Meet Tanmoy Mukherjee, our Under2Coalition State Climate Fellow in Bihar.
Tanmoy works with the Department of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Government of Bihar, contributing to the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC).
Read our interview below to find out more about Tanmoy's fellowship and the unique opportunities Bihar presents for bold subnational climate action.
Tell us about your work as a State Climate Fellow in Bihar. What are the most exciting aspects of work you are involved with?
As a State Climate Fellow in Bihar, I have been officially placed in the Department of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (DoEFCC), Government of Bihar. At DoEFCC, I have also been appointed as a member of the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) revision team. Currently, I am authoring the “Financing the SAPCC” chapter of this comprehensive document. I have also engaged with various stakeholders related to the SAPCC revision process through regular meetings and other mediums. As an external staff at DoEFCC, I also had the opportunity to provide my feedback during the Technical Support Group Meeting. At this meeting, my inputs were included in the official minutes, a privilege that was previously reserved only for departmental-level government officials.
At DoEFCC, I have also received the opportunity to prepare a speech for the Honorable Chief Minister at a green energy conference. Besides that, I have also been provided with the prospect of reviewing the chapter titled “Adaptation Framework for DRR in India” for a document to be submitted by India as part of its communication to UNFCCC.
What unique opportunities does Bihar present in terms of climate action work? What are your biggest challenges?
The state of Bihar presents some unique opportunities in terms of addressing climate change. As Bihar has been highly vulnerable to both floods and droughts, the Bihar SAPCC has identified actions related to both adaptation and mitigation in the state. This presents opportunities for the state to explore various sectors like energy, agriculture and transport in terms of emission reduction which would require future vision plans.
The Government of Bihar has also included climate actions in their budget (Green Budget) through projects like climate resilient agriculture (CRA), bio-corridor, battery-operated vehicles, etc. which are running under different departments. Meanwhile, the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) has also signed an MoU with UNEP for developing low-carbon development pathways.
However, in terms of challenges, the DoEFCC which acts in the capacity of a nodal agency for matters related to climate change is still in the process of expanding its domain across the various climate-related projects undertaken by the Government of Bihar. Presently the key focus of DoEFCC lies primarily on thematic areas like SAPCC, Wetlands and National Green Tribunal cases.
As a young professional, how has your experience been working on climate action at the subnational level with the government?
In a vast country like India, subnational government intervention holds the key to tackling climate change. Working with the DoEFCC gave me a unique opportunity to facilitate climate action in the state along with interacting with various other departments. This also presented the opportunity to learn practical approaches to working within the government system. During my engagement with DoEFCC, I aspire to further facilitate inter-departmental coordination leading to the successful completion of the SAPCC revision process.
How do you think your fellowship is contributing to Bihar’s subnational climate action goals?
The fellowship has allowed me to provide substantial inputs and facilitate the revision of the SAPCC, along with contributing to DoEFCC activities in several ways. As part of the SAPCC team, I am authoring and reviewing different chapters of the SAPCC along with coordinating with Mausam Seva Kendra Bihar. Once completed, the revised SAPCC would further shape Bihar’s climate-related goals. Besides this, I have also been assigned to some initiatives in the wetland division within the department, along with managing other day-to-day activities. At the wetland division, I am involved in the preparation of the wetland health card and have recently completed a field trip to the Vaishali district.
How has your journey of learning been so far and what do you look forward to as a State Climate Fellow working on subnational action on climate in India?
During the last few months, I have learnt a lot about the practical aspects of climate mitigation, adaptation and finance in the context of climate action plans. I have also improved my understanding of government machinery while working with various departments. It was indeed exciting for me to learn how a state-level policy document is prepared and how stakeholder engagement works in such a scenario. It was also fascinating to regularly interact with higher-level government officials like bureaucrats from Indian Forest Services and Indian Administrative Services.
As a climate scientist, I look forward to expanding my role in carrying out vulnerability assessments at the state/district level along with assisting the department in strategising the state’s climate mitigation and adaptation plans.