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India among most vulnerable to climate change: World Bank

world Updated: Sep 15, 2009 23:09 IST

South Asian countries, in particular India, are among the most vulnerable parts of the world to be badly hit by climate change, a World Bank report said today.

The 'World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change', which was released by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick today, said an increase of two degrees celsius in global temperatures would lead to a four to five percent drop in its GDP, with India’s agricultural production declining by 4.5 percent to nine percent.

Geography coupled with high levels of poverty and population density make countries in the South Asia region particularly vulnerable to climate change, the report said.

It said global warming of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures — the minimum the world is likely to experience — could result in permanent reductions in GDP of four to five percent for South Asia.

The region’s water resources are likely to be affected by climate change, through its effect on the monsoon, which provides 70 percent of annual precipitation in a four-month period, and on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, particularly in the western end of the range, it said

Further, the rising sea levels are also of important concern in South Asia, which has long and densely populated coastlines, agricultural plains threatened by saltwater intrusion, and many low-lying islands. In more severe climate-change scenarios, rising seas would submerge much of the Maldives and inundate 18 percent of Bangladesh’s land, it noted.