Historic and continued high rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from anthropogenic sources are responsible for current climate change.
The atmospheric lifetime of these greenhouse gases ranges from decades to centuries. Therefore, some climate change is inevitable in the short and medium term, even after taking all measures to reduce concentration of GHGs by the developed countries, as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, the impacts of climate change are expected to continue and even increase in the coming years.
Climate change is not only a major global environmental problem but also an issue of great concern to India. It is likely to threaten food security, increase water stress and decrease availability, result in sea level rise, and increase the occurrence of diseases like malaria. Lack of resources and access to technology and finances coupled with high dependence of the majority of people on climate sensitive sectors (i.e. agriculture, forestry and fisheries) have made India seriously concerned about possible climate change impacts. Therefore adaptation to climate change is a necessity for India.
India, with a population of over 1 billion, and whose growth is projected to continue in the coming decades, is vulnerable to possible impacts of climate change. India is an agrarian society, with 64 per cent of its population dependent on agriculture, contributing 22.61 per cent to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001–2. Agriculture in India is highly dependent on the South-West Monsoon (June–September), indicating its vulnerability to climate change.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 36.4 (2005) Community Adaptation to Drought in Rajasthan