New Delhi: Most of India’s major states, be it economic powerhouses like Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, or those with high populations like Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, have been ranked among top 100 states for climate risk in the built environment. A new climate risk analysis says the biggest damage risk in India is from flooding in 14 Indian states. That’s about one billion people, or one in every eight people globally; each state is equivalent to a mid-size or small country ranging from Pakistan to the UK to Venezuela. China, the US and India dominate over half the list of the top 100.
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The report ‘Gross Domestic Climate Risk’ is a complex one, given the task it sets out to do, which is to be a measure for banks, investors, businesses and policymakers. It is an attempt to price the risk of global warming in financial markets, given the amount of capital investment in the assets at risk in these states. It assesses the physical climate risk to the built environment in over 2,600 territories around the world in 2050. The more built-up a state, the greater the risk. It’s been created by Australia-based Cross Dependency Initiative or XDI, which counts global banks and companies as part of its clientele; it is a part of the Climate Risk Group of companies quantifying the costs of climate change.
Flooding is only one of the eight different climate-related hazards the report has considered. These are riverine and surface flooding which is the biggest threat to the built environment globally, coastal inundation (coastal flooding), extreme heat, forest fire, soil movement (drought-related), extreme wind, and freeze thaw.
Another stand-out point for India is that a glance at the global heatmap shows it to be one of the very few countries where most of the territory is at risk.
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The report’s authors, in a response to a question from NDTV, explain why India has the second highest number of states in the top 100 of the ranking for aggregated damage in 2050 after China. The states that top tend to have the following features: they are large and they have areas of built infrastructure, industry, cities and towns that are particularly exposed to extreme weather and climate change hazards, particularly surface and riverine flooding.
The 14 Indian states in the top 100 in the world for damage risk all share flooding as their main hazard – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Because the report is focused only on the built environment, it does not include the climate risks on agricultural production, biodiversity or human wellbeing and other such impacts but in no way are these risks diminished by the report’s analysis. This is why it doesn’t reflect the kind of extreme temperatures, for mid-February, that many Indian cities are currently experiencing, from Leh to Shimla to Mumbai.
XDI’s CEO claims this is the most sophisticated analysis of physical climate risk yet. For the first time, Rohan Hamden says, the finance industry can directly compare Mumbai, New York and Berlin using a like-for-like methodology.
The system uses global climate models, combined with local weather and environmental data and engineering archetypes to calculate the damage to the built environment based on the scenario of global warming of 3 degrees above pre-industrial average by the end of this century.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.