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EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY IN INDIA
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Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change
Policy in India
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R K Mall1, S D Attri2 and Santosh Kumar3
1Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221 005,
E-mail: mall_raj@rediffmail.com
2India Meteorological Deprtment, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
3SAARC Disaster Mangement Centre, New Delhi
Abstract
The Super Cyclone in 1999, Drought in 2002 /2009, Heat & cold wave/ extreme temperature
and flood / flash flood, cloud burst in recent years in rural & urban areas are a ‘wake-up call’
from technological, social and economic points of view. This brings out the urgent need to
address sustainable alternate livelihoods to enhance resilience. This study reviewed the
present status of extreme weather event and their trend, their impact on different sectors,
projected climate, disaster management and climate change policy and develops an approach
that looks at institutional structures and interfaces as a way of identifying the possibilities and
actions for mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the disaster management context. In
India Disaster Risk Reduction (DM act 2005) and Climate Change (NAPCC-2008) related
Institutional, Policy and Programme Framework is already exist; It is now time for convergence
for effective development planning and programming: managing risks and uncertainties for all
shocks and stresses as simply good business, particularly in the face of mounting evidence
that disasters are hampering development and poverty alleviation.
Introduction
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of current extreme weather
events, greater monsoon variability and also the emergence of new disaster i.e. sea level rise
and new vulnerabilities with differential spatial and socio-economic impacts on communities.
The impact would be particularly disasters for developing countries, including India and further
degrade the resilience of poor, vulnerable communities, which make up between one quarter
and one half of the population of most Indian cities. With rapid development of coastal areas,
R K MALL, S D ATTRI AND SANTOSH KUMAR
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urbanization, agriculture expansion, increasing population, rapid industrialization, and
economic development, more areas/populations are becoming vulnerable to climate risk and
many have no choice to migrate safer places.
Very recently, disaster managers and policy planners have hardly believe and engaged in
climate change debates, but now finding clear evidence for an observed change in surface
temperature, rainfall, evaporation and extreme events, climate change getting importance as a
significant environmental challenge and disaster. While changes in average climate conditions
can have serious consequences by themselves, the main impacts of global climate change will
be felt due to changes in climate variability and weather extremes. It is observed during last
decade and also projected that extreme weather events i.e. heat waves, cold waves, heavy
rainfall, floods, droughts, more intense cyclones and flash floods will increase and for that we
must concerned about. For example, extremes in maximum and minimum temperature are
expected to increase into the future, but the night temperatures are increasing faster than the
day temperatures and that may be very injurious for agricultural crops. Extreme rainfall shows
substantial increases over large area, particularly over the west coast and west central India.
This unprecedented increase is expected to have severe impact on the hydrological cycle,
water resource (drought, flood, drinking water, forest & ecosystems, sea level / coastal area
/losses of coastal wetlands and mangroves), food security, health and other related areas.
These changes should be factored into development practices and especially disaster risk
management in order to reduce the rising human, economic and financial losses from extreme
weather events and climate variability. Researchers and policy makers across the world
understood the importance of this. Since disasters are a human phenomenon we can change
our ways to reduce our risks. There is need to have a paradigm shift in disaster management
especially under changing climate. In these circumstances, vulnerability assessment is a
powerful tool in the examination of societal well-being in the face of climatic change for better
management which must integrate knowledge about the environment (climate, ecosystems,
water, associated pollution and change) with knowledge about humans and their activities
(agriculture/forestry/fishing, resource management, political governance, energy use, culture)
to determine a holistic picture of how sensitive particular places are and how resilient to the
kinds of changes that might be associated with climate change.
Extreme Weather Events
India is vulnerable to extreme weather events. Over the last decades of the 1990s and 2000s,
both the number and severity of such events increased. One of the anticipated effects of
climate change is the possible increase in both frequency and intensity of extreme weather
events.
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Droughts
The primary cause of any droughts is deficiency of rainfall and in particular, the timing,
distribution and intensity of this deficiency in relation to existing reserves. A prolonged period of
relatively dry weather leading to drought is a widely recognized climate anomaly. Drought can
be devastating to some countries as water supplies dry up, crops fail to grow, animals die, and
malnutrition and ill heath become widespread The environmental effects of drought, including
salinization of soil and groundwater decline, increased pollution of freshwater ecosystems and
regional extinction of animal species.
Human factors that influence drought include demand of water through population growth and
agricultural practices, and modification of land use that directly influences the storage
conditions and hydrological response of catchments and thus its vulnerability to drought. As
pressures on water resources grow so does vulnerability to meteorological drought (WMO,
2002). For the purpose of Identification of drought prone areas by Central Water Commission
(CWC) the criteria adopted was that “drought is a situation occurring in an area when the
annual rainfall is less than 75% of normal in 20% of the years examined. Any block or
equivalent unit where 30% or more of the cultivated area is irrigated is considered to have
reached a stage, which enable it to sustain a reasonable protection against drought”.
Floods
India is one of the most flood prone countries in the world. Twenty-three out of thirty two-
states/union territories in the country are subject to floods and 40 million hectares of land,
roughly one-eight of the countries geographical area, is prone to floods. The national Flood
Control Program was launched in the country in 1954. Since then sizeable progress has been
made in the flood protection measures. By 1976, nearly one third of the flood prone area had
been afforded reasonable protection; considerable experience has been gained in planning,
implementation and performance of flood warming, protection and control measures (CWC,
2007).
Tropical Cyclone
The yearly distribution of tropical cyclones in the north Indian Ocean indicates large year-to-
year variations in the frequency of cyclonic disturbances and tropical cyclones, but no distinct
periodicity. However, there appears to be a slight decreasing trend with time. The annual
average of cyclonic disturbances in the North Indian Ocean is about 15.7 with a standard
deviation of 3.1. The annual number of cyclonic disturbances range from 7 (1984) to 23 (1927).
The annual average of tropical cyclones has varied from 1(1949) to 10 (1893, 1926, 1930,
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1976). India has a long coastline of 8000 kilometers. About 71 percent of this area is in ten
states (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra
Padesh, Orissa, and West Bengal). The islands of Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep are
also prone to cyclones. On an average, about five or six tropical cyclones form in the bay of
Bengal and Arabian sea and hit the coast every year. Out of these, two or three are severe.
A severe super cyclonic storm with winds of upto 250 km/h, crossed the coast in Orissa on
October 29, 1999. This may prove to have been the worst cyclone of the country in the Orissa
region and is responsible for as many as 10,000 deaths, for rendering millions homeless and
for extensive damage.
Extreme Temperature
Extreme positive departures from the normal maximum temperature result in heat wave during
the summer season. The rising maximum temperature during the pre-monsoon months often
continues till June, even in rare cases till July over the northwestern parts of the country. In
recent years heat wave induced casualties have some what increased. Abnormally high
temperatures were observed during April 2002 across the country and a prolonged heat wave
over northern regions of India from mid-April through the third week of May caused more than
1000 fatalities. During 2003 pre-monsoon months, heat wave brought peak temperatures in
May of between 45°C and 49°C. This year's heat was particularly harsh, with a death toll of at
least 1500 people.
Occurrences of extreme low temperature in association with incursion of dry cold winds from
north into the sub continent are known as cold waves. The northern parts of India specially the
hilly regions and the adjoining plains are influenced by transient disturbances in the mid latitude
westerlies which often have weak frontal characteristics. These are known as western
disturbances. The cold waves mainly affect the areas to the north of 20°N but in association
with large amplitude troughs, cold wave conditions are sometimes reported from States like
Maharashtra and Karnataka as well. . Records indicate that the largest size hailstone
occurred in association with a thunderstorm in April, 1888 at Moradabad a town near
Delhi ( De et al., 2006). Tornadoes are rare in India but some of them are quite devastating. In
recent years, a tornado struck Delhi on 17th March, 1978 injuring over 1000 people and inflicting
a damage of rupees ten million in terms of losses to properties and infrastructures.
Thunderstorm, Hailstorm and Dust storm
As winter season transforms into spring the temperature rises initially in the southern parts of
India, giving rise to thunderstorms and squally weather, which are hazardous in nature. While
the southernmost part of the country is free from dust storm and hailstorm, such hazardous
weather affect the central, northeastern, north and northwestern parts of the country. On May
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7, 2010 a dust storm and squall struck two Indian states of Uttar Pradesh (pop. 192 million) and
Bihar (pop. 85 million) killing at least 57. Strong winds were followed by a line of thunderstorm
which brought heavy rains caused widespread damages to buildings, uprooted trees, fell power
lines and destroyed crops.
Future Climate Extremes, Impacts, and Disaster Losses
Confidence in projecting changes in the direction and magnitude of climate extremes depends
on many factors, including the type of extreme, the region and season, the amount and quality
of observational data, the level of understanding of the underlying processes, and the reliability
of their simulation in models. Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions
scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these
signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even
the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain
(IPCC, 2012).
Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century. It
is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature
extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century at the global scale. It is
very likely that the length, frequency, and/or intensity of warm spells or heat waves will
increase over most land areas.
It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy
falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe. This is particularly the case
in the high latitudes and tropical regions, and in winter in the northern mid-latitudes. Heavy
rainfalls associated with tropical cyclones are likely to increase with continued warming. There
is medium confidence that, in some regions, increases in heavy precipitation will occur despite
projected decreases in total precipitation in those regions.
There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st century in some seasons
and areas, due to reduced precipitation and/or increased evapotranspiration. Projected
precipitation and temperature changes imply possible changes in floods, although overall there
is low confidence in projections of changes in fluvial floods. Confidence is low due to limited
evidence and because the causes of regional changes are complex, although there are
exceptions to this statement. There is medium confidence (based on physical reasoning) that
projected increases in heavy rainfall would contribute to increases in local flooding in some
catchments or regions. It is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends
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in extreme coastal high water levels in the future. There is high confidence that locations
currently experiencing adverse impacts such as coastal erosion and inundation will continue to
do so in the future due to increasing sea levels, all other contributing factors being equal. The
very likely contribution of mean sea level rise to increased extreme coastal high water levels,
coupled with the likely increase in tropical cyclone maximum wind speed, is a specific issue for
tropical small island states. Average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to
increase, although increases may not occur in all ocean basins. It is likely that the global
frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged (IPCC,
2012).
There is high confidence that changes in heat waves, glacial retreat, and/or permafrost
degradation will affect high mountain phenomena such as slope instabilities, movements of
mass, and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). There is also high confidence that changes in
heavy precipitation will affect landslides in some regions
Applying Information on Climate Change and Managing Extreme Weather
Events
Past experience with climate extremes contributes to understanding of effective disaster risk
management and adaptation approaches to manage risks. The implication of climate change
for disaster risk reduction is simply to take account of the scientific information on climate
trends, particularly regarding extremes. This means that organization working on disaster risk
reduction need to establish linkages with institutes that can provide them with that information
such as India Meteorological Department or international centre for expertise. These scientific
institutes should also reach out to the disaster risk reduction community and assist in the
optimal application of the climatic information they produce. In some instances, information will
indicate that particular hazards (heat wave, drought, flood and intense cyclone) might become
more frequent or more intense; disaster risk reduction efforts could plan for that (IPCC, 2007).
Such linkages may also provide access to the rapidly improving international capacity in
seasonal forecasting, which provides increasingly reliable probabilistic forecasts of average
temperature and rainfall, as well as risks of extremes, with lead time of a few months up to a
year.
While such information is important, climate change will also create surprises, as part of the
generally increased variability. After a severe drought has hit a particular region, and especially
if trends also suggest greater drought risk, it makes sense to start reducing vulnerability to
droughts, making use of the window opportunity for risk reduction that opens after a disaster
has happened. However, the next disaster might also be an unprecedented flood. Disaster risk
reduction efforts should, particularly in their public communication strategies, take account of
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the possibility of such surprises, and be careful not to see short-term trends in one category of
disasters as providing a consistent projection of future climate change.
While we are focusing on weather extremes, several gradual trends also have significant
impacts on natural disasters. For one, sea-level rise-projected to be between nine and 88
centimeters until 2010-will greatly affect disaster risks in many coastal areas, partly because it
will increase the physical risk of a particular amount of flooding but also because it ( and
broader climate change ) may reduce resilience of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs. In
other areas of the world, climate changes will exacerbate water shortage and decrease
potential crop yields. In such cases, especially when systems are already stretched to their
limits of tolerance (due to previous disasters, conflicts, HIV/AIDS or other factors), a relatively
mild drought may suddenly have very considerable impacts (IPCC, 2007).
The key massage is that disaster risk reduction must embedded the new information on climate
change in a much broader analysis, which primarily assess all key elements in vulnerability to
these hazards, as well as response options to address that vulnerability.
A comprehensive special report on managing the risks of extreme weather events and
disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX) from the IPCC in 2012 has confirmed
what scientific evidence has already concluded; that climate change is a leading cause of
dramatic weather extremes and without adequate preparation, the economic and social
consequences could be dire. The main message from the report is that we know enough to
make good decisions about managing the risks of climate-related disasters (IPCC, 2012).
There is some important massage for managing changing Risks of Climate Extremes and
Disasters from the SREX report that:
Effective risk management generally involves a portfolio of actions to reduce and
transfer risk and to respond to events and disasters, as opposed to a singular focus on
any one action or type of action. Such integrated approaches are more effective when
they are informed by and customized to specific local circumstances (high agreement,
robust evidence). Successful strategies include a combination of hard infrastructure-
based responses and soft solutions such as individual and institutional capacity
building and ecosystem-based responses.
Multi-hazard risk management approaches provide opportunities to reduce complex
and compound hazards. Considering multiple types of hazards reduces the likelihood
that risk reduction efforts targeting one type of hazard will increase exposure and
vulnerability to other hazards, in the present and future.
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Opportunities exist to create synergies in international finance for disaster risk
management and adaptation to climate change, but these have not yet been fully
realized. International funding for disaster risk reduction remains relatively low as
compared to the scale of spending on international humanitarian response.
Technology transfer and cooperation to advance disaster risk reduction and climate
change adaptation are important. Coordination on technology transfer and cooperation
between these two fields has been lacking, which has led to fragmented
implementation.
Stronger efforts at the international level do not necessarily lead to substantive and
rapid results at the local level. There is room for improved integration across scales
from international to local.
Integration of local knowledge with additional scientific and technical knowledge can
improve disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Local populations
document their experiences with the changing climate, particularly extreme weather
events, in many different ways, and this self generated knowledge can uncover
existing capacity within the community and important current shortcomings. Local
participation supports community-based adaptation to benefit management of disaster
risk and climate extremes. However, improvements in the availability of human and
financial capital and of disaster risk and climate information customized for local
stakeholders can enhance community-based adaptation.
Appropriate and timely risk communication is critical for effective adaptation and
disaster risk management. Explicit characterization of uncertainty and complexity
strengthens risk communication. Effective risk communication builds on exchanging,
sharing, and integrating knowledge about climate-related risks among all stakeholder
groups. Among individual stakeholders and groups, perceptions of risk are driven by
psychological and cultural factors, values, and beliefs.
An iterative process of monitoring, research, evaluation, learning, and innovation can
reduce disaster risk and promote adaptive management in the context of climate
extremes. Adaptation efforts benefit from iterative risk management strategies
because of the complexity, uncertainties, and long time frame associated with climate
change (high confidence). [1.3.2] Addressing knowledge gaps through enhanced
observation and research can reduce uncertainty and help in designing effective
adaptation and risk management strategies
International Negotiations
As public concern about changes in the world's climate mounted in the 1980s, the WMO (World
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Meteorological Organization) and the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme)
established the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 1988 to assess the
seriousness of the problem. The First Assessment Report of the IPCC, completed in 1990,
highlighted the global threat of climate change. In December 1990, the UN General Assembly
decided to launch negotiations on what was to become the UNFCCC (United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change). The negotiations commenced in February 1991
and were concluded in 15 months. The Convention was adopted in May 1992, and opened for
signature in Rio at the UN Conference on Environment and Development. It came into force in
March 1994 after being ratified by 50 countries.
By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were
inadequate. They launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change,
and, two years later, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed
countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008
and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in
2020. There are now 195 Parties to the Convention and 191 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
India acceded to the Kyoto Protocol on 26 August 2002.
Regional Policy Response in South Asia
With the rising urgency to respond to its effects, climate change has become a core issue for
SAARC. Its vulnerability has been in focus in SAARC forum ever since the Kathmandu Third
SAARC Summit in 1987 when SAARC expressed its deep concern of the continuing degrading
environment. Back then, SAARC decided inter-alia to commission a study on the ‘Protection
and Preservation of the Environment and the Causes and Consequences of Natural Disasters’
in a well-planned comprehensive framework. This study was finalized in 1991, suggested an
appropriate institutional mechanism for coordinating and monitoring implementation of its
recommendations in the form of a SAARC Committee on Environment. (Kathmandu
Declaration, 1987). The Heads of the SAARC member states focused and took climate
change as a part of their agenda in the Fifth SAARC Summit at Male, Maldives in 1990. It
noted with alarm the unprecedented climatic changes predicted by the Inter-governmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was at this Summit SAARC urged the international
community to mobilize additional finances; to make available appropriate technologies to
enable the developing countries to face the new challenges arising from climate changes and
sea-level rise; it also decided to observe 1992 as the "SAARC Year of Environment" (The Malé
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Declaration, 1990).
The Sixth SAARC Summit at Colombo recognised the degradation of the environment and
SAARC leaders urged the member countries to promote cooperation amongst themselves for
enhancing their respective disaster management capabilities and for undertaking specific work-
programs for protection and preservation of the environment (Colombo Declaration, 1991). The
Eight SAARC Summit at Delhi recognised that international cooperation is vital for building up
national capabilities, transfer of appropriate technology and promotion of multilateral projects
and research efforts in natural disaster reduction. (Delhi Declaration, 1995).
At the Eleventh SAARC Summit at Kathmandu in 2002 they noted the satisfaction about the
growing public awareness of the need for protecting the environment within the framework of
regional cooperation. They also reiterated their call for the early and effective implementation of
the SAARC Environment Plan of Action as endorsed by the SAARC Environment Ministers.
They also felt the need to set up a system for cooperation in the field of the early warning as
well as preparedness and management of natural disasters along with the programs to
promote conservation of land and water resources. (The Eleventh SAARC Summit, 2002).
They stressed for the speedy compliance of the State of the Environment reports, to expedite
the preparation of SAARC State of Environment report and the commissioning of the work on
drafting a Regional Environment Treaty as well as for the effective implementation of the
SAARC Environment Plan of Action which is of utmost important to the region which is highly
prone to natural calamities (The Twelfth SAARC Summit-Islamabad, 2004). In addition, a
Special Session of the Environment Ministers in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami
was held in Malé in July 2005.
At the Thirteenth SAARC Summit at Dhaka in 2005, the SAARC member states emphasised
the need for assessing and managing its risks and impacts and called for adaptation of
initiatives and programmes as well as cooperation in early forecasting, warning and monitoring;
and sharing of knowledge on consequences of climate change for pursuing a climate resilient
development in South Asia and declared year 2007 as the Year of ‘Green South Asia’.
The Fourteenth SAARC Summit (New Delhi, 2007) expressed “deep concern” over the global
climate change and agreed to commission a team of regional experts to identify collective
actions in this regard. As a follow up action, the New Delhi Declaration called for pursuing a
climate resilient development in South Asia. As a way forward and a first step, Bangladesh
proposed to organize an expert meeting. At the Twenty-ninth session of the SAARC Council of
Ministers (New Delhi, 7-8 December 2007), the issue of climate change, particularly the
increasing vulnerability of the region due to environmental degradation and climate change
were discussed. The ministers felt that given all vulnerabilities, inadequate means and limited
capacities, we need to ensure rapid social and economic development in our region to make
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SAARC climate change resilient. They welcomed the offer of Bangladesh to hold a SAARC
Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change to be preceded by an Expert Group Meeting on Climate
Change.
SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change was adopted during the SAARC Ministerial Meeting on
Climate Change on 3 July 2008 ad Dhaka and later endorsed by Fifteenth SAARC Summit on
August 3, 2008 at Colombo. The objectives of the Action Plan are to identify and create
opportunities for activities achievable through regional cooperation and south-south support in
terms of technology and knowledge transfer. To provide impetus for regional level action plan
on climate change through national level activities and to support the global negotiation
process of the UNFCCC such as Bali Action Plan, through a common understanding that would
effectively reflect the concerns of SAARC Member States.
The SAARC Summit in Colombo in 2008 reiterated the need to intensify cooperation within an
expanded regional environmental protection framework, to deal in particular with climate
change issues. They called for an in-depth study on “Climate Justice: The Human Dimension of
Climate Change” to come up with a rights-based approach that would highlight the human
impact when responding to the effects of climate change.
The Sixteen SAARC Summit held at Thimphu, Bhutan in April 2010 and climate change was
the central issue of the summit with summit's theme "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia".
Outcome of Thimpu Summit regarding climate change issue:
SAARC leaders signed a SAARC Convention on Cooperation on Environment to
tackle the problem of climate change.
The SAARC nations also pledged to plant 10 million trees over the next 5 years.
India proposed setting up of climate innovation centres in South Asia to develop
sustainable energy technologies.
India offered services of India's mission on sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
to the SAARC member states saying that the initiative could serve as a nucleus
for regional cooperation in this vital area.
India announced "India endowment for climate change" in South Asia to help
member states meet their urgent adaption and capacity building needs posed by
the climate change.
The seven-page ‘Thimphu Silver Jubilee Declaration-Towards a Green and Happy
South Asia’ emphasized the importance of reducing dependence on high-carbon
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technologies for economic growth and hoped promotion of climate resilience will
promote both development and poverty eradication in a sustainable manner.
The Thimphu summit provided an opportunity to devise a common climate agenda as a
regional group, although as a regional group SAARC has not functioned appropriately in any
previous climate negotiations.
The Seventeenth SAARC Summit was held in Addu City, Maldives in 2011 and signed SAARC
agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters. A 20-point Addu Declaration was adopted
on 11 November 2011 to forge effective cooperation among the member states in a host of
areas including economy, connectivity, climate change, food security and to ensure timely
implementation of the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change.
Climate Change Policy in India
As public concern about changes in the world's climate mounted in the 1980s, the WMO (World
Meteorological Organization) and the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme)
established the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 1988 to assess the
seriousness of the problem. The First Assessment Report of the IPCC, completed in 1990,
highlighted the global threat of climate change. In December 1990, the UN General Assembly
decided to launch negotiations on what was to become the UNFCCC (United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change). The negotiations commenced in February 1991
and were concluded in 15 months. The Convention was adopted in May 1992, and opened for
signature in Rio at the UN Conference on Environment and Development. It came into force in
March 1994 after being ratified by 50 countries.
The Government in India is actively involved with climate change activities since long. India is
a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The Eight
session of the Conference of Parties (COP-8) to the UN convention on Climate Change in
2002, New Delhi ended here with a Delhi Declaration has successfully resolved the technical
parameters necessary for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol (1997). The Delhi
declaration gave primacy for the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
in the climate change process. The National Clean Development Mechanism Authority is
operational since December 2003 to support implementation of CDM projects. The Bali
conference on climate change (December 2009) showed all the countries the way forward to
the next phase of the campaign to control the planet’s changing climate, the specific objective
being to put a multilateral arrangement in place that will succeed the 1997, Kyoto Protocol of
the UN convention on Climate Change, which will terminate in 2012. Doha Climate Change
Conference (COP-18; 18 Nov.-8 Dec. 2012) adapted the second commitment period of the
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Kyoto Protocol, something that Parties have been working toward for last seven years (Mall,
2013).
To address the future challenges, in June 2007, the Government announced the constitution of
a high-level advisory group on climate change and prepared a ‘National Action Plan on
Climate Change (NAPCC)’ and that was released by the Hon’ble Prime minister of India on
June 30, 2008 outlining existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation
and adaptation (http:/pmindia.nic.in/Climate%20Change_16.03.09.pdf); which is in line with the
international commitments and Relates to sustainable development, co- -benefits to society at
large, focus on adaptation, mitigation, and scientific research (NAPCC, 2008). The plan to be
implemented thorough eight missions representing multi-pronged, long-term and integrated
strategies for achieving key goals:
1. National Solar Mission
2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
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
National Solar Mission-
Aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and
other uses, with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based
energy options.
Goals for increasing use of solar thermal technologies in urban areas, industry, and
commercial establishments
Increasing production of photovoltaic to 1000 MW/year
Aims at deploying at least 1000 MW of solar thermal power generation
Establishment of a solar research centre to increase international collaboration on
technology development aimed at strengthening of domestic manufacturing capacity,
and increase government funding and international support.
National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency:
Mandating specific energy consumption to decrease in large energy-consuming
industries, with a system for companies to trade energy-saving certificates
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Financing for public–private partnerships to reduce energy consumption through
demand-side management programs for municipal, buildings, and agricultural sectors,
Energy incentives, including reduced taxes on energy-efficient appliances.
National Mission on Sustainable Habitat:
Aims at promoting energy efficiency as a core component of urban planning by
extending the existing Energy Conservation Building Code, strengthening the
enforcement of automotive fuel economy standards,
Using pricing measures to encourage the purchase of efficient vehicles and incentives
for the use of public transportation.
Emphasizes on waste management and recycling.
National Water Mission: The NAPCC sets a goal of a 20% improvement in water use
efficiency through pricing and other measures which deal in water scarcity as a result of
climate change.
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: This particular mission sets the
goal to prevent melting of the Himalayan glaciers and to protect biodiversity in the
Himalayan region.
Green India Mission: The NAPCC also aims at afforestation of 6 million hectares of degraded
forest lands and expanding forest cover from 23 to 33% of India's territory.
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The NAPCC aims to support climate
adaptation in agriculture through the development of climate-resilient crops, expansion of
weather insurance mechanisms, and agricultural practices.
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: To gain a better
understanding of climate science, impacts and challenges, the plan envisions a new
Climate Science Research Fund, improved climate modelling, and increased international
collaboration. It also encourages private sector initiatives to develop adaptation and
mitigation technologies through venture capital funds.
Now relevant ministries are preparing and submitting their respective plans to the Prime
Ministers Climate Change Council.
The Minister of Environment and Forest, Government of India on October 14, 2009 announced
the launch of the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA), which has been
conceptualized as a network based Scientific Programme designed to:
Assess the drivers and implications of climate change through scientific research
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Prepare climate change assessments once every two years (GHG estimations and
impacts of climate change, associated vulnerabilities and adaptation)
Develop decision support systems
Build capacity towards management of climate change related risks and opportunities
Recent Initiatives
National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)
ICAR has launched in February 2011, a network project called ‘National Initiative on Climate
Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)with a view to enhance resilience of Indian agriculture to climate
change and climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration. The
research on adaptation and mitigation covers crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resource
management. The objectives of the scheme are as follows:
• To enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture covering crops, livestock and fisheries
to climatic variability and climate change through development and application of
improved production and risk management technologies.
To demonstrate site-specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to
current climate risks.
• To enhance the capacity of scientists and other stakeholders in climate resilient
agricultural research and its application
The project consists of four components are Strategic Research, Technology Demonstration,
Capacity Building and Sponsored/Competitive Grants. The output of the project would be:
Selection of crop genotypes and livestock breeds with greater tolerance to climatic stress,
Existing best practices for climate resilience, Capacity Building including Infrastructure and
trained man power. The scheme will be implemented with the Central Research Institute for
Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad under the supervision of the Natural Resources
Management (NRM) Division of ICAR (Planning Commission, 2011).
National Water Mission
Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India started the National Water Mission-2010
and suggested some modification in the National Water Policy. The mission suggested that for
climate change and water management:
i) It promotes integrated water resource management in order to conserve water and
R K MALL, S D ATTRI AND SANTOSH KUMAR
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reduce wastage
ii) It strives to increase water use efficiency by 20%
iii) It puts emphasis on recycling of waste water to meet a considerable share of the
water requirements of the urban areas
iv) It promotes adoption of modern technologies like desalination techniques to make
ocean water usable
v) It revisits the National Water Policy (NWP) for better management of the river
basins under the climate change scenario of variability in rainfall and river flows
vi) It seeks to optimize the competence of existing irrigation systems and
rehabilitation of the old ones
vii) It puts emphasis on water neutral and water positive technologies
viii) The mission seeks to advance
a. Storage (both above and below ground),
b. Rainwater harvesting,
c. Recharging of ground water resources,
d. Sprinklers, drip and ridge and furrow irrigations.
Disaster Management Policy in India
In 2002, a High Powered Committee Report on Disaster Management recommended
establishment of a separate institutional structure for addressing disasters and enactment of a
suitable law institutionalizing disaster management. Further, the 10th Five Year Plan of India
(2002-2007) identified the need for disaster management interventions beyond merely
financing relief. The plan stressed on the need for integrating disaster management with
development process. The Status Report on Disaster Management (2004) also identified that
development, to be sustainable, has to take into account the disaster mitigation needs. These
developments necessitated institutionalization of disaster management framework in India and
consequently, the Disaster Management Bill was presented in the Parliament in 2004. The Bill
was adopted in August 2005. Following the implementation of the Bill, the National Disaster
Management Authority was set up in 2005. Disaster management came to be identified as
continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing
measures required for preventing disasters, mitigating the risk, capacity building, increasing the
preparedness levels, response actions, disaster assessments, evacuation, rescue and relief
and rehabilitation”. The Disaster Management Bill facilitated mainstreaming disaster
management in many ways; firstly, by mandating the involvement of various development-
related sectors in the disaster management framework, and secondly, by directing them to
prepare and execute disaster management plans in their respective sectors of functioning,
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thirdly, by making provisions for separate resource allocation for managing disasters, in form of
the Disaster Mitigation Funds, and fourthly by facilitating training of persons for disaster
management through the National Institute for Disaster Management.
In this structure, National Disaster Management Authority is the nodal authority for all
disaster management actions in the country. It is the policy making body that frames broad
guidelines for the other ministries at the centre and authorities at the state level. The state
authorities further lay down the guidelines for ministries and departments at the state level and
the districts falling in their respective jurisdictions. Similarly, district authorities direct the civil
administration, departments and local authorities such as the municipalities, police department
and civil administration. The Executive Committees at each level are responsible for execution
of the tasks envisaged by the Authorities (MHA, 2011, Mall & Srivastava 2012).
Institutionalization of Climate Change and Disaster Management Research
The Indian subcontinent and the surrounding seas, with more than 1.3 billion people and
unique natural resources, have a significant impact on the regional and global environment but
lack a comprehensive environmental observational network. Within the government of India,
the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has proposed filling this gap by establishing
INDOFLUX, a coordinated multidisciplinary monitoring network that integrates terrestrial,
coastal, and oceanic environment (Sundareshwar et al., 2007).
Capacity building, networking and resource management form the core of institutionalizing
Indian Climate risk management initiatives. This involves a shared vision for policy relevant
climate risk research, scientific knowledge and understanding enhancement, institutional
capacity strengthening (enhanced instrumentation, modeling tools, data synthesis and data
management), technical skill enhancement of climate change and disaster management
researchers, interagency collaboration and networking improvement, and medium to long term
resource commitment
Sporadic research efforts are continuing in India since the last decade; independent climate
change research initiatives by government ministries like MoEF, MoWR, MoHFW, MoA, MoST,
etc; and the NATCOM project, ICAR projects ; apart from a few initiative at individual experts
and institute level. These are the potential partners and future centers for climate change
research. It has to be our endeavor to broaden the existing networks to include all these
research initiatives, while simultaneously expanding the horizon to other research disciplines.
R K MALL, S D ATTRI AND SANTOSH KUMAR
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Way Forward
Within a decade, the immediate tasks are to enhance capacity for scientific assessment,
awareness among the stakeholders and institutionalization of learning process. The capacity
development is a key area here the convergence between managing extreme weather events
and climate change adaptation is most common, but ironically such a synergy in approach in
capacity development has not been forthcoming necessitating renewed understanding,
dialogue and partnerships among key institutions.
While scientific knowledge and research have enriched our understanding of extreme weather
events / hydro meteorological disasters and climate change, at the local level the communities
have inherited local knowledge and wisdom developed through shared experiences of
centuries. Therefore a reservoir of local capacity is already available, which needs to
acknowledged, understood, analyzed, utilized and integrated with modem scientific knowledge.
Hence capacities need not be 'built' from a scratch, it has to be 'developed' on the existing
foundation, through a critical analysis of the existing capacities, gaps in the capacities and
specific approaches to be taken in the development of the capacities to address to the needs of
climate change adaptations.
Disaster risk management and adaptation approaches can enhance social, economic, and
environmental sustainability. The most effective adaptation and disaster risk reduction actions
are those that offer development benefits in the relatively near term, as well as reductions in
vulnerability over the longer term. Progress toward resilient and sustainable development in the
context of changing climate extremes can benefit from questioning assumptions and paradigms
and stimulating innovation to encourage new patterns of response. Disaster Risk Reduction
and Climate Change related institutional, policy and programme framework has been
developed and now time for effective development planning and programming: managing risks
and uncertainties for all shocks and stresses as simply good business, particularly in the face
of mounting evidence that disasters are hampering development and poverty alleviation has
come. These initiatives cannot be successful until and unless they are implemented with a
determined way and in the proper direction for managing extreme weather events
References
Goswami, B. N., V. Venugopal, D. Sengupta, M. S. Madhusoodanan, and P. K. Xavier, 2006:
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1445, doi:10.1126/science. 1132027.
INCCA, 2010: Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment, Climate Change and India: A 4X4
Assessment - A sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s, Ministry of Environment and Forest, New
Delhi, India
NATCOM, 2004: India's Initial National Communication, 2004 (NATCOM I) to UN Framework
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Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
NATCOM, 2012: India's Second National Communication, 2012 (NATCOM II) to UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
IPCC, 2007: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Synthesis Report: Full Text." In: Encyclopedia of Earth,
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Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment).
IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to
Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken,
K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley
(eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-19.
Mall R K, R Kumar and R Bhatla, 2011; Climate change and Disaster Mangement in India, Journal of
South Asia Studies, Vol 4, No. 1, June 2011, pp 27-76.
Mall R K, 2013: Water Security and Climate Change: An Indian Perspectives; Signatures (ISRO),
Newsletter of the ISRSAC, Vol. 25, No.1, January-March 2011, PP 119-133
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Agriculture, Hyderabad. 68 p.
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Against a backdrop of rising global surface temperature, the stability of the Indian monsoon rainfall over the past century has been a puzzle. By using a daily rainfall data set, we show (i) significant rising trends in the frequency and the magnitude of extreme rain events and (ii) a significant decreasing trend in the frequency of moderate events over central India during the monsoon seasons from 1951 to 2000. The seasonal mean rainfall does not show a significant trend, because the contribution from increasing heavy events is offset by decreasing moderate events. A substantial increase in hazards related to heavy rain is expected over central India in the future.
  • Moef
MoEF, 2010: Climate change and India: A 4x4 Assessment -A Sectoral and regional Analysis for 2030s, November 2010, Ministry of Envirnment and Forest, Govt. of India, New Delhi, pp 160 NAPCC, 2008: National Action Plan on Climate Change,(http:/pmindia.nic.in/Climate% 20Change_16.03.09.pdf)
Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment, Climate Change and India: A 4X4 Assessment -A sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s, Ministry of Environment and Forest India's Initial National Communication
INCCA, 2010: Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment, Climate Change and India: A 4X4 Assessment -A sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s, Ministry of Environment and Forest, New Delhi, India NATCOM, 2004: India's Initial National Communication, 2004 (NATCOM I) to UN Framework EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY IN INDIA __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Vol. 4 No. 2 December 2011
Climate change and Disaster Mangement in India
  • R K Mall
  • R Kumar
  • R Bhatla
Mall R K, R Kumar and R Bhatla, 2011; Climate change and Disaster Mangement in India, Journal of South Asia Studies, Vol 4, No. 1, June 2011, pp 27-76.
Climate Change & 12th Five Year Plan -Report of the Sub-Group on Climate Change
Planning Commission, 2011, Climate Change & 12th Five Year Plan -Report of the Sub-Group on Climate Change. October 2011, New Delhi, pp 97
2012: Sustainable Flood Management in changing climate, Proceeding OF SAARC Workshop on Flood Risk Management in South Asia, National Disaster Management Authority
  • R K Mall
  • R Srivastava
Mall R K and Srivastava R K, 2012: Sustainable Flood Management in changing climate, Proceeding OF SAARC Workshop on Flood Risk Management in South Asia, National Disaster Management Authority, Islamabad, Pakistan, 9-10 October, 2012, pp 49-65.
Summary for Policymakers Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • C B Field
  • V Barros
  • T F Stocker
  • D Qin
  • D J Dokken
  • K L Ebi
  • M D Mastrandrea
  • K J Mach
  • G.-K Plattner
IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-19.
Synthesis Report: Full Text In: Encyclopedia of Earth
IPCC, 2007: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Synthesis Report: Full Text." In: Encyclopedia of Earth, Stephen C. Nodvin (Topic Editor), Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment).