India is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and ranks among the top 10 high-risk countries. This can have adverse economic consequences for India as an emerging market with a promising GDP growth rate of over 9%.
If big-ticket investments are to factor climate-risk in their financial decisions, it might dampen India’s attractiveness as a preferred destination. The social and environmental consequences are already being felt in some parts of the country. But what makes India, so prone to climate change risks?
1) Geographical Location:
India is spread across the warmer regions of the planet as compared to the developed countries in North America or Europe, which are in relatively cooler regions. If we look at data from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (www.tropmet.res.in), it shows that much of India is warming. The mean annual surface-air temperature has risen by an average of 0.4°C in the last 50 years.
Besides being in the hotter region, India heavily depends on summer monsoon rains which are an important climatic feature on the Indian subcontinent.
As much as 70% of the annual aggregate precipitation is received in a short period from June to September during the southwest monsoon. Fragments of the southeastern states receive rainfall during the winter months.
The vulnerability increases because of variable rainfall patterns. Meteorological records confirm that the monsoon exhibits considerable random and unexplained variation, but nevertheless has a relatively stable core. Most parts of the country are subject to marked seasonal rainfall and are heavily dependent on an uncertain monsoon.