The Politics of Climate Change and Uncertainty in India  book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Climate Change and Uncertainty in India

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 6, 2021
ISBN 9781032190785
December 6, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book brings together diverse perspectives concerning uncertainty and climate change in India. Uncertainty is a key factor shaping climate and environmental policy at international, national, and local levels. Climate change and events such as cyclones, floods, droughts and changing rainfall patterns create uncertainties that planners, resource managers and local populations are regularly confronted with. In this context, uncertainty has emerged as a "wicked problem" for scientists and policymakers, resulting in highly debated and disputed decision-making.

The book focuses on India, one of the most climatically vulnerable countries in the world, where there are stark socio-economic inequalities in addition to diverse geographic and climatic settings. Based on empirical research, it covers case studies from coastal Mumbai to dryland Kutch and the Sundarbans delta in West Bengal. These localities offer ecological contrasts, rural-urban diversity, varied exposure to different climate events and diverse state and official responses. The book unpacks the diverse discourses, practices and politics of uncertainty and demonstrates profound differences through which the "above", "middle" and "below" understand and experience climate change and uncertainty and makes a case for bringing together diverse knowledges and approaches to understand and embrace climate-related uncertainties in order to facilitate transformative change.

Appealing to a broad professional and student audience, the book draws on wide-ranging theoretical and conceptual approaches from climate science, historical analysis, science technology and society studies, development studies and environmental studies. By looking at the intersection between local and diverse understandings of climate change and uncertainty with politics, culture, history, and ecology, the book argues for plural and socially just ways to tackle climate change in India and beyond.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Climate Change and Uncertainty: Politics and Perspectives, Shilpi Srivastava, Lyla Mehta and Hans Nicolai Adam Chapter 2: Uncertainty from Above: Diverse Understandings, Politics and Implications, Lyla Mehta, Hans Nicolai Adam, Mihir R. Bhatt, Synne Movik, Lars Otto Naess and Shilpi Srivastava Chapter 3: Uncertainty and Environmental Change Kutch and the Sundarbans as Environmental Histories of Change, Vinita Damodaran, Rohan D’Souza and Subir Dey Chapter 4: Between the Market and Climate Change: Uncertainty and Transformation in Kutch, Shilpi Srivastava, Lyla Mehta, Lars Otto Naess, Mihir R. Bhatt and V. Vijay Kumar  Chapter 5: The Certainty of Uncertainty: Climate Change Realities of the Indian Sundarbans, Upasona Ghosh, Darley Jose Kjosavik and Shibaji Bose Chapter 6: Climate Change and Uncertainty in India’s Maximum City, Mumbai, Hans Nicolai Adam, Synne Movik, D. Parthasarathy, Alankar, NC Narayanan and Lyla Mehta Chapter 7: Bridging Gaps in Understandings of Climate Change and Uncertainty, Synne Movik, Mihir Bhatt, Lyla Mehta, Hans Nicolai Adam, Shilpi Srivastava, D. Parthasarathy, Espen Sjaastad, Shibaji Bose, Upasona Ghosh and Lars Otto Naess Chapter 8: Conclusion

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Lyla Mehta is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK and a Visiting Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Hans Nicolai Adam is a Research Scientist at the Section for Water and Society, at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo, Norway.

Shilpi Srivastava is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK.


"From climate change to Covid 19, we are living in a highly uncertain world – yet also one of intense politics of life, knowledge and policy around what uncertainty means and for whom. Unpacking these politics in relation to some of India’s most dynamic yet vulnerable places, this volume combines sophisticated conceptual analysis with new empirical insights aimed at charting transformative future pathways. Compelling reading for scholars and practitioners alike." - Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies

"This volume deepens our understanding of the tremendous uncertainties that climate change is introducing in different ecologies in India. The authors also highlight how affected communities are dealing with the impacts of these uncertainties on their livelihoods. It is this micro-level perspective that gives the book its distinctive value." - Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Environment and Forests

"Addressing the existential challenge of climate change is compounded by the contested nature of knowledge on climate change impacts and solutions. By interrogating how experts, knowledge intermediaries and everyday people address uncertainties about climate change, this book provides a framework for how we know, and therefore, communicate, about climate change. Building on empirical cases from India, but with implications for wider geographies, the authors powerfully argue for appreciation of diverse ways of knowing and plural rather than unitary solutions, thereby contributing both to conceptual literature and climate practice."— Navroz K. Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

"Climate change is rife with uncertainties, starting from what will change, how much and when to how it will affect our day-to-day lives and what can we do to adapt to these changes. As an atmospheric scientist, I have always focused on minimizing the uncertainty in climate projections with the expectation that it will lead to better adaptation strategies. But this book shows us that uncertainty is so deeply ingrained in the whole process that is may be better to "embrace rather than eliminate uncertainty". I particularly liked the case study approach that allowed me to understand how climate risk is perceived at grassroots level. Overall, I strongly recommend this book for climate scientists interested in expanding their understanding of uncertainty in climate change."Somnath Baidya Roy, Ph.D., Associate Professor Chief Editor, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences Earth System Dynamics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi A European Geosciences