The IPCC released the second part of its sixth assessment report on 28th February 2022 at Berlin amid the Russia and Ukraine war. For the first time, the report has dealt with regional assessments. According to the report, India is one of the most vulnerable countries globally in terms of the population that will be affected by sea-level rise. The report again warns that by the middle of the century around 35 million people in India could face annual coastal flooding if emissions are high. Direct damage is estimated at $24 billion if emissions are cut as currently promised, and $36 billion, if they are high and ice sheets are unstable. Damage from sea-level rise in Mumbai alone could be up to $162 billion a year by 2050, IPCC warns.
“Hot extremes including heatwaves have intensified in cities, where they have also aggravated air pollution events and limited functioning of key infrastructure. Observed impacts are concentrated amongst the economically and socially marginalised urban residents. Infrastructure, transportation, water, sanitation and energy systems have been compromised by extreme and slow-onset events, with resulting economic losses, disruptions of services and impacts to well- being, “The report says.
The IPCC again warns that globally, heat and humidity will create conditions beyond human tolerance if emissions are not rapidly eliminated and India is among the places that will experience these intolerable conditions.
This is not the first time the IPCC report warns about an uncertain future because of the impacts of climate change. In 2021, the report was even more loud and clear. The facts presented in the IPCC report are really a sign of “Code Red” not only for India but for the globe as well. It is high time that the Indian Government must not stomach the climate projections so easily. With the size of the population in the country and the dependency of the majority of them on agriculture, the policy makers should immediately work on a solid blueprint for transformational action. The next generations should not face the severity of the impact of climate change because of the damages we make. No option is left now for the Indian government to side-line the climate agenda. The country must act now. Every citizen of the country must be aware of climate change and its potential consequences. All the major schemes implemented by the country must incorporate the climate change aspects so that the implementers and the beneficiaries of the schemes will have some level of awareness and preparedness. The political parties must make climate change a poll agenda. In the school curriculum, climate change should be a must-read subject. Each village panchayat in the country should devise a climate change action plan and implement it through local institutions and the villagers. Sustainable management of natural resources within the jurisdiction of panchayat is a must need at the time. Every citizen must take action, whatever small maybe, to minimise the impacts of climate change. Let’s the “beyond human tolerance conditions” should not come at all.
* The author is a climate researcher and regular contributor to IPCC
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