New Delhi – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to governments, civil society, the scientific community, media and other stakeholders at an outreach event held on August 6 in New Delhi. Titled “IPCC AR5 – What it means for a stronger, more inclusive India‟, the event focused on the implications of the AR5 findings for India and for countries in South Asia, with a view to communicate the report’s findings effectively to India’s public and decision-makers, as well as to increase the accessibility of the report and promote discussion and connections between diverse stakeholders.
This event was organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), in co-operation with the IPCC and the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), and in partnership with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, and the TERI-Business Council for Sustainable Development (TERI-BCSD). The event featured several authors from the IPCC’s three working groups, who presented their overviews of the report and discussed special topics of interest to the region.
Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India, said, “Extraordinary situations demand extraordinary solutions. Our problems cannot be solved through the present levels of awareness. Peoples’ participation is crucial for developing and implementing environmental programs. For instance, cleaning rivers like Ganga and Yamuna will not succeed unless we make it a mass movement.”
“Our Indian ethos has always been in tune with Nature. But science is dynamic and one must believe in it. While GM crops are important, proper precautions need to be taken. Though growth as priority might lead to increased emissions, India is still committed to sustained green growth,” Javadekar added.
Mr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, said, “If India has to realize its dream of becoming a world power, we will have to invest in science and technology, which will be the basis for change. Our government has taken several initiatives, including exploring the cost-effectiveness of developing indigenous small satellites. We also need our youth to develop a scientific bent of mind, and our government will encourage our young Indian scientists to become a part of the global scientific community.”
Many eminent persons participated in the event, including Dr. Ashok Khosla, Founder and Chairman, Development Alternatives.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. R. K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI and Chairman, IPCC said, “The IPCC has completed three Working Group reports as part of the Fifth Assessment cycle. These contain a substantial amount of information and important findings on the underlying physical science basis of climate change, its impacts, adaptation possibilities and the vulnerability of different parts of the globe, as well as mitigation options. India is vulnerable to several impacts of climate change, and as a signatory to global agreements on climate change, also has a responsibility to take appropriate action. Dealing with climate change would require a substantial expansion of awareness on all aspects of climate change, and these may be relevant for decision making in India. The outreach event is a step towards creating awareness on the findings of the parts of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report brought out thus far.”
Mr. Sam Bickersteth, CEO, CDKN, said, “The IPCC in their latest reports reinforced the first-hand experience of millions of Indians who are struggling with the impacts of climate change. Today we have heard that inspired action is needed to make India’s development pathway climate compatible. Across India, at the national, state and local levels, and in individual communities and households, there is already leadership on tackling climate change. The message from the speakers today is that we need to scale this up to all sectors, all regions and get the benefits reaching the most vulnerable.”
Mr. Rana Kapoor, President, ASSOCHAM and Managing Director & CEO, YES BANK said, “This outreach program for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) comes at a critical time – when India is facing a delayed monsoon, falling crop levels and flash floods, amongst several other environmental concerns. The susceptible farm sector accounts for around 15 per cent of India’s economy and two-thirds of our population lives in rural areas. With the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report predicting drought-related water and food shortage for Asia in the coming decade, we urgently need to address the challenges of climate change in our roles as individuals, collectively as organizations, and together as a country, to ensure holistic, sustainable development and growth.”