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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Thank you

Thank you

Sandeep Sengupta

Merton College, Oxford

23 December 2010

[email protected]