India is oscillating between severe heat waves and drought, heavy rain and floods. Climate change is now wreaking havoc in the world’s. Second, most populous nation, very high rainfall and therefore water coming into the rivers is increasing.
More than a thousand people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been rendered homeless. It takes away. Livelihoods takes away. Assets of people, destroys everything that has been built over years, but are these seasonal phenomena becoming worse as the years go by? Can india mitigate the adverse impact of climate change without jeopardizing its economic growth objectives, and how long can the poor bear the brunt of the devastation caused by the extreme weather events, [, Music, ], [, Music, ] first covet then, and economic and humanitarian disaster that came About following a total and prolonged lockdown, and now torrential rain and widespread floods, india, a country of 1.
3 billion people, is facing dire challenges on multiple fronts as it struggles to get a grip on the soaring covet infection numbers. Another calamity is staring the nation in the face. Heavy monsoon rain has caused rivers to overflow, their banks, flooding millions of hectares of cropland and killing more than a thousand people.
So far, tens of thousands of villagers are submerged rendering millions homeless, [ Music ]. The flood situation in india is absolutely brutal. It’s uh, we’ve, had floods in multiple states recently, even in rajasthan, in the jesuit district, for example, which is actually a desert and which is a desert because it’s, not got flooded, um and it doesn’t have much rainfall, we’ve, had floods in places like telangana, we’ve had floods in andhra, we’ve, had floods in maharashtra gujarat, of course, in assam and bihar, as we always do.
So, even even madhya pradesh, so it’s. It’s, really extraordinary how the deluge has come and swept over all of india and every every single territory. Even though it’s, a recurrent phenomenon in india this year, it has been much worse.
It rains so much that there is an intense rainfall event which leads to sudden flooding, [ Music ]. Scientists believe that the worsening situation is linked to climate change and global warming. The flood situation is becoming worse every year due to intense rainfall that continues for days overwhelming the water carrying capacities of the rivers and drainage systems.
The monsoon season in india normally stretches from june to september when winds gather, moisture from the indian ocean arabian sea and the bay of bengal and culminate in rain over land from october to december.
The winds reverse direction, but climate change has disrupted the seasonal cycle. There are now long spells of drought, followed by scanty rainfall and then intense rain within a short period. What we have seen now over the past few years is that it’s, not the floods, but the nature of flooding that is changing and the nature of flooding that is changing is happening because you are seeing more extreme rainfall event.
So you are getting massive rain falling in short durations, which is exacerbating the flooding, and that is why you are beginning to see newer areas coming under floods each year and you are beginning to see the extent of therefore, the flooding also increasing the impact of climate.
On india is now here: if you look over the past few years, the amount of rain over the year hasn’t changed. But the number of days that it is rainy has dramatically declined. So when it rains it pours and we have floods and then you have many days without rain, so we have droughts.
Now the same area has got both floods and droughts. Similarly, if you look at cyclones, the number of cyclones haven’t changed, but the intensity of the cyclones has become much stronger than it was earlier.
The short point is climate change is here and we are feeling its impacts on a daily basis, watching the changing weather patterns. Intensely is anand sharma, who keeps a close eye on the cloud formations and wind directions all over the subcontinent on a daily basis.
He is one of the country’s. Top weathermen sharma admits that climate change adds to the problem of climate variability leading to floods. If you see past 100 years, data around point 0.7 degrees celsius increase in temperatures for the past hundred years, so there is a global warming, and scientists are linking that warming to climate change, that it will change the patterns or there could be more intense rain.
In some area there could be droughts in other areas and if there is intense rainfall, especially in areas which are prone to flooding, there could be increase in flooding. So climate change is an added pressure.
[, Music, ]. The impact of the vagaries of nature is devastating from the northeastern state of assam in the himalayas to the popular state of bihar in the plains to the vibrant city of mumbai on the western coast.
Climate change is clearly evident all across the nation, though extreme weather events have an impact on the whole country. It is the poor and marginalized who suffer the most from frequent natural disasters.
Their houses and farmland are submerged wiping out their meager incomes and pushing them to the brink of starvation and death. Apart from the economic costs, the human costs are incalculable. Recent study suggests that every year around 5 600 people die from extreme weather events in india, but experts think this number could be an underestimation since deaths from droughts are not included 49 year old rina mudoy is facing extreme hardships following devastating floods in the babetta district Of assam this year, rina is living making pots and plates from clay to support her ailing husband and two daughters and her family spent the night awake praying for the deluge to stop, but the rain kept falling and the water kept rising.
Um foreign after daybreak, the rain relented for a while, but the whole village was already submerged by the nakanda river, which was in spain. Making a living from earthen pottery is an extremely difficult task, even in the best of times, but doing so amid heavy rain and floods is an impossible proposition, but india specifically faces uh huge losses due to flood.
You know worldwide uh, the 10 percent loss due to floods globally happens in india and as far as flood disaster is concerned, it is the most economic loss causing disaster to the tune of more than 50.
Losses is due to floods and it is such a recurrent phenomena and for centuries it is happening, but there isn & # 39, t much cure in sight. What we see is still that the poor people they are affected, the most they are, the ones who lose their lives.
They lose their livelihoods, [, Music, ]. Rebuilding lives from scratch is a herculean task for the poi there’s, no immediate end to their misery, since scientists believe extreme weather patterns are becoming more frequent due to climate change.
Many states are vulnerable since major rivers flow through them. According to the national disaster management authority, more than 40 million hectares or 12 percent of india’s. Total geographical area are prone to floods.
[, Music ] more than a million people, have so far been evacuated in 11 states at least 180 000 houses have been fully or partially damaged. How long will the poor face the vagaries of nature? What can be done to help relieve their pain and suffering? [, Music ], the north eastern state of assam, is known for its natural beauty and the famous asam tea located along the brahmaputra and the barak river valleys in the himalayas it’s.
Also, a region known to endure some of the highest rainfall in the world with the warm moist winds from the bayer bengal converging on a narrow zone along the mountains. The rainfall and flood situation in the state is showing no signs of improving over the years.
This year has been no exception, with thousands of villages flooded and tens and thousands of villages rendered homeless. Around 140 people have so far died in the floods in the state, with more than 56 000 homes partially or completely damaged.
More than 265 000 hectares of cropland have been submerged, destroying the means of livelihood of tens of thousands of farmers. Fifty-Five-Year-Old farmer, kalilu rahman couldn’t, save his crops as the swirling waters of the brahmaputra river submerged his village in june and july.
Is farmers like rahman have learned to live with the usual vagaries of nature? They know what to do when the rains begin, moving the cattle to higher ground or building higher platforms, but this year’s rain and the flood were different.
There was no warning as the rain poured and the floods engulfed his village [ Music ], the floods dealt a double blow during the coveted pandemic. Firstly, raman’s, crops were destroyed in the floods and he can’t even sell whatever.
He has such as cattle to make a living, since there are no customers. [ Music ] foreign rahman was hoping that the government would step in to alleviate their suffering, but the government provided some food grain.
That was not enough. I, the eastern state of bihar, is in the gangetic plains, but it’s also ravaged by floods every year, since several major rivers flow through the state, including the ganges, the kosi and the bhagmati being one of the most populous states with more than 100 million people bihar finds itself mostly at sea when the mighty rivers breach their embankments.
During the monsoon, more than 8.5 million people have been affected in the state this year with around a thousand villagers reeling from the consequences of heavy rain. 32 year old porter abdul ahab received a frantic call from his wife as water levels in his village in zamasti.
Pour district began to rise. Abdul was then far away in gorakpur, but he knew he had to somehow reach foreign foreign abdul reached his village around eight. In the evening he saw water had already reached his doorsteps and was rising steadily.
Foreign foreign foreign, the rising water level, was not the only danger that abdul and his family faced the water brought in snakes and leeches that threatened their lives. Some, the small plot where abdul had planted rice samplings, was submerged as well.
In bihar, farmers have lost their standing, their crops completely, they’ve lost their land completely, and what makes it really complex is that no longer is the kosi um, depositing silt in their farms.
It’s actually putting in sand, which means that the land is getting less and less fertile, so they & # 39, ve lost, not only crop, but also fertility. Hundreds and thousands of homes have been lost, livestock has been lost and we’re, looking at some smaller numbers of debts, but overall massive massive entry of these people who are flood affected back into poverty, see bihar, plus even many more people get affected.
This year also 85 lakh people have got affected there, though the live lost as compared to assam, has been less it’s, 27 uh, but uh. The disruptions are massive and uh. The worst part is at it. It’s, showing an increasing trend because for the last few years it has been a yearly feature every year.
It is happening and there is no end inside no respite is seen, and you know, as the state government’s, efforts in being, you know, making embankments and all they are sometimes even proving uh counterproductive in terms of their prolonging the floods.
The flood waters are not even receding because of the embankments, and all the scale of the humanitarian crisis is so huge that both the state and federal governments are, at their wit’s end. They’re, also completely overstretched amid a raging pandemic in both states.
I’m sure governments are doing what they can. Governments today are completely overworked, overstretched fatigued. We have to understand that this crisis, as i said, has come on top of that other mult.
You know pandemic that they are already dealing with and it’s. The same civil public services that are being called out, whether it’s called out for the pandemic or for floods, but i’m sure governments will do what they can, but the larger question that we ask have to ask is: do We have the right strategy that governments can employ so that next year the flood is not so bad.
Otherwise, we are on a constant fire fighting effort, and this year the fire fighting of floods is even worse because we have covet to deal with. At the same time, there’s, no doubt that the dates are working very hard.
They’ve set up these. You know these relief camps in bihar they’re, giving out meals. The heart has been flooded for decades. You know, but the reason we don’t have these kinds of deaths is because we have a whole process to.
You know reduce that that doesn’t reduce miseries; overall, it reduces loss of life. People still lose everything they have, and you know on an annual basis, but they have made all these efforts. But you know all these efforts are really about mitigating something that could be reduced in impact and could have perhaps even with long-term um governance and where the focus on the root causes, it could have even been dramatically reduced.
It’s, not just the villagers that are bearing the brunt of climate change and natural disasters. India’s. Financial capital, mumbai, home to 20 million people, is now facing massive flooding every year.
Will large parts of mumbai go underwater? In a few decades, as some scientists have predicted, [ Music ] mumbai, india’s, commercial capital, a vibrant densely populated city of 20 million mumbai has bored the brunt of massive flooding caused by relentless storms and heavy downpours.
The rainfall is said to be the heaviest since 2005 and reached new areas which had never experienced it before. According to a recent study, mumbai is at risk of being submerged by 2050.. The study predicts that climate change has contributed to rising sea levels, and coastal flooding will likely be far greater than ever before for people in mumbai.
The gloomy prediction comes as no surprise, since they are already paying a heavy price with severe flooding every year. There is absolutely no doubt that mumbai is a victim of climate change. I wish it were only climate change and i wish we knew what to do to make sure that the worst impacts of climate change and flooding could be avoided.
[ Music ], originally built on a series of islands. The city has always struggled to accommodate millions of people who are drawn by its industries trading hubs and its port, unplanned and unchecked growth that followed has led to the destruction of wetlands and mangroves that once acted as a natural barrier against nature’s.
Extreme events, bombay city that lives right on the coast and we’ve, had our fair share of floods from 2005 to july onward, we & # 39, ve been having floods every year, sometimes more sometimes less. But the reasons for this are not very difficult to to a certain.
We filled up our wetlands. We have destroyed almost all our natural drainages and at this moment in time, we have built up to the extent where the flood waters and the storm drains that used to allow water to exit those storm drains are choked with plastic garbage.
If you look at cities like mumbai and chennai, which are on the coast, we have the additional problem of high tides and if there is a strong rainfall event which occurs at the same time as the high tide, then the water is nowhere to go just stands There so urbanization, population growth in areas which were flood plains and high rainfall and high tides together lead to the kind of problems that we have in mumbai.
Climate change is the root cause, but then you have a drainage system. You have 2 000 brains above ground and some 400 underground, and these haven’t been desilted. These haven’t been modernized, as the city has increased.
You’ve also had a huge amount of deforestation again in bombay. I’m talking off bombay, precisely as an example, i mean the ra forest is an iconic example of how your the metro just cut off 2 000 trees.
On top of that, the mangroves are just being 15 or so have anyway been lost, although that number is contested, but you’re, cutting off further things because of the navi mumbai airport, the navy, mumbai, airport and other kinds of infrastructure.
So, basically, the only natural barriers you have to protect you, you are doing away with them, so we’re talking of a combination of climate change and extraordinarily poor planning and extraordinary per urban uh.
You know planning that kind of makes these. You know freak events much much more severe restaurant owner rakesh gupta is a witness to the city’s, unplanned growth over the years 64 old gupta’s. Restaurant has been closed for months following the lockdown, but he faced double jeopardy.
This year, when his home in the low-lying area in the eastern suburb of chamber, turned into a virtual pond during heavy showers in august, gupta knows he and his neighbors are paying a heavy price for the unplanned growth and destruction of the city’s.
Biodiversity number of population when the heavy downpour started in july gupta and his family sat on their bed. Keeping a close eye on the rising water. Foreign foreign can’t leave his home when the rain and high tides come, and they happen quite often when the fishing village is flooded.
35 year old, patel and other fishermen depend on the sea as their main source of income. They go out to fish, mostly along the coastline, at the break of dawn and come back around noon. They again go out to fish in the late afternoon, but the regular flooding in the village has disrupted their lives and livelihoods.
The plight of those living near the sea has been highlighted in a new study that says almost 3 million people living within a kilometer from the city’s. Coastline are under severe threat for flooding, storm surges and rise in sea levels.
The study also predicts multiple hazards hitting the city’s coast in the coming years, with increasing intensity due to climate change. The yearly flooding has made the sinking city scenario, all the more real.
The city continues to grow at a frantic pace at the cost of its environment. Experts believe that large parts of mumbai will be submerged in future. If immediate steps are not taken to protect its environment and restore its biodiversity, it it’ll go under water because the water has no place else to escape and it does not get filled into the aquifers.
The way it should our wetlands are being so rapidly reclaimed to put up tall buildings. We are blocking all the drainages. So as far as mumbai is concerned, at one level we have the green land ice shelf.
That’s, going to be melting. The arctic is melting, our glaciers are melting, the water is going into the sea, the sea levels will rise. Then mumbai is facing a situation where, without rain just at high tide, we are beginning to see coastal flooding.
Now i shudder to think what will happen if we have a sea surge and a cyclone at the same time, the last time the last cyclone hit us. It was at low tide. If it was at high tide, we probably might have lost 200.
400 500 lives. I don’t know, but we are mismanaging our drainages. We are mismanaging the forests and the the system that actually refills our aquifers and uh. We’re completely, making sure that the wetlands into which all the water would gather uh are now flat lands.
We’re, making a swimming pool for ourselves. Despite the looming disaster, experts believe that the government on its own cannot restore the balance between nature and development. They argue the task should be shared by both the government and the citizens to save the city from going underwater.
I don’t think that decision makers have fully comprehended what the impact of climate change rising seas. Cyclones could be mumbai, doesn’t have a disaster plan, and apart from that, i really do feel that the citizens are equally to blame, because we are voting for people who are doing the wrong thing and we need to be able to convey to Those people who are politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, that look.
We want you to do the right thing for us. On the long term, solutions won’t happen overnight. Climate change is a global phenomenon and unless all nations make a joint effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our planet will continue to see extreme events endangering the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions across the world.
India has committed itself to meeting the paris climate accord. Targets at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but will these targets be enough for india to mitigate the impact of natural disasters in the country, [, Music, ], [, Music, ], [, Music, ], industrial revolution, population growth, rapid urbanization and massive deforestation factors which have contributed to the earth’s rapidly changing global climate and extreme weather events, and the situation is expected to worsen.
If nothing is done to address it. India, one of the country’s worst hit by the adverse effects of climate change, is also home to one third of the world’s, 1.2 billion people who are living in poverty as a developing nation.
It needs to grow the economy because that’s. The only way to help the poor and vulnerable lift themselves up from their current state and rapid industrialization is seen as a natural step for the nation to make that leap forward.
It’s, not surprising, then that india is now the world’s. Third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after china and the us – and it now has to play its part in cutting down the nation’s. High carbon footprint, while not jeopardizing its economic growth prospects.
We need to find out which are the sectors which are contributing more to greenhouse gases and thereby contributing to warming and change. So we need to identify those sectors and act and find out efficient and those technologies which has low carbon footprint.
Indian prime minister narendra modi has vowed that india will go above and beyond the 2015 paris accord on combating climate change. The accord aims to keep global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees celsius and aims to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.
5 degrees celsius. It also aims to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb. Naturally, as it ramps up the country’s, alternative energy sector, india, installed 7.
3 gigawatt of solar power last year, strengthening its position as the third largest solar market in the world. Can india meet the goals it has set for itself very ambitious pledges at paris? In fact, the climate transparency group says that india is the only g20 country whose pledges are on track to take the world towards 2 degrees centigrade increase over earlier temperatures.
No other country in the world, no other g20 country in the world, has as ambitious pledges compared to its own use of uh and emissions of ghg gases which take it on the two degree path. Yes, we are well on track to meet it.
The challenge in the paris targets is that we are, we & # 39, ve been so severely hit. By covet, i mean so many of our resources have gone just to fight covet in different ways at different levels. So we might, we might find that challenging, but um i mean there is a chance that we meet it.
There’s a high chance, so i’m, not a pessimist. I’m, an optimist about the paris targets, but i believe that the paris targets alone might not be enough for our country, [, Music, ]. India is one of the most climate vulnerable nations on the planet, a land of varying topography and climatic zones.
It routinely suffers from extreme heat and drought to severe rains and floods. According to the global climate risk index, it ranked among the top 10 affected countries in 2018 to reduce the risks. India has taken major steps to deal with the natural disaster it routinely faces.
For example, the government has built dams, barrages, levees and embankments to control the flow of water, but experts believe such measures are of limited use since a river in spain easily breaches such fortifications.
One of the things that we have learned over the years, not only as far as floods are concerned, but in many many areas you need to live with nature, not control nature. Many cities in the world have tried to control rivers and floods by building embankments by channeling reverse through, but whenever there is an excess flow and excess flow happens, then it overflows into the city.
This is as much true of cities in france and germany as it is of cities in india. On the other hand, making cities such that they can take in the larger amount of water and slowly release it. The so-called spawn city is a alternative which allows us to live with nature rather than fight nature.
The entire approach till now has been to build dikes and embankments to to to somehow you know it’s. The same approach of conquering nature that i am going to find a way that i will put, i will hold the river down, because the river must not flow against my wishes.
So it’s, a very masculine approach towards river management, but it has failed and what we are not realizing is that we are not going to be able to succeed, to be able to conquer nature, to be able to to to control the river.
We should be finding ways of being able to let the river water provide the bounty that it can without the destruction the government would require to mitigate the and adapt to climate change. If you really want to address these floods, because we are always going to have these freak weather in events now so, first of all, i think we really have to put the environment on priority, not the currently, we think of it as a nuisance.
That’s coming in the way of building a highway, but we have to change that and we have to understand that this is our barrier, so i think we need a complete shift in perspective. The mindset is changing.
There are greater awareness and commitment today to find a sustainable development path, but the change is not quick enough to make any difference to the lives of people such as farmer, kali raman in assam when flood water rises, all they can do is to watch as it Destroys everything that they hold dear right before their eyes.
No one has come to their rescue, especially now when the government is too preoccupied with the challenge of containing the spread of the pandemic, which has ravaged the lives of so many of its residents.
Foreign foreign climate change threatens to push hundreds of millions into poverty, increasing the vulnerability to climate impacts. It has already led global temperatures to rise about one degree celsius above pre-industrial levels, but it’s, often the poor and the most vulnerable who have had to take the brunt of nature’s, fury the path india chooses to achieve a Sustainable future will impact not only the country but the whole world as well.
Can india chart a new course for a nation that’s, struggling to deal with the challenges of climate change and achieve a higher growth rate despite the uncertainties and risks? Many believe the country can still do much more to make this planet a better place to live in future.
I don’t think india can ever deal with it on its own. I think you know whether it’s covet, whether it’s, climate change. We need global cooperation, and i think one of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned today is that the world is not acting as one the world is acting as separate, and that is why we are losing the battle on kovit and we are Certainly losing the battle on climate change and climate change is reminding us very firmly that we are doing.
This is the ultimate adventurer of all time it’s called intergenerational climate. It’s. The adventure that we are embarking on now is intergenerational colonization. We will not be remembered well by our children and their children, and this is not a matter of ethics.
This is a matter of pure survival.