India drafts policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

ForestNew Delhi (ISJ): India released a draft policy roadmap for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation. The draft policy seeks to adopt REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) projects effectively as part of a global efforts for conservation of green cover.

India ranks 10th with 22 million hectare in forest cover and around 300 million people, including 87 million tribals are dependent on it for livelihood. On the other side, the world?s fourth largest economy is also the fifth largest green gas house emitter. Its emissions increased to 65% between 1990 and 2005 and are projected to grow another 70% by 2020. On per capita basis, India?s emissions are 70% below the world average, with its forest cover neutralising 11% of gas house emissions.

FarmingNew01Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its report ?Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability? has projected, changing climate will reduce crop yield by 2-14% by 2020, with worsening yields by 2050 and 2080 unless appropriate crop management practices are adopted. The Indo-Gangetic Plains produces 90 million tons of wheat annual, which amounts to about 14-15% of global wheat production.

Climate projections based on a doubling of CO2 could decrease in the high yielding area due to heat stress by 51%, adversely impacting about 200 million people in this area, who relies on crop harvests.India?s estimated countrywide agricultural loss by 2030 would be over 7 billion US dollars, which could severely affect the income of about 10% of the population by 80% if the country does not put in place cost effective climate resilience measures.Besides its economic impact, climate change would also have widespread and diverse health impacts. Frequent and intense heatwaves would increase mortality and morbidity among vulnerable groups in urban areas. Outbreak of vaccine-preventable Japanese Encephalitis or Kala Azar in the Himalayan region and malaria in India and Nepal have been linked to rainfall.

?REDD+ programme could provide for capture of around 1 billion tonnes of additional CO2 cover in the next three decades and significant financial incentives as carbon services under REDD+ including flow of positive incentivies to local communities,? hopes the draft policy document. ?REDD+ can be a part of an effective strategy and tool for mitigation and adaptation of climate change, improving ecological and environmental services, biodiversity conservation as well enhancing forest based livelihood of forest dependent communities.?

India?s strategy is designed to address critical gaps in the capacity and institutional framework towards creating REDD+ Readiness in the country. The draft policy has identified a National Forest Monitoring System to monitor, report and verify (a) the forest carbon stocks, (b) reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, (c) conserve and enhance forest carbon stocks, (d) sustainable management of forests, and (e ) safeguards, including governance, biodiversity and livelihood and co-benefits.


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