Organised by: Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi.

Date & Time: October 28, 2021 at 05:00 PM

Townhall: Disaster management in rapidly changing climate scenarios

Proceedings Report

Speakers:

  • Speaker: Dr. Indu K Murthy, Principal Research Scientist, CSTEP, Bengaluru
  • Moderator: Dr. D Dhanuraj, Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR)

Webinar Report

·       At the start of the meeting, it was recognised that although natural climate change takes millions of years to be witnessed, the present anthropogenic (human-induced/human-led) climate change is evident within the lifespan of human beings.

·       Adding to it, Dr. Indu clarified that for climate change to be recorded, there has to be a consistent change (whether an increase or decrease) on the climatic parameters for at least a minimum of 30 years.

·       The developing countries in contrast to the developed countries are at a greater climate risk because of its large population and their dependency on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, etc.

·       She also stressed that we have enough evidence to establish that climate change is a reality. For example, the ice core analysis reveals a significant correlation between the rise in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and the increased rate of deforestation and land use.

·       The scientific researches on climate affirm that the human attribution to the climate problem cannot be ruled out. As climate models are continuously evolving, there is a need for dedicated mitigation and adaptation plans and programs assimilating the needed models.

·       Dr. Indu also highlighted that systems and institutions in place haven’t done enough and mere acknowledgements of climate change on extreme weather events will not work as the window to act is closing.

·       On the question on climate data availability and accessibility, Dr. Indu noted that though climate data was in the “ivory towers”, and therefore, acknowledged the need to work out a plan to disseminate the information to the local level, thereby reinforcing climate resilience at the desired levels.

·       However, even before the dissemination of the climate information for informed decision-making, it is key to empower and sensitize people with climate knowledge, so that an effective devolution and decentralisation can occur.

·       Therefore, the role of policymakers on climate is also to strategise their medium and type of communication to bring down complex climate science to the simple understandable form. For that to materialise, the visualisation of the climate information may act as a better tool for communication.

·       Dr. Indu propounded to arm the citizenry with the right information at the right time for timely actions on disaster risk preparedness and mitigation.

·       Speaking on climate risks, Dr. Indu cited the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC, which claimed that those risks are a result of exposure to climate hazard and vulnerability (dependant on topography, social-economic parameters, etc.). Also, she stated that there has to be a regular update on the hazard maps which are crucial for climate risk management.

·       Along the same lines, she noted that climate risk mapping serves as a great tool to determine the variation of risks and so, it could be incorporated in State Action Plans on climate change in India.

·       Later, she emphasized that the present development paradigm and planning should bring about an inclusive view through the climate-sensitive lens. For example, the present MGNREGA schemes which mainly caters to land and water conservation activities should plan beyond the conventional calculations, i.e. based on the historical climate data, by taking into the futuristic climate models.

·       There is a need that the present process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has to bring the climate angle in its entirety for the evaluation of the development projects, said Dr. Indu.

·       Finally, both the speakers converged at the point of education institutions which could sensitize the citizenry for the better handling of climate disasters at present and in future.

Report by Arun Kumar S, Research Intern, CPPR

In case you missed it, watch the event video recording here: https://www.cppr.in/videos/cppr-townhall-on-disaster-management-in-rapidly-changing-climate-scenarios

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