Harjeet Singh writes: India holds the dual distinction of being a victim as well as a contributor to climate change. It is the fourth largest carbon emitter, although its per capita emissions remain one of the lowest among emerging economies like China, Brazil and Mexico. Despite a huge development deficit, the world’s second most populous country faces immense pressure globally to change its emission trajectory.
Besides, it is one of the most vulnerable countries owing to its geography and high economic dependence on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and even electricity generation. For instance, 58 per cent Indians rely solely on agriculture. Hence, any change in rain or temperature affects not only the country’s food security and but also its economy.
In 2013, India, together with the Philippines and Cambodia, led the list of the most-affected countries, in the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index.
The long coastline of over 7,500 kilometres makes it highly susceptible to risks emanating from sea level rise and oceans turning more acidic. The 10 states over which the Himalayas are spread, comprising 16 per cent of the country’s geographical area, frequently face floods, landslides and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF). [Continue reading…]