CLIMATE VULNERABILITY INDEX

GS- 3 CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND DEGRADATION

CONTEXT

Recently, a report titled “Mapping India’s Climate Vulnerability – A District-level Assessment” has been released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) (not-for-profit policy research institution). The report has also launched the first-of-its-kind Climate Vulnerability Index. The index has analysed 640 districts in India and found that 463 of these are vulnerable to extreme floods, droughts and cyclones.

ABOUT INDEX

  • Affected States: 27 Indian states and Union territories are vulnerable to extreme climate events which often disrupt the local economy and displace weaker communities. The states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar are the most vulnerable to extreme climate events such as floods, droughts and cyclones in India.

  • Magnitude of Impact of Climate Change: More than 80% of Indians live in districts vulnerable to climate risks. 17 of 20 people in the country are vulnerable to climate risks, out of which every five Indians live in areas that are extremely vulnerable. More than 45% of these districts have undergone “unsustainable landscape and infrastructure changes”.

  • Low-level of Adaptability: More than 60% of Indian districts have medium to low adaptive capacity in handling extreme weather events.

  • Role of Anthropogenic Activities: The anthropogenic activity has already made vulnerable districts become even more vulnerable to impacts of natural disasters. Some of the activities have led to:Loss of wetlands and loss in mangroves which would act as a natural barrier, making it more vulnerable. Landscape disruptions such as the disappearance of forest cover, over-construction, have led to degradation of natural ecosystems.

  • Triggering Financial Crisis: Combating the rising frequency and scale of extreme climate events is fiscally draining for developing countries such as India. Investments in infrastructure such as housing, transport, and industries will be threatened by these events, especially along the coasts, adding that mounting weather-related insurance losses could trigger the next financial crisis.

MITIGATION

  • Decentralized Planning: Since most districts in India are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, a district-wise climate action plan is required. The CEEW study also indicated that only 63% of Indian districts have a District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP). Policymakers, industry leaders and citizens must use the district-level analysis to make effective risk-informed decisions.

  • Mobilizing Green Finance: With loss and damage rising exponentially due to the climate crisis, India must demand climate finance for adaptation-based climate actions at COP-26 (Climate Conference). At COP-26, developed countries must regain trust by delivering the USD 100 billion promised since 2009 and commit to stepping up climate finance over the coming decade. Further, India must collaborate with other countries to create a Global Resilience Reserve Fund, which could act as insurance against climate shocks.

  • Climate Risk Identification: Finally, developing a Climate Risk Atlas for India would help policymakers to better identify and assess risks arising from extreme climate events. Climate-proofing of physical and ecosystem infrastructures should also now become a national imperative.

  • Institutional Setup: India must create a new Climate Risk Commission to coordinate the environmental de-risking mission. Enhanced climate finance can also support India-led global agencies like the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) to further mainstream climate actions.

WAY FORWARD

India’s climate change mitigation strategy should include post-Covid-19 recovery plans, according to the report. These include reducing fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, better coordination between the central and state governments and raising self-sufficiency by domestic manufacturing in the renewable sector.

plutus ias daily current affairs 28 Oct 2021