Bihar to be most affected in India; increase of climate impact in Assam to be highest globally during 1990-2050
The Indian economy is likely to suffer a major beating alongside China and the United States due to climatic impacts, a global report on climate risk released February 20, 2023, predicted.
Bihar is set to be the most climate-vulnerable region in India by 2050 with a global rank of 22nd, according to the report. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Assam with 25th and 28th ranks respectively.
However, Assam is the global topper within the top 50 vulnerable regions in terms of increase of climatic impacts during 1990-2050, a whopping 330 per cent.
The report — XDI’s Gross Domestic Climate Risk — is modelling based and primarily aimed at helping investors with their choice of long-term investment destinations.
It shows that 14 Indian states are set to remain within the top 100 most climate risk-prone territories of the world by 2050, within a list that has more than 2,600 regions.
The report has also identified which regions are likely to have the greatest escalation from 1990 to 2050. It has been prepared by XDI (The Cross Dependency Initiative); an independent specialist in analysing physical climate risk and adaptation established in 2006.
The report, a copy of which is with this reporter, reads:
This is the first time there has been a physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on the built environment, comparing every state, province and territory in the world. Since extensive built infrastructure generally overlaps with high levels of economic activity and capital value, it is imperative that the physical risk of climate change is appropriately understood and priced.
“XDI’s Gross Domestic Climate Risk ranks over 2,600 jurisdictions around the world in 2050 according to modelled projections of damage to the built environment from extreme weather and climate change including from flooding, forest fires and sea level rise; and also identifies which jurisdictions see the greatest escalation of modelled damage from 1990 to 2050,” said XDI chief executive Rohan Hamden.
Hamden further said the analysis has been released “in response to demand from investors for data on sub-sovereign and regional risk”.
Two of China’s largest sub-national economies — Jiangsu and Shandong — are in first and second place and over half of the provinces in the global top 50 are in China. After China, the US has the most high-risk states with 18 states in the top 100, with Florida the highest-ranking US state.
Other highly-developed and globally-significant economic hubs in the top 100 include Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Taiwan and Mumbai.
“Together, China, India and the US make up over half the states and provinces in the top 100,” finds the report which also observes that “globally-significant states and provinces in China and the United States will be hit hardest”.
“Southeast Asia experiences the greatest escalation in damage from 1990 to 2050 anywhere in the world,” the report stressed.
The report shows that while Indian states, overall, are positioned from 22nd to 88th ranking at a global scale, they are expected to fare much worse when increase of climate impacts is calculated within 1990 and 2050.
Assam topped the global chart with 330 per cent and Bihar was at fourth position with 141 per cent.
According to the report, apart from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam; states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Kerala are within the top 50 climate risk regions.
Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are other Indian states remaining within the top 100 most climate vulnerable regions.
Anjal Prakash, research director of Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business and a lead author for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports said: “As the global temperature is expected to reach 1.5 degree Celsius by 2050, the risk is going to compound for some of these cities ranked in the report.”
Prakash stated that Indian scientists and experts need to get together and understand how this risk ranking will impact lives and livelihood of the people living in several cities and regions of India.
The expert emphasised the need to protect blue and green infrastructure and recognition of the fact that the window opportunity according to the latest IPCC report is about 15-20 years.
“This means we need to both adapt and mitigate at the same time. Some of these initiatives like protecting blue and green infrastructure has co benefits,” said Prakash.
“I broadly agree with the findings. The climate change impacts piggybacking on developmental deficit, increases the vulnerability of states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and likewise. It is a priority to ensure sustainable development through renewable energy transition,” said Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA).
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