Assessing the city level Implementation of National Action Plan on Climate Change through the ideological connect of the State Action Plan on Climate Change
Countries around the world are increasingly developing strategies to address the problems posed by climate change. With this trend, the policies and the action plans will only be successful in meeting this challenge to the extent that they are fully implemented on the ground. This article is an attempt to connect the national level strategies of climate change to the on-ground practices on a city level. These practices are studied through the city level development plan (master plan, here) under the section that is dedicated towards the environment and climate change. The case study of Thiruvananthapuram is selected for the same. The master plan bluntly talks about the climate change phenomenon and the practices adopted in the city in its chapter of the environment. Further, the volume dedicated to integrated development vision also talks about the future possibilities pertaining to the aspect of climate change. To connect these things with the national agenda, the Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change is critically examined. It talks about the strategies that the state has taken forward from the central level, and the aspects that it considers significant for the development of its cities.
India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change
India has faced many challenges to cope up with its economic development and combat the climate change impacts. Being a developing country, it has to keep a balance between the two in order to keep up with the pace with other countries. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has defined a set of guidelines that define the climate change impacts on the developing economy. The National Action Plan on Climate Change is formulated in order to characterize a proper roadmap towards a low-carbon, sustainable, resilient and green economy. The action plan identifies eight core “national missions” running which further indicates towards detailed implementation plans to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
Emphasizing the current priority of maintaining a high economic growth rate to raise the standard of living, the action plan identifies the correct measures that promote the nation’s development objectives while also yielding simultaneous benefits for addressing climate change effectively. It says that with effective assistance from the developed countries and the cooperation of every Indian state, India is very well capable to combat the climate change phenomenon effectively. It also claims that its emissions will at no point exceed that of any developed countries even if we continue to pursue our development objectives. Following is a brief account of the eight core missions that are detailed out in India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change:
- National Solar Mission: The NAPCC aims to encourage green development. It talks about the use of solar energy for power generation and other basic and heavy uses with an ultimate objective of making solar energy competitive with the current conventional fossil-based energy options.
- National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: The initiatives of attaining the energy efficiency in all walks of life talk about savings of 10,000s of Megawatts of energy. This plan is subdivided into three sections; namely, mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy-consuming industries, issuance of energy incentives (including reduced taxes on energy-efficient appliances) and financing for PPP models in order to reduce the energy consumption through demand-side management programs.
- National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: It aims to promote energy efficiency as a core component of urban planning. Adopting energy conservation code for building, strengthening the enforcement of automotive fuel economy standards, laying a greater emphasis on urban waste management and recycling, and using pricing measures to encourage the purchase of efficient vehicles; and incentives for the use of public transportation are some of its parameters.
- National Water Mission: With the current water scarcity, that is projected to even worse in the near future as a result of climate change, the action plan sets a goal of a 20% improvement in water use efficiency through some of the pricing and other measures of monitoring.
- National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: The strategies in the action plan aim to conserve the rich biodiversity, forest cover percentage, and other aspects of high ecological values in and around the Himalayan region.
- National Mission for a “Green India”: Goals under this action plan include the afforestation of millions of hectares of degraded forest lands and expanding forest cover of India’s territory.
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The action plan aims to support climate adaptation in the agriculture sector through the induced innovation incentives for the use of climate-resilient crops, weather insurance mechanisms, and agricultural practices.
- National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: In order to gain a better understanding of climate science, impacts and challenges, the goals set out in the action plan envision a new Climate Science Research Fund. It has targeted improved climate modeling and an increased level of international collaboration. It further encourages private sector enterprises to progress with effective adaptation and mitigation technologies.
Translations into The Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change
The principles adopted for the National Action Plan on Climate Change include achieving a sustainable development path while advancing economic and environmental objectives. The preparation of State Action Plans for Climate Change (SAPCC) is supposed to be consistent with the overall objectives of the National Action Plan on Climate Change and result in a set of sectoral activities and programs that are supposed to take into account state-level variations, geographical specificities, and socio-economic considerations.
The following points form the basis of the national strategy that is taken forward through the principles in the state of Kerala:
- Protecting the vulnerable section of society through inclusive and sustainable development strategies which are simultaneously sensitive to climate change.
- Achieving national growth objectives through a qualitative change in direction that enhances ecological sustainability, leading to further mitigation of GHG emissions.
- Deploying appropriate technologies both for adaptation and mitigation of GHG emissions extensively as well as at an accelerated pace.
- Engineering new and innovative market, regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to promote sustainable development.
It is proposed to identify specific vulnerabilities and plan appropriate responses keeping those in focus. As the foremost impact of the changing climatic pattern relates to the land and water resources, a system for monitoring will be the first imperative. Further, the information at global as well as local level would be needed to be analyzed for any strategy. This will essentially include assessment of efficiency of the present development strategies in this context and probable mid-course corrections wherever found necessary. In the formulation of SAPCC, the impact of climate change, assessment of vulnerability, identification, prioritization, and financing of adaptation/mitigation options are being dealt with. Thus the SAPCC will build on the existing policies of the state government by taking into consideration the ongoing programs and schemes being implemented at the state level as well as the NAPCC. The SAPCC will have to be integrated into the state level planning process so that the resource allocation of the implementation of identified adaptation measures can be made with the objective to achieve the development goals of the state government. Adaptation is a key part of Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change and it is about taking action now to protect the state from the challenges caused by a changing climate.
The State Action Plan on Climate Change looks at the Climate Change and Development Issues in the State. It projects the Climate Change Trends through the observed scenarios. The locational aspect of the cities is taken into consideration to set the benchmarks and the criteria for inclusion. The vulnerability assessment is also a part of basic analysis. Coastal Kerala is risky zone to climate change impact, and this particular factor plays at the central stage. The further dependency on climate-sensitive zones and the associated livelihood in such areas is taken into due consideration. The Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change puts down the eight core planning strategies of the National Action Plan on Climate change through the sectors of Agriculture sector, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Coastal Ecosystem, Forest and Biodiversity, Water Resources, Health, Energy, Urban Front and Transport sector, Tourism, Knowledge management and local governance.
The whole framework works around while mainstreaming the climate change strategies into State Level Planning and Development Processes, addressal of state-specific priority issues with respect of National Action Plan on Climate Change, safeguarding natural resource of the state from climate change impacts, and finally, addressal of the existing as well as future climate change impacts and reduce the associated risk of the state.
Critical Analysis of the Thiruvananthapuram Master Plan
The Chapter on Environment in the Master Plan sees the city’s environment in two components of urban management, which are the physical environment and the social environment. The physical environment is viewed on the aspects of natural features like Land, Topography, Wetlands, Sacred Groves, Coastal lands, City Greenery, Waterbodies, Ground Water. The Social environment is mostly related to the environmental infrastructure like stormwater drainage, solid waste disposal, transportation network, etc. Further, the plan also views various pollution aspects of climate change which include Water Pollution, Industrial Pollution, Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, Bio-Medical Waste, E-Waste, etc.
The master plan has a complete inventory of the tangible and intangible aspects pertaining to the climate change phenomenon. It focuses on promoting sustainable management activities; encouraging Research and Development Activities; inducing effective Policy Reforms, and Capacity Building and Strengthening. The plan also specifies the roles and responsibilities of the organizations dealing with the environment and the climate change phenomenon in the city of Thiruvananthapuram. This is done in order to ensure a clearly defined fulfillment of the plan vision.
The plan clearly points out the role of Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change in order to combat the arising problems that tend to pose major questions in the near future. Further, the Integrated Development section of the master plan talks about the various schemes and policies that are existing at the central level which have been taken into the due consideration for the plan preparation. The primary goal is to make Thiruvananthapuram a green city of various functional aspects with an economically lively compact urban form possessing global standards in basic facilities and services. Out of the objectives enlisted in the master plan, one of the goals is to preserve the rich blue-green environment of the city in order to achieve sustainability and resiliency.
The primary focus of the master plan remains closely related to the central idea of the State Action Plan on Climate Change, which was the high risk of the Coastal zone to climate change impact. There are various ideologies defined in the master plan which address the issue of high dependency of the city on climate-sensitive sectors. The multi extreme events that accelerate the risk of climate change occupied the central stage in all the mitigation and preservation strategies. It further encompasses the idea that a large population, majorly the farmers, fishermen and tribal have their livelihood exposed to climate change. In view of the Environment and Climate Change, this Master Plan is a decent example to preserve the nature and its resources, the associated livelihood, and the corresponding economic progress.
National Action Plan on Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India
Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change, Department of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala