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Predicting local impacts in Indian states

Climate change adaptation requires adjustments to changes in weather patterns, crop productivity, hydrological cycles and so on at the local level.

In keeping with this TERI has developed vulnerability indices and studied adaptation strategies that best suite states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, West Bengal and also the North Eastern Region.

For Rajasthan, TERI was involved in preparation of the State Climate Change Agenda which became the state’s environment policy. State-specific missions were developed highlighting research gaps and needs along with relevant policy measures, in light of the state’s vulnerabilities and capacities. In view of the vulnerability of the state to climate change impacts and the potential for adaptation and mitigation needs the agenda led to setting up of task forces for water resources, agriculture and animal husbandry, forestry and biodiversity, human health, enhanced energy efficiency and solar energy, urban governance and sustainable habitats and strategic knowledge for climate change. For each task force, certain research and development needs as well as supporting policy and regulatory measures were identified.

Alternate livelihood in the North East - A shift from
forest resource base

Impacts and vulnerabilities study by TERI in the North Eastern Region was focused on water resources, forests and livelihoods in the North Eastern Region of India. Given the fact that forests are extremely climate sensitive, an integrated assessment of the forests of North East India is being undertaken along with the demands of the livelihoods dependent on the forest services. In keeping with the results of this assessment an adaptation framework to cope with climate change is being developed.

In Maharashtra TERI is carrying out impact assessments for various sectors including agriculture, water and health, developing vulnerability indices and suggesting adaptation strategies under a project titled Assessing climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies for Maharashtra. Six case studies have also been proposed to develop district level action plans.

Since adaptation is a local solution to a global problem, TERI's investigations for suitable climate change adaptation methods are not limited to the states, but also reach out to the various ecosystems of these states. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are also being used for better identification of pockets vulnerable to hazards such as sea level rise, floods, cyclones and storm surges. Additionally, vulnerability is being assessed in terms of the level of socio-economic development of that region.

In the coastal regions of West Bengal current and projected vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change in general and sea level rise in particular are being assessed to work out better methods of dealing with them. This assists in identifying target areas for interventions to prepare for such changes. Issues and opportunities that enhance coping strategies of communities in dealing with extreme climatic events were studied in three river sub-basins--the Pennar basin in Andhra Pradesh, Mahanadi basin in Orissa and Godavari basin in Maharashtra. Basins were selected on the basis of locations of drought (in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra) and flood affected regions (in Orissa) in the country. On the other hand, a study was conducted in North Goa to assess the potential impacts of sea level rise on surface inundation and salt-water intrusion. Areas that are more susceptible to seawater intrusion relative to others were identified with the help of a mapping system, which provided facilities for ranking of vulnerability evaluation.

Participatory timeline exercises in Lakhwar
village in Uttaranchal

In the case of Uttaranchal, local level vulnerability and adaptation to climate variability and water stress was evaluated for the state. Community level interactions in Lakhwar and Chhotau villagers revealed the general perception that temperature has increased and rainfall has become more erratic over the last 10 to 15 years. This was mainly attributed to deforestation and forest fires. The study showed that changing economic incentives have compounded with climate change to alter the cropping pattern of the area. On the other hand income from agriculture has also dwindled because of fragmentation of landholdings, making the people more vulnerable to changing climatic patterns.

Activities

Flood mumbai
Floods in Mumbai