Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Climate Change
- HSBC’s 2018 Assessment categorised India as the country which is most vulnerable to climate change.
- Even after repeated scientific warnings, carbon emissions continue to rise in China, the U.S. and India, three of the biggest emitters.
Growth vs Environment
- Brazil, under its President Jair Bolsonaro, is encouraging unprecedented deforestation of Amazon rainforest under the false pretext of promoting economic growth.
- Majority of the countries including U.S. and India are also mistakenly thinking that slashing environmental regulations would raise economic growth.
- Cutting hurdles to investment can boost short term growth and benefit interest groups.
- But, damaging the environment in this way would be self defeating in today’s fragile ecology, as it would impact long term growth and well-being.
- A number of Indian States have experienced extreme heatwaves in the past three years.
- Delhi, recently recorded a temperature of 48oC, the hottest day in 21 years.
- India’s exposure to climate hazards is heightened by the location of its vast coastline in the eye of the storm, across the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
- These regions also have a high population density.
- For instance, Kerala which experienced intense floods and landslides in 2018 and 2019, is among the states with highest population density.
- How badly this exposure will affect lives and livelihoods will depend both on the degrees of vulnerability and resilience to climate change.
- Increasing temperatures and changing seasonal rainfall patterns are aggravating droughts and hurting agriculture across the country.
- These events will become more damaging when infrastructure is not resilient.
- India is not doing enough to boost its coastal and inland defences to counter the harmful impacts of climate hazards.
- There is a need to do more to build resilience in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, energy, transport, health, and education.
- The priority for spending at the national and state levels for disaster management needs to rise.
- Adequate resources must also be allocated for implementing climate action plans that most states have prepared.
Why India should take the lead on climate change?
- Climate change is contributing to prolonged, year-round droughts in parts of Asia and across the world.
- Increasing heat and changing weather patterns are affecting production and food security in weather-dependent agricultural economies, such as India.
- In 2017, India experienced over 75 billion total hours of labour lost due to intense heat.
- This is 48.8% of the total global loss and 7% of India’s total working population.
- India should be alarmed at ecological destruction even in faraway places like Amazon.
- As forest fires worsen global warming, the hardest hit by the resulting floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts will be in India.
- As the country that is most at risk for climate damage, it should lead in pressing the global community to take sweeping climate action.
- As the sixth largest economy in the world, India’s need for further economic growth is clear.
- This development will be most effective when coordinated with sustainability and climate action.
- India must reinforce its infrastructure and adapt its agriculture and Industry.
- It also needs to replace urgently its fossil fuels with renewable energy.
[Source: The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Reuters]