Global Warming in India Poses Threat on Many Levels

It's Getting Hot in Here

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted November 19, 2010 at 12:46PM

A new report says the temperature in India could increase by 3.8°F by 2030, due largely in part to climate change.

The new report is the work of 220 Indian scientists and 120 research institutions, and was released this week by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment.

The report’s findings exceed previous predictions by UN experts that pegged India’s temperature increase to take full effect by 2050.

While two degrees may not seem like a major change, it’s enough to create a drastic flux in weather patterns and seasonal rain.

Drought and rain cycles, in turn, affect agriculture and water supplies, and the potential for increase in the spread of disease.

Agriculture is the key source of livelihood for the majority of India's 1.2 billion people.

And in a country where many villages and towns are still only accessible by dirt roads and already face obstacles in accessing clean drinking water, this poses a major threat to structural stability of residential areas and the health of citizens.indianpop

The report explains a temperature shift of this magnitude will result in more rainfall (especially in the Himalayas and the northeast regions of the country), but fewer days of rain...

This increases the likelihood of flooding and drought.

It goes on to warn of an increase in the spread of malaria would occur, as the disease migrates north to Kashmir and into the Himalayas.

Experts said the temperature increase could be more extreme along the coasts, threatening the nation’s 4,500 miles of coastline on the Indian Ocean.

Coastal cities including Calcutta, Mumbai, and Chennai could face major issues.

I wrote back in July about mangroves being next in line for a place on the endangered species list due to deforestation and climate change... Mangrove forests along coastlines face the threat of going completely underwater.

"There is no country in the world that is as vulnerable, on so many dimensions, to climate change as India is," said Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh with the report’s release earlier this week.

"We must continue this focus on rigorous climate change science."

Sidarth Pathak is a climate policy official with Greenpeace. He pointed out the importance of the report's release for India, and suggests that continued reports of this nature for other regions will encourage governments to take action to avoid the effects of climage change...

Or better yet, to take measures to decrease climate change from occurring in the first place.

"This study enables India to look at its need to adapt to change," Pathak said. "It will put pressure on the Indian government and international governments to act, and show that India is a vulnerable country."

Already, the Indian government says it will put 2% of its GDP toward funding projects to deal with the effects of climate change.

But activists claim much more will be needed to provide people with water, food, and in preventing diseases — struggles that come as a result of global warming in population-heavy countries such as India.