Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability

Strengthening India’s response to the climate crisis

The climate crisis is not an abstract challenge for the future. Its impacts on the world are visibly and starkly clear, and already present. With its rich natural resources, large population at risk, and significant potential for future growth, India must find a way to address the challenges of climate change without sacrificing its human development goals. 

There is no single solution or silver bullet. We hope to focus on climate change interconnections with sustainability and social justice to forge more effective responses to the climate emergency. 

Our work includes research, education and practical applications. We work in diverse ecosystems, locations and geographies across India. Our major focus is on cities which face the most difficult challenges but also give us opportunities for intervention. 

100 Cities Mapping Project

India is on the fast track to urbanisation. Cities and their buildings are expanding into green spaces, wetlands, river, lakes, grasslands and forests in India. This has caused environmental problems, and those problems that existed have become worse, from air pollution to biodiversity loss and climate change. We need much better information on the growth of Indian cities. Satellite remote sensing provides a useful way to get such information. We use Google Earth Engine to develop semi-automated approaches to map the growth of India’s 100 largest cities over a period of 15 years, examining the impact of urban growth on the loss of water bodies, tree cover and open areas. 

Trees in Indian cities

Trees are one of the first casualties of development in Indian cities. They are cut down for flyovers, underpasses, high speed roads, metros, building construction, and to make way for advertisement boards. Trees are of great importance as commons. They provide shade and sukoon for street vendors. They reduce air pollution and heat island effects. They help new migrants forge connections to cities through an imaginative process of environmental placemaking. Our research has been used in submissions to Indian courts by planners and policy makers, and has helped inform urban environmental movements against tree felling.

Where have all our gunda thopes gone?

Climate forecasts

A major challenge for climate planning is the lack of downscaled, location-specific, near-time climate forecasts that can help local area planners, media and civil society understand the challenges of climate planning. We are working to develop district-level climate forecasts for near-future and medium-future time periods, which can help feed into local policies for climate adaptation and resilience. 

Research Grants

The Centre hosts the research grants of the Foundation on the same subject; the first cycle of the grant has already been released in 2021, and the second cycle in 2022

Research Programme 2022 (1 July 2022- 30 June 2023)

Sl. No.Name of the studyName of the Researcher(s) (PI/​Co PI) and the Institution(if any)Grant amount (in INR)
1Stories of Climate Action: Democratizing Planning in Mumbai’s wetscapesRohit Mujumdar (PI), School of Environment and Architecture19,85,500
2Integrating citizen science in climate-change education in schoolsGeetha Ramaswami, Nature Conservation Foundation15,18,000
3Voice Based Community Media for Climate ResilienceSayonee Chatterjee, Gram Vaani9,99,995
4Making Books on Climate Change for Young Readers in IndiaBijal Vachharajani, Pratham Books19,99,800
5Developing an Educational Framework for Climate Justice in India: With Special Reference to Clinical Legal EducationMadhuri Parikh, Institute of Law, Nirma University9,95,500

Research Programme 2020 (1 July 2020- 30 June 2021)

Sl. No.Name of the studyName of the Researcher(s) (PI/​Co PI) and the Institution(if any)Grant amount (in INR)
1Impact of the climate change on the traditional livelihoods of pastorals in Gujarat and their mitigation strategiesVarsha Bhagat-Ganguly(PI), Maldhari Rural Action Group (MARAG)19,85,500
2Helping avert perverse ecological impacts of climate change mitigation on India’s open natural habitatsMadhusudan M D, Independent Researcher10,00,000

Research Programme 2019 (1 July 2019- 30 June 2020)

Sl. No.Name of the studyName of the Researcher(s) (PI/​Co PI) and the Institution(if any)Grant amount (in INR)
1Wetlands restoration — a training programmeParama Roy, Okapi Research and Advisory4,98,960
2Kids for ClimateBijal Vachharajani, Pratham Books5,00,000
3Understanding wastewater reuse as a climate change mitigation strategy — Bengaluru and hinterland.S. Vishwanath, Biome Environmental Trust6,00,000
4Building local resilience to climate change through community outreach in the Lakshadweep ArchipelagoRohan Arthur, Nature Conservation Foundation7,20,000
5Climate Change Communications and Outreach at the Grassroots through Community Radio Programme on Adapting to Climate Change and Adversities in Agriculture’Sandeep Khanwalkar, Society for Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA)9,99,900

Let’s talk Climate Change

Nature Writing for Children

Nature in our Cities