Climate change: India to pay dearly, says Royal Society
28 Nov 2014
Source: Deccan Chronicle
Bengaluru: Warning that floods like the ones which ravaged Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Odisha are imminent between now and 2090, a report of The Royal Society, London, has suggested effective and affordable options to reduce the damage likely to be wrought by such extreme weather conditions.
The report, titled “Resilience to extreme weather,” released at an event chaired by Nobel laureate and president of The Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, said people of India could be exposed not only to floods, but drought and heat wave as well because of the combined effects of climate and demographic changes, with those aged above 65 years most vulnerable to such weather conditions.
“The risks to people from extreme weather are increasing. We must act now if we are to reduce the impact of future events. We need to use the best of engineering but combine that with approaches that work with nature. For example, planting trees to slow down water runoff, or using marshes or mangroves to buffer coastal defences. If we do not act now, we risk further loss of life, property and possessions,” Dr. Bhaskar Vira, of the University of Cambridge, and a member of the working group which put the report together, told media persons on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Science Conference here on Thursday.
Highlighting the fact that the economic cost of extreme weather between 1980 and 2004 globally was $ 1.4 trillion, the reports stated that all governments must initiate steps to reduce people’s exposure and vulnerability now, and in the future. They should act together to build resilience, share expertise, coordinate a policy and pool resources to face these common challenges. Besides, research should be enhanced to improve the understanding of risks from current weather and to model future climate changes accurately in order to provide relevant information to decision-makers, suggests the report.
Dr Bhaskar Vira said all governments would have three opportunities at the international level in 2015 to evolve and implement policy frameworks covering climate change, disaster risk reduction, and for building global resilience. These critical issues could be discussed at the conference on Hyogo framework on disaster risk reduction in March 2015, at the UN meeting on sustainable development goals during the UN general Assembly in September 2015, and the Climate change conference at Paris in December 2015.
Prof. Paul Bates of the University of Bristol, another member of working group, said it would be appropriate to think of defence of assets rather than shifting a large population vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. “Zoning laws must be enforced in such areas because it will be practically very difficult to persuade people to shift after they have settled down,” he added.