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|According to a Report on climate change
jointly brought out by ASSOCHAM and Ernst & Young, despite India
being the 4th largest economy and 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter
accounting for 5% of global emissions, its emissions are 70% below
world average and 93% below those in the United States.
The Report highlights that emissions in India increased by 65%
between 1990 and 2005 and are projected to grow by another 70% in
next 12 years. However, emissions in India are low as compared to
those other major economies as it accounts for only 2% of cumulative
energy related emissions since 1850.
On a per capita basis, its emissions are 70% below the world average
and 93% below those in the United States. Thus, following the
principle of common but differentiated responsibility, India
maintains that the major responsibility of curbing emissions rests
with the developed countries, which have accumulated emissions over
a long period of time.
The ASSOCHAM and E&Y report also highlights that India’s greenhouse
gas intensity is currently 20% lower then the world average. Factors
contributing to the decline in energy intensity include improved
energy efficiency, the increased use of renewable and nuclear power
and enhanced public transport system and energy pricing reforms.
On the issue of climate change impact on society, agriculture
production and food security, the report said that it will affect
society through its adverse impact on the necessities and comforts
of life, including water, food, energy, health, transportation,
recreation and so on. Because societies and their built up
environments have developed hand in hand with a relatively stable
climate, most of the impact of a rapidly changing climate will pose
a significant challenge for their sustenance. Society is especially
vulnerable to extrenes such as heat waves and floods, many of which
are on the rise.
Further, vulnerability to climate change can be worsened by other
societal and human induced issues as those that arise from, for
example, poverty, unequal access to resources, insecurity relating
to food and the incidence of diseases.
The effect of climate change on rainfall, temperature and water
availability for agriculture will result in huge losses in
agricultural production, undermining efforts to reduce rural
poverty. The ill effects of malnutrition may rise phenomenally in
Climate change will also result in drastic changes in run off
patterns and in glacial melting which is expected to add to the
ecological crisis by having an adverse impact on supplies for
irrigation and human settlements. Central Asia, Northern China and
the northern part of South Asia face an immense challenge with the
retreat of glaciers @ of 10 meter to 15 meters a year in the
With the increase in glacial melting, sea levels are also expected
to rise rapidly and the permanent or temporary displacement of human
habitation in coastal regions may be an outcome. Tropical cyclones
and catastrophic storms are some of the other devastating
consequences to which a large number of countries may be exposed.
The impact of climate change on ecological systems is already
visible. The plants and species that are unable to cope with this
rapid change may face extinction.
Developing countries are expected to suffer the worst consequences
of climate change because of their high levels of poverty and the
limited capacity of their public health systems to respond. Major
killer diseases which proliferate in these countries could
detrimentally impact millions of people exposed to them. Rich
countries are already preparing to deal with extreme climate
situations that are a result of climate change.
On the positive side, higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could
increase plant productivity and therefore improve the yield of some
crops. However, this may be more than compensated for by other
factors such as water shortage. The weather in some parts of the
planet may also be expected to improve.