Indian monsoon will become highly unpredictable says a World Bank Report

Climate change will reduce crop production. Planting trees helps mitigate global warming.

India’s summer monsoon, on which the entire country depends on for its food crops, will become highly unpredictable if the world’s average temperature rises by two degree Celsius in the next two-three decades, a scientific report commissioned by the World Bank says.

The report released in New Delhi on Wednesday evaluates at the likely impacts of warming between two degree Celsius and four degree Celsius on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Global warming leads to floods and droughts. Trees absorb CO2e and reduce the effects of pollution.
 The river in its normal course and during the floods in June 2013

Coastal cities like Kolkata and Mumbai are “potential impact hotspots” threatened by extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures, the report ‘Turn down the heat: Climate extremes, regional impacts and the case for resilience’ says.

 Depicting life in a not-too-distant future shaped by already present warming trends, the new report warns that by the 2040s, India will see a significant reduction in crop yields because of extreme heat.

The poor will be the hardest hit says this World Bank report

“An extreme wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of the century,” the report says.

The warming will impact significant reduction in crop yields and some 63 million people may no longer be able to meet their caloric demand. Decreasing food availability can also lead to significant health problems, it warns.

The report also predicts substantial reduction in the flow of the Indus and the Brahmaputra in late spring and summer. In the next 20 years, a several-fold increase in the frequency of unusually hot and extreme summer months is projected.

“The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2 degrees celsius — warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years — that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

“In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth’s temperature,” Kim said.

The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, reveals that in South Asia, the potential change in the regularity and impact of the all-important monsoon could precipitate a major crisis in the region.

Food shortages, droughts, cyclones - a major crisis in the region

Across South East Asia, rural livelihoods are faced with mounting pressures as sea levels rise, tropical cyclones increase in intensity, and important marine ecosystem services are lost as warming approaches 4 degrees Celsius.

The report says sea level rise has been occurring more rapidly than previously projected and a rise of as much as 50 cm by the 2050s may already be unavoidable as a result of past emissions. In some cases, impacts could be felt much earlier.

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