Role of Indian Youth in Narrowing Down Adaptation Gap
Climate change is a complex topic but at the same time it affects each and every one of us directly or indirectly – Our health, our finances, our food, water, our biodiversity etc. You might think that it’s time to act now and we must immediately reduce or magically stop greenhouse emissions, but let’s face it, the ship has already sailed for developing countries like India and now we don’t have much control on the climate. A report by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, points out that it is likely that India will experience an increased frequency of warm days and nights in the coming decades. It is also projected that the frequency, duration, intensity, and aerial coverage of heatwaves will likely increase during the course of the century. Yes, it’s time to act but youth must understand what to act on. We must shift our focus towards establishing systems, technologies and policies that favors climate change adaptation and building resilient communities. That does not mean that we should stop mitigation initiatives, they should go hand in hand while urgently prioritizing adaptation projects.
Current Scenario and Indian Context
As per the adaptation gap report 2020, there has been a rise in adaptation projects and international adaptation finance is also rising. Ahead of COP 26, India has appealed to developed countries for mobilizing $100 billion per year of climate finance to help poor and developing countries take adaptation measures. Despite the efforts, there is limited evidence of climate risk reduction, tempering any conclusion on adaptation progress as a whole. It is also not clear the extent to which implementing agencies are tracking climate change adaptation success in the long run.
India has one of the youngest populations in the world, who has a huge responsibility of not only building a climate resilient economy but also preparing itself to deal with loss and damages due to climate change in the worst case scenario.
Call to Action 1 for Youth
Therefore accelerating adaptation action provides an opportunity for youth to come forward and intervene at various levels – policy, implementation, innovation in technology, promotion/awareness of adaptation initiatives and capacity building. [Call to Action 2 for Youth] Climate change must not be viewed as an exclusive government concern, other actors such as the youth working in the private sector and entrepreneurs need to step up the act too as it’s role in any large-scale transformational shift is crucial. Currently, engagement of the private sector remains low except for the tourism, agriculture and insurance industries.
There are multiple ways youth can get involved to help towards narrowing down the adaptation gap and boost resilience to climate change. The following list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive.
- By designing climate change adaptation initiatives at the local level and scale them
- By launching targeted information campaigns and educational programs to spread awareness
- By learning about the adaptation action plan of your city/state.
- By developing tools and technologies that contribute to adaptation initiatives.
- By participating in UNFCCC negotiation process
- By pursuing social entrepreneurship in the field of climate change adaptation
- By promoting Nature Based Solutions
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