Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
David Reidmiller, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Lead Author:
Katherine Weingartner, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF (through September 2017)
Contributing Authors:
Apurva Dave, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF

Looking Abroad: How Other Nations Approach a National Climate Assessment

Overview

In 2010, India produced an assessment focused on a combined regional and sectoral analysis of climate change impacts through 2030. While not mandated by law, the federal government called for the assessment to be produced by domestic research institutions. The report represents the nation’s first attempt to produce its own comprehensive climate impacts assessment and provides an integrated assessment of four primary regions and four primary sectors of key economic importance to the country. It focuses on observed and projected impacts and potential adaptation measures.

Assessment Mandate and Objectives

While India does not have a nationally mandated climate assessment, the government has stated the need for a comprehensive framework for assessing national- and state-level climate impacts, drawing from domestic technical and policy expertise. In 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Forests established the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) to conduct research on climate drivers and impacts, prepare assessments of national vulnerability and adaptation, develop decision-support systems, and build capacity for the management of climate risks and opportunities. The broad purpose of the INCCA is to build an independent national research capacity for understanding and responding to climate change and to reduce dependence on external assessments and information sources.

Assessment Process

The INCCA brings together 125 research institutions and more than 250 scientists from across the country. The 2010 assessment report was prepared by 43 researchers from 18 separate institutions, led by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (now the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change). The Ministry also organized a series of consultative meetings in 2009 and 2010 to inform the report’s development. For the analysis of current and projected climate risks, the report utilized both historical observations and high-resolution climate projections using modeling tools obtained from the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

Assessment Content Structure

The INCCA 2010 report is organized as a “4×4” assessment model that explores the impacts of climate change through the 2030s focused on four key climate-dependent sectors of the Indian economy (Agriculture, Water, Natural Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and Human Health) in four climate-sensitive regions (the Himalayan region, the Western Ghats, the Coastal Area, and the North-East region). The report provides an introduction to the INCCA framework, a discussion of regional climate observations and projections, an assessment of each sector and region, and an assessment of research needs moving forward.

International Dimensions

The INCCA 2010 report does not explicitly consider the international dimensions of the impacts of climate change on India. The findings of the assessment were, however, subsequently updated and incorporated into India’s 2012 National Communication, which India shared with the international community through the UNFCCC. The reports were also produced using financial and technical support from international partners.

In January 2015, the United States and India created the Partnership for Climate Resilience. This Partnership aims to strengthen scientific cooperation on climate research and improve information ‎available to decision-makers, building on the 2010 climate change assessment. Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and academia, with support from the State Department, have partnered with Indian scientific experts and institutions to develop downscaled data for the Indian subcontinent at higher resolution than was previously available and to ‎improve the capacity of local decision-makers to understand, predict, and plan for current and future impacts of climate variability and change.


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