India Climate collaborative identifies 3 key factors for country
The three critical risk factors for India are high dependence on agriculture with about 700 million exposed to climate shocks, a large coastline with the most populous economic hubs, and a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, according to a new entity formed to battle the climate crisis by the coming together of several major Indian philanthropic organisations.
Earlier this week, philanthropic organisations focused on education and health care collaborated on finding solutions for the challenge posed by the climate crisis and created the India Climate Collaborative (ICC), which will fund climate crisis solutions in India.
At least 10 major philanthropies -- run by captains of industry including Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, Rohini Nilekani, Nadir Godrej, Aditi and Rishad Premji, and Hemendra Kothari, among others -- are part of the new initiative.
It will work with a number of research and academic organisations, including The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment, Centre for Policy Research, Centre for Science & Environment, Indian School of Business, Oxford University, World Resources Institute, and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundations.
“Any effort to deal with climate change is good. It’s great to see foundations are coming together but we have to see what kind of work they promote. We need critical voices coming out of the south both in terms of global climate negotiations and where do we see us going. For example, the concept of net zero, is it compatible with the principle of equity? We are seeing new challenges now in terms of impacts also like locust infestation is linked to climate change...,” said Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment.
In one of its first analyses, published on their official website, ICC said that only about 7% of the total philanthropic funding in India is presently going to climate-focused projects -- something that they aim to change. According to the India Philanthropy Report 2019 by Bain and Company, private funds raised in India for the entire social sector in 2018 were about Rs 70,000 crore, out of which an estimated Rs 43,000 crore was from individual philanthropists.
“Most of the funding is going to education, health care, then agriculture, rural livelihoods, but funding for climate change is very less. We aim to raise this funding from less than 10% to at least 20% in the coming years,” said Shloka Nath, executive director of ICC and head of sustainability at Tata Trusts.
ICC pointed out that the telltale signs of the climate crisis — India’s five warmest years were recorded in the past 15 years, average annual rainfall is decreasing, and extreme weather events are increasing -- make India particularly vulnerable.
The new entity aims to identify India-specific solutions and mainly focus on air, water, land and energy sectors. “Our collective leadership through the ICC will indicate to the world that Indian philanthropy is ready to be a leader in climate action,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, in the ICC statement.
ICC says philanthropy may play an important role in helping India achieve its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and “provide global leadership to ensure a fair and equitable climate dialogue”.
Nath said ICC plans to engage at the 26th session of the Conference of Parties at Glasgow, where countries are expected to update their NDCs to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“The India Climate Collaboration is a step in the right direction. It will ensure collective action which is always more impactful than actions taken in isolation,” said Karan Mangotra, associate director and climate finance expert at TERI.