India may have to battle deadly heatwaves if the earth’s temperature increases by two degrees Celsius, according to a UN report (File photo)
India may have to battle deadly heatwaves if the earth’s temperature increases by two degrees Celsius, according to a UN report released on Monday.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), in its report, warned that time is running out to save the planet. And an unprecedented transformation of the society and the world economy will be needed to avoid global climate disaster, the IPCC said.
“At +1.5 DC, twice as many megacities as present such as Lagos in Nigeria and Shanghai in China are likely to become heat stressed, potentially exposing more than 350 million more people to deadly heat stress by 2050.
“At +2 DC warming, Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) could expect annual conditions equivalent to their deadly 2015 heatwaves (medium confidence),” the IPCC report said.
Although the rise in the planet’s temperature is projected to be the highest in the Northern Hemisphere under 1.5 DC or 2DC of global warming, regions in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere subtropics may experience the largest impacts on economic growth.
Despite the uncertainties linked with climate change projections and econometrics, there could be large differences in economic growth under 1.5DC and 2DC of global warming for developing versus developed countries.
“Statistically significant reductions in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth are projected across much of the African continent, southeast Asia, India, Brazil and Mexico,” the report said.
Coastal flooding by the sea is likely to cost thousands of billions of USD annually, and risks are projected to be highest in south and SE Asia.
“Countries where at least 50 million people exposed to SLR (sea level rise) ... include China, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, United States and Vietnam,” it said.
The report also said that “projections suggest the burden of malaria could increase with climate change because of a greater geographic range of the anopheles vector, longer season, and increase in the number of people at risk, with larger burdens with greater amounts of warming, with regionally variable patterns.”
Vector populations are projected to shift with climate change, with expansions and reductions depending on the degree of local warming, the ecology of the mosquito vector, and other factors, it said.
“Aedes (mosquito vector for dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika virus) - projections of the geographic distribution of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus (principal vectors) or of the prevalence of dengue fever generally conclude there will be an increase in the number of mosquitos and more individuals would be at risk of dengue fever, with regional differences,” the report stated.
The heat of the earth’s surface has risen one degree Celsius—enough to lift oceans and unleash a crescendo of deadly storms, floods and droughts—and is on track toward an unliveable 3C or 4C rise, the report said.
The IPCC report was brought out in view of the December UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where world leaders will be under pressure to ramp up national carbon-cutting pledges which—even if fulfilled—would yield a 3C world.
(With PTI inputs)