Climate change is affecting land, water, forestry and other dependent livelihoods. While the
Covid-19 pandemic dominated our lives in 2020, climate change continued to intensify, making
2020 one of the warmest years on record. Despite encouraging trends towards climate adaptation
at the global level, the 2020 Adaptation Gap Report (UNEP 2020) – a flagship report published by
the UN since 2014, focused on where the world stands on planning, financing and implementing
adaptation actions – describes the extent of adaptation progress at the national level as insufficient.
However, the longer we wait to take effective adaptation action, the more expensive and
consequential the impacts of climate change will become at multiple scales with the potential to far
exceed the costs of adaptation.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 (Germanwatch 2021) ranks India as the fifth-most vulnerable
country to climate change. The key contributing factors to this were the prolonged monsoon phase
in 2019, which affected 11.8 million people and caused economic damage of about US$ 10 billion;
and the eight tropical cyclones in 2019, which contributed to one of the most active cyclone seasons
in the northern Indian Ocean ever recorded. The state of Uttar Pradesh has nine agro-climatic
regions: Bhabhar and Tarai, the western plains, mid-western plains, south-western plains, eastern
plains, central plains, north-eastern plains, Vindayan and the Bundelkhand region. A significant
proportion of the state’s population lives in rural areas and its predominant occupation is agrarian.
Nevertheless, over the past decades, due to the impacts of climate change, there has been increased
variability in climatic components (rainfall, temperature). The state has witnessed recurrent hydrometeorological hazards like floods, droughts, heatwaves, cold waves and extreme rainfall (Envistats
India report 2020) that have not only affected the people and their livelihood systems but also
the development indices of the state (Scoping assessment of Uttar Pradesh 2020). Thus, from the
climate variability perspective, the state of Uttar Pradesh is one of the most vulnerable areas in India.