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Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar - Uncertainty from within


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Workshop on climate change and uncertainty from below and above, Delhi.

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Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar - Uncertainty from within

  1. 1. Uncertainty from within Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar IIHS
  2. 2. The ASSAR project – Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions As we understand more about the global impacts of climate change, so we need to know how people in local communities can effectively respond and adapt to these changes.
  3. 3. Climate hot-spots and marginalisation • The semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks. • These regions already experience harsh climates, adverse environmental change, and a relative paucity of natural resources. • People here may be further marginalised by socio-economic challenges, including high levels of poverty and low levels of development. • Therefore, it is essential to understand how to empower people, local organisations and government to adapt to climate change in a way that minimises their vulnerability and promotes their long-term resilience.
  4. 4. Programme objective • To achieve this ASSAR is: • Working with diverse stakeholders in a coordinated manner across 11 countries in southern Africa, eastern Africa, western Africa, and south Asia, to investigate the root causes of vulnerability. • Examining vulnerability through an interdisciplinary and gender-sensitive lens, focusing on both climate and non-climatic stressors. • Engaging with multiple levels of governance – from local communities to national and regional institutions – to understand what is needed to proactively spur widespread, effective and sustained adaptation that has positive and lasting effects on socio-economic development. Over its 5-year lifespan, the cross-regional and cross-disciplinary comparison of research findings will enable ASSAR to develop a unique and systemic understanding of the processes and factors that impede adaptation and cause vulnerability to persist.
  5. 5. The 3 sub-regions
  6. 6. Project Phases REGIONAL DIAGNOSTICS Investigate what people in semi-arid regions currently know about climate change, and what they’re doing to adapt to these changes. At the same time, compile detailed climate projections to highlight region-specific vulnerabilities and challenges. Phase 1 REGIONAL RESEARCH Use the information gathered from the first phase, and add to it through novel case study research, to explore strategies for developing adaptive capacity at multiple scales - from individuals to business and governments - within each region. Phase 2 RESEARCH UPTAKE Promote research into use across all regions, by informing adaptation practices at multiple scales, and in different contexts, and enabling take-up of research insights in policy and practice interventions. Phase 3
  7. 7. Regional to sub-national context • High economic growth in the last two decades • Service sector driving growth • Reduction in poverty levels • Inequality on the rise (Motiram and Naraparaju, 2014; Jayaraj and Subramanian, 2014) • Increase in non-farm employment (Lanjouw and Murgai, 2010, Himanshu et al, 2013)
  8. 8. Biophysical changes in the sub-regions Bangalore Sangamner Bhavani-Moyar 1999 2011 1999 2011 1999 2011 1999 2011 1999 2011 1999 2011 Land-use classes Area (km2) Area (%) Area (km2) Area (%) Area (km2) Area (%) Area (km2) Area (%) Area (km2) Area (%) Area (km2) Area (%) Settlements 436.5 5.4 866 10.8 70.7 1.3 80.2 1.5 33 2.1 49 3.2 Agriculture 1158 14.4 2071 25.8 1900 36.2 2090 40 214 13.7 231 15 Forest 2640 32.9 2045 25.5 257 4.9 146.7 2.8 638 41 554 36 Water 210.0 2.6 57.7 0.7 56 1.1 60.5 1.2 64.7 4.2 49.5 3.2 Others 3573 44.6 2978 37.1 2971 56.5 2878 55 608 39.1 674 43 Total 8018 100 8018 100 5256 100 5256 100 1558 100 1558 100
  9. 9. Bangalore context • Services and manufacturing sector driving growth (Sudhira, et al, 2007) • Resource concerns o Groundwater replenishment (Sundaresan, 2011) o Ecological commons have been affected (Nagendra, et al., 2014; Sudhira et al., 2007) • Fragile quality of life o Economy centred around an urban real estate market (Goldman, 2011) o Location of many informal settlements and environmental and climatic hazards (Krishna, et al., 2014) o Peri-urban areas with expansion of urban boundaries (D’Souza et al, 2013)
  10. 10. The role of climate science on ASSAR • Knowledge production for the people, of the people, by the scientists • Are SARs climate hot-spots? • How can climate science improve our understanding of vulnerability as experienced by people in SARs? • Regional downscaling – CORDEX South Asia v/s the time scale of the project • How can this knowledge be produced? Who are the scientists and which are the institutions? • In South Africa • In India • In Pune and Bangalore
  11. 11. Scientific knowledge gathering • Biophysical changes in the sub-regions • National temperature trends • National precipitation trends • Sub-region changes in precipitation regimes • Sub-region changes in larger climate drivers • Assessment of climate models • Future climate
  12. 12. What are the key climate patterns of the past and projected trends for the future? • Although slightly variable across study sites, the SARs of India have experienced accelerated warming trends between 1971 and 2007. Mean daily temperatures have increased marginally faster than the national average (0.02°C/year). • Rainfall patterns for the same period have been highly variable across SARs of India, and the country in general. Across the ASSAR states, the average summer monsoon rainfall has decreased by 0.01-1.40 mm/year, and the monsoon onset and rainfall patterns have become more erratic. • Extreme weather events are expected to increase in most of India and some semi-arid regions are considered to be high vulnerability areas. The SARs are particularly prone to flash floods, and have witnessed a noticeable increase in hot days and heat waves between 1961-2010, lasting as long as 12–16 days in some areas.
  13. 13. What climate scientists and others tell us What are the expected impacts of future climate in semi-arid areas? • Critical sectors (e.g., agriculture, forestry, water resources) will be affected as drought and flood hazards intensify the demand for land, food, water and livestock forage. • Heat-stress related impacts will be more severe for rural and urban communities as thresholds on livestock, crops and infrastructure will be reached sooner. • India faces rapid and unplanned urbanization, resulting in poor quality of urban life. First generation migrants are notably vulnerable due to limited access to social networks and public services and limited livelihood options. However, marginalized groups already living in the city, are also vulnerable. • Extreme weather exacerbates existing locational risks through urban flooding, heat stress and disease dynamics.
  14. 14. The role of the broker, mediator • Multiple partners • Multiple disciplines • Multiple sciences • Multiple institutions • Multiple places • Multiple sciences • Multiple languages • Co-learning, co-production, co-creation
  15. 15. Uncertainty from within • How we deal with it – • photo blogs, • photo essays, • narratives, • opinion pieces, Conversations and relationships
  16. 16. Strategies of the marginalised • Power shifts within the architecture of the institutions – we try to order it, but it shifts between • research and practice • natural and social science • knowledge production and knowledge management • Institutions marginalize and empower projects, individuals • Individuals prioritise institutions, groups, discourses, emails • Dynamism / uncertainty exists in the lives of the object of study, the people whom we are set out to reduce the vulnerability of • Dynamism / uncertainty is exists in how we set out to undertake this study