The Himalayan glaciers are receding, agricultural yields are stagnating, dry days have increased, and patterns of monsoon have become unpredictable. India is increasingly seeing the effects of climate change.

– Jairam Ramesh, Former Minister of Environment & Forest, Government of India

India is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, and it is also a country full of contradictions. Economic growth rates have been a brisk 8% to 10%, but its roads are crumbling. The world’s fourth-richest man, Mukesh Ambani, just finished building a one billion dollar 27-floor skyscraper-home in Mumbai, which is the world’s most expensive house from which Mr. Ambani can view, off in the distance, the slum of Rafiq Nagar, which has no clean water, no garbage pickup, no electric power and not one toilet or latrine for over 10,000 slum dwellers, who openly defecate in public. Mumbai’s population of 14 million is home to more than 7 million slum dwellers; meanwhile, India has a burgeoning middle class that is as large as the entire population of the United States. Still, 800 million Indians live on less than $2 per day. But, the uber-rich have net worth of $1.2 trillion, which is nearly the same as India’s gross domestic product of $1.5 trillion.

The range of contradiction within India is enough to cause one’s head to spin, including the bizarre fact that there are more cows spewing gas than most places on earth. There are almost 300 million cows that burp, belch, and excrete copious amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. In fact, India’s total number of 500 million livestock, including sheep and goats, contributes more to global warming than all of the vehicles the animals obstruct. Where else in the world do cows sacredly block automobile, bus, and truck traffic? Delhi’s 13 million residents share their streets with 40,000 cows, which are the greatest traffic hazard in the city. “The cow is my mother,” according to Mahabharata Sanskrit epic.

Meanwhile, India is attempting to deal with the biggest risk to its burgeoning population, which is climate change. The country’s chief climate change negotiator, Meera Mehrishi, says: “Our country is being impacted by climate change. We have had freaky weather in India. The monsoons that used to come in July have started coming in September. The farmers are finding it difficult now because they continue to plant during what they perceive to be the monsoon season. We are losing our crop. It’s going to have huge repercussions on food security in the country.”1

Impact of Climate Change on India

According to a United Nations Environment Programme Study, global warming will impact India’s vast coastline with rising sea levels, resulting in ecological disaster. Rising sea levels have already submerged two islands in the Sundarbans, where tigers roam through mangrove forests within the Ganges River delta, and at least a dozen more islands in the area are under threat. And, in the Kendrapara District, at the Bay of Bengal, whole villages in the coastal region are disappearing. Read more

Courtesy: Dissident voice