Climate change may lead India to war: UN report

UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report evaluating affects of climate change on human health, settlements and natural resources issued a warning that if no actions are taken to limit the ill-effects of global warming, Asia may face pressure on water resources and food-grain production in the future, thereby mounting the risk of armed conflict amongst India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.
Albeit the report doesn’t have any country-specific forecastings, the region-wise findings in the report have thrown many eye-opening conclusions for India. As per the Report, if steps are not taken to control the rise in temperature:

  • India might lose up to 1.7% of its GDP if the yearly mean temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrialization level.
  • India might face extreme weather events, viz. flash floods in Uttarakhand and cyclone Phailin in Odisha.
  • ‘Beach tourism’ in India, could be affected.
  • Increase in risk of armed conflict around the world as it aggravates poverty.

Key indications/ findings from the report:

  • In most parts of the world, coming times experience more extreme weather events viz. floods, cyclones, cloud bursts, unseasonal excessive rains and drought, etc.
  • Amongst the most affected nations in Asia would be: Bangladesh, China, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Climate change will be an influential factor in designing of national security policies.
  • By middle of the 21st century, stern pressure on fresh water resources in South Asia and China (Himalayan river basins) may develop into a basis for armed conflict in the region.
  • Coastal flooding will affect tourism in India.
  • Fall in food-grain production (wheat in India and Pakistan; wheat and maize in China)
  • Sea-level rise will affect coastal cities like Mumbai and Kolkata
  • Fishing community will be affected, as some marine fauna will face extinction by 2050
  • Himalayan Glaciers continue to shrink, affecting water resources downstream
  • Human health will be affected by climate change, mainly by exasperating health issues.

UN IPCC Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability



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