A report by Overseas Development Institute (ODI) states that India may lose around 3 to 10% of its GDP annually by 2100 and its poverty rate may rise by 3.5% in 2040 due to climate change. The report titled “The Costs of Climate Change in India”, the report highlights economic costs of climate-related risks in the country as well as the possibility of increased inequality and poverty.
ODI stated that India is already feeling the impacts of climate change – heatwaves are becoming more common and severe; heavy rain events have increased threefold since 1950; and rising sea levels are posing new risks as a third of India’s population live along the coast. However, the report observed that India in the past three decades has made rapid progress in boosting incentives and living standards. But pointed out that global warming has accelerated and average temperatures around the world were 1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in 2017.
“With rapid, ambitious and well-targeted mitigation action, it may be possible to hold the average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius at the end of the century. However current policies will result in warming of at least three degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and a much more severe climate crisis, the costs of which will be borne most heavily by low-income and other marginalized groups.”
The report pointed out that despite begin home to 17.8% of the world’s population, India accounts for only 3.2% of cumulative emissions. It said India cannot achieve its development aspirations without taking climate change into account. But, it recognizes that sustained prosperity and peace will depend on both international efforts to mitigate the extent of climate change, and domestic efforts to adapt to the global warming that is already locked in from historical emissions.
Moreover, the immense and unequal burden already imposed by climate change underscores the urgency of pursuing a just, low-carbon transition. Delays in mitigation and adaptation will only increase the cost of climate change and undermine the prospects of poverty eradication and economic development. India’s size and topography create a wide range of ecological zones, including alpine ecosystems, arid and semi-arid deserts, humid subtropical landscapes and both wet and dry tropics. The country’s immense climatic and geographic diversity is key to making sense of the diverse climate change impacts different regions are experiencing.