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A Cautionary Tale

Context:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report on Climate change. The report submits that the world is on the verge on facing multiple climate hazards over the next two decades

Relevance:

GS-III: Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Conservation

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key findings of IPCC report
  2. India and Climate Change
  3. ‘Wet bulb’ temperature
  4. Way Forward

Key findings of IPCC report:

  • IPCC is an international consortium of scientists analysing and reviewing the evidence on the present and future man-made impacts of climate change.
  • Multiple hazards:
    • The report states that the world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C.
  • Irreversible Damage:
    • The impacts of the warming would be severe even if there is slight breach in the mark set and it could be irreversible.
    • The report highlights that natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt. This is mainly attributed to the rise in weather and climate extremes has led to some irreversible impacts
  • Insufficient targets:
    • The report also made a reference to the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, 2021.
    • It notes that the targets that countries have set for themselves are too far in the future to have an impact in the short term at meaningfully reducing the climate impact.

India and Climate Change:

  • Targets:
    • India declared in the COP26 summit that it will achieve its net zero emissions latest by 2070.
    • By 2030, India would also ensure 50% of its energy will be from renewable energy sources.
  • What are the shortcomings:
    • None of the targets declared by India in the climate summit can help the 1.5°C mark from being breached.

‘Wet bulb’ temperature:

  • The ‘wet bulb’ temperature is an index of the impact of heat and humidity combined  and its effect on health.
  • The report identified a major trend in the ‘wet bulb’ temperature, particularly in South Asia.
  • Cities at risk:
    • If the emissions continue to rise, the report cites that the cities like Lucknow and Patna were predicted to reach wet-bulb temperatures of 35°C.
    • Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Mumbai, Indore, and Ahmedabad are ‘at risk’ of reaching wet-bulb temperatures of 32°C-34°C with continued emissions.
  • Consequences:
    • Mortality: This will lead to the rise in heat-wave linked deaths or reduced productivity.
    • Sea level rise: Global sea levels will likely rise 44cm-76cm this century if governments meet their current emission-cutting pledges.
      • However, in the backdrop of increased emissions, if ice sheets collapse more quickly than expected, sea levels could rise as much as 2 metres this century and 5m by 2150.
      • India is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of the population that will be affected by sea-level rise.
      • Coastal flooding: By the middle of the century, around 35 million of its people could face annual coastal flooding, with 45 million-50 million at risk by the end of the century if emissions are high

Way forward:

  • India should quickly shore up its adaptation measures and secure the futures of its Vulnerable sections.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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