A study by 'Up in smoke', a coalition of developmental and environmental groups states that climate change can, and will, have devastating effects on India. Immediate action is the need of the hour, if reversal of decades of social and economic progress has to be prevented.
For instance, climate change will bring about acute water shortage. This will affect the nearly 400 million people living in the Ganga basin.
AdvertisementMore will be further affected by the erratic floods, especially in the eastern and the northeastern regions, because of the variable monsoons and long periods of drought in the northwestern and central parts of the country.
Shruti Shukla of WWF-India who was one of the people behind the report, said it took her and the other members, of organisations such as Greenpeace, ActionAid and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), six months to put together the report which talks about the impacts of global warming on Asia.
"Talking about the Indian dilemma, we are growing at the rate of nearly nine percent per annum. That's good news, but in order to maintain the growth, we need resources. Where will the resources keep flowing from?
"Erratic monsoons, floods, drought, submergence of low coastal areas such as Orissa and the Sunderbans and adverse effect on health and productivity because of all of this and the rise in temperature...are we ready to deal with all of this?" Shukla asked.
Due to climate change, agriculture will be affected, in fact it already has. Around 600 million people depend on agriculture, and unlike the rest of the economy, growth rate has been crawling at the rate of two percent per annum.
In the Sunderbans, four islands have already been completely submerged, displacing about 6,000 families, all because of climate change.
K. Srinivas of Greenpeace said that alternative energy pathways could meet India's developing needs without further depleting fossil fuels.
"A combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency has the potential of supplying 60 percent of India's electricity with appropriate policy measures while reducing the carbon intensity of our energy to a quarter of the current carbon intensity levels," Srinivas said.
The group suggested a renewable energy law, which can reduce dependence on coal from 67 percent to as low as 10 percent by the mid-century.
They have also recommended that the farmers need to adopt crop diversification schemes, buildings in cities and elsewhere should be energy efficient and CFL bulbs should be used instead of the normal bulbs.
"If the common man is made to realise the adverse effects of global warming, through simple facts such as skyrocketing electricity bills in the next few years, then everyone will put their efforts together in putting an end to this problem," Shukla said.
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