India more vulnerable to climate change: Unido

September 3rd, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Climate change is likely to have a much greater impact on India than other countries in similar positions, according to an assessment by the South Asia regional office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).A Unido spokesperson said here Wednesday the extra impact on India was due to a “unique combination of its geography, diverse population characteristics and extremely high dependence on fossil fuels”.

India’s dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy generation and transport “could lead to heavy environmental, social and regulatory costs, causing a drain on the nation’s resources as a direct impact of Climate Change over the next century”, says the assessment report.

The assessment is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2007 of Britain. According to calculations done by the CDP, cost of climate change could have a major impact on the Indian economy by causing a 9-13 percent loss in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in real terms by the year 2100.

The report lists other possible impacts of climate change-related developments on India:

* Increase in temperature in India could be higher than the global average, as predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

* Rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable patterns of monsoon and rainfall.

* Decline in crop yields of up to 30 percent in India and other South Asian countries by 2080.

* Rise in sea levels which could submerge coastal areas and also infuse salt water into fresh water sources. This in turn could create a large number of so-called climate change refugees not only in India but also from across the borders into the country, thereby leading to further strain on resources.

* The increased pace of retreating of the Himalayan glaciers would reduce India’s fresh water sources in the future.

* Incidence of more severe vector-borne diseases such as dengue, bacterial and arboviral diseases.

* Increased frequency of extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods.

According to the IPCC, India will experience the greatest increase in energy and greenhouse gas emissions in the world if it sustains eight percent annual economic growth or more as its primary energy demand will then multiply at least three to four times its present levels.

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