Climate Change in Kerala: A Way Forward for Collective Action
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry conducted the CEO Forum’s 10th Breakfast Meeting on Friday, 4th October, 2019 at the Taj Gateway Hotel, Ernakulam.
Mr. V Venugopal, President of the Chamber, delivered the Welcome Address and introduced the Speaker for the meeting.
Ms. Shyama Kuriakose, Senior Project Fellow (Environment Law), Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi spoke on "Climate Change in Kerala: A Way Forward for Collective Action” in the light of the natural calamities that ravaged Kerala for two consecutive years.
The Forum discussed the importance of recognizing climate change as an important factor and how to tackle the climate change problem at the larger level of discourse.
Ms. Kuriakose said that the latest reports on the impact of global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that without substantial cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, the world will reach the threshold of 1.5°C warmer than preindustrial levels as early as in 2030. The increased flood risks are alarming, especially their impact on vulnerable populations with low coping and adaptive capacities.
In particular, floods can have a long-run impact on health which in turn will deteriorate human capital, a key driver of sustainable development, she said. Using the example of the recent floods in Kerala, the Forum discussed its devastating impact and the possible measures to reverse the potential damage.
Ms. Kuriakose listed out the aftermaths of climate change namely alteration of hydrological cycles, increased frequency of tropical cyclones, rise in communicable diseases, physical damage to infrastructure and resultant costs etc.
Ms. Kuriakose also spoke on the UNFCC, the Convention which acknowledges the vulnerability of all countries to the effects of climate change and their special efforts to ease the consequences, especially in developing countries. One of the three Rio Conventions, the UNFCCC's ultimate objective is to achieve the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system, she added.
Ms. Kuriakose insisted that for countries like India, the focus should be on ‘adaptation’, or measures taken to cope with the inevitable effects of climate change that has already happened, such as nasty storms, floods and droughts. The goal of mitigation is to avoid significant human interference with the climate system, and stabilize greenhouse gas levels in a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, whereas the goal of adaptation is to reduce the vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change, she said.
Ms. Kuriakose said that adaptation planning and investments must include the private sector as it can mobilize financial resources and technical capabilities, leverage the efforts of governments, engage civil society and community efforts, and develop innovative climate services and adaptation technologies.
Ms. Nisha Menon, Director – Tax, PwC India gave ‘Quick Bytes on Make in India 2.0 – Corporate Tax Reforms.
Mr. V Venugopal along with the Research Team of the Chamber presented a Research Report “Rebuild Kerala – Seeking Solutions – People, Policy and Progress, Chamber Perspective” which advocates sectoral reforms in different fields to strengthen the foundations of the ‘Nava Kerala’ establishment process.
Ms. C S Kartha, Program Committee Chairman presented a Memento to Ms. Kuriakose.
Mr. K Harikumar, Vice President of the Chamber proposed the Vote of Thanks.