Climate Change Response Index: India’s State Level Climate Change Preparedness
India came up with her National Climate Change Action Plan in July 2008 with 8 missions to deal with climate change. While the detailed action plans for each mission are yet to be formulated, much of these missions’ transformation into reality is contingent upon the response at the state level. In fact the momentum has already started with Himachal Pradesh declaring in September 2008 to go carbon neutral and many states proactive in promoting renewable energy and clean development mechanisms. On the one hand, we need to examine why some states are able to respond to climate change in better way compared to others. A number of factors such as environmental activism, exposure to vulnerability of climate change etc may explain this differential preparedness for climate change. At the same time, it is important to have a parameter against which state response could be measured.
At this backdrop, we propose to construct the Climate Change Response Index (CCRI) to illustrate the state-level preparedness for climate change challenges. CCRI will be a composite index of two major sub-indices: Adaptation Response Index and Mitigation Response Index with measurement along Awareness, Policies, and Actions in the context of adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation is more of ‘responding to the changes in a sustained manner’, thus the importance developing alternative options, collective action, enhancing social security and public accountability will be of prime concern. Mitigation calls for related adjustments in development trajectory and change in lifestyle; hence the key issues are awareness and personal commitment, facilitating government action and proactive market mechanisms. Unlike the many socio-economic development indices that focus on the outcomes, CCRI will lay much more emphasis on the process (partly due to the uncertainties of impacts and changes and partly to track future directions; this is also since local action suitable may not be possible in another agro-climatic region).
Keywords: Climate Change Response, Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability, Adaptation, Mitigation, Policies and Actions
Centre for Development Finance, Institute for Financial Management and Research
Professor, Institute of Rural Management
Dr. Gopi Chandran
Director, Centre for Environment Education