Climate Change

Tamil Nadu now a forerunner among all states in acting on climate change

Other states in India can emulate Tamil Nadu’s initiatives with a view of implementing climate change mitigation activities for the betterment of the country as a whole

By V Sundararaju
Published: Monday 14 November 2022
A dugong. Photo: iStock

Tamil Nadu has become a forerunner in climate action by announcing three major missions namely Climate Change; Biodiversity Conservation and Greening; and Wetlands.

The state government has issued necessary orders with required budgetary provisions. The Japanese government is providing financial support for the projects.

The Tamil Nadu government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for climate change response through the greening project in March this year.

The Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project (TBGP) aims at climate change response, with an outlay of Rs 920.52 crore. The project will be implemented over a period of eight years.

The major objective of the project will be mitigating climate change through improvement of ecosystems, combined with socio-economic development.

The TBGP aims to achieve 33 per cent forest and tree cover by 2031. The state can achieve this target by planting 350 million seedlings in another 10 years.

The current forest cover in Tamil Nadu is 23.9 per cent, of which 20.27 per cent is protected area comprising five national parks, 33 wildlife sanctuaries and two conservation reserves. The remaining 3.63 per cent will be the tree cover outside the forest area.

The planting of the saplings has to be taken up outside the forest area. This mission can thus be achieved only by planting saplings in selected schools, institutions, highways, parks and other public places with the coordination of all the line departments.

Multi-pronged approach

The Tamil Nadu government has set up district climate change missions in all 38 districts. Each mission is to be headed by the concerned district collector as mission director. The concerned district forest officers will function as climate officers.

The missions will be working for developing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote eco-friendly technologies like solar and wind energy technologies and e-vehicles.

The local communities will be educated to manage climate change through development of green models. There is a plan for creating green parks in 100 villages.

The collectors are responsible for preparing district-level climate change mitigation and climate-resilient development plans. They will also establish bio-shields in the coastal areas in addition to strengthening climate smart villages.

An amount of Rs 3.80 crore has been sanctioned for 38 district missions which will be supervised by the Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission.

The Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company, a special purpose vehicle has been formed to manage Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission, Green Tamil Nadu Mission and Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission.


The state government has taken some significant initiatives towards mitigation of climate change recently.

These include:

  • The establishment of the first Dugong Conservation Reserve spread over 448 square kilometres in Palk Bay, covering the coastal waters of Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts.
  • Nanjarayan Bird Sanctuary covering an extent of 125.87 hectares in Thiruppur district
  • Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary covering an area of 11,806 hectares in Dindigul and Karur districts
  • An Elephant Reserve in Agasthiyamalai with an area of 119,748.26 hectares in the districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari.

The Government of Tamil Nadu recently has constituted the State-level Committee for Vulture Conservation for implementing the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation.

A record number of bird sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, mangrove forests, marshlands, wetland complexes and conservation reserves have been declared as Ramsar Sites because of the planned initiative and earnest efforts of the state government.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of international importance is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

Tamil Nadu stands first in India with 14 Ramsar Sites to its credit:

  • Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary
  • Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve
  • Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary
  • Karikili Bird Sanctuary
  • Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary
  • Pallikaranai Marsh Land
  • Pichavaram Mangroves
  • Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
  • Suchindram-Theroor-Manakudy Conservation Reserve
  • Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary
  • Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary
  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
  • Vellore bird Sanctuary
  • Vembanur Wetland Complex

The Ramsar list is declared with the aim of ‘developing and maintaining an international network of wetlands for the conservation of global biodiversity and sustained human life through maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits’.

Tamil Nadu has also set up a Governing Council on Climate Change with eminent persons like Montek Singh Ahluwalia (economist), Nandan N Nilekani (chairman of Infosys Board) and Erik Solheim (The sixth executive director, United Nations Environment Programme and Former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations) as its members.

The Governing Council will meet once in three months and decide its own modalities in connection with mitigation activities.

The Tamil Nadu government has thus become a forerunner in taking earnest measures to mitigate climate change. Other states in India can emulate Tamil Nadu’s initiatives with a view of implementing climate change mitigation activities for the betterment of the country as a whole.

Views expressed are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Down To Earth

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