Three ministries to form consortium for climate-related policies
Mumbai In a first, three ministries - earth sciences (MoES), science and technology, and environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), are set to form a consortium for climate science, mitigation and adaptation.
On Monday, M Ravichandran, secretary, MoES, said that the idea of the inter-ministerial consortium is to avoid duplication of climate-related policy formulation and research, and work cohesively towards climate action and towards realising India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.
NDC is a climate action plan including targets that are put forth by individual countries to cut emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Ravichandran, who was the chief guest for the 10th anniversary of the Interdisciplinary Programme in climate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay, said that the consortium is likely to be in place in the next six months.
“The problem at present is that each ministry is working separately on climate-related issues, be it science, adaptation or mitigation. The prime minister has been consistently of the opinion that these ministries should not work in isolation, so as to ensure that societal issues are being addressed and solutions reach the common man,” said Ravichandran.
He further added, “MoES, DST and MoEFCC will work together along with academia, institutes and national laboratories to have different outcomes. We will discuss the modalities at our next monthly meeting.”
“One of the areas where the three ministries will converge is climate modelling with the aim to create an India-centric climate model,” said Akhilesh Gupta, senior advisor, department of science and technology.
“Similarly, we can all work together on aerosols and establish an aerosol mission. Urban climate is another important focus area. India will also increasingly be impacted by extreme events and there is therefore a need for more robust work on an early warning system,” added Gupta.
Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants these departments to work for a similar cause, Gupta said, “The centre is spending a lot of money on climate research, but a significant amount of work is happening individually and leading to duplication. There is enough to be done in each department. Since the government is the first respondent to climate action and challenges, there is a need to work together within the government.”
The consortium will utilise the strength and expertise of each ministry towards achieving a common goal. For instance, while aerosol research can be undertaken by institutes under DST, MoES’ forte lies in aerosol observation and policy formulation can be handled by MoEFCC. Similarly, in the field of glaciology, the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is under DST, MoES undertakes scientific studies in Antarctica and Arctic and MoEFCC can focus on policy.
Gupta said departments working on climate change such as Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Space Research Organisation, Department of Biotechnology and Department of Atomic Energy will also be roped into the consortium at a later stage.
The Interdisciplinary Programme in Climate Studies (IDPCS) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay and the India Meteorological Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop climate solutions for stakeholders at village, city and district level. Some of the expected outcomes of the collaboration include sensors and drone based smart monitoring system, climate-smart agriculture technology for water and food security, climate and health, intelligent and automated early warning systems, among others. The MoU is a step towards IIT-Bombay’s goal to establish a Centre of Excellence in Climate Services and Solutions within IDPCS.
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