Adaptation to climate change, biological diversity, oceans and AI for environmental protection for the future
Climate policies have turned out to be hot topic of discussion at all international fora, spurring world leaders to look at the issue in a more committed manner. India’s commitment towards environmental and climate causes have also been under the radar for of late, but a slew of initiatives is currently being acknowledged by the world as positive steps on this terrain.
The rolling out of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission and such initiatives are seen as helping fulfilling India’s commitment at COP 26 of achieving net zero emissions by year 2070. India’s initiatives on the climate terrain was on full display at the meetings that Dr Jitendra Singh, Union minister of state for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, participated in with his German counterpart. Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, in Berlin.
The coming together of the Indian and German delegations as part of the India-Germany Inter Governmental Commission, had as its agenda ‘adaptation to climate change, biological diversity, oceans and artificial intelligence for environmental protection’.
Exploring bilateral scientific cooperation in climate research
The country’s keenness in augmenting its cooperation in these areas, by including Model Development, Application of Forecasts in the renewable energy and of course use of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning was heard by the German delegation. With science and technology having turned out to be strategic pillars of bilateral partnership, the delegation led by the Indian minister suggested to explore possibilities of bilateral scientific cooperation in emerging areas of weather and climate research on trends of regional climate extremes and variability of vulnerable areas including tropics and high-latitudes.
According to Dr Singh, the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, provides early warning information for Tsunami related hazards to the Indian Ocean rim countries. With India having been recognized as one of the Tsunami Service Providers (TSP) under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC), he called upon Germany to utilise this opportunity India offers.
Further, India is currently working towards Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Assessment (PTHA) in the Makran region through UNESCO-IOC and funded by UNESCAP. German experts and institutions are part of this initiative.
Indo-German cooperation in ocean exploration
A proposal towards growing bilateral cooperation in areas of-probabilistic Tsunami hazard assessments; Early detection of tsunamis including ‘atypical tsunami’ generated by the under-sea landslides triggered by earthquakes; Geodynamic modelling of Earth’s sub-surface for sub-marine landslides; and Crustal deformation monitoring using Global Navigation Satellite System(GNSS) data; Tectonic settings of subduction zones in the Indian Ocean (more emphasis on Makran Subduction Zone) and; Integrating Machine Learning methods; Capacity-building to strengthen pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction programmes such as Tsunami Ready; Cooperation in the area of long term Arctic (Polar) observations and studies; and Cooperation in the field of Gas Hydrates and underwater drills; have also been made.
In the area of Ocean Exploration, Blue Economy as an important dimension of Vision New India was highlighted by Dr Jitendra Singh. A joint collaboration in areas like Coastal Marine Spatial Planning and Tourism, Marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing, Coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy, was also proposed.