Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Education as a tool of innovation for the climate change generation.


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change. LiFE movement

Mains level: A climate-resilient education system.


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  • Instead of mirroring a broken development paradigm predicated on an extractive relationship with nature, India can lead with an approach that’s better for both people and the planet. A climate-resilient education system will be essential to realising this opportunity.


  • India’s LiFE mass movement: At COP27, India released its Long-Term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS). This outlines priorities for carbon-intensive sectors like electricity and industry and transport, and emphasizes the role of a Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) as a mass movement towards sustainable consumption and production.
  • Education is vital: From behavioral shifts of individuals to the re-shaping of markets, education has a vital role in the LiFE movement.
  • Potential of demand side actions: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this could make a significant dent in reducing planet-warming gases, demand-side actions have the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70 per cent in 2050.


What are the challenges facing the education sector and children at present?

  • School closures during the Covid pandemic affect productivity: school closures during the pandemic have led to a learning deficit that’s getting reflected in reduced test scores. This will likely impact productivity and per capita income levels in the long term. One year of school closures could reduce GDP levels by anywhere from 1.1 to 4.7 per cent by mid-century, according to a paper by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • Hinderance to the economic mobility: The lasting impacts of Covid-19 could hinder economic mobility for a generation of Indians and alter the arithmetic for public finance.
  • Climate change impacts children more: Climate impacts are already disrupting children’s learning and well-being globally. For instance, extreme heat reduces students’ learning levels and causes physiological harm. Schools are temporarily shut down and children’s health is affected due to persistently poor air quality in cities like Delhi.
  • Disasters and displacing families affecting children: Debilitating deluges are permanently displacing families, often leading to children (and disproportionately girls) dropping out of schools and being trafficked or subject to child labour due to distressed household incomes. As these disasters grow more frequent and intense, we must prepare the infrastructure, content, and delivery of the public education system to protect the most vulnerable citizens, many of whom will be climate refugees.
  • Anxiety about the future: The lived experiences of climate-induced disasters and anxiety about the future are causing despair and dread among young people. This is compounded by digital platforms and news cycles that don’t linger long enough to make sense of challenges or build a widespread understanding of breakthroughs like the significant reductions in the costs of renewable energy.


How can the climate education system be used to both prevent crisis and create opportunity?

  • Creating a strong and inclusive climate-resilient education system at national level: At a national level, a strong enabling framework for a climate-resilient education system shall cover matters from curricula to nutrition to school building codes in a climate-changed world. With its scale and reach, the public school system is not only a source of learning but also shelter, clothing, food, and community for millions.
  • Programs in states shall be implemented according to the local demands: Design and implementation in states and districts should be shaped by existing local needs and anticipated climate risks. This could involve infrastructure investments so school buildings can double up as emergency shelters in cyclone-prone areas and capacity additions so government schools in mega-cities that are destinations for climate migrants can integrate and empower children
  • Emphasize should be on social and emotional learning: Students’ mental health needs should be served through an empathic expansion and an emphasis on social and emotional learning. Across the board, children should be able to access clean water and nutritious food.
  • Technical curriculum with indigenous knowledge shall be applied: Curricula can be infused with scientific and technical know-how alongside indigenous and local knowledge. In pockets, there are already innovative initiatives under-way where non-government organisations are adding tremendous value through contextualisation and close work with communities.
  • Integrating biodiversity conservation learning process: Students should be taught about the potential of integrating biodiversity conservation with regenerative agriculture. Youth must be empowered and encourages to take civic and climate actions from waste management to recycle, to lake restorations and to make their city more liveable.
  • Fostering critical thinking: The cross-cutting imperative should be to foster critical thinking instead of rote learning so that the next generation can embrace complexity and make informed choices.


Way ahead

  • There is a need for climate education across society rather than simply at the primary and secondary levels.
  • There is need to retrain workers in industries that have a future in a green economy.
  • So is the need to priorities technical training in colleges and universities so we can rapidly accelerate our decarbonization pathway.


  • We can’t afford to be narrowly focusing on technical training for the innovation, research, and development of climate technologies. Rather, we should develop strong analytical capabilities and holistic thinking about societal transformations and how new technologies will be embedded in communities. As Elizabeth Kolbert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist put it, “the ‘invisible hand’ always grasps for more”.

Mains question

Q. Climate change is rapidly altering the environment and economy, especially affecting children. In this light, Climate resilient education systems can be used to prevent crises and create opportunities. Discuss.

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1 year ago


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