The politics of climate change and uncertainty in India

This Sussex Development Lecture on 31 March 2022 covered the themes of uncertainty explored in the new (Open Access) book The Politics of Climate Change and Uncertainty in India. The book draws on past research on climate change and uncertainty, which has also formed part of the background to the TAPESTRY project.

The 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.

Focusing on India, one of the most climatically vulnerable countries in the world, the authors unpack the diverse discourses, practices and politics of uncertainty and demonstrate profound differences through which the “above”, “middle” and “below” understand and experience climate change and uncertainty. They make the case for bringing together diverse knowledges and approaches to understand and embrace climate-related uncertainties in order to facilitate transformative change.

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.



  • Dr Lars Otto Naess, Research Fellow, IDS

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