'Karnataka has signifcant role in realising INDCs'

Indo Asian News Service

Bengaluru, Dec 16 (IANS) As a progressive state, Karnataka has a significant role to play in achieving the targets envisaged under India's Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), a group of leading scientists and researchers said Wednesday.

"Karnataka is at an advantageous position to tap the international finance and technology transfer resulting from the global negotiations," at the just-concluded CoP-21, The Bangalore Climate Change Initiative-Karnataka (BCCI-K) said in a statement

The BCCI-K is a consortium of research institutions chaired by Professor B.K. Chandrashekar, comprising scientists and researchers from city-based premier institutions like the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), University of Agricultural Sciences, ISEC Bangalore, IIT-Delhi and the London School of Economics - India Observatory, London.

Noting that at present, Karnataka has about 4 GW of renewable-based installed capacity. the statement said: This is about 32 percent of its total installed capacity and much higher than the 13 percent renewable share at the national level."

The state also has abundant wind and solar energy potential: around 14 GW of the former and 10 GW of the latter.

"The state has already announced solar capacity targets till 2021, and a wind policy in the pipeline. The state must also exploit the opportunities for rooftop solar and decentralised solar energy in combination with large grid connected plants," the statement said.

Hence, considering the proposed national INDC targets and opportunities afforded by the Paris agreement on support for means of implementation, "it can consider more ambitious RE targets," the statement said.

Further, it is estimated that energy efficiency measures in the state can offset electricity generation requirement by 37 billion units by 2030, "which is the same as the state's total electricity consumption in 2010. Replacing Karnataka's estimated 20 million plus inefficient irrigation pump-sets with efficient ones under the AgDSM scheme alone can offset almost 1 GW of generation capacity and over 5 billion units of electricity by 2030", the statement said.

Studies prepared under BCCI-K have shown that all the major crops of Karnataka will be adversely impacted due to climate change, "leading to concerns about sustained food production and food security. The forests of the biodiversity-rich Western Ghats, which account for 55 percent of the total forests in Karnataka, have been shown to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, leading to loss of critical ecosystem services."

"The eastern flank of the Western Ghats, dominated by dry deciduous forests and plantations, is inherently more vulnerable. Climate change projections show that the vulnerability of the forests is further likely to increase. There are also uncertainties about water availability in the major river basins especially in the context of a warmer world and increased evapotranspiration", the statement said.

There is a need to initiate agricultural research "to develop drought and heat tolerant crop varieties, provide agro-meteorological advisories to farmers, improve water and irrigation management and promote soil conservation measures. In forestry, corridors linking the protected areas to facilitate migration of flora and fauna, reduced forest fragmentation and degradation, conserve existing biodiversity rich forests, and promote mixed species forestry are required.

"Karnataka can undertake large-scale afforestation with policy and financial support as envisaged under the INDCs and the Paris Agreement," the statement said, adding: "Adoption of new and emerging technologies in Karnataka will involve high financial costs, capacity building and upgradation of physical infrastructure. There is hence a need to develop institutions and capabilities in Karnataka to leverage the Global Climate Fund finance that may become available."