Saturday, February 22, 2014

Climate Change, Development and Disaster Risk Reduction

Indian Scenario [INDIA’S GHG Emissions Profile, Climate Modeling Forum, India, Supported by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India] :

 With a view to develop a fact-based perspective on climate change in India, the Government of India, through the Ministry of Environment & Forests, has supported a set of independent studies by leading economic institutions. This initiative is aimed at better reflecting the policy and regulatory structure in India, and its specific climate change vulnerabilities. The studies, which use distinct methodologies, are based on the development of energy-economic and impact models that enable an integrated assessment of India’s GHG emissions profile, mitigation options and costs, as well as the economic and food security implications.
The following key results emerge from the studies.
1. Estimates of India’s per capita GHG emissions in 2030-31 vary from 2.77 tonnes to 5.00 tonnes of CO2e, with four of the five studies estimating that India’s GHG emission per capita will stay under 4 tonnes per capita. This may be compared to the 2005 global average per capita GHG emissions of 4.22 tonnes of CO2e per capita. In other words, four out of the five studies project that even two decades from now, India’s per capita GHG emissions would be well below the global average 25 years earlier.
2. In absolute terms, estimates of India’s GHG emissions in 2031 vary from 4.0 billion tonnes to 7.3 billion tonnes of CO2e , with four of the five studies estimating that even two decades from now, India’s total GHG emissions will remain under 6 billion tonnes of CO2e.
3. All studies show evidence of a substantial and continuous decline in India’s energy intensity of GDP and CO2  intensity of GDP.
4. The key drivers of the range of these estimates are the assumptions on GDP growth rates, penetration of clean energy, assumed energy efficiency improvements etc. There are also justifiable differences in model assumptions, model structure and data, and scenario definitions. It is therefore neither feasible nor advisable to define a single “baseline” or “business-as usual” trajectory for a country’s GHG emissions.
The Way Forward: Eight National Mission
There are Eight National Missions which form the core of the India’s Action Plan, representing multi-pronged, long-term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in the context of Climate Change. The focus is on promoting understanding of climate change, adaptation and mitigation. These are:
1)      National Solar Mission
2)      National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
3)      National Mission on Sustainable Development
4)      National Water Mission
5)      National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
6)      National Mission for a Green India
7)      National Mission for sustainable Agriculture
8)      National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
Linking Climate Change, Development and Disaster Risk Reduction
Climate changes cause more humanitarian disasters and poorest people are most affected. It leads to increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns over the century that will significantly affect human livelihoods. Longer-term climate variability can lead to changes in the productive base of society, particularly in natural resource dependent economies, thus enhances progression of vulnerability of that society. At local level, climate change ultimately means Disaster Risk.
Of great concern is the fact that reported disaster occurrences almost doubled between 1995 and 2005. The observed increases in storms, droughts and intense rainfalls reported for some regions by the IPCC Fourth assessment Report suggest that we will see commensurate changes in the impacts of such hazards.
What we can do is systematically identify and reduce the vulnerabilities to the various hazards related to climate change. The measures needed, be they termed disaster risk reduction” or adaptation, are in many cases the same. Both are concern for sustainable development. In fact, these Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and development differ only spatially and temporally. ‘Coping Capacity’ to reduce Disaster Risk becomes ‘adaptation’ to climate change in the long run.
Unfortunately, at policy level, CCA, development and DRR occupy separate platform, despite the fact that they interplay and have common characteristics on all levels of development.
In recent years, the dialogue on post Hyugo framework has involved in the climate change discussions, offering concepts, tools and methods for adaptation. The Bali Action Plan agreed by Governments in December 2007 clearly identifies consideration of disaster reduction strategies for enhancing action on adaptation, and is a significant step toward achieving a properly integrated approach.
But it is at national and local levels that most efforts to reduce disaster and climate change risks must be made, and here the disintegration of sectoral policies is often an obstacle to integrated approaches.

“Where disaster risk reduction and climate change are incorporated into development plans, policies to reduce disaster and climate change risks make sustainable development a core requirement.” [Lisa Schipper and Mark Pelling]

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Relief cannot always replace loss or damage. Specially, livelihood losses in case of marginalized people. If money transaction is not done in a disaster time, its money value is not lost; but manpower is not invested at the disaster time, its money value is lost and can never be recovered. The loss of daily wages is irreversible loss for a marginalized people. Through relief, we try to replace the direct losses and by this try back to the normalcy. Currently we are trying to ‘build back better’ by not ‘rebuilding the risk’. At least, there are some people of positive mind who try to motivate community to move for a change.
Cash transfer is not easy. It is one of the best measures of relief for distressed people, but the selection process is not always transparent. So, the transfer unnecessarily delays. The NGOs can do it smoothly, but their capacity is limited. The governments have the capacity to cover huge number of people, but bureaucratic system and political interventions hampers the process.
Response fund is used for H.B. Grant. It is not always sufficient and the delivery process is very cumbersome. But there is no other simpler way for a government machinery to make it easier considering the transparency issues. There are very experienced insurance companies which deal with disaster insurances. Instead of funding H.B. Grant, government can evolve a mechanism by funding the premium, and the insurance companies will take up the matter of rebuilding the damaged houses. But there are some critical problems in this process that must be sorted out. The problems are like who comes under the policy framework, who will monitor this, etc.
A nationwide HRVA can give us level of risk and vulnerability of people and areas. The premium will be determined on the basis of that level. The mechanism may be difficult, but I believe in the strength of knowledge of Indian economic and financial experts who can manage this.
The next question is how we develop better through relief. When we integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development process how shall we compromise with livelihood? In some cases, livelihood process will confront directly with DRR and CCA. So, we have to think of alternative livelihood process. Enhancement of ‘coping capacity’ of a community means ‘adaptation’ in the long run for an integral community. If we motivate us for a change, disaster will become an opportunity.