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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Green alert: Editorial on report suggesting impact on economic growth due to climate change

Figure of predicted losses is six times more than what it would cost the world to reduce carbon emissions so as to keep the rise in temperatures to below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels

The Editorial Board Published 25.04.24, 08:23 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

In a recent report, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has predicted, on the basis of extensive global climate data collated over a long period of time, that by 2050 there will be a loss in average global incomes to the tune of 19%. This implies that global gross domestic product will fall by 17%. While the loss will be experienced by all nations in varying degrees, the countries that have historically contributed the least to carbon emissions and have the least resources to adapt to and mitigate weather-related changes are expected to suffer the most severe damage. Countries in South Asia, including India, and in Africa belong to this category. This loss is estimated on the basis of temperature increases alone. If the damages from extreme weather events are included, the predicted loss increases by 50%. The figure of predicted losses is six times more than what it would cost the world to reduce carbon emissions so as to keep the rise in temperatures to below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In 2012, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had introduced climate risk management using the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation framework. Central to this framework’s assessment is the intricate interplay of climatic, environmental, and human factors that contribute to impacts and disasters alongside strategies for managing associated risks and the pivotal role played by non-climatic factors in shaping these impacts.

India’s economic development and growth are fraught with risks in the context of global warming. India is the seventh-most vulnerable country with respect to climate extremes as well as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report lists the dangers of climate risks for the Indian subcontinent: intensification of extreme rainfall by more than 20% and an exponential surge in heatwaves and cyclonic storms. The consequences of these risks will have a disproportionate effect on vulnerable communities with low adaptive capacities. Not only will the physical and human costs be large, but investments in industries, such as housing and transport, will be adversely hit, leading to a secondary cause of economic loss. In this regard, India’s performance is summed up by its alarming global ranking of 180 out of 180 nations on the Environmental Performance Index by the World Economic Forum in 2022.

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