India could lose 1.8 to 3.4% of GDP by 2050 due to decline in rice and wheat yields

In India, declines in rice and wheat yields due to climate change could lead to economic losses between 43 and 81 billion EUR (or 1.8-3.4% of GDP) by 2050.
Without any improvement in coastal protection or infrastructure, in a low emissions scenario projected asset or infrastructure losses can amount to 121.5 billion EUR by mid-century
Without any improvement in coastal protection or infrastructure, in a low emissions scenario projected asset or infrastructure losses can amount to 121.5 billion EUR by mid-century
Updated on Oct 28, 2021 06:59 AM IST
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ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi

The G20 countries including the wealthiest like US, European countries, Australia will bear extreme impacts of climate change significantly denting their economies by 2050’s a new report from the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) said on Thursday.

In India, declines in rice and wheat yields due to climate change could lead to economic losses between 43 and 81 billion EUR (or 1.8-3.4% of GDP) by 2050. Without any improvement in coastal protection or infrastructure, in a low emissions scenario projected asset or infrastructure losses can amount to 121.5 billion EUR by mid-century and by 157.3 billion EUR in a high emission scenario.

Expected annual damages from riverine flooding by 2050 are estimated to be 376.4 billion EUR under a low emissions scenario and rise to 585.6 billion EUR under a high emissions scenario.

The authors of the Atlas refer to three scenarios which are three different development pathways with different levels of greenhouse gas emissions—low, medium, and high. 

The report comes two days ahead of the G20 summit in Rome on October 30 and 31.

Apart from economic losses in India, quality of life and health is likely to be severely impacted, the Atlas has highlighted. Under a low emissions scenario (emissions are substantially lower than in present) projected temperature variations will remain contained under 1.5 degree C, both by 2050 and 2100. But by 2050 under a high emission scenario average temperature could rise to 2 degree C and over 1.3 degree C if there is marginal reduction in emissions or a medium emission pathway. Between 2036 and 2065, maximum temperature of the warmest month in India could rise by at least 1.2 degree C in a medium emission pathway and by over 1.7 degree C in a business-as-usual or high emission scenario.

Annual rainfall is likely to record a steep increase by 2050 with an 8% to 19.3% increase in all emission scenarios. 

India's marine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has mostly warm coastal waters with a mosaic of ecosystems such as coral reefs, backwaters, mangroves, and seagrasses meadows which makes it particularly vulnerable suggests the Atlas. Sea surface temperatures will increase by over 1.2 to 1.5 degree C by 2050 wile Ph levels, chlorophyll, oxygen levels in marine EEZ will reduce substantially in all emission scenarios. Chlorophyll is an indicator of the biomass available at the base of the marine food web supporting all ecosystem productivity.

Fish catch is also likely to reduce by 8.8% to 17.1% by 2050. Under a medium emissions scenario, the population exposed to the annual coastal flood level is expected to increase from 17 million to 21 million by 2050, the report underlined.

Epidemiological risks from dengue and Zika will increase due to future climate change in India. Under a medium emissions scenario, 98.1% of the population will be at risk of transmission-suitable mean temperatures for dengue by 2050, whereas 97% will be at risk under a high emissions scenario. In the case of Zika, 97.2% of the population will be at risk by 2050 under medium emissions.

“Among the G20, India is lagging behind in the process of transformation of its energy sector; in particular, the country is at the bottom of the ranking for what regards the ‘Efficiency’ composite, which takes into account transmission and distribution losses of the electricity grid, the level of energy intensity of the economy and the access to clean cooking services,” the Atlas said.

The research shows that rising temperatures and intense heat waves could cause severe droughts and deadly fires. “Heatwaves could last at least ten times longer in all G20 countries, with heatwaves in Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia lasting over 60 times longer by 2050…in Australia, bushfires, coastal floods and hurricanes could raise insurance costs and reduce property values by $611 billion AUD by 2050,” a statement from CMCC said. 

In Europe, deaths from extreme heat could rise from 2,700 per year to 90,000 each year by 2100 on a high emissions pathway.

The report finds that without urgent action to reduce carbon emissions, GDP losses due to climate damage in G20 countries increase each year, rising to at least 4% annually by 2050.

CMCC uses an ensemble of Global Circulation Model (GCM) data as those included in the fifth Climate Model Intercomparison Project for its projections.

Donatella Spano of CMCC, who coordinated the report, said “From droughts, heatwaves and sea level rise, to dwindling food supplies and threats to tourism – these findings show how severely climate change will hit the world's biggest economies, unless we act now. As scientists, we know that only rapid action to tackle emissions and adapt to climate change will limit the severe impacts of climate change. At the upcoming summit, we invite G20 governments to listen to the science and put the world on a path to a better, fairer and more stable future.”

"This is a very exhaustive report on what would happen with climate change over India. These results are very similar to ministry of earth sciences' climate change report released last year. But they (CMCC) have gone ahead with impacts analysis. The impacts are very adverse. Even with lower emission scenarios impact could be very severe. All countries should commit to reducing GHG emissions. India’s efforts alone will not help. 

Probably COP 26 Could be our last chance to save our planet. Hope there will be a consensus by developed countries for reducing fossil fuel emissions. I suggest MOEFCC should take up very detailed impact analysis with IPCC sixth assessment results," said M Rajeevan,former secretary, ministry of earth sciences responding to the findings.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021