Why India Is at High Risk of Climate Change and What It Can Do About It - Seeker's Thoughts

Recent Posts

Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Why India Is at High Risk of Climate Change and What It Can Do About It

India ranks third-most among global polluters for emissions that contribute to climate change, and its leaders have often justified using fossil fuels in order to promote development during international climate negotiations.

Photo by Markus Spiske

India will experience substantial physical risks as global temperatures increase, such as wildfires, flooding, heat waves and rising sea levels - risks which may cause significant economic loss as well as social unrest.

Why India Is at High Risk

India ranks among the five nations most vulnerable to climate change and has experienced losses related to weather-related disasters in four of the past five years, making climate change a critical national security issue.

India is vulnerable to climate change for multiple reasons: as home to the second highest population and its second-highest proportion of poor people; heavily dependent upon agriculture as source of sustenance; rapidly growing economy which emits greenhouse gasses thereby further contributing to global warming;

Warmer climates bring more extreme heat waves, which reduce crop yields while heightening water stress levels. Heat and drought-related water scarcity increases rural communities' vulnerability to diarrheal diseases, malnourishment, water resource conflicts and flooding/land degradation threats.

Climate change's adverse impacts are projected to disproportionately impact urban and rural poor, those without assets, minority groups and those from low socio-economic status areas. Without adaption and disaster risk reduction measures in place, poverty will persist and remain widespread.

Urban areas are at the core of India's economic development, making climate change an ongoing threat. Already vulnerable to severe flooding and landslides, India's cities face additional risks under a 4degC warming scenario; additionally, an increasingly humid atmosphere will cause changes to monsoon season timing.

These changes will have far-reaching ramifications on India's economy and quality of life. One study estimated that by 2050, India will lose an estimated one third of labor productivity due to heat stress; agriculture and construction workers would be most impacted.

Bangladesh is also at risk of becoming a climate refugee destination, due to the large amounts of rainwater flowing in from neighboring countries and global climate change forcing many Bangladeshis to flee home in search of shelter - potentially creating an overwhelming refugee crisis and destabilizing entire regions.

What Can India Do About It?

India faces an immense challenge: to manage greenhouse gas emissions while modernizing its economy and lifting millions out of poverty. That requires shifting away from high-carbon industrialized models towards cleaner development paths which still support rapid economic expansion but can adapt to climate change.

To meet its targets for energy and land use change, China will need to make several modifications in energy and land use. First and foremost is cutting its dependence on coal-powered electricity production, which accounts for much of its emissions; that means not building new plants while simultaneously beginning the process of closing old, ineffective ones down. Furthermore, renewable energy must increase dramatically: according to their National Action Plan on Climate Change they aim to achieve 50% of total installed electric capacity from nonfossil fuel sources by 2030.

Nigeria will need to expand its forestry cover in order to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, currently it imports wood but aims to increase domestic production by 33% by 2022.

India must improve its water management. Vulnerable to water-related natural disasters, India will require clean drinking water for its 1.4 billion population.

While a majority of Indians view climate change as a threat, perceptions vary according to region. People in Kerala appear particularly alarmed about its effects - 92% believe climate change will become serious issue in coming decades; by comparison, Assam and Madhya Pradesh residents appear less alarmed about it.

At the core, it will ultimately fall to the world community to provide India with the funds and support it needs to take meaningful steps against climate change. Europe and America cannot expect India to pay for their past mistakes; to reduce emissions globally while offering assistance for adaptation efforts within India itself is key in order to safeguard a more sustainable future for both them and their neighbors. In the meantime, however, India should advance with its National Action Plan and build more resilient future for itself and its neighbors.


India is taking important steps to adapt to climate change, with plans in place to lower emissions by 2040 and move toward renewable energy sources. But more must be done to bolster India's ability to quickly and effectively address its effects, building household and firm capacity while eliminating barriers such as lack of information or financing, behavioral biases or imperfect markets that limit effective response.

Heat waves that used to last only for several days in India's northern areas now persist for weeks and cause power outages and disruption of essential services like health care and transportation. Meanwhile, warmer air can trap more moisture, potentially increasing rainfall intensity during monsoon season and altering its usual patterns.

Climate changes have the potential to have an enormously detrimental effect on poorer communities that rely on agriculture as their source of livelihoods. A report issued by the UN and ODI revealed that poor Indians were at greatest risk from natural disasters; most deaths related to weather-related events happened among this group while they also suffered more due to lower farm yields as a result of climate change.

These communities work outside and are exposed to risks such as high temperatures, landslides, flooding and droughts. Furthermore, due to climate change they are likely to experience power outages and have less access to clean drinking water resulting from power outages. As these threats increase they may need to relocate further compromising security and quality of life in vulnerable communities.

India has demonstrated that it is serious about combatting climate change through its ambitious targets set at COP26 in 2020 and subsequent report outlining a long-term low emissions growth strategy report. But India remains one of the world's major emitters, necessitating it to establish an energy system capable of meeting growing economic demands while protecting fragile natural environments - so providing it with finance and technology transfer from wealthier nations will be essential in meeting its climate goals.


India, as one of the three leading emitters of global-warming pollution, will face difficulty meeting its climate change targets. While seeking to expand economic development while simultaneously cutting emissions and adapting to an ever-evolving climate system.

India isn't alone in facing its difficulties; many of its neighbors face similar difficulties and should adopt similar approaches to development that help meet both economic and environmental objectives.

India needs help from the Global North in making investments that will mitigate climate change risk, not only through emissions cuts but also investments in green technologies that mitigate its risks. It needs support to facilitate these investments.

The country is already taking steps to decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and lower emissions by building wind farms and solar power plants that generate cleaner energy, as well as exploring ways to expand renewables such as increasing battery storage capacity.

India is home to a massive population that consumes considerable energy, which could mean its consumption will only increase over time. But by finding ways to make its growth sustainable, India can find a balance between their carbon footprint and energy demand.

India faces another difficulty due to its unequal distribution of risk. Due to its diverse climate zones and ecosystems, some regions are more at risk than others - for instance the coast can be especially susceptible to flooding during high-intensity tropical cyclones and riverine floods; this can degrade groundwater supplies, impact agriculture yields, lead to diarrhea outbreaks due to salty waters sustaining longer than fresh waters, as well as increase rates of diarrhea/cholera outbreaks - something India's coastline often encounters during flooding events compared with.

Poorer Indians are particularly vulnerable to climate changes. They account for most casualties during climatic disasters and suffer due to drought and higher temperatures that reduce crop yields, often living in rural areas with limited public services and being at greater risk from heat-related illnesses.

Due to these issues, people tend to work outdoors more frequently, increasing the risks associated with heat waves. This increases labor productivity but slows economic development.

No comments:

Post a Comment