ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Perception-based Evidence for Climate Change Policies

Understanding public perceptions can greatly influence socio-economic policies, which may alter decisions of climate change policies. This article analyses information from villages of Garud tehsil in Bageshwar district, Uttarakhand, where agriculture and forest-based resources are the main sources of livelihood among communities.

Climate change is no longer considered a global issue alone, but a complex phenomenon having intangible consequences on peoples daily lives at the local level. At times this, however, is difficult to comprehend given that people might be experiencing changes in local weather patterns, which may or may not be explained by long-term changes in global climate. Although, variations in climate have led to myriad changes in ecological and social systems. It is the current rapid pace of changes in climate that is a grave concern. Climatic change and climatic variability is expected to affect ecosystems in different ways (Walther et al 2002), however, the impacts may vary regionally. These changes will not only be attributed as an impact to global climate change, but it will also interact with other stressors of development.

The Himalayan mountain belt, one of the major hotspots of climate change, has recorded an increase in maximum temperature of about 0.9C (Dash et al 2007), while the global average warming is around 0.85C over the last 100 years (IPCC 2013). The Himalayan region is facing enormous pressure from social and economic drivers along with the ongoing climate change (Maohua et al 2012). Although the drivers of change, if acting independently, may cause minor changes, their cumulative impacts will have drastic socio-ecological consequences. With continued increases in global average temperature, the poor and those dependent on natural resources for their livelihood, and those living in geographically isolated areas are expected to face changes in local weather patterns beyond their present capacity to cope. This raises the need to inculcate heightened levels of concern and awareness among human societies in response to changing climate. Documentation on perceptions of local communities to changing climate is crucial in order to successfully plan and implement adaptive policy measures, as their perception reflects actual impacts of climate change on natural assets and livelihoods (Halder et al 2012; Joshi and Joshi 2011; Rana et al 2013). Based on personal observations, scientific communities need to delve deeper into public attitudes and subsequent responses to climate change. This study, therefore, is an attempt to understand how people interpret climate change based on their personal experiences, which are very important for climate-based adaptive policy measures.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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