Climate change is a huge crisis that is posing a threat to all. Today, we live in an era of uncertainty with great risk to life, lack of access to basic services and livelihoods. We ourselves are paving the path to put our own life at stake by depleting the significant amounts of natural resources over time, rapid urbanization, population explosion, etc. In the name of urbanization, we as human beings are ruthlessly causing distress to the creation without knowing the fact that we only have to witness its devastating consequences.
Impact of climate change in India:
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human -induced emissions of greenhouse gases. Subsequently, warming temperatures, disrupting rainfall patterns and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events can be concluded under climate changes which can eventually put severe impact on the livelihood. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, India is the 14th most climate change-affected country in the world. No country is immune to these forces, but India is particularly vulnerable. Warning against rapid climate change, India’s first- ever climate change assessment report has revealed that the country’s average temperature is expected to rise by 4.4 degree Celsius by the end of the year 2100. The report “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” prepared by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) warned that the rapid changes in the temperature would mean increasing stress on India’s natural ecosystems, agricultural output, and freshwater resources, which means a serious impact on the biodiversity, food, water and energy security, and public health.
How are we partnered in our own downfall?
While much of India’s climate change crisis is a result of outside forces, there are domestic drivers as well. For instance, the country still overwhelmingly relies on coal for electricity, the emissions from which contribute significantly to climate change (68% of India’s emissions come from generating energy). Not only does this add to climate change, it also aggravates another major environmental problem: Air pollution. Similarly, inefficient agricultural policy encourages excessive water use, which exacerbates any climate change-induced monsoon variations. In a nutshell, our interference in climate change has unfortunately made the scenario worst digging our own grave.
Warming of Earth – evaporation of human existence:
Human-induced climate change is responsible for nearly a third or 37 per cent of heat deaths in the last three decades, according to a study led by an international team of researchers. The rise in temperature is also playing havoc with India’s rainfall which is significant for India’s agriculture sector on which millions are dependent which is subsequently responsible for bringing droughts over India. The rising temperatures are also likely to increase energy demand for space cooling, which if met by thermal power would mean a further increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Severe impact on the Himalayas:
The human-induced climate change has led to accelerated warming of the Himalayas. The report highlights that the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) have experienced a temperature rise of about 1.3 degree Celsius during 1951–2014. Several areas of HKH have experienced a declining trend in snowfall and also retreat of glaciers in recent decades. In contrast, the high-elevation Karakoram Himalayas have experienced higher winter snowfall that has shielded the region from glacier shrinkage. By the end of the twenty-first century, the annual mean surface temperature over HKH is projected to increase by about 5.2 degree Celsius and the Tibetan Plateau at a rate of 0.2 degree Celsius per decade during 1951–2014. It said that the future warming in the HKH region, “which is projected to be in the range of 2.6–4.6 degree Celsius” by the end of 2100, “will further exacerbate the snowfall and glacier decline leading to profound hydrological and agricultural impacts in the region.”
India’s water, food and energy security to come under stress
The report by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences observed that the impact of climate change on the availability of freshwater is a critical area of concern for India and the growing propensity for droughts and floods because of changing rainfall patterns caused by climate change would be “detrimental to surface and groundwater recharge, posing threats to the country’s water security.” “Likewise, the country’s food security may be placed under progressively greater pressure due to rising temperatures, heat extremes, floods, droughts and increasing year-to-year rainfall variability that can disrupt rain-fed agricultural food production and adversely impact crop yield,” the report warned.
Focus on forests and urban green spaces:
The report suggested that policymakers focus on forests and urban spaces. It said that aside from mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration, tress also enhance resilience to flash floods and landslides, improve resilience to droughts, improve the resilience of coastal infrastructure, reduce vulnerability to extreme heat by reducing ambient temperature and support native wildlife and biodiversity. The report also emphasized that low impact development and green building infrastructure can reduce both urban heating and air pollution.
What Can Be The Areas For Future Action?
The unawareness of the serious challenges posed by climate change at the National level is very high. The government is not willing to comply the management policies that are required to curb the extreme climate changes like coping up with excessive water usage, warming of earth due to human – induced factors etc. The need is for national-level initiatives to be taken by the government.
Some of the action plans are:
- Generating precise scientific data on climate and hydrology is vital to address the grave issues posed by climate change. The scientific database would help plan for climate-induced impacts on food security.
- From the way India has managed natural calamities, it is evident that India can adapt to the changes that the current predictions on climate change highlight.
- Strengthening of capabilities for groundwater management in the water-scarce regions, access to eco-friendly methods to cause less damage to the environment etc.
- NGOs are actively participating in their domain, i.e. at the local level, through awareness campaigns, groundwater management, rainwater harvesting, afforestration etc.
The recent severe cyclones Amphan, Tauktae and Yaas have occurred in span of just few months and are a great threat to the future. It is perhaps evidences of the cruelty we have showed towards the environment since decades and its quite clear we have to suffer its harmful consequences later until some strict measures isn’t been implemented. Measures have to be taken individually to save the environment which would eventually save our own existence on earth.