India had localised climate disasters nearly every day in 2022: CSE

Updated on Nov 02, 2022 03:07 AM IST

India has seen a localized climate disaster nearly every day in the first nine months of 2022, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Tuesday.

Karnataka, which experienced an extreme weather event on 82 days since the beginning of the year, accounted for more than 50% of the crop area affected in the country, the CSE said. (PTI)
Karnataka, which experienced an extreme weather event on 82 days since the beginning of the year, accounted for more than 50% of the crop area affected in the country, the CSE said. (PTI)
ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi

India has seen a localized climate disaster nearly every day in the first nine months of 2022, the Centre for Science and Environment said on Tuesday, basing its claim on an analysis of data from the India Meteorological Department and the disaster management division of the Union home ministry.

The country experienced extreme weather events on 241 of 273 days till October 1, which claimed 2,755 lives, affected 1.8 million hectares of crop area, destroyed 416,667 houses and killed 69,007 livestock, the analysis found.

India is suffering severe loss and damage due to the climate crisis, said the report released ahead of the United Nations climate summit to be held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt from November 6.

The data shows “there is need to demand reparations for the damage from the countries that have contributed to the emissions in the atmosphere and are responsible for this damage,” the advocacy group said.

Also read: ‘Greenwashing, lying, cheating’: Greta Thunberg says climate summit Cop27 ‘scam'

Central India recorded the highest losses with extreme weather events recorded on 198 of 273 days that claimed 887 lives, affected 136,780 ha crop area, damaged 28,032 houses and killed 7,519 animals. The northwestern region recorded extreme weather events on 195 of 273 days, which killed 735 persons, damaged 393,726 ha crop area, damaged 5,122 houses and killed 1,707 animals, the analysis found.

East and northeast India recorded extreme events on 171 of 273 days, claimed 783 lives, damaged 256,517 ha crop area, destroyed 318,676 houses and killed 55,399 animals. The peninsula recorded extreme weather events on 125 of 273 days, killed 350 persons, damaged 1.06 million ha crop area, destroyed 64,837 houses and killed 4,382 animals, the report said.

Madhya Pradesh had the highest number of days with extreme weather, but Himachal Pradesh saw the highest number of deaths at 359 due to extreme weather events. Assam reported the highest number of damaged houses and animal deaths. Karnataka, which experienced an extreme weather event on 82 days since the beginning of the year, accounted for more than 50% of the crop area affected in the country.

In 2022, India recorded its seventh wettest January since 1901, according to weather office data. March was the warmest ever and the third driest in 121 years. Eastern and northeast India saw its warmest and driest July in 121 years. The region also recorded its second warmest August and 4th warmest September this year.

“This is the watermark of climate change. It is not about the single event but about the increased frequency of the events—an extreme event we saw once every 100 years has now begun to occur every five years or less,” the report said. “Worse, it is now all coming together—each month is breaking a new record. This in turn is breaking the backs of the poorest who are worst impacted and are fast losing their capacities to cope with these repeated and frequent events.”

The impact of severe cold episodes and frost is worse for crop damage, said Sunita Narain, director general of CSE, adding that the weather bureau’s ability to provide accurate forecast for cyclones is saving many lives. Only three lives were lost to cyclonic storms this year that destroyed 95,066 ha of cropland.

The research organisation also launched an Indian Atlas on Weather Disasters, an online public interactive database on extreme weather events to be updated every month.

“We need to get a full picture of extreme weather events. More than the disasters, we need to count the losses and damages. We need to put a human face on the impacts of climate change so that we can invest in risk and resilience. We must demand reparations for loss and damage from countries responsible for historical emissions in the atmosphere,” Narain said.

“There is a definite rising trend in extreme and very heavy rainfall events during monsoon months. It has not been quantified but the rising trend has been documented,” M Mohapatra, director general of the Met office, said in response to CSE’s findings.

A 18-member delegation from India, led by environment minister Bhupender Yadav, will be heading to the climate summit. “There is no information yet on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending COP27. Environment minister Bhupender Yadav will be addressing the delegates and world leaders at COP27 on November 7,” an environment ministry official said on Monday, requesting anonymity.

Also read: Failure of rich nations on delivering $100bn among issues on COP 27 agenda

COP27 is short for Conference of Parties 27, where parties denote nations. The COP27 presidency, Egypt, will be hosting a World Leaders Summit on November 7 and 8. The conference is expected to be among the largest gatherings of climate stakeholders ever with more than 30,000 registered delegates. Around 90 heads of nations are expected to participate. US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron are scheduled to attend, BBC reported.

In the light of the recent deadly floods in Pakistan and Nigeria, prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa, the Mississippi river drying up and the US recording over 15 extreme weather events, a finance facility for compensating loss and damage will be critical on the summit’s discussion agenda, according to a media briefing by the Climate Action Network International, a collective of climate NGOs.

Around 140 environmental organisations in the US wrote to John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, on October 24, calling for an agreement to establish a finance facility for loss and damage reparations at the summit.

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