Climate change adversely affecting economy: Ranjit Borthakur

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HT Bureau


GUWAHATI, Dec 9: In 2020, India spent Rs 10 lakh crores in mitigating climate-linked flood damage. To make it worse, this figure is expected to rise as per the sixth IPCC report. It predicts a future of flooding with increasing intensity for the South Asian region, made worse by the loss of natural shock absorbers like dense forests and mangroves.

Speaking at an interaction on Thursday, Ranjit Barthakur, chairman FICCI NE Advisory Council and founder Balipara Foundation said, “More than half the global economy depends heavily to moderately on nature. In India, this figure is 70%. With a burgeoning climate and biodiversity crisis, the economy is exposed to increasing ecological risks.”

Notably, India’s Eastern Himalayas, spread across the North-East states, are already facing a 1.3 degrees temperature rise, warming faster than the rest of the country, and is set to face increasing floods coupled with growing dry spells as the monsoon grows shorter, more intense and overall rainfall declines.

Barthakur added, “While the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 fell short of the lofty ambitions of decarbonisation and emissions reduction needed to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees celsius, the good news is that the pact includes a provision to push countries to set more ambitious goals every year. Most importantly, it puts forests and indigenous communities right at the heart of the climate fight, recognising their power to protect our planet.”

The Global Forest Finance Pledge, signed by countries like the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, and the EU pledged to mobilise USD12 billion between 2021-2025 for forest protection & restoration finance explicitly putting indigenous communities first to ensure the benefits of restoration and protection reach them. A further pledge by a conglomeration of countries and major philanthropic foundations such as Jeff Bezos’ Earth Fund, the Ford Foundation, and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation will mobilise USD 1.6 billion specifically to support the tenure rights of indigenous & local communities and their forest guardianship.

Speaking about initiatives being taken in the Northeast, Barthakur said, “This year, building on its extensive experience in rewilding forests in the North East in collaboration with indigenous and rural communities, the Balipara Foundation is launching its first Rewilding the Eastern Himalayas Grant to support indigenous people in restoring forest landscapes. The 5 lakh grant supports people working towards implementing a conservation model that is helping to rebuild healthy ecosystems, restoring habitat for plants and wildlife, and enhancing community engagement in the process – building field activities and enhancing their capacity to make their work more sustainable.”

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