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Climate Change




Climate change is one of the largest and most complex problems the development community has ever faced.  


The impacts of higher temperatures, variable precipitation, and extreme weather events have already begun to impact the economic performance of countries and the lives and livelihoods of millions of poor people.



Why is climate change relevant for India?


India is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It has one of the highest densities of economic activity in the world, and very large numbers of poor people who rely on the natural resource base for their livelihoods, with a high dependence on rainfall. By 2020, pressure on India’s water, air, soil, and forests is expected to become the highest in the world.


One of the most significant ways that climate change will impact the lives of people in India will be through its water resources.  While water sustains life, it all too often wreaks havoc through devastating floods and droughts. A changing climate will only aggravate these shocks. See India’s Water Economy: Bracing for a Turbulent Future



What the WB is doing in India?


In India, the Bank is assisting the government on both adaptation and mitigation:

On adaptation, we are supporting a pilot project in Andhra Pradesh to help communities in drought-prone areas to increase their resilience to variable rainfall. We are also assisting two coastal cities to develop sound strategies to meet the threat of rising sea levels. The Bank is also helping India to transform the way its water resources are managed. This means understanding the magnitude of the threat of climate change, fostering a dialogue with key stakeholders, and building institutions that can meet the multiple needs equitably and efficiently across the many river basins.  


Read: Overcoming Drought : Adaptation Strategies for Andhra Pradesh


On mitigation, the Bank has initiated work on a low carbon growth strategy and is supporting initiatives to maximize access to renewable energy and promote energy efficiency, while meeting economic objectives and bringing modern energy to the 400 million who still lack access to electricity.


With a dedicated strategy, India can develop a portfolio of strategic climate investments and tap into the numerous financial instruments available to transition the economy to more resilient growth and a low carbon path.  The World Bank stands ready to assist India in this endeavor.


What the World Bank is doing globally?


The World Bank is building on the growing knowledge-base about the impacts of climate change in order to develop a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to address it. It aims to effectively integrate adaptation and mitigation into its core development work and to help countries shift to a development paradigm based on adaptation to new climate risks and low carbon growth.


Adaptation strategies will need to focus on two pillars:


·         Building resilient livelihoods


·         Designing robust infrastructure that takes into account the potential impacts of climate change  

On mitigation, by working with key partners, such as the Regional Development Banks, the Global Environment Facility, and private sector leaders, we have assisted several Middle Income Countries to start the transformation to a low carbon economy.

Next Steps: Low-carbon Growth: As a next step, we are working with partners to develop a portfolio of strategic climate investment funds and associated programs.  These will provide concessional finance on a significant scale to help countries accelerate the transition to a climate-resilient economy and a low-carbon development path.   We believe these climate funds will unleash the potential of the public and private sectors.  And we believe this will lead to meaningful reductions of carbon emissions through (among other things) technology transfer and action on adaptation in eligible middle and low-income countries.

We are also in discussions to launch the Carbon Partnership Facility. This will seek to buy carbon credits for 10 years beyond the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012) even in the absence of a global deal on climate change.


We are keenly awaiting the outcome of the discussions on how the global community will address climate change beyond 2012, when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires.  It is clear that the negotiations are complex, and raise issues of equity at the international and inter-generational levels. 






Story: Most of India's rural poor live in rain fed areas where agricultural productivity is low. In Karnataka, one of India's driest states, the World Bank is helping to revive centuries old tank systems to improve productivity and raise incomes. See Slide Show


Ongoing Projects: 

Andhra Pradesh Community Based Tank Management Project

Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture and Water Bodies Restoration and Management Project

Karnataka Community Based Tank Management Project

Report:  Conjunctive Use of Groundwater and Surface Water: Each day, hundreds of thousands of farmers in canal, tank, and other surface irrigation systems combine surface water with groundwater. They do so in an individual manner, uncontrolled by any scheme or basin-level entity. Conjunctive management, by contrast, refers to efforts planned at the scheme and basin levels to optimize productivity, equity, and environmental sustainability by managing surface and groundwater resources together.



Rural Incomes Increase in Dry Rainfed Areas of Karnataka: For years, most farmers could only grow one crop during the rains– barely enough to feed their families. At other times, many would migrate to nearby towns to work as a daily wage laborers. Now, strings of bunds and check dams have revitalized both soil and water, farm incomes have increased, and migration to towns is down. See Slide Show

Walking Mountains Stop their March of Sorrow:In the foothills of the Himalayas, generations of foraging villages and grazing cattle led to the disappearance of vegetation from the hillsides. Today, check dams, trees and grass planted and maintained by local communities have rejuvenated the land and stopped the march of the mountains.

Ongoing Projects: 

Himachal Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project

Uttaranchal Decentralized Watershed Development Project

Karnataka Watershed Development Project


1. Managing Watershed Externalities in India: What happens when poor land-use practices in upper watersheds cause increased water run-off and land degradation for downstream farmers? The paper finds that watershed projects need to pursue innovative approaches to ensure that all watershed users personally benefit from pursuing land uses that support the greatest overall benefit.

2.  Indigenous Practice: Cattle Manure with Groundnut Shells: Indigenous practices related to soil and water conservation need to be systematically documented as well as analyzed and introduced to new areas. This paper describes one such indigenous practice followed by farmers of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh where valuable manure is prepared from groundnut shells spread on the floor of the cattle shed.


Ongoing Project:  Andhra Pradesh Community Forest Management Project

Report: Unlocking Opportunities for Forest-Dependent People in IndiaCarbon Financing for Improved Rural Livelihoods Project


Report: Solid Waste Management Initiatives in Small Towns : Lessons and Implications: This report looks at a series of case studies that have been compiled for three small towns in West Bengal, Goa, and Andhra Pradesh  where initiatives by small urban local bodies have transformed service levels.



Estimating Global Climate Change Impacts on Hydropower Projects : India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam

Financing Energy Efficiency: Lessons from Brazil, India, China and Beyond

Energy and Emissions: The Local and Global Effect of the Rise of India and China


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