IPCC’s Report on Climate Change Brings an Opportunity and Challenge for India

Nov 5th, 2014 | By | Category: Advocacy, India, International Agencies

intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-changes-report-on-climate-change-brings-an-opportunity-and-challenge-for-indiaIndia’s quest for high growth and efforts to ensure development and access to energy for its people has found recognition in the latest report of the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.

The synthesis report of IPCC’s fifth assessment report (AR5) released on Sunday stresses that every effort to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by dangerous levels of 3oC-4oC would require “substantial emission reductions over the next few decades and near zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases by the end of the century”.

The report also makes it clear that simply adapting to climate change is not enough; more needs to be done globally to reduce emissions. “There are certain limits that adaptation can cope with” said Purnamita Dasgupta, coordinating lead author of the AR5 Working Group II, adding that “emissions are driven by population size, economic activity, lifestyle, energy use, land-use patterns, and technology and climate policy. There are multiple ways in which adaptation and mitigation responses can be designed to improve climate resilience for sustainable development.”

The synthesis report, which distils and integrates the three Working Group reports, and two special reports of the IPCC, highlights that there are measures and opportunities that link emission reduction, adapting to climate change and sustainable development. “Humans have been dealing with and adapting to climate issues in past with traditional methods.

The important thing to remember is while you can build on that experience that is not going to be adequate, because, the extent of climate change and its impacts are progressively becoming more serious and what we have come up with as the roadmap of future involves taking an adaptation measure as part of development strategy,” IPCCchairman RK Pachauri said.

For India, which like many other developing countries, has consistently maintained that its development imperatives determine its climate policies, the report provides a solution that allows it to meet its development goals in a manner that is not inimical addressing climate change. It presents India with both an opportunity and a challenge.

“The IPCC synthesis report suggests a way of thinking about climate change that is deeply relevant to India,” said Navroz Dubash, a lead author of AR5. “There is a complex two-way relationship between sustainable development and climate change: climate policies should support sustainable development. India has to increasingly internalise climate considerations into development planning,” he said.

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