The Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi and Madras, along with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), have launched an “open-ended” network of climate change researchers in the country.
The Indian Climate Research Network is aimed at bringing researchers and institutions together to enhance the capacity for climate research and action. It was born at the end of a two-day National Research Conference on Climate Change hosted by the IIT-Delhi this week.
“There is a whole lot of work going on in India on various aspects of climate change,” said Krishna Achutarao of the Centre of Atmospheric Sciences at the IIT-Delhi. “But it lacks a sense of integration. There is a lack of a coherent view of what we know and what we don't; where we now stand and what else we need to do.”
“This network is a long-overdue first step,” says Ambuj Sagar, IIT-Delhi professor. “We don't want to have research for research sake. Climate research has practical value, both for how to do things on the ground and for integration with policymaking.”
Interestingly, the government is also setting up its own Indian Network for Comprehensive Climatic Change Assessment, which will have a pan-IIT network as its backbone. It is meant to become the Indian version of the IPCC or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, CSE director Sunita Narain says the new network will be more “open-ended” and “inclusive” than the government one. It will also look for ways to stimulate young researchers.
“I don't think we are intending to be the conduit of all information. We are not gatekeepers of any sort,” says Chella Rajan, a professor in the Humanities Department of IIT-Madras.