Climate change is no longer an environmental issue, it has become a problem for growth. The negative changes in climate change have a greater effect on the vulnerable, which is once again a problem of governance. Sunita Narain argues: “There is not much distinction between local forest management and the global climate.” Both are properties of common property. What is needed most of all is a structure for property rights, which promotes cooperation.
India is also a big emitter of greenhouse gases and one of the world’s most vulnerable to predicted climate change. Climate change and the impacts of climate change, including water stress, heatwaves and droughts, extreme storms and floods, and the related negative impacts on health and livelihoods, are already taking place in the region. With an increasing population of 1.2 billion and reliance on agriculture, India is likely to be seriously affected by the ongoing climate change. Global climate forecasts suggest many changes in India’s future climate provided inherent uncertainties:
Global melting glacier measurements indicate that in the region, climate change is well underway, with glaciers receding at an average rate of 10-15 meters each year. In river valleys fed by these glaciers, if the rate rises, flooding is possible, accompanied by reduced flows, resulting in a water shortage for drinking and irrigation.
Both simulations display an average annual temperature trend of general warming, as well as a decreased diurnal temperature range and increased precipitation over the Indian subcontinent. Warming of 0.50 C is likely overall India by the year 2030 (approximately equal to the warming over the 20th century) and warming of 2-4o C by the end of this century, with the greatest rise over northern India. Increased warming is likely to result in higher levels in the major cities of tropospheric ozone emissions and other air pollution.
It is likely to decrease Drizzle-type precipitation that replenishes soil moisture. The Indian summer monsoons are going to intensify, most global models say. The timing can also adjust, triggering a drying phase during the growing season in the late summer.
Earlier snowmelt, which could have a major adverse impact on agricultural development, is also expected by climate models. Rising aerosol emissions from energy production and other sources could reduce rainfall, resulting in drier conditions with more dust and smoke from drier vegetation burning, affecting both regional and global hydrological cycles and agricultural production. Uncertainties about monsoonal shifts would influence the choices of farmers about which crops to plant and the timing of planting, reducing productivity. Moreover, the river flow required for irrigation will be decreased by earlier seasonal snowmelt and depleting glaciers.
Impact of Climate Change
High-performance agriculture will be adversely affected even as demand for food and other agricultural products rises due to a rising population and demands for better living standards. By being less able to forecast climate conditions, millions of subsistence and smallholder farmers would face poverty and hunger. Trade can compensate for these deficits to a certain extent.
In the short term, glacier melt will yield more runoff, but in the medium and long term, less. More extreme storms (in particular cyclones) can do more damage to infrastructure and livelihoods and, in storm surges, intensify the intrusion of saltwater. Changes in the timing and quantity of monsoon rains will make the production of food and other agricultural products more unpredictable so that farmers will be more likely to make decisions that lead to lower productivity even in good weather.
Exacerbation of inequality
The well-being of those with minimal means of adaptation who are affected by climate change will serve as a force that can change governments, strain public budgets, and promote unrest. Around one-third of Indians are extremely poor, and for their livelihoods, 60 per cent rely on agriculture.
As India is searching for additional energy sources to meet increasing demand, efforts to mitigate climate change will restrict the use of indigenous and imported coal, oil and gas, while the production of nuclear energy is at best slow and likely to face opposition. Other non-emitting technologies would entail the transfer of technology and capacity building.
From a variety of nations, India receives immigrants. It can be flooded with many more, particularly from Bangladesh, under climate change conditions. This migration will escalate tensions between the two countries and put a strain on the central and state governments of India. In India, adaptive ability varies according to state, geographic area, and socio-economic status. Studies highlight influential factors such as the availability of water, food security, human and social resources, and the capacity of government (state and national levels) during difficult times to buffer its citizens. The potential for impacts on displaced people; deaths and damage from heat, floods, and storms; and disputes over natural resources and assets is greater where adaptive ability is limited.
The Need for Green Governance in India
With economic growth, development, and climate change, India’s decision to regulate its environment is of paramount importance in the age of rapid transition. Green parties in the west, especially in countries like Germany and France, have flourished into strong political powers.
If one looks at the major political parties’ past manifestos, environmental issues also find a spot in electoral commitments. The political parties have all agreed to protect the environment by tracking river water pollution, investing in low-carbon renewable energy systems, making India free of open defecation, and more. Although it has never claimed to be a green party, through its foundations in a common protest movement and its active support for environmental movements and groups like the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
A permanent task force to protect the tiger and other endangered species was also promised by the BJP. And yet, with these things, we never seem to go beyond mere promises. For example, since its establishment in 2016, the National Ganga Council, headed by Prime Minister Modi, whose goal is to manage and conserve the waters of the Ganga River, has not met once.
Stronger measures need to be placed in place to ensure that each person, especially if they are in power, do their part to maintain the balance of nature. Thus, a small but significant move in putting environmental issues into the electoral spotlight is to mobilize behind a project that echoes the concerns of a mobilized and driven workforce. With the environmental movement’s six pillars not being an entirely foreign idea, having a political party that understands the severity of our current situation and works to raise awareness might just be what is needed to ensure a genuinely sustainable future. It’s time to open up a green chapter in the politics of India.