambition and reduce many of the trade-offs or negative impacts on the way to sustainable development.
“We are already at approximately 1.1°C over pre-industrial level temperatures. What it simply means is that any additional warming is going to have an adverse impact. So there are going to be losses and damages on different systems.
Prof Roy, one of the 93 authors of the report, said,
In this report, we talk of loss and damages to biodiversity, livelihood, water security, energy security, etc. So it must be every country’s priority to minimize the loss and damage to this.
She noted that prioritising to minimize the loss and damage is especially important for India which has a large number of vulnerable populations, low-income groups, informal settlements in urban cities, and outdoor workers. She said,
If we are thinking of long loss and damage in terms of lives, livelihood, and biodiversity which also impacts the human system, then there is no alternative to accelerated and equitable action in mitigation and adaptation.
Another author, Dr Aditi Mukherji, Director, Climate Change Impact platform, Consultative Group in International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), said almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. She said,
Even though India’s per capita emissions are less, and India has historically much less responsibility but the reality is India is at the forefront of impacts. We simply cannot say that because we haven’t emitted much, we are not the ones to take action. I think the report makes it clear. Everybody has to take action according to their national context and circumstances urgently.
In terms of energy, Prof Roy said, India is one of the developing countries which have been practising energy efficiency in all sectors be it the household sector, industry sector or transport sector. She said,
So from that point of view, India could achieve low per capita emission growth because of one of these policies. India can increase it more but India has done a lot in that sense already. India can decarbonize the energy supply sector by not only solar and wind renewable energy but using other cleaner options.
On the demand side, she said, when India is expanding its cities or urban infrastructure, it can see how it can integrate the infrastructure design which allows more space for cyclists, pedestrians or better public transport system, access to different technologies for recycling food waste reduction, etc. She said,
There is so much for India to do even without thinking of any rocket science or technology. These are all off-the-shelf technology which can be employed and are within the means of the country.
“Actually, we need to shift the development models towards sustainable development models and these are doable, based on the science that is known now. So the business-as-usual development pathways will not work and we need to make some changes to that,” she said.
Accelerated financial support for developing countries from developed countries and other sources is a critical enabler to enhance adaptation and mitigation actions in the developing countries which can address inequities in access to finance, including its costs, terms, and conditions, and economic vulnerability to climate change, Prof Roy said.
But it is also very important that public finance is an important enabler of adaptation and mitigation, and can leverage private finance. So primary importance is for public finance, which can leverage private finance and finance from other sources. This is a very important policy message, not only for India, but for all countries. These financial options must be used to create opportunities to close the gap, both in adaptation finance, and mitigation finance, she said.
The synthesis report said that by 2030 there is 50-50 chance that global surface temperature in any single year could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, relative to 1850-1900.
The modelling shows that it is theoretically possible to limit 1.5 degrees celsius, but the current scale, scope and pace of global action, pledged until 2030, is not enough. So we are not on track. It (the synthesis report) reiterated this. So, we also need to remember that climate change has caused substantial damage, and increasingly results in civil losses, in terrestrial and loss of human lives and culture, she said.
She further pointed out that if there are overshoots, there will be some irreversible changes and we need to be prepared for those but if we take the actions now which are compatible with 1.5 degree stabilization, there are huge opportunities for new employment and new sustainable economic growth.
Developmental actions which are sustainable, mitigative, adaptive and climate resilient; are the ones we need to be looking for, she added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.