Efforts undertaken to enhance the ecological sustainability of India and address climate change

New Delhi: As per the Special Report on ‘The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ released in September 2019 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since about 1950; many marine species across various groups have undergone shifts in geographical range and seasonal activities in response to ocean warming, sea ice change and biogeochemical changes, such as oxygen loss, to their habitats. This has resulted in shifts in species composition, abundance and biomass production of ecosystems, from the equator to the poles. However, in some marine ecosystems, species are impacted by both the effects of fishing and climate changes.

The rate of melting varies from glacier to glacier depending on topography and climatic variability of the region. While, the glaciers in the eastern and central part of Indian Himalaya are continuously retreating, some of the glaciers in the Western part of Himalaya are reported to be stable or advancing.

Studies show that the Himalayan glaciers are experiencing retreat with significant temporal and special variability. Changes in glacier extent strongly affect the seasonal availability of freshwater, especially during the summer.

According to modeling studies, temperatures in the upper Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra basins are projected to increase between 1 to 2°C up until 2050, compared to the baseline period (1998– 2007). Under such conditions, the amount of glacier and snow meltwater will decrease, while the amount of rainfall-runoff will increase, for the upper basins of the Ganges and Brahmaputra. Overall, no significant decrease in runoff is projected until at least 2050 for all of the basins.

The government is implementing the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) with a view to enhancing the ecological sustainability of India’s development path and address climate change in all regions of the country. NAPCC comprises, inter alia, of eight National Missions including National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system (NMSHE). NMSHE is aimed at evolving management measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan glaciers and mountain ecosystem. The mission includes enhanced monitoring of the Himalayan ecosystem through establishment of the monitoring network, promoting community based management, human resource development and strengthening regional cooperation. The Government has prepared guidelines entitled “Governance for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem”, (G-SHE), which has been shared with all the State Governments in the Himalayan region. 33 States and Union Territories including all Himalayan States have also prepared their respective State Action Plan on Climate Change to address the state-specific issues. The Ministry has notified Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2019 and the Island Protection Zone Notification 2019 to regulate high impact activities on the coast and in maintaining coastal sustainability.

This information was provided by Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

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