India is already facing devastating impacts from climate change. This report collates scientific projections of how climate impacts will play out up to 2050 and 2100, on low, medium and high emissions pathways.
The science shows that India will experience devastating climate impacts if it follows a high-emissions pathway. In the next 30 years, the length of heatwaves will increase by 2,515%, driving heat-related deaths 25 times higher than 1990. Those longer heatwaves will destroy rice and grain crops, too – burning up ₹7 trillion and costing farmers 15% in lost income by 2050. With over 64 million people living in low-lying coastal regions, extreme river and flooding will cost over ₹6 trillion in damages.
The faster India adopts low-carbon policies, the less the climate impacts cascade and the more manageable they become. Limiting temperature rise to 2°C will see the cost of climate impacts in India drop to just 2% of its GDP by 2050 and 5.18% by 2100.
Image © Greenpeace / Powell Hatvalne
Explore past, present and future scenarios for climate change in India. This section uses the most up to date climate science models to describe how climate change will affect temperature and precipitation trends in India. The research shows that on a high carbon pathway, temperatures in India could increase by as much as 1.8°C by 2050. On a low carbon pathway this drops to 1.2°C.
How have sea temperatures changed in the oceans surrounding India, and what do future climate trends mean for the vital ecosystems and livelihoods supported by India’s oceans? This section shows how surface sea temperatures in India could increase by 1.5°C by 2050 in a high carbon scenario, triggering a sharp rise in ocean acidification and reducing fish catch potential by as much as 17.1%.
A changing climate could have devastating effects on India’s coastal settlements, infrastructure and ecosystems. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion and changing storm patterns could see 21 million people exposed to devastating floods by 2050, if it follows a high carbon pathway. Following a low carbon pathway and investing in climate-resilient coastal infrastructure will help India avoid the worst coastal impacts.
Clean water is the foundation of all life. This section shows the increasing impacts from climate change threaten our access to water in India. Longer droughts, rising sea levels and more extreme weather will increase in the coming decades, choking off our most precious resource. In turn, that impacts agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism – causing massive economic costs. Only a low-carbon pathway can limit the damage.
Agriculture is a core element of India’s economy, contributing approximately 15% of the country’s annual GDP. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on India’s agriculture sector. It shows how climate change will impact crop productivity and put additional strain on India’s water resources, with droughts causing water demand to increase by up to 29.1% by 2050 – even in a low carbon scenario.
Forests are key to clean healthy air – supporting thriving ecosystems and economies. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on forests in India. If carbon levels remain high, huge losses in forest land will grow, damaging India’s agriculture, forestry and tourism industries. With urgent action, a low-carbon pathway will protect our forests from the worst impacts.
Cities in India face many threats from climate change. Unless we take urgent action, increasing extreme weather will batter urban communities across the country – damaging crucial infrastructure and causing massive economic losses. Increasing heatwaves and worsening air quality will harm urban residents’ health and even cost many their lives.
The health of our planet is essential to the health of people in India. Without urgent action, climate change will drive longer heatwaves, rising sea levels and deadly storms, harming India’s economy. Higher poverty means worse health impacts. But on a low-carbon pathway, India can improve health outcomes and save lives.
Rising temperatures and more severe heatwaves will affect India’s energy system and change the profile of its energy demand.
Heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods and brutal storms. India faces multiple threats from climate change. Across sectors – agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, tourism and more – the costs to the economy could be massive. Without urgent action, India stands to lose 5.21% of its GDP by 2050. That rises to 9.9% by 2100. By investing in a low-carbon economy now, India can limit those losses to 2% by 2050.
This section explores India’s historic and current emissions as compared with global emissions, and the targets and commitments it has put in place. India is the 3rd biggest emitter among the G20 countries. Urgent political action is necessary in India to secure a low carbon future.