Environment & Biodiversity

Mission Adaptation to Climate Change: A Comprehensive Measure

The Indian budget for 2023-24 includes some climate change mitigation measures, but adaptation has received insufficient attention. The government must adopt a Mission Adaptation to foster a supportive ecosystem in which all entities can collaborate to develop locally appropriate adaptation solutions.

Climate Change Mitigation Measures

  • Allocation for Green Transition: India’s budget for 2023-24 includes funds for climate change mitigation, with a focus on green growth initiatives aimed at lowering the carbon intensity of the economy, such as green mobility, energy efficiency, and the announcement of the green hydrogen mission.
  • Promoting nature-based initiatives: Nature-based solutions, such as the mangrove plantation initiative and the community-based wetland conservation scheme, have the potential to have a positive impact on climate change mitigation.

Failure to Pay Attention to Climate Change Adaptation

  • Climate change is addressed in a roundabout way: While climate change mitigation has received budgetary attention, climate change adaptation has only been addressed indirectly.
  • There are no measures to improve resilience: Despite India’s high vulnerability to climate change, the budget does not include measures to improve community and habitation resilience to its effects.
  • As an example: Climate change-related risks, such as the recent example of Joshimath, are not explicitly mentioned in the budget.

Adaptation Assistance

  • In the global climate discourse, adaptation has traditionally received far less attention than mitigation, resulting in lower funding for adaptation.
  • In India, the funding ratio for climate adaptation to mitigation is 1:10. While mitigation funding is also underfunded, with only 25% of the required funds met, the gap for adaptation funding is much larger, at only 7.9% of the required funds.

Adaptation Funding Challenges

  • Adapting to climate change frequently necessitates highly local and nature-based solutions with no traditional ROI. As a result, mainstream, profit-seeking capital is scarcely available for adaptation.
  • Climate adaptation has largely remained a publicly funded endeavour in India, with nearly 100% of adaptation funding coming from government sources. Due to the distorted discourse on climate change, international funding has also remained scarce.

The Importance of Strategic Investment

  • Climate shocks are expected to become more frequent and severe, with devastating consequences if communities and habitations do not build resilience.
  • The public sector must prioritise resilience building as a strategic priority and address it aggressively.
  • Climate adaptation must be viewed as a strategic investment by the government in order to climate-proof lives, livelihoods, the environment, and the economy.

Mission Modification

  • In the context of climate change, mission adaptation refers to the need for a strategic, proactive approach to building adaptive capacity in order to climate-proof lives, livelihoods, the environment, and the economy.
  • It is a proposed initiative to develop and scale up locally sound adaptation solutions in India by creating a supportive ecosystem for all entities, including the private sector, non-profits, and civil society.
  • The idea is to see climate adaptation as a strategic investment by the public sector, and to use the concept of public purpose to guide policy and business activity in order to bridge the complex challenges that society faces today.

@the end

Given the increasing frequency with which climate-related stress occurs and is expected to occur, the public sector will continue to be a critical contributor to climate adaptation funding. To make Mission Adaptation a reality, the government must work to develop a more systemic understanding of resilience and support efforts aimed at developing such an understanding across the ecosystem.

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