Punching holes in the National Action Plan on Climate Change,Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said it was “put together” by experts who thought “they knew what the country knows best” and pitched for involving common people in drafting policies in that regard.
“It (the Action Plan) was put together by a large number of experts sitting in Delhi,thinking that they knew what the country knows best for climate change,” Ramesh said,addressing the ‘National Policy Dialogue on Climate Change Actions’ here.
The Action Plan,which outlines existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation,was released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his first tenure in 2008. The plan identifies eight core “national missions” on the menace running through 2017.
“But now we are actually reverting the process and putting together elements of the plans based on daily experience of people and community who are actually facing impacts of climate change,” the minister said,noting that India is the “most vulnerable country” to climate change.
Noting that adaptation to climate change has to be a community-driven process,Ramesh said the common people should be involved in drafting policies in this regard.
“It cannot be a government mandated process. Elected panchayats,self-help groups and various NGOs have to be involved in drafting government policies on how to deal with the threat,” the minister said.
He maintained there was no country in the world which was as severely affected as India and identified four major dimensions of climate change faced by the people here.
“First,two-thirds of India’s population is still dependent on the monsoon,which is impacted by climate change. If we look over the last fifty-years,almost 55 per cent of the variation in our GDP has come from variation in rainfall alone.
“Second is rise in sea level which would adversely affect the livelihood of around 250 million people of the country who live in the coastal areas,” Ramesh said.
He said the third area of vulnerability is the threat to water security due to the melting of glaciers whose health remains a major area of concern as revealed by various studies.
“The fourth demising comes from the confluence of great mineral wealth with the forest cover. The more coal we use,the more forests we are going to destroy which would in turn result into more greenhouse gas (GHG) emission,” he said.
Renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan also shared similar views and said that common and differentiated impact of climate change at various level need to be studied.