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This article is written by Meenal Sharma, a student of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies. In this article, the author talks about the State Action Plan on Climate Change of various states and the obstacles in their implementation.

Introduction

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, India is likely to develop El-Niño type patterns by 2050 due to climate change. The El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are variations in wind and sea level over the Pacific Ocean which affects the global weather. According to this study, there will be an increase in the level of the Indian Ocean due to global warming. This could create a new pattern of climate over the Indian Ocean which would be similar to the El-Niño pattern over the Pacific Ocean. This has the potential to aggravate the intensity of droughts, floods and storms. Moreover, as of 2017, India produced 2.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, making it the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. 

There is a need to act now as India can face severe and systematic effects of climate change in the future such as an increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall, extreme weather conditions, which are becoming more common. Also, it may lead to an increase in malnutrition among human beings as the nutritive value will decrease as a result of an increase in food prices. Crop failure, resulting from variation in temperature and rainfall, can cause a significant fall in the income of the farmers. The water table is likely to fall resulting in long dry spells which would also contaminate the water and cause saline ingress leading to lower access to safe drinking water. As a result of lower disposable incomes resulting from crop failure, there will be a rise in children in agricultural areas who drop out of school. Climate change can also have a negative impact on the harmony of the nation. There is a possibility that it can trigger wars within the nation. For example, at the national level, issues related to water can lead to human displacement from one state to the other. Recently water disputes have also arisen in states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There is a dire need to address these issues. In this article, we will discuss the steps taken by various States to combat climate change. 

Background

According to India Climate Collaborative (ICC), India is more vulnerable to climate change based on three factors:

  1. High Agricultural Dependence: About 700 million people in India, who are highly dependent on agriculture, are exposed to the effects of climate change. 
  2. Long Coastline: India has a long coastline that harbours numerous economic hubs. However, the coastline is rising which could result in flooding. Therefore, the economic hubs are at risk of flooding as a result of the rising coastline.
  3. High Fossil Fuel Dependence: India is a populous country which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. 

On 30th June 2008, the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched to ensure sustainable development and climate change. The coordinating Ministry of this plan is the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The implementation of this plan is to be done through various nodal ministries. The MoEFCC encouraged the State governments to create institutional capacities and implement state-level activities to address climate change. 

The NAPCC laid down eight missions:

  1. National Solar Mission
  2. National Mission for Enhanced energy efficiency 
  3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
  4. National Water Mission
  5. National Mission for sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem 
  6. National Mission for Green India
  7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
  8. National Mission on Strategic knowledge on climate change 

What are SAPCCs?

To fight climate change, the Centre and the States need to work collectively. In 2009, all the State Governments were directed by the Government of India to prepare a State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) in line with the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

Each State is diverse and the best decisions can be made at the local level to fight climate change. The States were required to make policies focusing on their respective geographic conditions. These State plans were to be aligned with the eight National Missions. The States can take lead from these National missions and formulate policies as per the requirements at the local level. A nodal agency was appointed to this purpose. For this purpose the States took various steps:

  1. Tie up with multiple stakeholders
  2. Formation of new committees 
  3. Conducting workshops
  4. Conduct research plans on existing policy programmes

The focus of SAPCC is subnational planning, assessing the vulnerability and identifying the opportunities as per the requirements of the State. Formulating the SAPCC requires a preparation process. A Steering Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State Government provides for overall policy guidelines for the preparation of the SAPCC. 

Objectives of SAPCC

The major objectives of SAPCC are:

  1. Sustainable Development of the State to protect it from the adverse effects of climate change and improve its ecological sustainability. 
  2. To provide a framework of actions to facilitate growth while adapting to climate change. 
  3. To establish financing options available for adapting to and mitigating the SAPCC. 
  4. To formulate innovative policies on sustainable development. 

SAPCCs of various states

Assam 

The North-eastern State has ample water resources along with rich biodiversity. 86% of the total population of Assam thrives on agriculture and forest produce. From 1951-2010, in Assam, the annual mean temperature has increased by 0.59℃ and the annual rainfall has decreased by 2.96 mm per year. Cloud bursts have been reported in Assam which caused floods. A Special Purpose Vehicle, Assam Climate Change Management Society (ACCMS) has been created to overlook the departments dealing with climate change activities. The principles of Assam SAPCC are:

  1. Ensuring the sustainability of water resources.
  2. Ensuring the sustainability of agriculture systems.
  3. Protection and conservation of forests and bio-resources within the State.
  4. Making habitats climate-resilient. 
  5. Ensuring energy sufficiency and efficiency. 
  6. Addressing enhanced impacts of anticipated extreme events. 

Various schemes like developing district-wise plans and undertaking an assessment to ascertain institutional reforms, knowledge management about climate change and its impact including capacity building, designing decision support systems, and research and knowledge portal were formulated under this SAPCC. 

Andaman and Nicobar Islands 

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Plan on Climate Change (ANIAPCC) has formulated eight missions to deal with the climate change in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, keeping in mind the complex ecosystem of the Islands. Separate budgets have been allocated for each mission. These are:

  1. ANI Mission on Solar Energy: It focuses on maximising solar power by the installation of 5MW Solar Power Plant in South Andaman, Garacharma Hill and 1MW Solar Power Plant in Middle Andaman, Rangat. 
  2. ANI Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency: It focuses on:
    • compulsory adoption of ECBC (Energy Conservation Building Code) in new buildings, as well as government buildings, and compulsory use of ISImarked motor pump sets, power capacitors etc in the agriculture sector;
    • promoting energy auditing and use of CFL/LED and star rated appliances, and establishing energy management cells at Electricity Departments and deputing staff to impart training. 
  3. ANI Mission on Sustainable Habitat: It focuses on:
    • developing databases, vulnerability maps, model codes on ‘Drought, Floods and Good Weather’ and weather forecasting, and crop insurance at the micro-level;
    • Sustainable agriculture development such as organic farming etc, soil and water conservation, watershed facilities and SRI (System Rice Intensification) cultivation in paddy.
  4. ANI Sustainable Water Mission: It focuses on: 
    • increasing water supply through groundwater recharging, rainwater harvesting and maintenance of check dams;
    • improving efficiency and storage capacity, raising embankment and desilting existing water bodies.
  5. ANI Mission on Green India: It focuses on:
    • protecting as well as increasing the density of forests and converting monoculture plantations into secondary forests; 
    • improving the efficiency of timber-based Government SawMills, and the efficiency of small wood and Non-Timber Forest Product based industries. 
  6. ANI Mission on Sustaining Island Ecosystem: It focuses on:
    • managing the coastal ecosystem; and 
    • monitoring and conducting research on Island Ecosystems by climate change. 
  7. ANI Mission on Sustainable Agriculture: It provides for similar strategies adopted under ANI Mission on Sustainable Habitat. 
  8. ANI Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: It focuses on:
    • Climate Modelling and promoting data access by formulating policies for sustained development; 
    • strengthening networks and establishing a Climate Change Division in the Department of Science and Technology.

Andhra Pradesh 

The State Action Plan on Climate Change for Andhra Pradesh has formulated actions in the following sectors:

  1. Agriculture: Developing crops resilient to heat, photo and water stress, shifting to bio-fertilizers, assuring credit facility and insurance against crop failure for farmers. It also aims to standardise fuel-efficient irrigation pumps, establishing germplasm banks and carrying out intensive research on stable agriculture. 
  2. Coastal Zone Management: Establishing cyclone shelters and disseminating cyclone and tsunami warnings, increasing the connectivity to vulnerable habitations along the coast, and interstate connection to manage floods.
  3. Forestry and Biodiversity: The focus is on the restoration of mangroves, and increasing afforestation especially in degraded and public lands. To reduce cyclone damage in coastal regions, preservation of rare germplasm shelterbelt is crucial. 
  4. Energy: The aim is to improve the efficiency of thermal power generation and electrical equipment, promoting solar energy resources and non-conventional sources of electricity, and rationalising power tariffs in subsidised sectors. 
  5. Industries: Ensuring waste minimisation, cleaner production processes across industries and assessing the vulnerability of various industrial hubs to risks related to climate change. 
  6. Transportation: Enhancing public transport and fuel-efficient transports, and redesigning road networks to allow smooth traffic.
  7. Health: Investigating the impact of climate change and pollution on diseases, developing low-cost vaccines for vector-borne diseases etc. 
  8. Urban Development: Remodelling sewage, sanitation and water supply system to reduce climate change vulnerability, creating and protecting water bodies in urban areas, managing solid waste, incorporating rainwater harvesting in government offices and other places, promoting non-motorised transport, etc.
  9. Tourism: Ensuring cleanliness, promoting climate control equipment in tourist areas, promoting eco-tourism and protecting heritage sites from climate change. 
  10. Rural Development: Remodelling sewage, sanitation and water supply system to reduce climate change vulnerability, ensuring safe water supply and road connectivity in rural areas, improving the efficiency of street lighting and water facilities, and subsidising livelihood by the credit facility. 
  11. Research in Climate Change: The Climate Change knowledge centre to be set up under Environment Protection Training and Research Institute, determining the vulnerability due to climate change in river basins, industrial hubs etc. 
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Bihar 

In the state of Bihar, various targets have been set up for the state to fulfil and develop. The responsibility for the same has been handed over to various departments who take certain actions to fulfil the targets. 

  1. In the Agriculture Sector, short term actions would be taken such as setting up of Climate Change Cells for a streamlined mechanism to ensure the coordination of all the sectors and their activities under the Bihar Action Plan on Climate Change. Medium-term actions have been taken such as the deployment of improved crop varieties which are both flood and drought tolerant. 
  2. In the Department of Animal and Fisheries Resources, Artificial Insemination Centres would be strengthened with the purpose of improved breeding of the milch animals, with the view of enhancing the production of milk to counter the loss of crop production caused due to adverse changes in the climate. Also, there would be conservation of Buffaloes and Cattles that are native to the Bihar Region through the establishment of Nucleus Herds, which would lead to conservation of stress-resistant and disease-resistant native breeds of buffalo and cattle and help them adjust to the climatic changes. 
  3. The Forests and Biodiversity Sector has divided its actions into short-term actions and medium-term actions. Short-term actions to be taken are the activation of the State Biodiversity Board and the development of the multi-action annual plans with regard to the 12th Five Year Plan. This would end up creating a functional State Biodiversity Board with the appropriate action plans. Similarly, a medium-term action would include increased interventions in dense, moderately dense and open forest areas. This would lead to an improvement in the management and quality of the forest area, inclusive of the green cover augmentation.
  4. The Water Sector has taken action for the revival and repair of the Ahar-Pynes for the enhanced water sector management practices and infrastructure assets. 
  5. The Disaster Management Sector has been studying the recent changes in the climate parameters as well as monitoring the many parameters of the climate in order to obtain data over the change in climate parameters and observe them. 
  6. The Urban Development Sector has reviewed the urban development policy and incorporated the climate concerns based upon the Sector Vulnerability Assessment which would allow them to reflect the climate concerns explicitly. 
  7. The Transport Sector is working on enhancing the citizens’ access to the buses and public transport along with improving the image of the Public Transport, with the intention to improve the transport infrastructure and the already existing systems.
  8. The Energy Sector is working on the renovation as well as the modernisation of the present units to restore them to their original efficiency with much reduced auxiliary power consumption as well as reduced emissions through chimneys.
  9. The Mining and Industries Sector has partnered with the industry associations and has planned on initiating the process for stimulating technological innovation and the change for improving the efficiency of the resources, the reduction in air and water pollution, and enhancing the use of renewables. This would help in achieving the streamlined mechanisms to coordinate all the activities of the sectors under the BAPCC.
  10. The Health Sector, with reference to the change in climate, would assess to understand the extent of the burden of a disease that might take place because of population projections and climate change. 

Delhi 

The Delhi State Action Plan on Climate Change has identified the following sectors under climate change:

  1. Sustainable Habitat: Creating a sustainable habitat to combat climate change by improving the efficiency of energy as well as encouraging a shift to public transport. 
  2. Enhanced Energy Efficiency: Conservation of energy through rooftop solar power generation, use of LEDs, resorting to biowaste, etc, installing 1MW solar plant in Thyagraj stadium, illumination through Special Purpose Vehicle at Safdarjung Tomb etc.
  3. Strategic Knowledge: This includes creating Environmental Awareness, converting organic waste to biofuel etc. The aim is to challenge climate change by identifying areas through research.
  4. Green India: Planting 10 lakh trees and 5 lakh shrubs by 2030, replenishing old worn out trees and encouraging vermicomposting in schools, Resident Welfare Associations etc. The goal is to increase green cover by 25% in 2030.
  5. Solar Mission: The focus is to reduce dependency on coal as a source of electricity. The policy is to install 1 GW of solar power capacity by 2020. Solar water heating to be made mandatory in all industries, hotels, certain residential buildings etc.
  6. Water Mission: Implementing Yamuna Action Plan Phase-II, regulating groundwater management etc.

Gujarat

The vision of the Gujarat State Action Plan on Climate Change is to have a low carbon pathway and ensure a climate-resilient and sustainable future. The approach of this plan is to create win-win strategies and include participatory risk management. The strategies are focused on research and development, institutional strengthening and infrastructural development, policy support and capacity building. The State has made strategies in the following sectors:

  1. Agriculture: 
    1. The Agriculture and Cooperation Department focuses on establishing various animal hostels within the State, developing micro-irrigation systems, climate change proofing by conservation of soil and water to improve fertility and productivity, using bio-fertilizers, etc.
    2. The Department of Climate Change intends to carry out research on ‘Climate Change Implications on crop growth in Gujarat’.
  2. Water Resources: 
    1. The Water Resources Department focuses on irrigation management, renovating modern schemes, and carrying out schemes to check on dams.
    2. The Water Supply Department to drought-proof the scarcity prone areas, create rooftop harvesting structures, construct projects to desalinate water, transport inter-basin water to scarce areas, and recycle used water. 
    3. Maharaja Sayajirao University: it plans to create a long term impact to control climate change over Karjat river basin and various other zones in Gujarat.
  3. Forests and Biodiversity: The Forests and Environment Department is to focus on the biodiversity, afforestation in coastal areas, increasing energy plantation and fodder plantations in the interior forest village areas. They also work to build awareness and communication and develop REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
  4. Health:
    1. The Health and Family Welfare Departments are to control vector-borne diseases by distributing LLIN (Long lasting impregnating net), conduct surveillance of heat stress, climate vulnerability and water quality.
    2. Conducting research at IIPH (Indian Institute of Public Health), Gandhinagar. 
  5. Urban Development: To prepare ECBC (Energy Efficiency Building Code), to conserve water through rainwater harvesting etc, conservation of energy by using alternate sources of energy, thus, reducing carbon footprint and GreenHouse Gases emissions. 
  6. Renewable Energy and Efficiency: Achieving energy security by installing Solar Photovoltaic Power Packs for Anganwadis and Primary Health Centres, e-Gram for Gram Panchayat, installing solar pumps for small farmers, and replacing conventional light with LED lamps.
  7. Vulnerable Communities: It focuses on integrating gender concerns in climate change policies, including the participation of women and evaluating the vulnerability assessment of migrants.
  8. Sea level rise and Coastal Infrastructure: The Ports and Transport Department works on protecting coastal infrastructure and creating a balanced energy mix in the ports. 
  9. Green jobs: Panchayats and Rural Housing Development works on achieving water security through the creation of jobs to set up irrigation infrastructure and generate employment in the biofuel sector, increasing green cover, and reducing carbon emissions by installing solar pumps for salt miners.

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a landlocked state and drained by rain-fed rivers only. Therefore, it is considered to be vulnerable to climate change. The Madhya Pradesh State Action Plan on Climate Change has the vision to ensure inclusive growth and sustainable development. Key strategies are made under the following sectors:

  1. Forestry Sector
    • Formulating different plans based on different types of forests with respect to climate change to enhance forest conservation, afforestation and reforestation.
    • Shifting to alternate sources of energy by reducing dependence on forests for energy and developing linkages to forest-based livelihood opportunities.
    • Improving the forest fire management system and creating awareness.
  2. Water Sector
    • Encouraging rainwater harvesting targeting the affected areas and encouraging practices concerning water management like water recycling etc.
    • Restoring traditional water storing structures and planning efficient water supply systems.
  3. Agriculture Sector
    • Conserving soil and water, and promoting dryland agriculture and horticulture.
    • Creating rural business hubs to facilitate livelihood, and promoting sustainable harvesting, water management, use of fertilisers, sustainable agri-residue management etc.
  4. Livestock and Fisheries Sector
    • Ensuring adequate fodder for livestock in drought and flood conditions as well as water bodies for livestock in case of heat stress.
    • Rearing indigenous species that can adapt to climatic changes. 
  5. Health Sector
    1. Improving disaster management preparation for epidemic outbreaks and developing robust infrastructure for the storage of drugs or medicines.
    2. Formulating stringent laws for the management of biomedical waste.
  6. Urban Sector: It includes increasing energy efficiency in residential areas, proper management of solid and water waste, introducing sustainable transport, water system, infrastructure etc.
  7. Energy Sector
    • Efficient generation of power and resorting to new technologies that use conventional fuel.
    • Green tariff to incentivize production of clean energy.
  8. Industries Sector: Effective management of industrial waste, pollution control in industries and building the industry network on the theme ‘reuse and recycle’. 
  9. Rural Development Sector: 
    • Making credit facilities available for the development of rural infrastructure and insurance against side effects of climate change. 
    • Making villages carbon neutral and evaluating the existing development programs to make them climate-proof.
  10. Environment Sector
    • Establishing an SCCKMC (State Climate Change Knowledge Management Centre).
    • Developing strategies such as the generation of MACC (Marginal Abatement Cost Curves).

Tamil Nadu

About 4% of India’s land is composed of Tamil Nadu’s land area. It also constitutes about 6% of India’s population. The Tamil Nadu State Government has recently released the draft of its SAPCC. About 199 activities have been proposed to be carried out by 2030. The areas of focus under this plan are:

  1. Sustainable Agriculture, 
  2. Water Resources, 
  3. Forest And Biodiversity, 
  4. Coastal Area Management, 
  5. Strategic Knowledge For Climate Change, 
  6. Enhanced Energy Efficiency And Solar Mission, and 
  7. Sustainable Habitat.

About 24 projects are targeted on improving the facilities for housing, drinking water and sanitation, and focusing on urban development, reducing pollution and making urban spaces greener. 

The plan focuses on reducing dangers to the coastline as a result of a change in temperature, degradation to coral reefs and mangroves, the intrusion of saltwater and excessive commercial fishing. The plan focuses on activities like conserving marine resources and generation of livelihood.

West Bengal

The State of West Bengal has taken action in the following areas:

  1. Water Conservation and Flood Management: They are the primary actions and targets taken by the State Government. Floods are the major threats to agriculture, which are brought about by climate change. To tackle this, real-time flood forecasting has been adopted in the National Hydrology Programme. Another target is increasing the storage capacity of major irrigation projects by addressing the issues of leakage, removing siltation, and the lining at the sides of the channel system for reduced percolation. 
  2. Forest and Agriculture: The Agriculture Sector is quite vast in West Bengal as it is inclusive of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture, Annual Resource Development and Fisheries. More than 10% of West Bengal’s geographical area is covered under forest region. But it has seen some drop lately. So, to increase the green cover of the state, actions such as afforesting the degraded forests and increasing the stock of the moderately dense forest were taken. 
  3. Sunderban: The Sunderban Delta is one of the largest deltas in the world and lies in the state of West Bengal. To allow connectivity and accessibility to this region, measures were taken such as developing extensive water and surface networks by way of construction projects; and extensive plantation of mangrove trees along with proper awareness about their relevance. 
  4. Health and Welfare: The well being of all the citizens is a prime concern, so one of the targets is to respond quickly to the epidemics of communicable diseases. To bring this into action, the government has decided to establish the Critical Care and High Dependency Units in the whole of West Bengal with the target of ensuring critical Care and Emergency Management with the purpose of advanced life-saving functions at every 50 kilometres. 
  5. Sustainable Habitat: Sustainable Habitat for everyone is a must, therefore, the focus is on reducing long term effects of climate change by taking appropriate steps such as setting up a Climate Service Centre at the West Bengal Department of Environment. 
  6. Energy: The Power Sector of West Bengal is divided among Central, State and Private Sector. A novel target is the setting up of an additional 390 MW grid-connected solar rooftop projects by the year 2020 as well as reducing the emission of Carbon Dioxide and implementing the PAT cycle-II. To fulfil these targets, the West Bengal Energy Conservation Building Code (WEBEC), 2016 was framed. 

The obstacles in its implementation

Obstacles 

To implement the targets laid under SAPCC funding is made available by the national government under the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change. However, there are certain obstacles in its implementation. They are:

  1. Lack of coordination between State and Centre: There is a lack of coordination between the State and Centre in implementing the plan along with a lack of transparency.
  2. Lack of coordination with other departments: To smoothly implement the SAPCC, it is very important to have coordination with other departments. There should be specified targets for each district and city which are usually neglected in the SAPCC. 
  3. Lack of dedicated officials: Climate change is a very technical field that requires dedicated and skilled officials to ensure implementation of SAPCCs. 
  4. Lack of in-build upscaling design: There should be more focus on the upscaling of the designs of the Action Plan.
  5. Less access and mobilisation: There is less focus on the mobilisation of the plan within its means of implementation.

Recommendations

  1. Targeting local areas in SAPCC: Provisions should be made to target districts which are more vulnerable to the risks of climate change.
  2. Strengthening Human and Institutional Capacities: Without strong human and institutional capacities, the task of successfully implementing SAPCC would remain a distant dream. 
  3. Upscaling Strategies: It is important to upscale strategies in the planning stage for effective implementation of the SAPCCs. 
  4. Conduct training: Training should be conducted of community members to ensure adaptation of strategies. Moreover, spreading awareness about climate change would also lead to the desired effect.

Conclusion

Climate Change is a global phenomenon which can only be treated at a local level. It is the variation in global and regional climate over a period of time. India, a developing country with a large population is deeply vulnerable to climate change. India is already facing effects of climate change such as an increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall, extreme weather conditions which are becoming more common. These effects are likely to increase in the future, therefore there is a need to take effective action as soon as possible. The State Action Plans of Climate Change are the primary documents which address climate change at the sub-national level. Various states have formulated the SAPCC but there are many states which are not able to reach their full potential in the implementation of SAPCC. The need of the hour is to strongly implement the SAPCC. Since every change starts with a small step, it is very important to formulate strategies for district levels which is also easier to implement.


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