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Daily-current-affairs / 03 Apr 2024

The Significance of Climate Change in India's 2024 Elections : Daily News Analysis



Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. With the release of the State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the urgency of addressing climate issues has been further emphasized. As the world grapples with the consequences of rising temperatures, it is imperative that political campaigns, especially in countries like India, reflect a commitment to climate action. Here we explore the significance of integrating climate issues into election campaigns, the progress made in mitigating climate change, and the potential impact of political engagement on climate justice.

The Urgency of Climate Action

The WMO report highlights alarming trends in global temperatures, with 2023 being the hottest year on record. The average temperature rise from pre-industrial levels is perilously close to breaching the agreed limit of 1.5 °C set by the Paris Agreement. Moreover, Various records were broken in 2023, including rises in ocean temperatures, glacier retreat, and diminishing Antarctic ice cover. Increased frequency of extreme weather events like heatwaves, torrential rains, and tropical cyclones have been observed, disrupting various activities, including agriculture.

The Impact of Industrial Progress

Industrialization, while driving progress and improving living standards, has also significantly contributed to climate change. The reliance on fossil fuels for energy production has led to substantial greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating global warming. The Paris Agreement, with its goal of limiting temperature rise to well below 2 °C, represents a collective commitment to combat climate change.

The Paris Agreement, entered into force on November 4, 2016, is a legally binding international treaty aimed at limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2 °C, with efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C. Many nations, including India, have taken steps to limit carbon emissions and transition towards renewable energy sources. However, the latest WMO report raises questions about the adequacy of current efforts in meeting these targets.

Progress in Mitigating Climate Change

Despite challenges, significant progress has been made in mitigating climate change, particularly in the renewable energy sector. Initiatives such as India's National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and the National Solar Mission demonstrate a commitment to transitioning towards cleaner energy sources. Additionally, the announcement of the National Green Hydrogen Mission underscores efforts to accelerate the energy transition. While these initiatives represent positive steps, the urgency emphasized by the WMO report necessitates further action and collaboration on a global scale.

Election Season as an Opportunity

With election season underway in many democracies, including India, there is a unique opportunity to prioritize climate action on the political agenda. Political campaigns serve as platforms to engage the public and raise awareness about pressing issues such as climate change. The timing of the WMO report coinciding with election season provides an opportunity for political parties to articulate their stance on climate issues and present concrete action plans to address them.

Impact on Electoral Dynamics

Research suggests that extreme weather events can influence voter turnout and preferences, particularly in agrarian regions Example: Agricultural issues gain prominence due to temperature shocks, influencing voter turnout and candidate preferences.

The electoral defeats of political incumbents in flood-ravaged districts underscore the political repercussions of climate-related disasters. Moreover, the government's environmental policies, including controversial legislative measures, have stirred public debate and impacted electoral dynamics.

Indian voters exhibit a nuanced understanding of climate change, with regional disparities shaping perceptions. Coastal communities and regions prone to floods demonstrate heightened concerns about climate impacts. Example: Chennai submerged by Cyclone Michaung, leading to significant damage.

Urban voters prioritize issues such as air quality, waste management, and sustainable development, reflecting a growing awareness of climate change mitigation efforts. Example: Surveys indicate a significant percentage linking climate change impacts with poor governance. However, climate change ranks lower compared to immediate concerns like inflation and unemployment, indicating a gap between awareness and prioritization

Integration of Climate Issues into Political Campaigns

Political parties have a responsibility to integrate climate issues into their election campaigns and demonstrate a commitment to climate action. This includes raising public awareness about climate change and outlining specific steps to reduce global warming. By addressing climate issues, parties can demonstrate their dedication to the well-being of both current and future generations. Moreover, voters have the opportunity to evaluate parties based on their climate policies and hold them accountable for their commitments.

Political Response to Climate Change

Major political parties have begun incorporating climate agendas into their manifestos, reflecting a shift towards environmental consciousness. Promises of clean air, renewable energy investments, and sustainable agriculture feature prominently in party platforms. Example: Parties like BJP and Congress include measures for clean air and renewable energy in their manifestoes, Some parties, like Rashtriya Lok Dal, prioritize environmental issues alongside farmers' rights.

However, the translation of these promises into actionable policies remains a challenge, with limited emphasis on hyperlocal concerns and adaptation strategies.

Potential Impact on Climate Justice

Elections in India have the potential to generate momentum for climate justice by placing pressure on political parties to prioritize climate action. As a rapidly developing nation with significant environmental challenges, India's leadership on climate change is crucial. By adopting robust climate policies, political parties can contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change and promote environmental sustainability. Furthermore, addressing climate issues can enhance India's standing on the global stage and reaffirm its commitment to sustainable development.


In conclusion, the integration of climate issues into political campaigns is essential for addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate change. The recent WMO report underscores the need for concerted action at all levels to mitigate the impacts of global warming. Political parties play a crucial role in shaping public discourse and driving policy change. By prioritizing climate action in their election campaigns, parties can demonstrate leadership, raise awareness, and mobilize public support for meaningful environmental policies. In the context of India's upcoming elections, addressing climate issues should be a top priority for all political stakeholders.

Probable Questions for UPSC Mains Exam-

1.      Discuss the significance of integrating climate change issues into political campaigns, particularly in the context of India's 2024 elections. How can political engagement contribute to climate justice and sustainable development? (10 Marks, 150 Words)

2.      Analyze the progress made by India in mitigating climate change, considering initiatives like the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and the National Solar Mission. How effective are these measures in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, and what further actions are needed to meet international commitments? (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Source- The Hindu