Climate budgeting: The Centre is thinking on the right lines
The advantage of climate budgeting is that with better understanding of exactly how much and where existing national budgetary resources are going on climate change and how much more is needed, a government can make informed choiceseditorials Updated: Feb 23, 2017 18:44 IST
No matter what climate deniers such as US President Donald Trump claim, climate change is for real. Extreme weather conditions --- deadly cyclones, unseasonal rains, floods and mudslides --- have become a regular event across the world. Storms and floods are sweeping across the globe with increased regularity and ferocity. Recovery costs are high, and so the key question now is to find and allocate funds to build “climate resilient” infrastructure. There are two ways developing countries can doing it: First, access international finance under the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. This means that developed countries should pay for the adverse effects of the global phenomenon. They are more likely to have the technical and economic capacity to address climate change, whereas developing countries may not. But that source of funding is increasingly becoming difficult to access. The other answer can be found when developing countries take a look at how climate change is reflected in their own national budgets and expenditures and budget for such expenses.
The good news is India has taken the first step towards doing this. A report in national daily on Wednesday said that from next year, India will start climate budgeting. This is a practice that accounts for budgetary measures that support climate-change related actions in the country. The report said that the government will prepare a supplementary report to go with the main budget document, accounting for how much money India is annually investing on climate change. The plan was initially to do it this year but then the government realised that it doesn’t have a robust methodology that can withstand national scrutiny. The finance ministry will soon finalise a status paper on this to provide a roadmap on the best and most robust method for the ministries to follow.
The advantage of climate budgeting is that with better understanding of exactly how much and where existing national budgetary resources are going on climate change and how much more is needed, a government can make informed choices on how and where to channel additional resources can be put in, or how to realign funds that are already being spent. And, by building more climate resilient infrastructure today, countries can save money in the long run.