Several impacts of global warming are now “irreversible”, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released on Monday noted. India is among the places that would experience heat and humidity conditions beyond human tolerance level if emissions are not reduced.
In the second part of its sixth assessment report, the United Nations body said that the world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible, the report said.
The report, which looks at the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change, has shown that human beings and other species are getting affected by extreme weather events more than the body’s previous reports have indicated.
Between 2010 and 2020, 15 times more people died from floods, droughts and storms in “very vulnerable regions”, including parts of Africa, South Asia and Central and South America, the report noted.
“Our report clearly indicates that places where people live and work may cease to exist, that ecosystems and species that we have all grown up with and that are central to our cultures and inform our languages may disappear,” said Debra Roberts, the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.
Impact on India
By the middle of this century, nearly 3.5 crore people in India could face annual coastal flooding, while 4.5 crore to 5 crore persons will face the risk by end of the century if emissions remain high, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.
“Urban India is at greater risk than other areas with a projected population of 877 million (87.7 crore) by 2050, nearly double of 480 million (48 crore) in 2020,” Anjal Prakash one of the author’s of the report’s chapter on cities, settlements and key infrastructure noted.
“Simply the concentration of population in these cities make these settlements extremely vulnerable to climate change,” Prakash observed.
The report also predicted that in India, rice production could decrease by 10% to 30%, whereas maize production could fall by 25% to 70% assuming that the temperature increases in the range of one degree Celsius to four degree Celsius.