Over six crore people from South Asia, which includes India, might be forced to migrate by 2050 due to disasters induced by climate change, says a new report by Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) and Action Aid International.
The report says about 1.4 crore people from India have already migrated this year due to slow onset of climate change events. The number may swell rapidly if India does not make suitable changes to its present nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Every country, adhering to the Paris Agreement on Climate change, has promised to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These are called nationally determined contributions.
India is on path to reduce its carbon emission intensity (growth rate) and would easily meet its targets or NDCs, especially with its initial successes in expanding solar, wind and biomass capacity additions.
Bryan Jones, one of the writers of the report, used a model that projects future changes in the spatial distribution of the population, from which estimates of climate change led migration is drawn. The writers of the report have added ecosystem loss, drought, water and agriculture sectors as new drivers of climate migration. The writers have drawn these conclusions on the assumption that countries will start taking action towards meeting their pledges and targets under the Paris Agreement.
The numbers do not include migration caused by sudden climate disasters such as flooding and cyclone.
“Slow-onset climate impacts could cause countries in South Asia to lose nearly 2% of their GDP by 2050, rising to a loss of nearly 9% by 2100, without counting for the losses due to extreme weather events,” the report stated. Some climate hot spots like the Sundarbans or Mahanadi delta would suffer more due to climate change.
The Paris Agreement of 2015 aims to limit the global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels with its member countries making efforts towards limiting the temperature rise to an ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius.