impact-of-climate-change

Context: Climate change and its impact is increasingly being acknowledged as a key risk driver for the financial system by governments, regulators and financial firms, said  Deputy Governor of  Reserve Bank of India.

Background:

  • The periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about due to the changes in the atmosphere as well as the interactions between the atmosphere and various other geological, chemical, biological and geographical factors within the Earth’s system is called Climate change.

Natural Factors – affect the climate over a period of thousands to millions of years.Such as – 

  1. Continental Drift – have formed millions of years ago when the landmass began to drift apart due to plate displacement. This impacts climate change due to the change in the landmass’s physical features and position and the change in water bodies’ position like the change in the follow of ocean currents and winds.
  2. Volcanism – Volcanic eruption emits gasses and dust particles that last for a longer period causing a partial block of the Sun rays thus leading to cooling of weathers and influencing weather patterns.
  3. Changes in Earth’s Orbit – A slight change in the Earth’s orbit has an impact on the sunlight’s seasonal distribution reaching earth’s surface across the world. There are three types of orbital variations – variations in Earth’s eccentricity, variations in the tilt angle of the Earth’s axis of rotation and precession of Earth’s axis. These together can cause Milankovitch cycles, which have a huge impact on climate and are well-known for their connection to the glacial and interglacial periods.

Climate Fragility Risks in India

“A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks”, an independent report commissioned by members of the G7, identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks that pose serious threats to the stability of states and societies in the decades ahead:

  • Local resource competition: As the pressure on natural resources increases, competition can lead to instability and even violent conflict in the absence of effective dispute resolution.
  • Livelihood insecurity and migration: Climate changes will increase the human insecurity of people who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods, which could push them to migrate or turn to illegal sources of income.
  • Extreme weather events and disasters: Extreme weather events and disasters will exacerbate fragility challenges and can increase people’s vulnerability and grievances, especially in conflict-affected situations.
  • Volatile food prices and provision: Climate change is highly likely to disrupt food production in many regions, increasing prices and market volatility, and heightening the risk of protests, rioting, and civil conflict.
  • Transboundary water management: Transboundary waters are frequently a source of tension; as demand grows and climate impacts affect availability and quality, competition over water use will likely increase the pressure on existing governance structures.
  • Sea-level rise and coastal degradation: Rising sea levels will threaten the viability of low-lying areas even before they are submerged, leading to social disruption, displacement, and migration, while disagreements over maritime boundaries and ocean resources may increase.
  • Unintended effects of climate policies: As climate adaptation and mitigation policies are more broadly implemented, the risks of unintended negative effects—particularly in fragile contexts—will also increase.

The Need for an Integrated Agenda

The best way to diminish the threat posed by these climate-fragility risks is to mitigate climate change. However, changes to the climate are already underway, so we must take steps to manage and minimize these risks today. To break down the sectoral barriers that hamper efforts to address climate-fragility risks, we need to address key policy and institutional gaps in three areas:

  • Climate change adaptation: programs help countries anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and take action to prevent, minimize, and respond to their potential impacts.
  • Development and humanitarian aid programs help states and populations build their economic, governance, and social capacities and improve their resilience to shocks.
  • Peace-building and conflict prevention programs address the causes and effects of fragility and conflict by reducing tensions and creating an environment for sustainable peace.

India’s response to Climate Change

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): outlines existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation. The Action Plan identifies eight core “national missions” running through to 2017: Solar Energy; Enhanced Energy Efficiency; Sustainable Habitat; Water; Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem; Green India; Sustainable Agriculture; and Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change. Most of these missions have strong adaptation imperatives.
  • National Clean Energy Fund: The Government of India created the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) in 2010 for financing and promoting clean energy initiatives and funding research in the area of clean energy in the country. The corpus of the fund is built by levying a cess of INR 50 (subsequently increased to INR 100 in 2014) per tonne of coal produced domestically or imported.
  • Paris Agreement: Under the Paris Agreement, India has made three commitments. India’s greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP will be reduced by 33-35% below 2005 levels by 2030. Alongside, 40% of India’s power capacity would be based on non-fossil fuel sources. At the same time, India will create an additional ‘carbon sink’ of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Co2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • International Solar Alliance: ISA was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by India and France, in the presence of Mr. Ban Ki Moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • Bharat Stage (BS) Emission Norms: Emissions from vehicles are one of the top contributors to air pollution, which led the government at the time to introduce the BS 2000 (Bharat Stage 1) vehicle emission norms from April 2000, followed by BS-II in 2005. BS-III was implemented nationwide in 2010. However, in 2016, the government decided to meet the global best practices and leapfrog to BS-VI norms by skipping BS V altogether.

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