Climate change impacts people differently, based on gender, race, caste, and socio-economic status. It is a “threat multiplier”, worsening existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. So far, climate conversations have stayed in the realm of being a scientific problem that has technological solutions. But its far reaching impact on humanity makes it a social issue that needs holistic, inclusive and people-centric solutions. The global transition of energy systems towards low or zero carbon will not be a climate issue alone, but a socio-economic one of significant proportions.
It is time to break the silos and make climate action a mainstream discussion among the wider social sector and policy makers. Issues of climate justice, social justice, inequalities in caste, gender, and health are all interconnected and can be addressed through common solutions. The climate community needs to find common ground to start a conversation with the wider social sector, and help them recognise and realise the interlinkages of climate change with social issues.
With this objective in mind, Climate Trends has partnered with Arthan Careers to organise a three-part series of online forums to discuss the interlinkages of climate change with social, political, economic and governance issues in India. Designed as a ‘conversation starter’ to engage the wider social sector, the series aims to encourage organisations, think-tanks, NGOs, CSOs, and others to think about climate change in the realm of their work, and how they can build strategies to address its impact in their sphere of influence. It is step towards fostering collaboration for climate action and finding convergent solutions for climate and social issues.
Climate change is a women's issue
Climate change is a “threat multiplier”, worsening existing vulnerabilities and injustices. Its effects on people is different, based on race, gender, class, and socio-economic status. Watch this video to learn how women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men.
1. The Social, Economic and Regional aspect of a Just Transition towards a Green Economy
Date: October 6, 2021
Time: 2 – 6 PM
India’s strategy to mitigate climate change is largely focused on a transition away from fossil fuels towards clean energy. Along with other countries, there is mounting pressure on India to consider a net zero emissions target by mid-century. This would necessitate a complete phasing out of its coal power plants, many of which are still young and far from retirement. While there are many positives to embrace a net zero target and accelerate the transition from coal to clean energy, it gives rise to issues of job losses and the impact on the macro economy of coal rich states. India’s current coal dependent power sector employs millions of skilled and unskilled workers, as well as contributes significantly to the country’s GDP. As India makes the clean energy transition, what alternatives exist for states whose economies depend on mining and thermal power production? Nearly 40% of India’s districts have some form of coal dependency. How can job losses in the coal sector and associated businesses like railways and transport be compensated with re-employment opportunities? More than 3.6 million people are employed in, and 500,000 dependent on pensions from the coal mining and thermal power production sector. How would land-use be impacted in regions of coal mining and thermal power plants? All of this makes Just Transition planning vital for India, which seeks to ensure that the benefits of a green economy are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically. It provides an opportunity to connect various concepts like environmental justice, social justice, climate justice and social inclusivity.
1. Strengthening equity and governance to converge climate action and sustainable development
Date: September 9, 2021
Time: 2 – 6 PM
For over three decades, countries across the world have been discussing pathways to achieve sustainable development and address the global threat of climate change. These two issues are intimately interconnected – climate impacts threaten any prospect of a sustainable future, and a country’s climate response could either generate co-benefits or risks for humans and nature. Therefore, understanding these linkages and finding convergent solutions towards both is now a critical requirement. Government action is critical to addressing social, political and cultural inequities, and as such, addressing these will also bring climate action. Both the goals are not divergent. Increasingly, global and national debates are focusing on the importance of strengthening equity and governance as a convergent solution. Climate change affects populations unevenly, with the vulnerable and marginalized at greatest risk depending on their socioeconomic status. Therefore, a country’s national climate policies and developmental programmes need to be designed with equity as a central theme. Key to achieving this is promoting and strengthening inclusive governance that addresses the intersections of equity, climate impacts and development. Inclusive governance practices, inclusive policy making, increased transparency and accountability lie at the heart of action to mitigate climate change. These is a need to increase focus on the links of climate action with governance, institutional, social and political issues.
2. Understanding climate as a social issue
Date: October 6, 2021
Time: 2 – 6 PM
This forum brought attention to the interlinkages of climate change with human health, gender equality and social justice. Climate change will lead to more frequent heat and cold waves, floods, droughts, and cyclones. It will increase air pollution, allergens and spread of infectious diseases, all of which will have devastating effects on human health. The covid 19 experience exposed the inadequacy of healthcare systems across the world, especially in India, in the face of a health crisis. Are we preparing ourselves for the compounded health crisis coming up as climate change worsens? How can movements for gender equality and social justice converge to contribute to climate action? Fifteen speakers from these sectors discussed these interlinkages and brought forth common solutions to address climate change and these social issues together. More than 240 participants attended.
Watch the keynote address by Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council for Energy Environment and Water
Watch the key highlights of the session on climate change and human health, with Dr. Arun Sharma, Director (ICMR-NIRCMD, Jodhpur), Dr. Poornima Prabhakaran, Deputy Director (Centre for Environmental Health, PHFI), and Neeraj Jain, Country Director (PATH India)
Watch the key highlights of the session on climate change and social justice with Amitabh Behar, CEO (OXFAM India), Ashif Shaikh, Founder & CEO (Jan Sahas), Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder (Mann Deshi Bank and Foundation), and Rohit Chandra, Assistant Professor (IIT-Delhi) and Visiting Fellow (Centre for Policy Research).
Watch a talk between Aarti Khosla, Founder Director, Climate Trends and Deepali Khanna, Managing Director-Asia (The Rockefeller Foundation) on ‘The Role of Decentralised Renewable Energy for Inclusive Energy Access and Green Jobs’
Watch the key highlights of the session on climate change and gender equality with Aparna Uppaluri, Program Officer (Ford Foundation), Ranu Bhogal, Director, Policy, Research & Campaigns (OXFAM India), Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO, Breakthrough India, and Moutushi Sengupta, Director India (MacArthur Foundation).