India ranks seventh among countries most affected in 2019 by climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index, 2021, released Monday by Germanwatch — an NGO based in Bonn, Germany.
In 2019, monsoon continued for a month longer than normal in India. From June to the end of September 2019, 110% of the long-period average was recorded. Flooding caused by heavy rain was responsible for 1,800 deaths across 14 states and led to the displacement of 1.8 million people, the report said. There were eight tropical cyclones in India. Six of them intensified to become “very severe.”
‘Extremely severe’ cyclone Fani affected 28 million people, killing 90 people in India and Bangladesh, and causing economic loss to the tune of US$8.1 billion, the report added.
The report said that between 2000 and 2019, over 4,75,000 people lost their lives as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events globally, and economic losses amounted to around US $2.56 trillion (in purchasing power parities).
Globally, 11.8 million people were affected by intense monsoon with the economic damage estimated to be US $10 billion.
Dr Anjal Prakash, research director and adjunct associate professor at Bharti Institute of Public Policy, said, “It is not surprising to know that India appears to be in the top 10 most affected countries. As IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scientists, we have been pointing towards extreme risk an emerging market like India is going to face due to very rapidly changing climatic conditions. India is blessed by many ecologies – glaciers, high mountains, long coastlines as well as massive semi-arid regions which are the hotspots for climate change. Global warming is leading to an increase in the frequency of cyclones, melting of glaciers at much faster rates, and heatwaves. A majority of the Indian population is dependent on agriculture, which is being severely affected by the impact of climate change. This year, India saw many of its cities drowning due to variability of the monsoon system.”
Prakash further said a country and state-specific plan to deal with climate change events was necessary.
“A national adaptation plan was prepared in 2008 followed by state action plans. However, most of the plans lack resources to be integrated into the district development and disaster risk reduction plan. It is high time that the government commissions India’s state and district specific climate-risk maps to further disaggregate this information to understand which areas need more attention than others,” he said.
The Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) analyses quantified impacts of extreme weather events both in terms of the fatalities and economic losses. The index is based on data from Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE.