Chhattisgarh - The forest for linking adaptation and mitigation
Assessment of the territories’ climate action
Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)
Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all the non-State actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies, and actions undertaken by the actors of the territory. In 2019, in order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes 13 new case studies of cities and regions. Here, the case of the young Indian state of Chhattisgarh (central-eastern India).
To download : climate-chance-2019.pdf (1.5 MiB)
Governance and integration of climate policies
The economy of Chhattisgarh State is largely based on sectors exposed to climatic hazards (agriculture, forestry, livestock, etc.). The effects of climate change are already weighing heavily on these sectors. Extreme events increase the vulnerability of farmers and exacerbate poverty in a state where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line (twice the national average).
Chhattisgarh has not yet presented a quantified target, but it has ensured that it contributes to national NSCs. Since 2017, Chhattisgarh is also a signatory of the Under2MoU and therefore has made a non-binding commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and/or limit its emissions to 2 tonnes per capita by 2050.
India argues that « there is no single strategy to address climate change ". (CSAPCC, 2014), which calls for the specification of State Action Plans for Climate Change (SAPCCs) at the sub-national level. The Chhattisgarh SAPCC focuses on 8 sectors : agriculture, forestry & biodiversity, water resources, urban development, transport, energy, industry & mining, human health. The CSAPCC also has the particularity of integrating a gender dimension.
Energy - Developing and adapting renewables to the territory
India’s most carbon-intensive economy, a switch to renewable energy could however enable Chhattisgarh to begin decarbonisation, even though it is only 2.4% of its renewable energy potential (estimated potential of 20,000 MW).
Chhattisgarh’s surplus energy production is above the average of other states, despite a growing annual demand for energy. However, the state is so densely forested that extending its grid is difficult. The unreliability of the power grid is becoming critical : 36% of primary health centres report unmet electrification needs, with serious health consequences. As part of its Solar Energy Policy, Chhattisgarh has therefore installed 2kWp of off-grid PV through 570 primary health centres between 2012 and 2016 (CEEW, 2018). In 2016-2017, 159 public schools in the state were powered by solar energy.
Through the Solar Cities Master Plans, the cities of Raipur and Bilaspur aim to reduce their projected demand for conventional energy by at least 10% in 5 years by combining energy efficiency and increasing the supply of renewables. The government of Chhattisgarh is also to create within five years 2,000 « Suryamitras ", skills training programmes for unemployed youth in the solar energy sector.
Most of Chhattisgarh’s electricity is produced in thermal power plants, which has a heavy impact on freshwater resources. The ash and industrial effluents discharged from the power plants contaminate water sources, even to the crops : the loss of water quality affects the quality and quantity of rice production. In order to mitigate these impacts, the power plants are being ordered to use recycled water, Chhattisgarh is investing in wastewater treatment to distribute non-potable water at lower cost to the cooling circuits of the thermal power plants, and is decentralizing water treatment away from the living areas.
Soil use - The loss of carbon sinks
By 2017, 41% of Chhattisgarh’s land area was covered by forest, its largest carbon sink : soils had always absorbed more than they emitted until 2011, when many hectares of forest were opened up for mining. Residents’ livelihoods depend on income and food from non-timber forest products (NTFPs), which are increasingly threatened by climate change. With Action on Climate Today (ACT), the World Bank is helping these vulnerable populations by creating employment opportunities, particularly through conservation activities.
Adaptation - Agroforestry to bring mitigation and adaptation together
The CSAPCC states that « Adaptation must be the predominant response strategy in Chhattisgarh ", and focuses on reconciling tangible and intangible adaptation strategies of « natural infrastructure » to enhance their resilience, ensure synergies with mitigation and « recognize and further support the role of women in adaptation ". Chhattisburgh’s adaptation is primarily forest-based. The strategy is twofold : adaptation from forests and forests for adaptation. Joint Forest Management oversees 55.52% of the forests in Chhattisgarh : this programme works on improved water management, bamboo regeneration, sustainable NTFP harvesting practices, nursery development, afforestation, biodiversity and wetland conservation.
From the technical session on agricultural resilience in Chhattisgarh organized by ACT, it was noted that « agro-forestry systems easily combine adaptation and mitigation. » From the technical session on agricultural resilience in Chhattisgarh organized by ACT, it was noted that « agro-forestry systems easily combine adaptation and mitigation. ". One of its studies on climate-smart agriculture identifies local adaptation strategies : adopting short-lived hybrid varieties to cope with altered seasonality, planting or mixing high-yielding varieties with local varieties, and choosing more resilient traditional millet-sized varieties. The Government of Chhattisgarh has adopted resilience-building strategies, such as weather-index-based crop insurance systems and training in climate-smart agriculture. On average, livestock contribute 55% of total land use emissions ; rice cultivation, with 38%, is the second largest emitter. Agriculture is a source of income for about 80 per cent of the rural population in Chhattisgarh. 46 per cent of them depend on rainfed monocultures, increasing their vulnerability to climate change and reducing their adaptive capacity. Rice (Chhattisgarh is India’s « rice bowl », with 19,000 native species) and wheat crops are expected to lose productivity. In 2016, the government has launched a community-based solar irrigation project, aiming to irrigate 50,000 ha with 51,000 solar pumps, and subsidized between 95 and 98%.
Waste - Innovative waste collection in Ambikapur
While in 2015 not a single piece of waste in the state was treated, in 2018 84% of the 601.885 million tons of annual solid waste was treated, more than any other Indian state ! It was also the first Indian state to introduce E-rickshaws for waste collection : with great success, they have greatly enhanced Raipur’s waste management performance.
Ambikapur City has set up a « garbage cafe », where collectors exchange collected plastic for meals. The plastic is then mixed with asphalt and used to build roads. Ambikapur has thus transformed its former 6-hectare landfill into a Health Awareness Park with trees and a pond. 447 women from self-help groups (SHGs) undertake door-to-door waste collection - the SHGs then provide training programmes in solid and liquid resource management (SLRM). A tax is levied for the management of project operations and maintenance : houses, shops, hotels, hostels and ashram all contribute in proportion to their activity.}