UPSC IAS Interview 2017-18

National Action Plan on Climate Change

by - Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Environment & Forests

India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was released by the Prime Minister on 30th June 2008. The National Action Plan outlines India’s strategy to meet the challenge of Climate Change. The strategy promotes, firstly, the adaptation to Climate Change and secondly, further enhancement of the ecological sustainability of India’s development path.

Approach to Climate Change

The National Action Plan recognises that climate change is a global challenge and, that it should be overcome through a globally collaborative and cooperative effort based on the principle of equity. India is willing to play its role as a responsible member of the international community and to make its contribution. However, this requires not only sustainable production processes, but also sustainable life styles across the globe. In this effort, every citizen of the planet should have an equal share of the planetary atmospheric space.

Long-term convergence of per capita GHG emissions is the only equitable basis for a global agreement to tackle climate change. The Action Plan assures the international community that India’s per capita GHG emissions would not exceed the per capita GHG emissions of developed countries, despite India’s developmental imperatives.

Domestic Action

India’s National Action Plan stresses that maintaining a high growth rate is essential for increasing living standards of the vast majority of people of India and reducing their vulnerability is the impacts of climate change. Accordingly, the Action Plan identifies measures that promote the objectives of sustainable development of India while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change.

Eight National Missions which form the core of the National Action Plan represent 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, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation. While, several of these programmes are already a part of the current actions, the Action Plan seeks to enhance them in scope, and effectiveness and implement them in an accelerated manner through time bound plans.

National Missions

The National Solar Mission aims at increasing the share of solar energy in the total energy mix through development of new solar technologies, while attempting to expand the scope of other renewable and non fossil options such as nuclear energy, wind energy and biomass.

The National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency comprises of four new initiatives, namely, a market based mechanism for trading in certified energy savings in energy-intensive large industries and facilities, accelerating the shift to energy efficient appliances in designated sectors, demand side management programmes in all sectors by capturing future energy savings, and developing fiscal instruments to promote energy efficiency.

The National Mission on Sustainable Habitat attempts to promote energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste and modal shift to public transport including transport options based on bio-diesel and hydrogen. The National Water Mission has, as its objective, the conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution both across and within States.

The National Mission for sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is aimed at evolving management measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan glacier and mountain eco-system. The National Mission for a Green India focusses on enhancing eco-system services and carbon sinks through afforestation on degraded forest land in line with the national policy of expanding the forest and tree cover to 33% of the total land area of the country.

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture would develop strategies to make Indian agriculture more resilient to climate change through development of new varieties of thermal resistant crops, new credit and insurance mechanisms and improving productivity of rainfed agriculture. The National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change is intended to identify the challenges of, and the responses to, climate change through research and technology development and ensure funding of high quality and focused research into various aspects of climate change.

Other Initiatives

Apart from the eight National Missions, the National Action Plan also envisages other initiatives aimed at enhancing mitigation and adaptation.

These include

research & development in the area of ultra super critical boilers in coal-based thermal plants;

integrated gasification combined cycle technology to make coal based power generation efficient;

setting up more combined cycle natural gas plants;

promotion of nuclear energy through adoption of fast breeder and thorium-based thermal reactor technology in nuclear power generation; adoption of high-voltage AC and high-voltage DC transmission to reduce technical losses during transmission and distribution;

development of small and large scale hydro power; promotion of renewable energy technologies such as bio-mass combustion and gasification-based power generation;

enhancements in the regulatory/tariff regimes to help mainstream renewable-based sources in the national power system;

and renewable energy technologies for transportation and industrial fuels.

In addition, the Action Plan envisages effective disaster management strategies that include mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into infrastructure project design, strengthening communication networks and disaster management facilities at all levels, protection of coastal areas, provision of enhanced public health care services, and assessment of increased burden of vector-borne diseases due to climate change.

The Central Government, State Governments and Local Bodies will have a key role in putting in place appropriate delivery mechanisms and building adequate capacity and knowledge in the relevant institutions for effective adaptation and mitigation actions.

Institutional Mechanism

Comprehensive Mission documents detailing objectives, strategies, plan of action, timelines and monitoring and evaluation criteria of all eight Missions and Other Initiatives are being developed by the relevant nodal Ministries and will be finalised by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. The work is being coordinated by the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

International Cooperation

The National Action Plan looks forward to enhanced international cooperation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It renews India’s pledge to play an active role in multilateral cooperation in addressing climate change based on the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’.

The Action Plan acknowledges that, in the move towards a low carbon economy, technology has a vital role to play. Models and mechanisms for technology transfer will need to incorporate the key elements such as appropriate funding modalities and approaches; a facilitative IPR environment, and enhancing the absorptive capacity within developing countries. Some reforms in the carbon market, such as mainstreaming the bundling and programmatic CDM, also need to be carried out multilaterally.

The international cooperation should aim at enhanced implementation of the UNFCCC through minimising of the negative impacts of climate change through suitable adaptation measures, providing fairness and equity in actions and measures, and ensuring concessional financial flows from the developed countries and access to technology on affordable terms.

India’s National Action on Climate Change will evolve on the basis of new scientific and technical knowledge, and in response to the evolution of the multilateral climate change regime including arrangements for international cooperation.

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