Tamil Nadu releases climate change mission document: 13 goals set for 2030

Tamil Nadu is the first state to launch its own climate change mission to make it a ‘climate smart state’.
The ruins of a building destroyed by coastal erosion
The ruins of a building destroyed by coastal erosion
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Climate change is an undisputed reality with severe impacts on the natural environment, human lives, economic assets and activities, the Tamil Nadu government has said in its Climate Change Mission Document. Tamil Nadu is the first state to launch its own climate change mission to make it a ‘climate smart state’. The state has proposed 13 goals for the mission, along with 11 focal areas for climate action as part of the Tamil Nadu State Action Plan on Climate Change 2.0 (TNSAPCC 2.0). The mission was officially launched by Chief Minister MK Stalin on December 9.

TNSAPCC was first implemented in the state in 2015 based on the National Action Plan for Climate Change for 2015-2020. Based on advice from the Union government to revise the action plan, steps have been taken for creating new short term plans for 2023 and long term plans up to 2030.

“The state will achieve carbon neutrality much ahead of the 2070 target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the CM said while launching the pioneering initiative. It takes the climate agenda on priority with district missions and climate officers already in place in the state. He also said in a tweet, “Let the Dravidian model guide [the country] not only in social justice but also in ecological justice”.

The Climate Change Mission also underlines the fact that Tamil Nadu accounts for 172.83 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (MtCO2e) out of the 2953 MtCO2e emissions at the national level, with the power sector contributing the maximum (67%). The document also notes that the state will be adversely affected by climate change, making the environment hostile for ecosystem and crop productions.

The mission document contains a comprehensive study of climate risks and their impacts based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the state of Tamil Nadu which showed that Ariyalur is the most vulnerable district to climate risks “due to its high sensitivity and low adaptive capacity.” The other vulnerable districts identified in the study are Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thiruvarur, Thiruvallur, Thanjavur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, and Thiruvannamalai.

The Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission contains several notable goals. One of them is the 10-year goal of enhancing the tree and forest cover of the state from 23.7% to 33%. The mission also aims to create smarter infrastructure systems to help minimise disasters and to handle them effectively. It is focussed on finding solutions to mitigate various climate crises, including unprecedented rise in sea levels, agricultural productivity, and the vulnerable coastal population.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) brief on gender and climate change says that the latter “has a greater impact on those sections of the population, in all countries, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards.” It explains that women, with their unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets, tend to face higher risks and burdens from climate change impacts, especially in situations of poverty. 

TN’s mission document is sensitive to this vulnerability of women to climate change and hence aims to ensure gender-mainstreaming in climate action for women and children. In addition, it hopes to foster an understanding of the impact of climate change across different sectors of society and how they are interrelated. The mission also proposes following a ‘one health approach’ to climate change to bring a better understanding of its impacts on environmental, animal, and human health.

The generation of green jobs through the promotion of green technology, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) by using efficient public transport systems, clean and green energy, alternative fuel sources, and better monitoring are part of its goals. It also speaks about bringing in eco-alternative solutions to single use plastic, sustainable practices for disposal of solid waste including sewage, e-waste, bio-medical waste, etc.

It proposes that the expertise and experience of universities, research agencies and academic institutions working on adaptation and mitigation strategies be used effectively. It also suggests the incorporation of climate courses in curricula. 

The mission document acknowledges that climate action is expensive and aims to augment resources from various funding options like the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) and Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The expected outcomes of the state’s climate change mission include:

> Framing of specific adaptation and mitigation strategies.

> Identification of vulnerable and eco-sensitive areas on the coasts of Tamil Nadu.

> Protection of coasts, reduction of soil erosion, salinity control, and improvement of biodiversity.

> Enhanced coastal defence with the help of mangroves.

> Solutions to tolerate drought and shore protection through palmyrah and cashew plantations.

> Reduced GHG emissions as a result of improved energy efficiency technologies.

> Improved understanding of climate risks to generate local support for decision making.

(With PTI inputs)

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