The Department of Science and Technology organized a Climate Change Conclave spanning over two days from 27th–28th May 2024 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

The conclave brought together experts from all over India to dwell on the need for developing foundational models in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for climate modelling in the Indian context, quality control of data and improving climate predictions as well as strengthening interactions with people for better climate adaptation solutions.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), while addressing the conclave, said “The two missions of DST—the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) and the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC) have led to significant progress in terms of supporting 19 CoEs and 37 major R&D programs over the years.” Speaking further he highlighted the need to focus more on developing foundational models in AI in the Indian context.”

Secretary, DST while releasing the draft executive summary of ‘District Level Climate Risk Assessment for India’ added that indigenous climate models based on data will provide better understanding for addressing climate change. He said, “Collective efforts towards a holistic approach involving researchers from multiple disciplines and a range of stakeholders can help address the ongoing challenges of climate change and its effect on agriculture, water and the environment.”

Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Advisor at DST, dwelled upon the inception and evolution of DST’s Climate Change Programme, the interventions DST brought about in the National Actions Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC), and the process of developing and mentoring climate change science and adaptation R&D programmes all over the country.

Stressing that climate solutions were about securing the future for generations to come, Dr. Gupta urged communities to come together and not just analyze the problems but work collaboratively towards solutions.

Dr. Anita Gupta, Head of Climate, Energy, and Sustainable Technology (CEST), DST, emphasized the urgency for solutions to the climate change problem given that 40% of the world’s population was already vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. She outlined how DST’s two missions under NAPCC were working towards such solutions by supporting R&D programmes throughout the country. She also spoke about Mission Innovation, a global initiative launched in 2015 for clean energy solutions in which DST was participating.

Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Director of IIT Delhi, highlighted the efforts of the Centre of Excellence on climate change modeling at IIT Delhi in innovative mitigation technologies like coal-to-methanol conversion, blue hydrogen production, and carbon capture and storage.

Several other climate change experts from IIT Delhi, IIT Bhubaneshwar, Banaras Hindu University, University of Delhi, Kashmir University, IISc, University of Allahabad, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, India Meteorological Department, ICRISAT, the DST Centres of Excellence as well as DST officials participated in the meeting.

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