No letting up of extreme weather events

Climate scientists are forewarning and harping on a common caveat—prevent and prepare so that you do not have to repent and repair. About 130 million people living in low-lying coastal areas in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are at high risk of being displaced by the end of the century due to floods. By 2050, cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Surat and Kolkata will be among 13 of the top 20 cities in the Asia-Pacific region to face huge losses due to annual flooding.

❝The Indian monsoon is never really 'normal'. It rains too much or too little. It is variable and more than often unpredictable. But now the very definition of what is ‘normal’ is changing. The fact is that Indian monsoon is becoming more extreme and more variable. In this way, the new normal is flood at the time of drought. This is a double whammy. On the one hand, we are getting our water management wrong—we are building in floodplains, destroying our water-bodies and filling up our water channels. Mumbai or Chandigarh or Bengaluru did not drown only because of extreme rain. They drowned also because all drainage systems have been willfully destroyed. Our city developers only see land for building; not land for water. Now, the changing climate will make this mismanagement even more deadly.❞

- Sunita Narain

On the other hand, changes in temperature and rainfall will add to the current water stress in the country. According to a World Bank report, about 600 million Indians could suffer high to extreme water stress by 2050. What could make matters worse is the possibility of a 200-fold increase in heat wave exposure by 2100. The frequency of severe heat waves in India could see a 75-fold increase by 2100. If temperatures continue to rise and monsoon rainfall patterns continue to change, the country could see a GDP loss of 2.8 per cent, depressing the living standards of nearly half its population by 2050.