Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg



Climate change adaptation: A South Asian perspective

Dozent: Aditya Ghosh

Climate change is no more an academic buzzword or a political debate for those who live in various vulnerable ecosystems across the world – they are struggling to make a living in the face of unprecedented environmental changes – on a daily basis. While global negotiations towards mitigation of global warming have largely remained inconclusive; sea levels rise, cyclones devastate entire regions, and shifting rainfall patterns adversely affect the livelihoods of rural farmers. All this makes development initiatives in the Global South much more expensive and complex. In this context, South Asia presents an extremely interesting and complex case. With high rates of poverty and poor human development indices, the climate change debate in this region revolves around the incremental vulnerability of people and the question of how to bridge the gap between global mitigation strategies and national development in just ways. This course will explore these issues, uncovering adaptation challenges on the ground in South Asia. We will scrutinize usefulness of concepts such as vulnerability, resilience, adaptive capacity, look into mechanisms for disaster risk reduction, and explore the role of communication and media and how they interact with the larger development paradigm. Through discussion of various case studies, we will assess adaptation challenge for millions of marginalized people living precariously in ecosystems such as low-lying coastal zones, arid areas, mountain ecosystems and how they can be integrated in development policies.