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Understanding The Economic Consequences Of Climate Change For India?

By Author: Nikhil Mehra
Total Articles: 33

As per a report authored by the U.N. Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), India's exposure and high vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change could hinder its economic growth, impact health and development, increase poverty and jeopardize food security.

The IPCC report draws attention to the risks posed by global warming and attempts to make a strong case for countries to adopt a foolproof policy on adaptation, GHG emissions and promote renewable energy projects. According to Aromar Revi, one of the lead authors of the report, the key issue as far as India is concerned is its vulnerability and exposure.

The report predicts a rise in global temperatures of between 0.3-4.8 degrees (Celsius) accompanied by an increase of upto 82 cm (32 inches) in sea levels by the late 21st century caused by melting of polar ice caps and the expansion of water (as it warms), threatening coastal cities from Shanghai to San Francisco.

India is likely to be hit hard by global warming, according to leading experts on climate change. It is already one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and a huge majority of its teeming 1.2 billion people reside in areas vulnerable to hazards such as floods, tsunamis, droughts and cyclones.
Rampant changes in the weather patterns will not impact overall agricultural output and food security, but is also expected to create severe water shortages and spread water-borne diseases including diarrhea, typhoid and malaria in many developing nations.

All aspects related to food security are potentially affected by climate change including food access, utilisation of land, and price stability, states Revi, adding that studies have already proved that wheat and rice yields were on the decline as a direct consequence of climate change.

Lead authors of the IPCC report have stated that India, like many other developing nations, is likely to suffer setbacks across major economic sectors like transport, energy, farming and tourism to name a few. For example, evidence suggests a majority of tourists will be forced to choose locations situated at higher altitudes due to cooler temperatures or an increase in sea levels, thereby adversely impacting the fortunes of popular beach resorts.

India is ranked as the most vulnerable of about 51 countries in terms of beach tourism, while Cyprus is the least vulnerable as per the findings of a study referred to by IPCC scientists. Extreme weather may also harm vital infrastructure including airports, railways, roads and ports impacting the timely delivery of essential goods and services.

The world has realised mitigation is absolutely critical but effective remedies like an increased use of renewable resources vide the setting up of solar energy projects, harnessing wind energy and providing more incentives to wind IPP and solar IPP has to be accelerated, especially in emerging economies like India.

Welspun Renewables is driven by its vision to light up India with clean and sustainable energy in its endeavour to improve the lives of people via Education, Empowerment, Environment and Health.


The Indian renewable energy development programme needs to be accelerated to minimize the long term impact of global warming on a majority of its 1.2 bn people.

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