India worst affected by climate change among G20 says report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

India worst affected by climate change among G20 says report

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByJayashree Nandi
Nov 12, 2019 12:56 PM IST

The study says, India had the most ambitious NDC and it could align it with the ‘1.5 degree C target’ if it “continued to abandon planned coal-fired power plants in favour of cheaper renewable energy technology”.

India was not only among the worst affected in the G20 countries due to climate change, but also in the best position in the grouping to achieve emission-cut targets aimed to minimize its impact by the turn of the century, says the latest yearly report measuring the climate action taken by the group.     

)(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
)(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

G20, as a whole, had seen 16,000 deaths and economic losses of USD 142 billion every year on an average in the last 20 years, says ‘Brown To Green’ --the study by Climate Transparency (CT). CT is a global consortium that puts together climate information on G20 countries. India was clubbed with Russia, France, Italy and Germany among the top 5 for average climate related annual deaths at 3,661 and closeted with US,China, Australia and Mexico for paying the highest average yearly cost at $ 12.82 billion. 

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The study provides a huge incentive for G20 nations for cutting down their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to a point where the global temperature rise at the end of the century could be limited to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. A 1.5 degree Celsius rise as opposed to 3 degree Celsius rise---which is likely due to the current NDCs-- will reduce the negative impact across sectors in G20 nations by over 70%, says the study.   

For example, the average drought length will be reduced by 68 % and the number of days with temperatures above 35 degree Celsius a year will come down from 50 to 30 if the NDCs are significantly reset, says the study.

NDCs are intended reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the UN framework on Climate Change. 

The assessment says that while India, China, EU, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will likely meet or surpass their NDCs targets (except for curbing emissions from land use change and forestry sector), none of the G20 countries’ NDCs were aligned to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree C. However,India had the most ambitious NDC and it could align it with the ‘1.5 degree C target’ if it “continued to abandon planned coal-fired power plants in favour of cheaper renewable energy technology” says the report.

“India, however, has to prove that it is actually preparing for the deep transition required: namely by developing dense and energy-efficient cities,and building energy-efficient housing for the 80% of its built environment that will be constructed by 2030,” the assessment added.

The study goes on to note that India was however, currently investing the most in renewable energy while Brazil and Germany were the only G20 countries with long term renewable energy strategies.

The report flagged that 82% of the G20’s energy mix continued to be fossil fuels, which had to come down to at least 67% by 2030 and to 33% by 2050 to be compatible with the ‘1.5 degree C’ target.

The signs were not encouraging since G20 energy-related CO2 emissions increased in 2018 by 1.8% and energy supply from fossil fuels grew in nine G20 countries– Australia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the US – mainly due to increased fuel usage in transportation and higher electricity demand.

While commenting on the report, Climate Transparency said Australia, China,India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the US needed a coal phase-out plan. It said while Indonesia and Turkey’s power emissions had increased the most in 2018, France, Brazil and the UK had reduced emissions in the power sector considerably by moving away from fossil fuels.  The report notes that all G20 countries have started to discuss green financial principles and China, India and Japan have set capital and liquidity requirements for green loans and investments.

Climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Science Professor NH Ravindranath said he wasn’t very hopeful of countries promising to raise their emission-cut commitments further and that India needed global financial assistance to do more.  

“The Prime Minister has already announced at the UN Climate Summit that India will double its renewable energy target at 450 GW. India alone cannot do much.Its actions will depend on what other countries announce and how financial assistance comes through. India is among the most vulnerable countries as per all global rankings,” he said.     

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