Understanding the Nuances of Climate Change in the Indian Subcontinent: Impact and Way Forward is an Online International Monsoon School Program, a Six-Week Immersive Online Introductory Certificate Training Course from August-September 2023 by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute. An informative and interactive panel discussion on“Understanding Climate Change and various forms of Disasters”was held on the 19th of August 2023 by Prof Anil K Gupta, Professor & Head, ECDRM; HOD, Director of Projects & Centre of Excellence & International Cooperation, Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), New Delhi.
Introduction to Climate Change
The second speaker of the day, Prof Anil K Gupta, Professor & Head, ECDRM; HOD, Director of Projects & Centre of Excellence & International Cooperation, Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), New Delhi. The climate change started way back in the early 80s so there’s a long journey of climate change science but it was 2007 the fourth assessment report of IPCC that brought a great awakening however in the past also a book called silent displaying by Russell Carson and many other publications brought global awakening in India, speaker mentioned.
Generalizing India is inappropriate due to its vast size, substantial population, and remarkable diversity in geography, ecology, and culture. The nation not only holds the distinction of being the largest in terms of population, but also boasts an impressive array of geographical and cultural distinctions.
Moreover, the varying levels of competencies, understanding, attentiveness, and responsiveness exhibited by different stakeholders, including the government, citizens, private sector, and other involved parties, play a pivotal role and must not be overlooked.
The alarming situation occurring in different parts of India these days and the kind of devastation seen in the infrastructure and the ecosystem of the hilly of Himachal Pradesh specifically, cyclones in the State of Gujarat, gives us the lesson that other kinds of disasters can take place due to climate change. Considering the example of Bangladesh and India, an opener projection has been made that more than 30% of their people are at risk of disastrous climate-related disasters.
India’s history is marked by a diverse range of water and climate-related disasters that have manifested in various forms, such as landslides, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and cyclones. These events have left their imprint across the nation’s vast expanse, encompassing over 7,500 kilometers of land, including islands, and along the coastal regions, where cyclonic occurrences are particularly pronounced.
The speaker also covered case studies from different research papers and books stating many different forms of disasters in different parts of the world.
The concept of sustainable development has also been integrated into disaster management because our developmental planning process and the design of development is sustainable. Vulnerability that is also called as disaster mitigation in the climate change domain mostly referrd to as climate change adaptation and resilience. Reason being that these both have direct linkages with the SDG’s.
Our imperative encompasses the achievement of three pivotal Sendai Framework objectives, along with the commitments stipulated in diverse climate agreements and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all slated for attainment by 2030. This endeavor reveals a remarkable confluence of interests, prompting us to explore the potential co-benefits that may arise. Amid this, a significant aspect emerges—the relentless expansion of our human footprint. As this footprint continues to expand, the urgency to manage crisis situations stemming from climatic extremes intensifies, necessitating a substantial evolution in our crisis management capabilities.
In our discourse of the “known knowns,” these pertain to situations where incidents have already unfolded or scenarios are well-defined, prompting a high degree of certainty. Here, the focus is on crisis management, encompassing strategies for effectively navigating and mitigating such crises. This includes both the preparation for such crises and their skillful handling. In essence, it embodies a comprehensive approach to risk management in the face of immediate and potentially disastrous climate-related events.
India has assumed a proactive leadership role by directing both central ministries and state government ministries to formulate disaster management plans, an initiative that initially raised eyebrows and sparked confusion. The Speaker’s team embarked on the task of clarifying and illustrating the process, demonstrating how these plans should be tailored to the specific sectors each ministry oversees. This approach is of paramount significance, as it entails creating disaster plans that pertain to the unique responsibilities of each ministry.
Illustrating the efficacy of this strategy, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently unveiled a comprehensive disaster management plan. Noteworthy for its approval by the Government of India under the guidance of the esteemed Prime Minister and the Disaster Management Authority (MDMA), this plan is designed to mitigate the impact of calamities. For instance, the plan addresses the repercussions of flooding in Assam on the Kaziranga wildlife and outlines measures to safeguard these creatures.
Our comprehensive strategy accounts for protected areas affected by diverse disasters, including cyclonic storms, landslides, floods, and droughts. These events impact not only biodiversity but also ecosystem services. Notably, we’ve also lent support to the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals in devising their national disaster management plan. This plan considers the vulnerabilities of chemical and petrochemical industries to a wide array of disasters, including heatwaves, cyclonic storms, and coastal flooding.
In conclusion, he added the key issues for the vision 2047 when India will have 100 years of India’s independence so this the completion of the Amrit Kaal so which is also an initiative and have identified five major thematic areas where we are designing the vision for 2047 or we can say vision 2050 which is very important because now all the three global policies is degrees framework and previous climatic agreement which are going to complete by 2030. India’s leadership initiatives under G20, the first ever G20 presidency anywhere has brought the disaster as management special working group.
Acknowledgement: Mansi Gang is a research intern at IMPRI.
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