Programme Goal

Climate change is a complex challenge for developing countries in South Asia. Not only could the impacts of climate change be significant, but it would also be felt in a context of multiple stresses, such as poverty, resource depletion, environmental degradation and rapid urbanization. Thus, adaptation strategies will need to be formulated in the context of multiple policy goals.

Moreover, the question of mitigation or limiting carbon footprints is an even more challenging one to address in the south Asian context. The current levels of per capita emissions and the historical responsibility of this region towards climate change low. And also, there is a pressing need for poverty alleviation, which calls for an increase in energy consumption. Additionally, many so-called climate friendly policies, such as the increased use of hydropower, may have significant regional environmental impacts. The challenge therefore is identify development strategies that meet the multiple goals of poverty reduction, regional environmental sustainability and low carbon emissions.

While research on climate change impact and adaptation is ongoing and will continue in other programmes at ATREE, the newly established Climate Change programme will focus primarily on mitigation, i.e., on finding strategies that enable development without compromising the environment. It will explore development pathways that are more equitable and environment-friendly and sustainable, and which can affect the reduction or containment of greenhouse gas would be a co-benefit.

The work ATREE intends to do in the sphere of climate change mitigation include finding opportunities for decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions and harnessing co-benefits for local environment, health and energy security. We also aim to elucidate the equity implications of low carbon strategies, identify institutional and governance barriers to the effective implementation of equitable, sustainable and low carbon development and induce a behavioural change in favour of low carbon choices.