Untold disaster: World Bank says India will lose 2.8% of its GDP because of climate change impact by 2050

By: | Updated: July 2, 2018 10:55 AM

According to the World Bank’s analysis, the most at-risk areas within the country are the inland—the agriculture-heavy areas of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh—which could see living standards drop by as much as 9%.

World Bank estimates India will lose 2.8% of its GDP because of climate change impact by 2050

According to World Bank’s South Asia’s Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards, varying rainfall patterns and rising average temperature due to global warming could shave 2.8% off India’s GDP by 2050. For a country where a large chunk of the population is still reliant on agriculture, global warming could mean untold disaster, through loss of livelihood, potentially depressed incomes, forced migration, rising morbidity, etc. According to the Bank’s analysis, the most at-risk areas within the country are the inland—the agriculture-heavy areas of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh—which could see living standards drop by as much as 9%. India is set to shoot past its INDC goals on renewable energy usage and emission reduction. However, a 1-2 oC rise in temperatures is still inevitable—with the US out of the Paris accord and assuming other countries don’t make far more ambitious commitments, the global temperature could go much beyond 2 oC. Given such a future increasingly looks likely, countries need to adopt climate resilience strategies along with climate change mitigation ones.

India should rally for greater accountability from, and more stringent GHG emission reduction by, other countries. But it must also set domestic policy in order. With limiting the harsh impacts of climate change on the estimated 600 million Indians in mind, the government must readily adopt GM technology instead of working towards thwarting MNCs that are at the forefront of agri-biotech . It also must junk existing policies on water and bring new ones that are geared towards efficient and accountable water-usage. The government must stop incentivising farmers to grow water-intensive crops in water-stressed areas by weaning MSP-led public procurement away from these crops in such areas.

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