Climate change and india s national strategy
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Climate Change and India’s National Strategy. Sandeep Sengupta Merton College, Oxford 23 December 2010 [email protected] Structure of Presentation. Threat of climate change to India Regional threats to India

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Climate change and india s national strategy

Climate Change and India’s National Strategy

Sandeep Sengupta

Merton College, Oxford

23 December 2010

[email protected]

Structure of presentation

Structure of Presentation

  • Threat of climate change to India

  • Regional threats to India

  • International climate negotiations and India’s foreign policy positions and challenges

  • A national strategy for India on climate change: Managing trade-offs and choices

Not to be cited without permission

The threat of climate change

The Threat of Climate Change

  • IPCC (2007) - threat of climate change is ‘unequivocal’

  • Effects of rising temperatures on Asia:

    • declining crop yields; reduced fresh water supplies; rising sea-levels; increased floods, droughts and extreme weather events; biodiversity loss; higher risk of diseases

  • India-specific assessments:

    • NATCOM (2004): General country-wide vulnerability assessment; post-2070 scenarios

    • INCCA (2010): Finer-grained 4x4 assessment; 2030 time-horizon

      • Western Ghats, Himalayan Region, Coastal India, North-East

      • Agriculture, Water, Forests, Human Health

Not to be cited without permission

Expected climate change in india by 2030 and its impacts

Expected climate change in India by 2030 and its impacts

  • Warmer seasons

    • Avg. temp rise: 2.0 deg C predicted

    • 1.0-4.0 deg C at extreme ranges

  • Increased annual precipitation

    • lower frequency of rainy days; increased intensity

  • Cyclonic disturbances

    • lower frequency; increased intensity

    • increased risk of storm surges

  • Sea-level rise

    • 1.3mm/year on average

Not to be cited without permission

Effects of climate change in india

Effects of climate change in India

  • Agriculture

    • Up to 50% reduction in maize yields

    • 4-35% reduction in rice yields (with some exceptions)

    • Rise in coconut yields (with some exceptions); reduced apple production

    • Negative impacts on livestock in all regions

  • Fresh water supply

    • High variability predicted in water yields (from 50% increase to 40-50% reduction)

    • 10-30% increased risk of floods; increased risks of droughts

  • Forests and natural ecosystems

    • Increased net primary productivity

    • Shifting forest borders; species mix; negative impact on livelihoods and biodiversity

  • Human health

    • Higher morbidity and mortality from heat stress and vector/water-borne diseases

    • Expanded transmission window for malaria

Not to be cited without permission

Overall risks posed to india

Overall risks posed to India

  • Food security- predominantly monsoon dependent and rain-fed agriculture

  • Water security- glacier-fed river and stressed ground water systems

  • Coastal security- 7,000 km long, densely populated coastline; vulnerable Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshwadeep islands

  • Livelihood security- natural resource-dependent rural communities

  • Energy security- climate change further complicated by our dependence on coal (50% of total energy mix)

Not to be cited without permission

Regional security challenges

Regional security challenges

  • India is surrounded by institutionally weak and highly vulnerable states:

    • Maldives (pop. 300,000): over 80% of country <1m above MSL

    • Bangladesh (pop. 160 m): 1m rise in sea-level can inundate 17.5% of its land area and 11% of its population

  • Greater number of IDPs but considerable risks of climate-induced transboundary migration

  • Tensions over river-water sharing with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and China

  • Tensions over shifting coastal and maritime borders resulting from sea-level rise (e.g. Sir Creek)

  • Effects of climate change in A&N and Lakshwadeep islands can potentially impact India’s power projection ability in the wider region

Not to be cited without permission

International negotiations on climate change 1

International negotiations on climate change (1)

  • India has been a key actor in international climate negotiations since 1980s

    • Influential voice and defender of the global South

    • Important producer of ideas and international norms and rules

    • Effective coalition-builder

    • Aggressive protector of its own interests

  • Traditional Indian position

    • Primary responsibility of the North

    • Emissions of developing countries need to grow to meet their legitimate poverty reduction and development needs

    • Every human being has the right to an equal share of the Earth’s atmosphere

    • South cannot bear burden of climate change without adequate financial and technological support

    • Per-capita convergence of emissions is the only equitable long-term solution to climate change

Not to be cited without permission

International negotiations on climate change 2

International negotiations on climate change (2)

  • UNFCCC (1992)

    • Countries agreed to tackle climate change on the ‘basis of equity’ and their ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDRRC principle)

    • Developed countries agreed to ‘take the lead’ on this issue and stabilize their GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2000

    • It was agreed that emissions of developing countries needed to grow to meet their social and development needs

    • Developed countries agreed to provide ‘new and additional’ finance to developing countries to meet their ‘agreed full incremental costs’ of climate mitigation and adaptation

  • Kyoto Protocol (1997)

    • Developed countries took on legally binding targets to reduce their collective emissions by 5% below 1990 levels over a commitment period of 2008-12

    • Developing countries were exempted from similar targets, or from any ‘voluntary commitments’

  • Marrakesh Accords (2001)

    • established rules to operationalise the Kyoto Protocol, including penalties for non-compliance

  • Kyoto Protocol entered into force (2005)

    • George W. Bush withdraws US from treaty citing lack of similar targets for China and India

Not to be cited without permission

Recent changes in india s positions on climate change 1

Recent changes in India’s positions on climate change (1)

  • June 2007 - pledge by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that India’s per capita emissions would never exceed that of the developed world, but noting that time was ‘not ripe’ for ‘quantitative targets’ (G8+5 Summit, Heiligendamm, Germany)

  • July 2007 - Prime Ministers Council on Climate Change(PMCCC) established

  • June 2008 - National Action Plan on Climate Change(NAPCC) launched

    • 8 national missions:Solar, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture, Strategic Knowledge

  • July 2009 - Singh signed MEF Leaders Declaration that recognised that global temperature rise ‘ought not to exceed 2 degrees C’ and the need for a ‘global goal’ to reduce ‘global emissions by 2050’ (MEF and G8 Summit, L’Aquila, Italy)

Not to be cited without permission

Recent changes in india s positions on climate change 2

Recent changes in India’s positions on climate change (2)

  • December 2009 - declaration in Parliament by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh that India would voluntarily reduce the ‘emissions intensity’ of its GDP by 20-25% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels (Lok Sabha, New Delhi)

  • January 2010 - Expert Group set up by Planning Commission to develop a Low-C Economy strategy for the 12th FYP process

  • December 2010 - Ramesh suggested that ‘all countries must take binding commitments under an appropriate legal form’ (UNFCCC CoP-16, Cancun, Mexico)

  • Visible shift in India’s position also on external review and scrutiny of domestic mitigation actions

    • 1992 - total refusal

    • 2007 - conditional acceptance

    • 2009 - international consultations and analysis (ICA) through more frequent and detailed NATCOMs

Not to be cited without permission

Arguments for change

Arguments for change:

  • 20 year North-South deadlock has not been leading anywhere

    • inability of the South, including BASIC, to coerce the North to deliver on its promises

  • Growing knowledge of India’s high domestic vulnerability to climate change, and that global inaction will only harm India in the long run

  • Considerable change in India over the last 20 years

    • From economically-vulnerable post-Cold War state to major economic and political powerhouse

  • Higher global expectations not only from North but also from South (AOSIS/ LDCs)

  • Sentiment that with its growing power and responsibility, India should now shed its ‘naysaying’ image in international negotiations

  • Changing dynamic of international politics and alliances; less logical for India to just oppose the US or the North in a one-dimensional manner

Not to be cited without permission

Arguments against 1

Arguments against (1):

  • 2009 Copenhagen Accord and 2010 Cancun Agreements have set the stage for the slow unraveling of Kyoto Protocol and key principles of UNFCCC

  • India has now made itself a complicit party to the North’s revisionist agenda to renege on their earlier commitments made under international law, which can undermine its longer-term commitment to a rules-based international order

  • Allowing selective deviations from UNFCCC and KP have weakened the overall integrity of these treaties

    • Self-funding of domestic mitigation actions which have incremental costs has undermined what was agreed to under the UNFCCC

    • India is still a relatively poor country and future climate mitigation costs are likely to be high and uncertain, with most climate technologies still controlled by the developed world

    • Loss of the KP will end the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM ) which Indian industry has considerably benefited from over the years

Not to be cited without permission

Arguments against 2

Arguments against (2):

  • UNFCCC and KP were one of the few international treaties agreed in favour of the developing world

    • no guarantee that whatever replaces the current regime will be as advantageous to the South

    • no guarantee that any new agreement will even combat climate change better

    • the North has been ‘let off the hook’ for uncertain gains

  • India’s management of alliances has become more complicated

    • Long-heritage of arguing for a fairer and more equitable international in international negotiations

    • Risks losing credibility, especially with its developing country partners, if its bridge-building efforts with the North fail, and if the final outcome is weak, inequitable, and unfair to them

Not to be cited without permission

Developing a national strategy for india on climate change

Developing a National Strategy for India on Climate Change

  • India faces key trade-offs and choices on this issue

    • Respect for international law v/s need to revise it to make it more effective

    • Need to balance interests v/s values while determining and managing its new and old alliances

    • Need to be flexible, open-minded and forward looking v/s being prudent, tough and alone, if necessary, to defend positions and principles that are right and serve the greater good

  • Need to resolve these competing sets of arguments in a coherent, well thought-through, and strategic manner keeping India’s overall domestic and foreign policy interests and long-term security and prosperity in mind

  • Need to have policy decisions based on sound institutional processes and through solid argumentation and reason-giving

  • Need for better human and organizational capacity to deal with the intellectual demands of such challenges

Not to be cited without permission

Thank you

Thank you

Sandeep Sengupta

Merton College, Oxford

23 December 2010

[email protected]

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