India already facing impact of climate change, says Centre, endorsing UN report

India already facing impact of climate change, says Centre, endorsing UN report
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India already facing impact of climate change, says Centre, endorsing UN report

2018-10-08 12:04:36

The Indian government urged all countries including the United States to act like a global community when it comes to fighting climate change and not deny the real impacts many parts of the world are already facing.

AK Mehta, additional secretary, ministry of environment, said India is already facing climate change impacts while responding to the findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) special report on ‘Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees’ that was released in Incheon on Monday.

The report has recommended rapid and substantial changes in all sectors including industry, energy, transport and others to keep global warming within 1.5 degree rise above pre-industrial levels. The US reportedly raised several doubts over the findings and recommendations of the IPCC report drafted by 91 authors and review editors from 40 countries.

“India recognises climate change to be a real threat and we will do whatever we can in our own capacity. Denying the reality of climate change is not going to help anyone. We will act like a responsible nation,” Mehta said when asked about US raising a red flag on the crucial report. An author of the report however said “US had issues but finally the report was endorsed by all nations. The report will not be raised without consensus of all.”

What does the IPCC report state?

The IPCC report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far -reaching” transitions in all sectors. Global net human -caused carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050 .

“This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air,” the report has found. It has also stated that estimates of global emissions reductions based on intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted under the Paris agreement would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, “even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030.”

“Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co -Chair of IPCC Working Group III which worked on the report. “It’s a very difficult target that reuires all countries to come on board and make unprecedented changes but its not impossible,” said M Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences (MoES).

Why limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is crucial?

The consequences of a 2 degrees rise in global warming will be devastating scientists have warned. The consequences of a 1.5 degree rise includes warming of extreme temperatures in many regions , increases in frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions and an increase in intensity or frequency of droughts in some regions.

But with a 2 degree rise the impacts can be too serious for communities to adapt. For example, according to IPCC, By 2100 global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5 degree C compared with 2 degree C, the likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2 degree C. Coral reefs would decline by 70 -90% with global warming of 1.5 degree C, whereas virtually all would be lost with 2 degree C.

How will India be affected with 1.5 degree rise

The IPCC report doesn’t list impacts country wise. But there are several scientific studies that have concluded that India is one of the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Joyashree Roy, professor of economics at Jadavpur University and co-author of the IPCC report said: “We have found that the burden of global warming will fall disproportionately on the poor who are not responsible for the problem if we don’t meet 1.5 degree target. The most affected areas will be mega cities, coastal areas, high mountain and small island regions. There will also be heat stress in cities and air quality will detriorate due to high fossil fuel use like coal, diesel, woods and others.”

NH Ravindranath of the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) who has been an IPCC author said “climate change is already impacting natural ecosystems and socio-economic systems even at current level of warming of 1 degree C”, adding that “the impacts of climatic change hazards (like droughts, floods, etc.) will depend on the exposure (extent of people in coastal zones, drought and flood prone areas, mountain slopes, etc.). Since India has a very large population and regions subjected to droughts, floods, land slides, cyclones and sea level rise, India is one of the most vulnerable countries.”source