Design a climate ready governance system

GS 2 – Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

GS 3 –  Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Source : The Hindustan Times dated 24/06/2021

Reference :


Countries around the world, including India, face the challenge of building a climate-ready State.
There has been a steady chorus calling for enhanced policy and targets by all countries in the build-up to the Glasgow Conference of Parties in November, and climate has been central to global discussions such as the recent meeting of G7 leaders.
Yet, there has been too little discussion about how India, and other countries, can get climate governance right. 

Why should this be a priority?
  1. Because almost all sectors and many parts of society contribute to greenhouse gases and are vulnerable to its impact, the climate crisis requires an all-of-government and all-of-society response.
  2.  Because the shifts required must be rapid to address the urgency of the problem, we need strategic ability, including modelling, analysis and direction-setting.
  3.  Because these shifts will be disruptive, and create winners (renewable energy companies) and losers (coal-dependent communities), a climate-ready State must be able to limit the fallout for those disadvantaged by the transition.

Current status of climate governance in India

  • 2008 – The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
    • Uneven progress across the various “missions”.
    • No durable bodies were created to orchestrate a strategic national response over the long run.
  • An advisory council under the prime minister has not met since 2015.
  • The executive committee on climate change– An apex implementation body composed of senior bureaucrats has been similarly inconsistent, meeting only six times between 2013 and 2019.
Global examples
  • UK
    • The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) is a statutory body that is tasked with undertaking credible analysis of mitigation measures.
    • In the UK case, the law mandates the CCC to advise the government on five-yearly carbon budgets.
    • Built around reputed members and a professional staff of about 35, its reports are tabled in the UK Parliament. They influence public debate through reports and letters that are used by media, civil society, and courts to hold government to account.
  • Brazil
    • Brazil’s Climate Change Forum generates proposals and reacts to those floated by government.
    •  It is led by the President and aims to give equal voice to ministries, members of Congress, subnational elected officials, and civil society.
    •  It influenced key moments, such as the drafting of a 2008 national plan and a 2060 net-zero proposal.
  • Germany
    • Germany’s tradition of Enquête Commissions put climate change on the governance map in the 1980s and ‘90s.
    • They are enquiries conducted by crossparty bodies in Parliament through public hearings and expert testimony.

While these bodies are steeped in the governance culture of their own countries, there are important lessons to be learned on the significant gains from deliberative structures in climate governance.

Way forward
  • LCDC (low-carbon development commission)
    • An independent, non-executive low-carbon development commission (LCDC), anchored in new climate legislation and composed of both experts and stakeholders.
    • To craft low-carbon development pathways and recommend policy opportunities to ministries, deriving authority from the credibility of its analysis.
    • Its links to key stakeholders — business, labour, civil society — will allow it to embed technical analysis in broad public discourse.
    • Review and recommend changes in climate governance in response to emerging challenges, such as consideration of ‘net-zero’ pathways.
  • The Executive Committee on Climate change.
    • Revitalise the body of senior bureaucrats.
    • The Ministry of environment, forests and climate change will continue as the nodal ministry, handling key functions, including monitoring.
  • Recent initiative – Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA)
    • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC.
    • The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). 
    • To operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, formulate guidelines for consideration of projects or activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism, and other similar instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs.

Climate is now firmly entrenched in the global, and Indian, agenda. A great deal of energy goes into debating policies and targets. For these to be strategic, effective, and consistent with India’s development goals, India now needs to also build a climate-ready system of governance.

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