From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Climate change risk and importance of resilience
HSBC’s 2018 assessment of India ranks it as the country most vulnerable to climate change.
- Against scientific warnings, carbon emissions continue to rise in China, the U.S., and India.
- Brazil is encouraging unprecedented deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. As forest fires worsen global warming, the hardest hit by the resulting floods, storms, heatwaves, and droughts will be in India.
- Cutting hurdles to investment can boost short-term growth and benefit interest groups. But damaging the environment would be self-defeating as it would impact long-term growth and well-being.
India – vulnerability
- A number of Indian States have experienced extreme heatwaves in the past three years, and Delhi recently recorded a temperature of 48°C, its hottest day in 21 years.
- India’s exposure to climate hazards is heightened by the location of its coastline in the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
- India also has a high population density located in the danger zone. For instance, Kerala, which experienced intense floods and landslides in 2018 and 2019, is among the States with the highest density.
- Increasing temperatures and changing seasonal rainfall patterns are aggravating droughts and hurting agriculture across the country.
- Extreme storms like the one that hit Odisha this year and the floods that swept Chennai in 2015 are damaging when infrastructure is not resilient.
Importance of resilience
- India must boost its coastal and inland defences.
- It needs to do more to build resilience in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, energy, transport, health, and education.
- The priority for spending at the national and State levels for disaster management needs to rise.
- Adequate resources must also be allocated for implementing climate action plans that most States have now prepared.
- India must reinforce its infrastructure and adapt its agriculture and industry.
- India should replace urgently its fossil fuels with renewable energy.
- Global leadership must act with greater urgency.
- Countries should switch rapidly from polluting fossil fuels to cleaner renewable energy.
- There is a need for building much stronger coastal and inland defences against climatic damage.