[Solved] ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? ( UPSC GS-3 Mains 2017)
Climate change is defined as the long-term change in earth’s climate due to natural, mechanical and anthropological processes which result in emission of greenhouse gases like CO2, methane, etc. These gases settle in the stratosphere and trap the heat within the atmosphere leading to global warming and changing climatic patterns.
Impact of climate change on India
• Climate change will make monsoons unpredictable. As a result, rain-fed wheat cultivation in South Asia will suffer in a big way. Total cereal production will go down. The crop yield per hectare will be hit badly, causing food insecurity and loss of livelihood.
• The rising levels of the sea in the coastal areas will damage nursery areas for fisheries, causing coastal erosion and flooding.
• The Arctic regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, small islands and Asian mega deltas, including the Ganga and Brahmaputra, will be affected most.
• Changes in climate around the globe are expected to trigger a steep fall in the production of cereals, as a rise of 0.5 degree Celsius in winter temperatures could cause a 0.45 tonne per hectare fall in India’s wheat production. The average per hectare production in India is 2.6 tonnes.
• Due to this total agricultural land will shrink and the available land may not remain suitable for the present crops for too long. Farmers have to explore options of changing crops suitable to weather. These could lead to major food security issues for a country like India.
• Climate change will also cause huge coastal erosion due to a rise in sea levels of about 40 cm resulting from faster melting of glaciers in the Himalayan and Hindukush ranges. It can affect half-a-million people in India because of excessive flooding in coastal areas and also can increase the salinity of ground water in the Sundarbans and surface water in coastal areas.
Unusual and unprecedented spells of hot weather are expected to occur far more frequently and cover much larger areas.
• At 2.5°C warming, melting glaciers and the loss of snow cover over the Himalayas are expected to threaten the stability and reliability of northern India’s primarily glacier-fed rivers, particularly the Indus and the Brahmaputra. The Ganges will be less dependent on melt water due to high annual rainfall downstream during the monsoon season. The Indus and Brahmaputra are expected to see increased flows in spring when the snows melt, with flows reducing subsequently in late spring and summer.
• Alterations in the flows of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers could significantly impact irrigation, affecting the amount of food that can be produced in their basins as well as the livelihoods of millions of people (209 million in the Indus basin, 478 million in the Ganges basin, and 62 million in the Brahmaputra basin in the year 2005).
• With India close to the equator, the sub-continent would see much higher rises in sea levels than higher latitudes.
• Sea-level rise and storm surges would lead to saltwater intrusion in the coastal areas, impacting agriculture, degrading groundwater quality, contaminating drinking water, and possibly causing a rise in diarrhoea cases and cholera outbreaks, as the cholera bacterium survives longer in saline water.
• Kolkata and Mumbai, both densely populated cities, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sealevel rise, tropical cyclones, and riverine flooding.
• The increasing variability and long-term decreases in river flows can pose a major challenge to hydropower plants and increase the risk of physical damage from landslides, flash floods, glacial lake outbursts, and other climate-related natural disasters. Decreases in the availability of water and increases in temperature will pose major risk factors to thermal power generation.
• Climate change impacts on agriculture and livelihoods can increase the number of climate refugees.
- Effects of Climate change on India
- Water security
- The biggest effects of climate change will be felt on the water security of India. Climate change will adversely affect the availability of water to ever increasing population, which may lead to chaos among the citizens. This will seriously impact the development process that India hopes to achieve.
- Food security
- India needs to have continuous supply of food supplies to support the large population. With change in climate, there will be adverse effects on growing pattern and rainfall. Changes in rainfall pattern will create either floods or droughts, that may prove detrimental for India’s agriculture sector.
- Effects on economy
- Perhaps the biggest effect of climate change will be felt on the economy of India itself. Reduced food production will increase inflation. Due to adverse climates, the MNCs will avoid investment in the country which will hit the economy very hard. The chaos will have its effect on share market, which may crash.
- Effects of climate change on Himalayan and coastal states
- River floods
- Increasing temperature due to climate change will melt the Himalayan glaciers that are the major sources of water for rivers of the region. This is likely to increase the level of waters in rivers and can lead to floods in major cities.
- Coastal flooding
- The icecaps of Arctic and Antarctic have chances of getting melted due to rise in temperature. This will release a large amount of freshwater that will increase the sea-level and flood multiple coastal cities including Mumbai.
- Biodiversity loss
- Himalayan and coastal states are home to large number of biodiversity including some very rare species. These species are very sensitive to changing climate and are expected to face extinction due to the changing climate.
- Climate change has attracted attention recently particularly due to the changes apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and it is attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
- India due to its peculiar geography and developmental stage is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change.
- India is already experiencing a warming climate and erratic monsoon pattern, unpredictable rainfall since last few years.
- Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially in north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
- Climate change is expected to have major health impacts in India- worsening the already high malnutrition and related health disorders such as child stunting – with the poor likely to be affected most severely.
- Possible effects on Himalayan states
- With rise in average temperature, most Himalayan glaciers have been retreating over the past century. This may have severe impact on the delicate Himalayan ecology.
- The melting of glaciers and the loss of snow cover over the Himalayas is expected to threaten the stability and reliability of northern India’s primarily glacier-fed rivers systems, particularly major river systems like the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. This will adversely impact the ecology, livelihood and overall economy of Himalayan states.
- Possible effects on coastal states
- India is close to the equator, the sub-continent would see much higher rises in sea levels in comparison to higher latitudes and most of coastal states will face the heat of climate change.
- Kolkata and Mumbai, both densely populated cities, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise, tropical cyclones, and riverine flooding Sea-level rise and storm surges would lead to saltwater intrusion in the coastal areas, impacting agriculture, degrading groundwater quality and contamination of drinking water.
- Being one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, it is high time that India should take corrective and mitigating actions to cope up with the upcoming challenges of climate change.
- Because of climate change global temperature is raising. In India mostly agriculture is depending on monsoon, if this CC affects the pattern of rain fall that affects food security of the country. Because of irregular rainfall frequent floods and droughts may occur at regular intervals. Water logging of coastal areas may spread vector borne diseases. The amount of yield of a food crops also get affected with this.
- Global warming will in turn increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere which aggravate the problem more and more. Because of global warming Himalayan glaciers melt and that melted water increases the water level in the rivers which causes the floods along the river , finally it discharge water into ocean. The water level of sea raises, it submerge the coastal areas. Then coastal people migrate from coastal areas to inside areas.
This mount more pressure on the inside areas. It will burden those places. This impact their socio, economic conditions. If all glaciers started melting then in future we may experience serious drinking water crisis and irrigation, hydro electricity production get also affected adversely. According to some analysts serious weather condition in summer, winter are results of this CC, this is creating lot of inconvenience and taking away the valuable lives. As India having glaciers and long coastal area it effected more than other hinterland countries.
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