India needs $1 trillion until 2030 to adapt to climate change impacts: study

Study reveals that 800 million people in India, or 64% of the population, are currently experiencing significant rise in annual mean temperature going beyond 2°C warming pathway


The study by IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Gandhinagar and Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based think-tank working on energy and climate issues, was released on Tuesday. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
The study by IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Gandhinagar and Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based think-tank working on energy and climate issues, was released on Tuesday. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

New Delhi: India needs over $1 trillion from now until 2030 to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, which has already begun to impact on the lives of some 800 million people, or nearly 64% of the country’s population, an academic study said.

It said the Indian government spent $91.8 billion on adaptation in 2013-14 alone and this spending is expected to reach $360 billion by 2030.

The study by IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Gandhinagar and Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based think-tank working on energy and climate issues, was released on Tuesday.

India as a whole will experience 1-1.5 degrees Celsius increase in mean annual air temperature in the near term from 2016 to 2045, which could have “profound implications for agriculture and crop production”, the study said.

These effects could be further pronounced given the estimated increase in extreme precipitation events, resulting in flooding and significant damage to infrastructure.

The study identifies India’s preliminary financial, technology and knowledge gaps in adaptation, as well as capacity building and institutional needs. The study was conducted by Professor Amit Garg (IIM Ahmedabad), Professor Vimal Mishra (IIT Gandhinagar) and Dr. Hem Dholakia (CEEW).

Adaptation to climate change is a key component at the ongoing Paris climate summit where 196 countries are trying to negotiate a new pact to tackle climate change and keep the rise in global temperature in check—to below 2°C of pre-industrial levels—by the end of the century.

The study estimated that, “as many as 800 million people living across nearly 450 districts in India are currently experiencing significant increases in annual mean temperature going beyond the 2°C warming pathway”.

The study said that given these risks of climate change, the total government spending on developing capacity and adaptation in India has grown consistently over the last decade and a huge $91.8 billion was spent in 2013-14 alone.

“This spending would have to reach $360 billion (in 2005 prices) by 2030,” it added.

The loss and damage from extreme events were estimated additionally at $5-6 billion per annum.

“The issue of climate change is complex, especially the concept of adaptation. At the national level, the assessment of vulnerability and adaptation needs to be carried out comprehensively. There is an urgent need of enhancing capacity in this area. Moreover, there is also need to comprehensively map the current adaptation measures, gaps and policy actions required in the future,” said Ashok Lavasa, secretary of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, in the foreword of the study.

India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), which forms the basis for climate negotiations in Paris, reiterates the need for better climate change adaptation by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.

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