The risks of climate change in India


A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of disastrous consequences if current trends of global warming are not reversed immediately. Aayushi Awasthy explains why this has particular consequences for India and the entire South Asian region.

The IPCC report, which was released earlier this month, has been called the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

The report says that the impact of a 1.5C increase in global temperatures will “disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements”.

India stands to be one of the nations most significantly affected, given its huge population and levels of inequality and poverty.

If exposed to the kind of destabilisation the report talks about, the impact on India could be devastating – not just socially but also politically.

For one, sea level rise will have a disastrous impact on the country, given its large coastline, and the number of people who live close to and depend on the sea for their livelihoods.

On the other hand, deadly heatwaves – similar to one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India and Pakistan – could soon become the norm, with the eastern Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) and the southern Pakistani city of Karachi likely to be the worst affected.

And while the report says that it is not too late to reverse rising temperatures and minimise some of the harm, it will not be easy to do for countries in South Asia, which are largely developing economies with limited resources

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