Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in India

August 31st, 2006

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. has an excellent article online about climate adaptation and mitigation in India. Here in an excerpt relevant to recent discussions here on Prometheus:

Finance is another problem for government and development agencies. The Global Environment Facility supports adaptation projects with global environmental benefits. But “how do you prove the global benefit of a storm forecasting or cyclone warning system along a specific coastline?” asks Anand Patwardhan, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai and executive director of the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council.

And even the issue of adaptation itself is contentious. “By shifting the focus to adaptation, major industrialised polluting countries are side-stepping their responsibility towards mitigation” says Sunita Narain, director of the Delhi-based non governmental organisation, Centre for Science and Environment.

Climate change or no climate change, pockets of India face frequent droughts while monsoon floods ravage others. National programmes to improve watershed and ground water management may qualify as adaptation strategies, but they have not been put in place with adaptation in mind.

“It is difficult to distinguish adaptation to climate change from the process of development itself,” says Patwardhan.

“In practice, we do not experience climate change—we experience changes in weather patterns,” he observes. Local communities find it difficult to visualise life in 2050, or to understand what a half degree rise in temperature will mean. And disadvantaged groups already face pressures from population growth, natural resource depletion and socio-economic inequalities. To these communities in particular, climate change will become an added stress of daily life.

“What we need to do” suggests Patwardhan, “is to link day-to-day choices and activities to the long-term response to climate change”


One Response to “Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in India”

  1. Chris Weaver Says:

    Thanks, Roger.

    There was an interesting article in the Aug 26-Sep 1 Economist about Sunita Narain and her fight to try to get Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co to address the issue of pesticides in the soft drinks they’re selling in India.