Sunday, October 4, 2009

Though the National Action Plan on Climate Change document details objectives, strategies, plans of action, timelines,  and monitoring and evaluation criteria, of the eight missions, some experts believe that its implementation is getting  delayed

GROWING INTERNATIONAL pressure to cut down its overall greenhouse gas emissions led India to come up with a roadmap detailing ways and means to mitigate the effects of climate change. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was released in June 2008, a year after it was announced.
The action plan addresses eight specific areas, including the optimum utili sation of solar energy instead of fossil fuels like coal in the national energy grid.

Using recycled materials and designing buildings which are more airy and use solar energy, is also part of the action plan. Tapping solar energy for power generation is a highlight of the action plan.

The national action plan aims that by 2017, most of the households in urban areas, industries and commercial establishments should start utilising solar power. Through solar power, the country would bring down its dependence on fossil fuel energy sources like thermal power.

Another area highlighted in the NAPCC is promoting energy efficiency in the residential and commercial sectors, along with bringing down electricity consumption in residential and commercial areas. Estimates are that in a typical commercial building in India, around 60 per cent of total electricity is consumed for lighting, 32 per cent for space conditioning, and 8 per cent for refrigeration. Promoting the use of public transport over personal vehicles is also underlined in the NAPCC.

Another area highlighted is providing adequate water for all through the efficient use of this crucial resource. India wants 20 per cent improvement in water use efficiency through pricing and other measures to deal with water scarcity as result of climate change.

One of the worst hit due to climate change is the Himalayan Ecosystem, including glaciers. With increase in temperatures, glaciers have started melting.This has set alarm bells ringing in coastal areas which could get submerged.Sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem is a highlight of the NAPCC.

Afforestation is also one of the eight NAPCC missions.

The Centre proposes to plant trees in six million hectare of degraded forest land. Trees provide oxygen and taken in CO2.

In the area of agriculture, the national action plan aims to support climate adaptation in the sector, through the development of climate-resilient crops, and expansion of weather insurance mechanisms. The last of the eight missions under the NAPCC emphasises gaining better understanding of climate science, the impacts of climate change, and the challenges that lie ahead.

The NAPCC received a mixed response. Some find in it India's answer to the growing pressure on developing countries to accept binding emission norms. But a criticism is that it lacks urgency.
According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the action plan is "fairly comprehensive". But the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People has said the NAPCC lacks urgency and the equity perspective.

The organisation has criticised the Water Mission, saying attempts to push for more big dams, irrigation projects, hydro-power projects, and interlinking of rivers will prove to be futile.

The government, on the other hand, is sanguine about the long-term impact of the eight missions under the NAPCC, and has announced that necessary funds would be available to them.

Though the NAPCC document details objectives, strategies, plans of action, timelines, and monitoring and evaluation criteria, of the eight missions, some experts believe that its implementation is getting delayed.

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