Responding to Climate Change: India-UK Perspectives
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering



Climate change: The UK and Indian Contexts

Dr. Geraint Ellis and Dr. Suresh Rohilla

India and the UK are facing different impacts from climate change. The cultural, economic, institutional contexts add further complexity to these impacts. The presentation will cover the key climate change predications, impacts and common issues demanding action. Both countries have key significance to the international forum for tackling climate change. The presentation includes the aim and objectives of the seminar and the opportunities for research collaboration and debate.

Theme 1: Climate Change and Governance

Climate Change, Justice and Human Rights Violations

John Barry

While much has been written about and policy has been focused on the impacts of climate change in terms of adaptation and mitigation, a central but often hidden dimension of climate change is deeply normative.  This is the related issues of justice and human rights implications of climate change, both of which will form the focus of this presentation.  Climate change politics and policy is increasingly framed in terms of ‘climate justice/injustice’ touching on key normative and realpolitik issues such as:  What is a ‘just’ distribution of the burdens and costs of addressing human caused climate change?  How does this express itself in negotiations between the ‘industrialised North’ (the minority world largely the main emitter of historical carbon emissions) and ‘global South’ (the majority world) in developing a ‘post-Kyoto’ climate accord?  How should we think about ‘luxury’ versus ‘subsistence’ carbon emissions?

A related set of concerns revolve around the question of what are the human rights implications of climate change.   For some, such as former Irish President and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson, climate change results in human rights violations – ranging from the forced migration of people, the erosion of food or water security and the creation of new health risks, such as the increased incidence of malaria.  Yet, at the same time, there is no recognition in international law for climate refugees and it is unclear to whom those whose human rights are so violation by climate change should seek redress or how we should morally think about and provide legal or policy solutions that express this normative human rights dimension. 

This presentation seeks to explore these issues and also discuss how do these important normative issues play into existing debates and thinking around the ‘ecological/carbon debt’ that the minority/Northern world ‘owes’ (as a matter of justice, not charity) to the majority/Southern world.

Climate change, equity and carbon space

Prabir Purkayastha

In an unequal world, with contrasting historical responsibility for causing the changes in the climate, equity must play a central role in deciding the role and responsibility in solving the climate problem. The human rights framework must be used not only to identify what rights people have that are or will be violated but also people/countries/groups that violate such rights – rules of allocating carbon space and actual versus fair share of carbon space by 2050.  In many ways equity is synonymous will climate justice. The talk will focus on the role of equity in climate negotiations.

Challenge of the new balance new

Chandra Bhushan

The talk will also focus on assessment of the study of emissions intensities of major industrial sectors in India and discuss what role technology can play in reducing them. ‘Bottom-up’ study try to understand the potential to reduce GHG emissions most emissions-intensive industrial sectors and the power sector –Benchmarking energy and GHG emissions with Best Available Techniques (BAT) with industries to understand their future technology deployment pathway, limitations, dis/advantages

Governance of climate change action in the UK and the role of spatial planning

Geraint Ellis

Climate change is one of the difficult collective challenges faced by humanity. This challenges can be conceptualised in terms of understanding the degree and impacts of changes to the world’s climate and how these will differently effect regions and sections of our global society, and inducing major adjustment in areas such as adapting our economic systems to a low carbon world and bringing forward innovative technologies to address new energy and social needs. Although climate change is primarily understood in terms of its scientific challenges, any effective response must involve a complex  interaction between knowledge, power and socio-economic systems. Above all else, this can be conceived as a challenge to governance, at multiple spatial scales. In this context, the role of spatial planning will be crucial, as it combines the potential to regulate development activity, provide future-orientated strategies and has a tradition of deliberative public engagement - all essential components of a robust climate change response. The purpose of this paper is to briefly consider climate change in terms of its challenges to governance, to discuss the role of spatial planning in the new forms of governance required and to review the efforts made in the UK to establish new institutions, policies and regulative functions to address climate change a the national level.

Theme 2: Climate Change and Built-Environment

Evidence of long-term climate change in major cities of India during the twentieth century

Amit Dhorde

Accompanied by industrialization, rapidly increasing urbanization is a common phenomenon observed globally. One of the highly deliberated issues today is the effect of increasing urbanization and industrialization on climate. Though cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside, progressive increase in their mean temperatures is a cause of concern. Increasing temperatures trigger various environmental changes that make cities vulnerable in many ways. Therefore, worldwide, efforts are being made to investigate the changing climate of cities. At the same time, studies are also carried out to find possible relationship between climate change and cities. Whether cities are responsible for climate change or not is an intriguing question but, investigations can be carried out to analyze urban temperature trends so as to prepare ourselves for the future. India has rapidly urbanized in the recent past and will continue to do so in the future. The current study has attempted to investigate long-term temperature trends (from 1901-2000) at 56 major cities of India, majority of which are cities with million plus population. The cities were grouped into ten clusters based on cluster analysis of the tendencies observed. The study revealed that maximum number of cities (33) recorded significant warming trends in mean annual temperatures with few exceptions (5) which showed negative trends. The warming observed can be attributed to significant rise in both, TMAX (mean maximum temperature) in winter and TMIN (mean minimum temperature) in post-monsoon seasons. Among the seasonal trends, increase in TMAX during monsoon and winter seasons is more conspicuous while increase in TMIN is more predominant during summer and post-monsoon seasons. Further, it has also been observed that the cities from peninsular India show higher values of increase. If the increase that is observed continues in the current century it will intensify weather hazards such as heat waves. The increase in temperatures during summer and post-monsoon seasons that are characterized by higher temperatures will result in higher demand for electricity in these cities. Therefore, besides affecting the city environment increasing temperature will also put additional pressure on the infrastructural facilities.

Heritage Protection and Climate Change: UK Perspectives

Bernard Smith

There is a consensus that climate change poses a significant and increasing threat to the absolute survival of much of the World’s cultural heritage, and to at least the present configuration of much of its natural heritage. This has been recognised in a number of wide-ranging reports by, for example, UNESCO dealing with both categories of heritage (1) and a pan-European study funded by the EU into the threats posed to built heritage(2). As a consequence, there is increasing acknowledgement of the requirement to scope the possible future impacts of climate change on heritage and the need to base such studies on the accurate base-lining of its current condition. This strategy  is exemplified in recent reports from UNESCO and IUCN (3 & 4) dealing specifically with World Heritage properties, which have linked such scoping to the need for detailed risk analyses and the  development of adaptive management strategies. Unfortunately, previous studies of climate change impact have largely relied on climate change models and scenarios that are almost exclusively  presented at the regional scale and for generic meteorological parameters that are all-to-often averaged over the year. In contrast, what is required by property managers are scenarios that are downscaled for a particular site and parameters that are significant for the specific  environmental processes that influence the processes of change to which it is and could be subject. In this presentation, the potential value of such downscaling is illustrated through two case studies.  The first is of a completed investigation into potential climate change impacts at the highly dynamic natural World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. In particular, it outlines the impacts of increased duration and intensity of winter storms on cliff stability, coastal plain inundation, the impairment of access, and how the conclusions are now feeding into revised management strategies based on a combination of risk tolerance, avoidance and evasion. The second study is a recently-commenced investigation of the impacts of increased winter wetness and summer dryness on stone-built structures across the northwest UK.  This is used to demonstrate how patterns of decay are changing, both in response to climate change and through societal change in the shape of altered patterns of atmospheric pollution.  This is leading in turn to the revision of previously accepted models of stone deterioration and the development of alternative conservation strategies. Ultimately this may require wider policy changes related not just to heritage structures but also to the specification of new build.

Heritage and Climate change – Indian Perspectives

A.G.K Menon

The need for addressing the global concerns in all local actions is must. However, responses to these concerns differ due to varied socio-economic and cultural contexts. This presentation will attempt to share the Indian perspectives - research, responses and preparedness in addressing climate change on the rich architectural heritage in India.

Urban Development and Climate Change – A Case of Bangalore

Shubham Mishra

The end of the 20th century witnessed the emergence of urbanization and climate change as two dominant themes in the literature pertaining to environment and development. The use and abuse of built form in terms haphazard urban development at the cost of water bodies and green spaces has altered the micro-climate of several Indian cities in the last few decades. Using inputs from remote sensing along with field observations, this paper analyzes the linkages between urbanization and micro climate in Bangalore. In doing so, it highlights the numerous urban green spaces and water bodies that have been lost over time to urbanization, increase in temperatures during the same period and the current intra-city micro-climatic conditions vis-a-vis the built-up areas, open spaces and built-up densities.

Theme 3: Climate Change and Resource Management

Carbon Management and Material Flow Analysis: lessons from Industrial Ecology

Robin Curry

Economy-wide Material Flow Analysis (MFA) provides a comprehensive description of the material flows between the environment and the economy as well as within the economy (production and consumption).  This creates a standardised material accounting framework, which can be built upon to enable a country or region to measure and model its consumption and use of resources on an ongoing basis. The first economy-wide MFA of Ireland (Island Limits) was published in 2008 and put in place a framework to allow the measurement of material and product flows through the economy. A set of indicators were derived from the MFA and these provide a picture of the ‘industrial metabolism’ of Ireland and allow comparison in a standardised way with other countries and over time. The study recommended that sector specific MFAs be carried out and that there should be prioritisation of important sectors. In addition to the MFA, the project included the development of an environmentally extended Input-Output model, which allowed the allocation of all material inputs based on the economic interactions between sectors, which revealed that the construction sector has the highest material requirement of the Irish economy, using 36% of all material inputs.   An offshoot project from Island Limits, the Spatial Allocation of Material Flow Analysis (SAMFA), has developed a pilot GIS model which enables the spatial simulation of housing construction material flows and associated energy use.

The development of a dynamic MFA Model (dMFA) for the construction sector allows the analysis of flows by either material/product, or sub-sectors (Domestic dwellings, commercial premises, roads) and the integration of material flow data with data on operational and embodied energies and waste production, offering the prospect of a comprehensive systems model of the Life Cycle of C&D materials, and the capability to model policy relevant scenarios such as changes to housing design (carbon neutral housing) and related impacts on materials/product flows and waste composition and production. The dMFA methodology can be combined with other approaches such as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Carbon Footprinting or Substance Flow Analysis (SFA) to focus on ‘hot spots’, data gaps or the sectoral impacts of specific policies.

Climate Change Scenarios and its Impacts on Water Resources in major river basins of India

A. K. Gosain

Projections of water demand, according to the Ministry of Water Resources, indicate that India will be able to meet its water requirements until the year 2050 through integrated water management plans. This may be an unrealistically rosy picture, as two crucial factors have not been taken into account: the impact of many local level interventions such as watershed management programmes, and any possible climate change impacts. Furthermore, there has been no attempt to enumerate the ecosystem services being provided by these freshwater ecosystems and therefore there is every likelihood that new water resources developments shall be at the cost of the existing ecosystem services.

The need of the hour is to put in place an integrated framework may be in the form of NSDI (National Spatial Database Infrastructure). Many of the water related programmes such as watershed management, urban development, and irrigation, would benefit from such a framework to include both administrative and hydrological linkages, and the collation of sufficient information to evaluate the cause and effect of proposed actions of all the players.

The country needs to put research priorities in place including research to support policy improvement, and in particular implementation, evaluation, linkages between policies and consideration of the effects on ecosystems. Research organisations and networks may be best placed to take the initiative on these issues, and in particular to communicate research information to policymakers in appropriate ways. Research priorities also include support for governance. Research infrastructure should include a framework for integration, planning, monitoring and assessment. Within this, a series of components are required for addressing technical, environmental and social issues as well as support in negotiation and community participation. Such a framework shall be key to integrated water resources development and management in a sustainable manner. The IIT Delhi has taken an initiative to put such a framework together (see link ) and the same shall be shared with the participants of the workshop.

India: Energy and Climate Technology Imperatives

Ambuj Sagar

India already faces significant energy challenges; climate change, in many ways, adds to these challenges in both scope and complexity.  Thus not only does the country need to expand its energy supplies while keeping them affordable but it has to do so in a manner that protects the (local and global) environment and it has to ensure that all members of society share the benefits of such an enhancement of the energy sector.  This is a tall order and technologies will play an important role in enabling such a transition.  This talk will focus on the technological needs for such a transition and the kinds of policies and institutional approaches that could facilitate this.  In particular, I will discuss the concept of Climate Innovation Centres, an innovative approach that is being discussed in the international arena as a possible mechanism for promoting international cooperation to help developing countries, such as India achieve these goals.

Elements of Land Use Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation addressing Climate Change in Urban areas.

Meenakshi Dhote

Built environments being major emitters of Green House Gases, are drivers of climate change. With urban areas growing at an accelerating pace, there is an urgent need to address those aspects of the urban fabric and structure that can control climate change. The various components of the built environment need to be disaggregated, and their correlation with climate parameters has to be understood by policy makers, and planners to result in pragmatic solutions. Land use patterns of an urban area is the result of an exercise that takes into account the environmental, technological, social, economic, political issues of a settlement and translates it according to a future vision on the ground. Thus the urban landuse planning exercise is a critical aspect when it comes to controlling environmental conditions and impacts of any kind.

The paper puts forward a study of the landuse pattern of a metropolitan city, emphasizing the open space and biodiversity pattern that exists therein. The biodiversity pattern and its role in climate control is explained to understand its value. An integrated approach involving control of emissions and sequestration of gases with judicious allocation of green spaces needs to be formulated. The approach varies at the level of a building, neighbourhood, planning zone, city and the metropolitan region. Methods of assessment and conservation have been discussed. Finally, an attempt has been made to outline the elements of a landuse strategy for biodiversity conservation addressing climate change in urban areas.