Shoring up: Climate Change and the Indian Coasts and Islands
Despite its vast, productive coastline and diverse marine ecosystems, India’s coasts and islands have been an afterthought in environmental policies. These systems provide direct and indirect services to coastal economies but are threatened by rising sea levels, ocean temperatures and acidification, and increasingly erratic weather systems. Marine systems are inherently interconnected and often show non-linear responses to stress, requiring informed strategies to prevent them from breaching their breaking points. However, despite acknowledging their climate vulnerability, governmental policies are surprisingly climate-blind, promoting an upscaling of marine exploitation. Unchecked, this could be catastrophic, leading to mass internal migration, and losses of livelihoods, property and lives. This chapter outlines the influence of climate change on India’s marine systems and identifies policy gaps. It suggests what a comprehensive strategy to manage resilient marine systems should include for India to face up to the reality of climate change on its coasts and islands.
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