India urged to focus on adaptation to climate change

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (UNI) As the world leaders prepare for next UN talks to evolve an international response to climate change in Bali next month, a new report 'Up in Smoke? Asia and the Pacific' has been published highlighting how the human drama of climate change will be largely played out in Asia, where about two thirds of the human population lives.

The book, whose foreword has been written by Dr RK Pachauari, chairman of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), says that without immediate action, global warming was set to reverse decades of social and economic progress across Asia.

The book was released to the media here by the Climate Action Network South Asia(CANSA) which has as its members WWF, TERI, Greepeace and ActionAid.

CANSA said it has made a number of suggestions to India in the context of the Bali conference.

They said India has a huge opportunity to show leadership on reducing the carbon intensity of its growth to the world by shifting to de-carbonised energy path while not compromising on its developmental goals.' The CANSA members also felt that India should demand that the initial incremental cost of clean development mechanism be paid through a combination of an expanded CDM and new financial mechanism under the post 2012 framework.

CANSA also asked the country to ensure that the post 2012 fram work facilitates the inclusion of a comprehensive technology transfer mechanism. It said the Government should come out with a clear proposal at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Charge (UNFCCC) meeting at Bali defining an appropriate technology bouquet.

It says there is an urgent need for a detailed bottom-up assessment for adaptation to climate change, especially in the most vulnerable areas which include disaster-prone regions.

India should also initiate new mechanism for funding adaptation needs. There are various estimates of costs of adaptation that have been floated highlighting the vast scale of resources to be invested for meeting the needs of developing countries.

Moreover, the Government should lobby for the adaptation fund to be managed by a multi-lateral framework, it added.

It urged the government to introduce a renewable energy law in the country not later than 2010, which would help in creating a favourable market for such energy thereby addressing the issue of high costs of some of the renewable energy resources.

The Report highlights the potential devastating impact of climate change in India: It underscores that the country has already 250 million people who live in absolute poverty with little capacity to cope with climate change. As many as 400 million people living in Ganga basin will be further affected by water shortages in the near future.

Many more will be affected by floods and droughts due to erratic monsoons and the fast depletion of Himalayan glacier.

Around 600 million people depend on agriculture, which, unlike the rest of the country, has been crawling along at a growth rate of less than two per cent. Production has been stagnant and per capita food availability has been declining.

Some vulnerable sections of society like tribals and women and Scheduled castes will be affected in greater degree. For example, women will spend a greater amount of their time in arranging for food, fuel and water for their families.

In the Sunderbans already four islands have been completely submurged, displacing about 6000 families, which have the misfortune of being the country's first climate change refugees.

UNI

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