Saturday, September 20, 2008

Climate Change and India

New Delhi: Climate change is likely to have a much greater impact onIndia than other countries in similar positions, according to anassessment by the South Asia regional office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).
A Unido spokesperson said here on Wednesday the extra impact on Indiawas due to a unique combination of its geography, diverse populationcharacteristics and extremely high dependence on fossil fuels.
India's dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energygeneration and transport could lead to heavy environmental, social andregulatory costs, causing a drain on the nation's resources as adirect impact of Climate Change over the next century, says theassessment report.
The assessment is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2007 ofBritain, reports IANS.
According to calculations done by the CDP, cost of climate changecould have a major impact on the Indian economy by causing a 9-13 percent loss in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in real termsby the year 2100.
The report noted that increase in temperature in India could be higherthan the global average, as predicted by the United NationsIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It said that the country was witnessing rapidly changing andincreasingly unpredictable patterns of monsoon and rainfall andpredicted that a decline in crop yields of up to 30 per cent will benoticed in India and other South Asian countries by 2080.
India would see a rise in sea levels which could submerge coastalareas and also infuse salt water into fresh water sources. This inturn could create a large number of so-called climate change refugeesnot only in India but also from across the borders into the country,thereby leading to further strain on resources, the report pointedout.
It further said that the increased pace of retreating of the Himalayanglaciers would reduce India's fresh water sources in the future.
India will witness an increased incidence of more severe vector-bornediseases such as dengue, bacterial and arboviral diseases andincreased frequency of extreme weather conditions such as droughts andfloods, the report said.
According to the IPCC, India will experience the greatest increase inenergy and greenhouse gas emissions in the world if it sustains eightper cent annual economic growth or more as its primary energy demandwill then multiply at least three to four times its present levels.