With an economy that is growing at 6-8% and increase urbanization, the demand for electricity is going to increase many folds. Presently 59% of total electricity is produced by burning coal. Burning of coal is largest contributor for carbon dioxide emissions in the country. Hydel power just account for 17% of total electricity generation. Any shortfall in the power supply is met by diesel generator sets which further add to carbon dioxide emissions. Transportation is second largest source of green house gases (GHG) emission. With increased urbanization, transportation is going to pose a major challenge. It is estimated that by year 2020, transportation will be responsible for 1450-1620 million tonnes of carbondioxide equivalent emissions. Burning of biomass, agricultural waste, tilling of land, methane emissions from livestock are the other major sources of GHG emission in the country.
These emissions have resulted in shift in observed climate pattern. Climate has been warming and there is decline in monsoon rainfalls. Frequency of heavy rainfall events have increased and these are often followed by long dry spells resulting into water stress. All this has led to over exploitation of ground water further aggravating the situation. Agricultural productivity has been affected due to increased surface temperature and water stress. Wheat production has taken a major hit. Productivity of rice and horticulture produce has also been hit due to change in climate. The zone of temperate horticulture has also shifted to higher altitudes. In 1987 and 2002-03, droughts affected almost half of the country resulting into huge fall in crop production. This has led to decrease in food security and increase in food inflation which is leading to increased malnutrition cases.
Forest cover, which is an
important source for carbon sequestering, is decreasing. According to India state of
forest report 2011, 21.05% of total land is under forest and we have lost 367
square kilometers of forest in last two years. On the other hand warming has been
causing retreating of glaciers. Coastal flooding in cities like Mumbai has also
become a regular phenomenon. Rapid and unplanned urbanization has further
increased the risk of sea water intrusion. It seems as if we are sitting on a
realized the importance of assessing and addressing climate change. Indian
Network of Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) comprising of more than 120
research institutions was set up in 2010 to carry out scientific studies.
States have prepared state action plans for climate change. Policies have been
frames to make India
a low carbon economy. National Action Plan on Climate change has been created
which includes 8 sub-missions which are as follows:
1. National Solar
for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
on sustainable Habitat
4. National Water
for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem
for Sustainable Agriculture
on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.
Government is doing whatever it can do to address this problem. There is greater need to educate masses about this threat and seek their contribution for adaptation as well as mitigation measures. As is clear from discussion that production of electricity from coal is biggest contributor to carbon emissions in
India, so saving electricity and
using it efficiently may result in lower emission. Small steps like switch off
light when it is not required may result in bigger impact at national level.
People should invest in energy efficient appliances. Using public transport
rather than private vehicle will also help in lowering emissions besides saving
foreign exchange on oil imports. Smaller distance should be covered by bicycles
or by walking. Planting of trees, judicial use of paper and water and rain
water harvesting can have significant positive impact on our climate.
Let us inculcate these habits in our day to day life so that we could promise a better future for younger generation.
- The World Bank, 2012, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 degree C warmer world must be avoided
- Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF). 2011, CLEAN TECHNOLOGY FUND INVESTMENT PLAN FOR INDIA
- Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF). 2010, INDIA: TAKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE
- Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF). 2009, Climate Change and India: Towards Preparation of a Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment
- Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment, 2010, CLIMATE CHANGE AND INDIA: A 4X4 ASSESSMENT: A SECTORAL AND REGIONAL ANALYSIS FOR 2030S : EXECUTIVE SUMMARY