The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) posted a draft of the city climate action plan on its website on September 12, 2022, for public view. The document consisting of 52 PowerPoint slides, was also up for a quick advisory for the public to submit their views, comments and appreciation within 20 days of posting. Was it a decision by the civic body? Did the elected mayor approve this short notice for the people of Chennai and beyond to read and understand the technical language or the concepts and comment as feedback through emails?
The Tamil Nadu government July 11, 2022, announced the institution of district climate change missions (DCCM) across 38 districts in the state.
There have been negligible discussions or reactions post the announcement among citizens, experts, non-profits and the media. It is thus important to consider DCCMs in the right perspective.
There are a few pertinent concerns that must be addressed without doubting the intent behind the setting up of these missions:
On 13th December, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) failed to adopt a resolution on climate change-induced security risks that exacerbate conflict across the geopolitical fault lines. India, as the only non-permanent member, voted against the draft resolution with Russia, a permanent member, vetoing it while China abstained. UNSC recorded 12 in favour of the resolution (backed by more than 112 members of the UN)
Fears of floods of the scale of the 2015 deluge are looming over Chennai where at least five people have died in rain-related incidents since last week. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted widespread rainfall in Tamil Nadu in the coming days, with forecasts of heavy to very heavy rainfall in Chennai.
The northeast monsoon unleashed its fury in the state last week, swamping large parts of residential areas and commercial centres.
The rising threat from unpredictable and excessive rainfall, exacerbated by climate change, has warranted a conceptual debate for robust policy formulation. The urgency has never been felt more than now as we witness devastating incidents like dam breach in Laos, the State Deluge in Kerala (India) and frequent marooning of cities, including ‘smart cities’ in India, during monsoon. It has now become a common scenario across megacities and towns when torrential rains play havoc with daily lives of people leading to deaths and destruction of properties.
Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government came to power in India in 2014, the nomenclature of policies has been either Sanskritised or Indianised. With tech savvy Prime Minister on the steering wheel, the government is communicating with the general public through catchy one-liners that are quite apt for character-restricted social media like Twitter. Latest in this catchy pronouncement is the Foreign Secretary’s 'SAARC Yatra', as he rounded up tours of four neighbouring countries in the first week of March.
The 20th Conference of Parties (COP) to UN sponsored Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is going to be held from 1 to 12 December in Lima, Peru. Since the US-China bilateral climate deal on the sideline of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) early this month, the world has eerily been watching India's 'breaking news' short of indication of targeted greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. Between APEC and COP 20 (Lima), the 18th SAARC summit (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation:26-27 November) in Nepal provides a breathing space for India.
The threat of Climate Change can not be resolved adequately with the existing classical security policy tools. This observation is conveyed by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)’s New Report Climate Change as a Security Risk. The Report concludes without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities.
India’s announcement on voluntary reduction of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has accelerated otherwise snail-paced negotiation on a deal to be reached at Copenhagen this December. It is a welcome step but tactical move. From the solitude of obstructing, as many argue, to all inclusive to the Copenhagen, India has sent a signal of relief to the climate negotiators, mostly representatives of developed countries. If world sees this Indian move as a surprise, they are wrong.