Climate Change In India: How’s 2024 Been So Far?

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Climate Change

Home » Climate Change » Climate Change In India: How’s 2024 Been So Far?

As we progress through the early months of 2024, India has experienced notable developments as well as extremes related to climate change. The ongoing efforts to address climate change in India have presented a mix of challenges and progress, as we witness some unprecedented weather events such as dry winter, floods, extreme to no rainfall, heatwaves and much more. This article explores the latest climate change news in India that gives a hint of the coming climatic situations in the year ahead.

Top Climate Change News from India

Here’s a list of top climate change-related news that happened in the early months of 2024:

1. Delhi’s January 2024 was Colder and More Polluted

January 2024 in India, particularly in Delhi, was marked by unusually cold weather and heightened pollution levels. The average maximum temperature across India dipped to 17.9°C, which is 2.2°C below the long-period average of 20.1°C recorded between 1970 and 2020. Delhi experienced its coldest nights since 2013 and the coldest days since 2015, with the air quality hitting its worst since 2016.

Climate Change In India: How's 2024 Been So Far?

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that Delhi’s average maximum temperature for January matched the low in 2015 at 17.9°C. The city’s average minimum temperature fell to 6.4°C, almost a degree lower than the long-period average (LPA) of 7.5°C, making it the coldest January since 2013, when the average minimum was 6.1°C.

The cold spell, combined with slow wind speeds, exacerbated the pollution crisis in the capital, exposing residents to air quality far below acceptable standards. This period of extreme weather highlights the environmental challenges facing the region.

Also Read: How Corporates Are Reviving The Lost Crafts Of India

2. Record-Breaking Reforestation Campaign

In February, India embarked on a monumental reforestation campaign, setting a new record by planting over 100 million trees across various states. This massive effort is part of the country’s comprehensive strategy to expand forest cover and bolster biodiversity, which is crucial for ecological restoration and carbon sequestration.

The initiative witnessed remarkable collaboration, drawing active participation from local communities, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies. This collective endeavour highlights a shared commitment to environmental preservation and underscores the importance of joint efforts in combatting climate change and restoring natural habitats.

The campaign contributes to the global fight against climate change and sets a precedent for community engagement in environmental conservation efforts.

3. Kashmir’s Driest Winter in 43 Years

Until mid-January 2024, Kashmir experienced an exceptionally dry winter in 43 years. November faced an 80% deficit in precipitation, followed by a 79% snow deficit in December. The average minimum temperature declined to -3.2 degrees Celsius, although it remained higher than the levels observed in previous decades. The impact of a dry spell in Srinagar and surrounding regions was evident, with January 2024 recording a total precipitation of only 3.0 mm. This marked one of the driest months in recent years, representing just one-third of Srinagar’s average precipitation of 9.0 mm over the last two decades.

4. A Study Reveals Climate Change May Decline Labor Productivity Growth

The impact of climate change poses a risk to global food production, with countries such as India and Pakistan potentially experiencing a decline in labour productivity of up to 40%. Additionally, regions in Southeast and South Asia, West and Central Africa, and northern South America face the threat of diminished physical work capacity. Assessments suggest that climate change will exacerbate food security issues by decreasing crop yields.

5. Budget 2024: Net Zero 2070 Target

In Budget 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a comprehensive plan for India’s Net Zero target by 2070, emphasizing “Green Growth.” Significant resources were allocated to boost the green energy sector, focusing on harnessing offshore wind energy potential, including funding for 1 gigawatt (GW) development. This aims to diversify India’s renewable energy portfolio and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

6. Coastal Erosion and Migration in Sundarbans

The Sundarbans, a key ecological zone, is under threat due to coastal erosion and rising sea levels. This environmental degradation is forcing villagers to migrate to urban centres like Kolkata as their agricultural lands become saline, disrupting traditional livelihoods. The absence of a structured policy to counter climate-induced migration exacerbates the situation, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive climate resilience measures.

7. Uttarakhand Faces a 99% Shortfall in Winter Rainfall

Uttarakhand faces a 99% shortfall in winter rainfall, posing challenges for farmers. The director of the meteorological centre in Dehradun mentioned a prolonged dry spell, marked by substantial deficits in both post-monsoon months, with December at -75% and November at -66%. The region has experienced a lack of substantial rainfall since October, posing challenges for farmers.

8. Extreme Rainfall and Heatwaves Across India

Kerala and Lakshadweep faced unexpected heavy rainfall, while Assam’s Dima Hasao district suffered from flash floods and landslides. Concurrently, northwest and central India experienced the highest temperatures in over a century, indicating a severe heatwave. These extreme weather conditions reflect the broader impact of climate change on India’s weather patterns, necessitating urgent adaptive and mitigation measures.

9. India’s 2500-Year-Old Climate Change Solution

In Gujarat’s semi-arid Vadnagar, a study on ancient agricultural practices reveals resilience to climate fluctuations over 2500 years, offering insights for contemporary climate adaptation. Researchers from the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences analyzed archaeological and botanical data for this valuable historical perspective.

10. Advancements in Solar Energy Infrastructure

India has made significant progress in solar energy infrastructure in the early months of 2024, furthering its commitment to renewable energy. The country has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its solar installed capacity, reaching 70.10 GW by June 2023, positioning India as a global leader in solar energy.

The advancements in solar infrastructure include commissioning new solar parks and implementing rooftop solar projects, contributing to India’s aim of increasing solar capacity. The Solar Park Scheme, for instance, aims to establish solar parks with a cumulative capacity of approximately 38 GW by 2025-26, creating hubs for solar energy generation that attract investment and foster a conducive environment for solar development. Several solar parks with significant capacities have been completed or are in progress, demonstrating the rapid advancement in solar infrastructure.

These developments bolster India’s renewable energy portfolio and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, contributing to global efforts to combat climate change in India.

Urgent Need for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

The escalating climate crisis in India, characterized by severe heatwaves, intense monsoon rains, and coastal erosion, demands immediate action. Building local climate resilience, enhancing infrastructure, and implementing effective disaster management strategies are crucial to protect economies and communities. Investments in ecological infrastructure and social security measures like MGNREGA can play a pivotal role in mitigating the impacts of climate change and preventing forced migration​​​​​​​.

Conclusion

As India continues its journey through 2024, these developments highlight its proactive stance in tackling climate change. From embracing renewable energy to enhancing ecological resilience and fostering international cooperation, India’s actions in the first two months of the year set a positive trajectory for its climate agenda. The ongoing efforts reflect a comprehensive approach to addressing the multifaceted challenges of climate change, underscoring India’s role as an important player in the global climate landscape.

Also Read: Energy Scenario In India – Transition Strategies And Policies

 

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