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Climate Change Tracker: India’s future losses

A new report lays out just how much India stands to lose financially due to climate change

The destruction of wetlands is detrimental to the economy.
The destruction of wetlands is detrimental to the economy. (Photo: Alamy)

In last week’s column, I had written about the massive financial losses that the world, and India, has been incurring due to climate change. A major new study published in the interim gives us a sense of just how much worse this can get by 2050.

The World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) Global Futures report says that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at current rates, the global economy stands to suffer losses worth $10 trillion (around 700 trillion now), at the very minimum, by 2050. As more and more natural assets get stripped, from forests to wetlands to coral reefs, we will lose all the economic benefits we receive from them.

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Mint Climate Change Tracker podcast

According to the report, the US and Japan are expected to be the hardest hit, with economic losses of over $80 billion a year by 2050. The UK and India come close behind, with India set to lose over $20 billion a year by mid-century. India’s losses will be largely due to water scarcity. The report also says that China, India and the US produce almost 45% of the world’s crop production, which will be severely hit. What’s worse, these are conservative estimates, as WWF’s director of sustainable economy, Karen Ellis, told The Guardian.

The world, however, is still locked in a business-as-usual mode. According to data released recently by the International Energy Agency (IEA), global CO2 emissions for 2019 were pegged at 33 gigatonnes. This was the same as 2018, and after many years, annual emissions hadn’t climbed. But this won’t be enough. Earlier this week, the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii recorded that the amount of atmospheric CO2 touched an all-time high of 416.08 ppm (parts per million).

That is a catastrophic figure: At the beginning of the industrial age, this concentration was at about 270 ppm, and more than half the rise has been since 1980.

Follow the column with #MintClimateTracker. Click here to hear the latest episode of the Mint Climate Change Tracker podcast hosted by Bibek Bhattacharya.

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