Why climate adaptation should be top priority in India’s climate agenda

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented damage to our economy – mass unemployment, disruptions in key socio-economic systems and economic contractions. Its impact on vulnerable groups, like farmers with small farm holdings, has been disproportionately higher.

As we still reel and recover from the pandemic, we must remember that its impact may pale in comparison to potential climate hazards. The World Economic Forum’s “The Global Risks Report 2020” suggests that the effect of climate hazards, among most other global risks we face today, is significantly more likely and will have greater intensity than the global pandemic.

The effects of climate change in India are well documented – an IPCC report claims that around 600 million Indians are expected to be at risk of climate hazards. The impact of climate instability is being felt across four major systems – agriculture & food security, water distribution, infrastructure and biodiversity. For India, building climate resilience in both agriculture and urban infrastructure systems is urgently needed.

– Urban Infrastructure: Coastal flooding will lead to a large-scale displacement of over 40 million people with 3 out of 8 Tier 1 cities in India (Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai) classified as ‘severely vulnerable’.

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