Global warming is upsetting the monsoon, making droughts more likely, and changing the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians, writes NAGRAJ ADVE, in a guest post based on his pamphlet, Global Warming in the Indian Context.
The average sea level rise worldwide over 2016-2020 was nearly half a centimetre per year, says the United in Science 2020 report, published last month by the World Meteorological
Organisation (WMO), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific institutions.
The rate of sea level rise is now significantly higher than the 20th century average, largely due to the loss of ice from the great ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland, besides warmer ocean waters expanding.
Reading the United in Science 2020 report made me think about sea level rise in terms of centimetres rather than millimetres – for the first time in the 15 years that I have been engaging with the climate crisis.
The impact of rising waters in the Indian sub-continent is one of the many issues covered in a new edition of my pamphlet, Global Warming in the Indian Context, published today by People & Nature. I have updated the pamphlet – which was first published on People & Nature in June 2016 – to highlight many things about the climate crisis that have changed since then.
But the first thing to emphasise is that the social context in which climate change hits people in India is very different from that in the UK or mainland Europe.
■ In India, 650 million people rely on agriculture or related occupations; the average landholding per household is merely 2.5 acres, and half the area is under key crops such as rice and wheat;
■ Millions of small and marginal farmers have no access to irrigation, are entirely dependent on the rain, and hence more vulnerable to climatic changes; and
■ In the world’s most disastrous Covid-induced lockdown, 120 million people have lost their jobs or livelihoods – and there is no sign of economic recovery in sight.
Extreme climatic events have been getting more intense and frequent in India (and worldwide) in recent years – particularly extreme rainfall events. These result in floods, loss Read the rest of this entry »