Climate Change is not a recent phenomenon, it has been happening since the
industrial ages but in the recent time the effects of it have become evident.
The world is experiencing various changes in its climate and there is an
increase in intensity and frequency of extreme events such as Heat waves,
flashfloods, earthquakes, hurricanes etc. and onset of slow events such as
desertification, sea level rise, ocean acidification, etc. In 1988 World
Meteorological Organization and United Nation Environment Programme formed the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess to impact on climate
change, IPCC has issued comprehensive assessments in 1990, 1996, 2001, 2007 and
2013, methodology reports, technical papers, and periodic special reports
assessing specific impacts of climate change.
In its latest report called AR5
(Summary for Policymakers) which forms the basis on which heads of nation create
their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution), these INDCs are
projected reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that countries promise to
publish before Conference of Parties 21 held in Paris, while it was a great
step towards combating Climate Change but it missed the mark as adding up of all
INDCs was nowhere close to the goal of 2 degree Celsius above preindustrial
level which is disheartening, But it shows that climate change is being dealt
with by the International Front.
On the National Front, the story is not so clear, this study aims to and inform
about climate change affecting India and how the country is dealing with it.
There is no doubt that climate change is affecting India, India is a developing
country and lies in the lower-middle income group it also is ranked 4th highest
emitter of GHG in the world and developing countries will hit the hardest by
climate change firstly due to geography of these countries Secondly, due to
strong dependence on agriculture and finally with their fewer resources comes
The effects of climate change have already begun to
appear in India, the pattern of rainfall is disrupted and according to
estimates, the output of Kharif crops is likely to go down by 2.8% this is
especially harmful for country like India in which more 50% population directly
or indirectly depend on agriculture and not only rainfall is affected but
also India is experiencing extreme heat, In 2016 Phalodi in Rajasthan
experienced temperature of up to 51 degree Celsius becoming the highest recorded
temperature in India the officials responded that temperature were rising
every year and this is due to global warming. There are also instances of
frequent droughts, groundwater depletion, rise in sea level and melting of
glacier etc. All this indicates that India is suffering from climate change and
it is necessary to tackle the issue before it turns even more grave than it
India is a Non-Annex 1 party under Kyoto Protocol which is an international
agreement linked with United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change which
commits its parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction
But India being Non-Annex 1 country this protocol has no binding
force over India to meet its promised goals. But India is an active participant
in Clean Development Mechanism(CDM) which was established by protocol. It
has also undertaken 1479 projects under this mechanism as of February
2014 India had released Greenhouse Gas inventory in 2007 where it highlighted
that it will be the first developing country to release its emission inventory
every two years. India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP
by 33-35% below 2005 by 2030. As India’s annual loss from natural disasters
is estimated $9.8 Billion and it is expected that India risks loss of 8.7%
GDP by 2100 on climate change
India has adopted a National Action Plan on Climate Change
in 2008 this plan
draws out various existing and future policies and programmes for climate change
mitigation, adaptation and knowledge awareness. This plan envisages eight
national plans namely National Solar Plan, National Mission on Sustainable
Habitat, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency in Industry, National
Water Mission, National Mission of Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, National
Mission for a Green India
, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture,
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change. Each of these plans
include various measures in their capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate
The primary objective of these mission is summarised in the following table-
|National Solar Mission
- To establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by
creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country
as quickly as possible.
- To create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of
100,000 MW of solar power by 2022.
- To create favourable conditions for solar manufacturing
capability, particularly solar thermal for indigenous production and
|National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
- National Mission on Sustainable Habitat seeks to promote
sustainability of habitats through improvements in energy efficiency
in buildings, urban planning, improved management of solid and
liquid waste, modal shift towards public transport and conservation
through appropriate changes in legal and regulatory framework.
- It also seeks to improve ability of habitats to adapt to climate
change by improving resilience of infrastructure, community based
disaster management and measures for improving advance warning
systems for extreme weather events.
|National Mission for Enhanced Energy
Efficiency in Industry
- NMEEE seeks to strengthen the market for energy efficiency by
creating conducive regulatory and policy regime.
- NMEEE has been envisaged to foster innovative and sustainable
business models to the energy efficiency sector.
- The NMEEE seeks to create and sustain markets for energy
efficiency in the entire country which will benefit the country and
|National Water Mission
- Ensuring integrated water resource management for conservation
of water, minimization of wastage and equitable distribution both
across and within states.
- Developing a framework for optimum water use through increase in
water use efficiency by 20% through regulatory mechanisms with
differential entitlements and pricing, taking the National Water
Policy (NWP) into consideration.
- Ensuring that a considerable share of water needs of urban areas
is met through recycling of waste water.
- Meeting water requirements of coastal cities through the
adoption of new and appropriate technologies such as low-temperature
desalination technologies allowing use of ocean water.
- Revisiting NWP to ensure basin-level management strategies to
deal with variability in rainfall and river flows due to climate
- Developing new regulatory structures to optimize efficiency of
existing irrigation systems.
|National Mission of Sustaining the Himalayan
- Develop a sustainable National capacity to continuously assess
the health status of the Himalayan Ecosystem
- Assist States in the Indian Himalayan Region with their
implementation of actions selected for sustainable development.
|National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
- Development of drought and pest-resistant crop varieties.
- Improving methods to conserve soil and water to ensure their
- Generate awareness through stakeholder consultations, training
workshops and demonstration exercises for farming communities, for
agro-climatic information sharing and dissemination.
- Financial support to enable farmers to invest in and adopt
relevant technologies to overcome climate related stresses.
|National Mission for Green India
- Increased forest/tree cover on 5 million hectares (ha) of
forest/non-forest lands and improved quality of forest cover on
another 5 million ha of non-forest/forest lands (a total of 10
- Improved ecosystem services including biodiversity, hydrological
services, and carbon sequestration from the 10 million ha of forest/
non-forest lands mentioned above
- Increased forest-based livelihood income of about 3 million
households, living in and around the forests
- Enhanced annual CO2 sequestration by 50 to 60 million tons in
the year 2020.
|National Mission on Strategic knowledge on
- Formation of knowledge networks among the existing knowledge
institutions engaged in research and development relating to
- Establishment of global technology watch groups with
institutional capacities to carry out research on risk minimized
technology selection for developmental choices
- Development of national capacity for modelling the regional
impact of climate change on different ecological zones within the
country for different seasons and living standards
- Establishing research networks and encouraging research in the
areas of climate change impacts on important socio-economic sectors
like agriculture, health, natural ecosystems, biodiversity, coastal
Table 1: Various National Mission in National Action Plan on Climate Change
In addition to these plans there are several measures that India has taken to
mitigate the GHG emission, India has a policy which is relevant to reduction in
GHG emission called the Integrated Energy Policy in 2006 which puts emphasis on
energy efficiency on all sectors, mass transport and renewable resources,
development of nuclear and other types of clean energy and research and
development on clean energy. There are provisions in acts such as Energy
Conservation Act 2001, Electricity Act 2003, National Tariff Policy 2006,
Petroleum and Gas Regulatory Board Act 2006.
In Energy Conservation Act the
government in empowered to give energy saving certificates to those whose
consumption of energy is less than the prescribed limit and sell these
certificates to those who consume more than prescribed limit to comply to the
standards and norms. Under this Act large consumers of energy should follow
Energy Conservation Building Code which calls for optimisation of the energy for
large building, compliance with this code is incorporated in mandatory
Environmental Impact Assessment requirement for large building, but this code is
voluntary but if building take note of this code it is estimated that that the
energy consumption can be reduced by 30-40 %.
The Electricity Act 2003 and National Tariff Policy 2006 provides for Central
Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory
Commission (SERC) which prescribes certain percentage of total power
purchased by grid from renewable based sources, there is also provision of
preferential tariff for renewable based power and the Act mandates for
preparation of National Energy Policy. In 2010 Finance Bill there was the
creation of a fund for clean energy called National Clean Energy Fund to invest
in field of clean energy.
The Indian Network on Climate Change Action published a report titled Climate
Change and India: A 4X4 Assessment a Sectoral and Regional Analysis for 2030s.
in this report it has assessed impacts of climate change on 4 sectors- water
resources, forest, agriculture, human health in four critical regions of India –
the Himalayan region, the North East, Western Ghats and Coastal India.
Apart from these agencies and policies there is also a private member’s bill
Climate Change Bill 2012
which is said to be a Bill to set a target for
the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions; to establish a National
Committee on climate change; to provide for carbon budgeting and carbon trading
schemes and to encourage other such activities; to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, it also
sets terms such as Energy Intensity Index of GDP which implies quantity of
energy used per unit of GDP and establishment of Carbon Trading Authority which
shall, within one year of the commencement of this Act, formulate a scheme to be
known as the Carbon Trading Scheme. It also calls for integration of various
Individual Acts such as the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; the Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988;
the Indian Forests Act, 1927; the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; the Energy
Conservation Act, 2001; and the Climate Change Action Plan.
There are also cases of Climate Change happening in India, latest judgements of
National Green Tribunal indicate that Climate Change Litigation is on the rise
in India. In Feb 2014 Tribunal in a case in which tourism industry was
impacting the environment in Rohtang Pass, the tribunal directed the state
government to control pollution and environmental damage also emphasised black
carbon on glaciers.
In the second case, orders were sought from the Tribunal
directing the Central and State governments to show the steps taken by them to
implement the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the Tribunal
directed states that were yet to draft their action plans in accordance with the
NAPCC to prepare the same and to get them approved by the Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change MoEFCC expeditiously.
The third case was
before the Western Bench of the Tribunal and concerned the implementation of the MoEFCC’s Notification requiring coal-based thermal power plants to use coal with
ash content not exceeding 34%, Tribunal directed MoEFCC to setup a
monitoring and compliance protocol to ensure to effective implementation of
Notification, it justified its order by stating that its benefit will lessen the
GHG emission which will lessen the carbon footprint.
In another case a
voluntary organization approached the tribunal to issue direction to stop
emission of HCF-23, a greenhouse gas according to Kyoto protocol by industries,
while the tribunal didn’t intervene directly in the case, but it declared that
the concerned authorities should take necessary action to deal with the problem.
All these cases show the growing clout of climate litigation in India.
There are several targets that India has set which it wants to achieve as
mentioned in its INDC to the United Nation in relation to Wind Energy, India
wants to achieve a target of 60 GW of wind power installed capacity by 2022, in
relation to solar power India wants to enhance its solar power generation
capacity to 100GW by 2022, increase to 10 GW and more than 100 GW is also
desired in Biomass and Hydropower respectively by 2022. India has pledged to
reduced economic intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 levels, it
also has pledged to create additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 Billion tons of
CO2 through additional afforestation by 2030.
Also to increase the share of
non-fossil based energy resources to 40% of installed electric power capacity by
2030, with help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance
including from Green Climate Fund. According to some reports India’s
emissions intensity will be 51–53% below 2005 levels which above its target
but, there uncertainty about targets as new mega coal power plants are still
being given licenses and the cost of solar power is still huge which makes
renewable energy less competitive in comparison to non-renewable energy.
All this makes one thing clear that road to Climate Change mitigation and
adaptation is riddled with obstacles, but it is one that we must take to save
our planet and our species. While there are number of agencies, policies, cases,
conventions already in place, there is still need for a solid legislation for
climate change as climate change is a serious threat and should be treated as
world’s top priority as it can lead to the total annihilation of our species, if
proper action are not taken climate change will act as sixth Mass Extinction
Event which will end humanity from the face of this planet and might also end
all life on this planet.
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- Ibid, 8.
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- Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change. Climate Change and
- Climate Change Bill 2012,
- Court on its own Motion v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Others,
Application No. 237 of 2013, Judgment dated 6 February 2014.
- Gaurav Kumar Bansal v Union of India & Others, Original Application No.
498 of 2014.
- Ratandeep Rangari v. State of Maharashtra and Others, Application No. 19
- Indian Council for Enviro-legal Action v MoEFCC and Others, Judgment
dated 10 December 2015.
- India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution: Working Towards
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- Ibid, 22.
- Ibid, 22.