From Margins to Mainstream? State Climate Change Planning in India

Introduction

In 2009, the Government of India requested states to develop State Action Plans on Climate Change. Based on a detailed analysis of five state climate plans, this article finds that climate plans provide an important institutional platform to mainstream concerns of environmental sustainability into development planning but fail to update ideas of sustainability to include climate resilience. There are shortcomings in approach, process, formulation of outcomes, and implementation efforts. These shortcomings are united by a common thread – a tendency to prematurely view state climate plans as vehicles for generating implementable actions rather than an opportunity to redirect development towards climate resilience. However, if state plans are viewed as the beginning of a complex process of updating sustainable development planning rather than as an end in themselves, they provide a foundation upon which climate concerns can be more effectively mainstreamed in local development planning.

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Measuring the Co-benefits of Climate Change Mitigation

Summary

Co-benefits rarely enter quantitative decision-support frameworks, often because the methodologies for their integration are lacking or not known. This review fills in this gap by providing comprehensive methodological guidance on the quantification of co-impacts and their integration into climate-related decision making based on the literature. The article first clarifies the confusion in the literature about related terms and makes a proposal for a more consistent terminological framework, then emphasizes the importance of working in a multiple-objective–multiple-impact framework. It creates a taxonomy of co-impacts and uses this to propose a methodological framework for the identification of the key co-impacts to be assessed for a given climate policy and to avoid double counting. It reviews the different methods available to quantify and monetize different co-impacts and introduces three methodological frameworks that can be used to integrate these results into decision making. On the basis of an initial assessment of selected studies, it also demonstrates that the incorporation of co-impacts can significantly change the outcome of economic assessments. Finally, the review calls for major new research and innovation toward simplified evaluation methods and streamlined tools for more widely applicable appraisals of co-impacts for decision making.

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Is There a Trade-Off between Agricultural Development, Adaptation and Mitigation?

Introduction

India’s long-standing official position in global climate negotiations has been that any discussion on agriculture must be held in the realm of adaptation, not mitigation. The government considers the sector a clear out-of-bounds sector with respect to emissions reduction as agriculture is a sensitive issue and pursing mitigation may produce negative impacts on peoples’ livelihoods. Is this apprehension sound? Is there any trade-off between agricultural development, adaptation and mitigation?

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Is There a Case for an Environmental Regulator?

Introduction

One stated agenda of the new government is a commitment to addressing business concerns by smoothening the path to environmental clearances for projects and lowering transaction costs. The Supreme Court had earlier directed the central government to set up an environmental regulator at the state and at the centre. But do national and state regulators provide an effective alternative to the current institutional structure?

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Climate Policy: Political implications of data presentation

Introduction

What is the appropriate balance between scientific analysis and
governmental input in the IPCC? Claiming government overreach and
calling for greater insulation of the process come from a misleadingly
simple interpretation. Such insulation would likely diminish the policy
relevance of the SPM. The SPM is “approved” by governments, not merely “accepted” as is the main report, which invests it with an important measure of governmental ownership. An approval process is worth preserving, as it is precisely what makes the IPCC distinct from any number of technical reports. We explore an alternative vision for articulating science and politics at the IPCC.

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