Climate change: Science, adaptation and mitigation

Introduction to the three critical aspects of the subject- climate science, climate mitigation, and climate adaptation.

Climate Change is a significant and urgent problem that has been recognised globally as well as nationally. Over the past decade, the concerns of climate change have steadily become part of the developmental agenda. Development objectives affect climate change and are inturn affected by it. Achieving developmental goals (expanding the capabilities of people) is closely linked to climate adaptation and increases capacities to adapt to the threats posed by climate change on livelihoods and income. Secondly, addressing climate concerns of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions are often counterposed with pursuing development goals (improving energy use, infrastructure). Given India’s developmental challenges, the need for adapting to climate impacts (in the short and long run), and the pressures of acting on climate change in the here and now, there is a need for equipping students as future development practitioners to understand the subject matter in greater detail. This course will introduce students to the broader concepts, theories, and multidisciplinary nature of the climate change debate. It will be taught with a grounding within the Indian developmental context, as well as address these issues from the perspective of the natural and social sciences.

The course begins with an introduction to climate science to understand the phenomenon
of global warming caused by anthropogenic factors. It then looks at the distinct aspects of climate action i.e. climate mitigation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation as a response to the impacts of climate change. Climate adaptation will be the aspect that is explored in greater detail (in term of intensive readings and duration of classroom teaching). This is done in order to equip students with subject expertise to deal with short-term and long-term goals of Climate Change and development policy in India.

This course builds on the discussion of Climate Change across some core and elective courses in the programme, but seeks to explain it in a more extensive and detailed manner. It therefore tries to engage students with different aspects of the climate change problem in theory and practice. In doing so it seeks to foster amongst students, the necessary conceptual and practical basis, to engage with stakeholders and policy makers to deal with many pressing concerns within and outside the country. While doing so, it will
foreground the need for formulating developing country perspectives on these issues by emphasising the differences in capacities between developed and developing countries.