Tuesday, September 23, 2014

India, Bangladesh Most Vulnerable to Climate Change; China and Pakistan Close Behind

Bangladesh and India, along with several South East Asian and African nations, are the most vulnerable to climate change, while the United States, Canada and Western Europe are the least vulnerable, according to a recently-published assessment by Standard and Poor credit rating service.  The rich industrialized nations which have contribute the most to climate change are the least vulnerable to its disastrous effects now. The report says Pakistan and China are relatively less vulnerable than India and Bangladesh.

Source: Standard and Poor Global Portal


There are two basic reasons why poor countries are bearing the brunt of climate change: geography and poverty. Most of the red countries on the Standard and Poor map lie near the equator, where climate change-caused storms, flooding, and droughts will be more intense, according to media reports.  India is particularly vulnerable because of its rising population and depleting resources.

India is ranked 33rd and Pakistan 39th among the most overcrowded nations of the world by Overpopulation Index published by the Optimum Population Trust based in the United Kingdom. The index measures overcrowding based on the size of the population and the resources available to sustain it.

India has a dependency percentage of 51.6 per cent on other nations and an ecological footprint of 0.77. The index calculates that India is overpopulated by 594.32 million people. Pakistan has a dependency percentage of 49.9 per cent on other nations and an ecological footprint of 0.75. The index calculates that Pakistan is overpopulated by 80 million people. Pakistan is less crowded than China (ranked 29), India (ranked 33) and the US (ranked 35), according to the index. Singapore is the most overcrowded and Bukina Faso the least on a list of 77 nations assessed by the Optimum Population Trust.

Standard and Poor has ranked 116 nations according to their vulnerability across three indicators: proportion of population living lower than 5 meters (16 feet) above sea-level, share of agriculture in economic output and a vulnerability index compiled by Notre Dame University. It ranks India at 101 and Pakistan at 94 while Bangladesh is ranked at 114 along with Vietnam at 115 and Cambodia at 116 as the most vulnerable among 116 countries. China is ranked at 82. Among African countries listed as most vulnerable are Senegal (113), Mozambique (112) and Nigeria (109).

Standard and Poor's analysts led by Moritz Karemer warned that global warming “will put downward pressure on sovereign ratings during the remainder of this century,” “The degree to which individual countries and societies are going to be affected by warming and changing weather patterns depends largely on actions undertaken by other, often far-away societies.”

Both India and Pakistan have seen recurring droughts and massive flooding in recent years which have resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries in addition to property losses. India has seen one farmer commit suicide every 30 minutes over the last two decades.

The fact is that the developing countries facing huge costs from climate change can do little to control it without significant help from the rich industrialized nations most responsible for it.  The World Bank is warning that this could lead to massive increases in disease, extreme storms, droughts, and flooding. Unless concerted action is taken soon, the World Bank President Jim Kim fears that the effects of climate change could roll back "decades of development gains and force tens of more millions of people to live in poverty."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Rising Population and Depleting Resources

Recurring Droughts and Flooding in Pakistan

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes 

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Political Patronage in Pakistan

Corrupt and Incompetent Politicians

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Culture of Tax Evasion and Aid Dependence

Climate Change in South Asia

US Senate Report on Avoiding Water Wars in Central and South Asia

14 comments:

Mayraj said...

Canada I would agree;but not US US is definitely vulnerable. S & P is blinkered;but hey was blinkered about likelihood of fin crash also!
Eastern sea board water rising more than anywhere in world already. West in drought that may last decades (and CA temp hits record not even felt during 1930s!) and Great Lakes already under stress. On top of that US is tapping out aquifers. Even worse tapping out giant fossil aquifer. A fossil aquifer is one that cannot be replenished in our lifetime or many others.

"The problem with drawing too much water from an aquifer, which has been stored in these geologic formations for thousands of years, is that it can’t easily be restored once pumped dry. That’s the crisis facing farmers who rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, which once contained enough water to cover the entire continental U.S. roughly half-a-meter deep. Once pumped dry, the Ogallala would take at least 6,000 years to refill."
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/08/09/farmers-deplete-fossil-water-in-worlds-breadbaskets/
Farmers Deplete Fossil Water in World’s Breadbaskets
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/california-s-record-heat-is-like-nothing-you-ve-ever-seen-yet.html
California’s Record Heat Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen... Yet

There is a prediciton there will reverse migration from West. There goes what is left of Great Lakes!

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101884085

California drought: 'May have to migrate people'
http://www.cortezjournal.com/article/20140220/COLUMNISTS35/140229995/Can-California-survive-this-dire-drought
Can California survive this dire drought?

"

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/07/24/drought-apocalypse-will-be-here-soon-colorado-river-basin-dries

The Drought Apocalypse Approaches as the Colorado River Basin Dries Up
Scientists discover that seven Western states are depleting groundwater reserves at an unprecedented rate."


"The Great Lakes are under a lot of stress.
34 different kinds of stress, to be exact."

http://michiganradio.org/post/researchers-map-34-threats-great-lakes

Researchers map 34 threats to the Great Lakes

Singh said...

Standard & Poor's original report says this:

According to the results, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh could be most affected by climate change. Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria would be least affected (probably because they're rich, land-locked, and don't depend on farming). The United States is 10th least vulnerable, sandwiched between France and Poland.

India was added by amusing Haq himself !

Riaz Haq said...

Experts say India is likely to be hit hard by global warming. It is already one of the most disaster-prone nations in the world and many of its 1.2 billion people live in areas vulnerable to hazards such as floods, cyclones and droughts.

Freak weather patterns will not only affect agricultural output and food security, but will also lead to water shortages and trigger outbreaks of water and mosquito-borne diseases such as diarrhea and malaria in many developing nations.

"All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change including food access, utilisation of land, and price stability," said Revi, adding that studies showed wheat and rice yields were decreasing due to climatic changes.

The IPCC lead authors said India, like many other developing nations, is likely to suffer losses in all major sectors of the economy including energy, transport, farming and tourism.

For example, evidence suggests tourists will choose to spend their holidays at higher altitudes due to cooler temperatures or the sea level rises, hitting beach resorts.

India ranked as the most vulnerable of 51 countries in terms of beach tourism, while Cyprus is the least vulnerable in one study which was examined by the IPCC scientists.

Extreme weather may also harm infrastructure such as roads, ports and airports, impacting delivery of goods and services.

"The world has realised mitigation is absolutely critical and probably the most effective form of adaptation but adaptation processes have to be accelerated, especially in ... lower middle-income countries like India," said Revi.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/31/us-india-climatechange-idUSBREA2U10I20140331

Shams said...

Riaz,

Like most people, you think that climate change is really a science. It is not, for the simple reason that no one really understands it.

Consider, for example, that the increasing CO2 level (319 ppm in 1958 vs. 396 ppm in 2014) have demonstrated a darn good effect on crops production, and nearly every major crop (wheat, corn, maize, rice, etc.) has shown a darn good increase in per acre yield over the last 20 years. For example, per acre yield of corn in the US has increased SIX folds in the last 10 years. Look also at Pakistan, India, etc., which have increased their crop productions without placing any additional land under cultivation since there is no additional land available anyway.

And it is not just fertilizers or mechanizations alone. You should understand that increased CO2 levels help the plant leaves fight the negative effects of ozone, or O3, which is being produced by pollutants interactions with the atmospheric gases. But O3 is a self-regulatory atomospheric component and it keeps going up and down, generally for no known reason.

So far as the earth temperature rise is concerned, this is not the first such cycle on this planet. What do you think the Bible, Torah, and Holy Quran are saying when these books talk about the Noah's arch and the rise in the oceans? These temperature rises have a lot more to do with solar fusion activity, which in turn is likely related to the activity in the center of Milky Way Galaxy, which in turn is likely related to the Great Attractor, which is supposedly the center of all known galaxies, nearly 100 billion of those.

As for rising sea levels or shrinking arctic ice, note that NASA's imaging has established that while Arctic Ice Extent has reduced generally around 4.1% per annum, the Antartic Ice Extent has increased about 1% per year. Given the sizes of the two Ice Extents, the total sea ice has in fact INCREASED about THREE FOLDS over the last 10 years.

In short, mankind's knowledge of the atmosphere is a lot more limited than the science of human biology. The so-called climate change is "real" only to the extent that it is measurable. As to whether the humans are contributing to it in any significant way, it is all a bunch of assumptions knit together for commercial reasons.

Investigate, analyze, report.

P.S. I recently reported on this subject in a Richmond City Council meeting to oppose some funding that the city was to provide to a couple of PhDs working on City's Climate Change. The funding was killed.

Riaz Haq said...

Singh: "India was added by amusing Haq himself !"

Look at the map in the post.

Can you identify India on a world map? Can you tell red from other colors?

Try and see if you can!!!

Anonymous said...

Riaz,

Excellent Post!

It is time we started looking at climate change in the context of population. As a case in point, any drop in the monsoon below 85% is technically classified as a drought! Compare that with the recent drought in California where there was hardly any rain at all.

Every year, I travel back to india only to find our aquifers being depleted. In some places, wells have been dug up to 300ft depths. Incessant development and a hungry middle class do not seem to get it either.

While Pakistan may not be as vulnerable as India on the map, we are geographically too similar to ignore shared consequences.

Thank you for the analysis.

Sriram

Hopewins said...

Never mind climate change. Please write an article about India's mars probe. Our TV people are constantly talking about it.

In your article you could expose the fact that even though the Indians are taking ALL the credit for the mars mission, the mission actually received significant help from US (control & communication) and Russia (satellite-launcher parts).

Please expose this.

Riaz Haq said...

Climate Change Denier scientist funded by oil companies:

"During the weekend, Greenpeace released a batch of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that showed (climate change denier Wei-Hock) Soon received more than $1.2 million from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Soon didn’t disclose the money on at least 11 papers since 2008, reported the New York Times. The paper and other news organizations reported this appeared to be a violation of the journals’ ethical guidelines.

Greenpeace blogged its outrage: “For years, we at Greenpeace have been working to make public the secret paper trails that show what everyone already knows: climate science deniers – #Fakexperts – are few and far between, and most of them are paid by companies most responsible for global warming to downplay the problem.”

Soon didn’t return several requests for comment left by The Washington Post on Sunday. Nor did he comment to the Times, which quoted from a 2013 remark he made in his defense: ““I write proposals; I let them decide whether to fund me or not. If they choose to fund me, I’m happy to receive it. … I would never be motivated by money for anything. "”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/23/the-favorite-scientist-of-climate-change-deniers-is-under-fire-for-taking-oil-money/

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is planning to submit its plans for tackling climate change to the United Nations by September this year as the country’s Ministry of Climate Change is finalising the INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) draft.

In an exclusive interview with the RTCC, federal minister for climate change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said that Pakistan’s INDC would mainly focus on mitigation and adaptation in six sectors including energy, transport, agriculture, forestry, industry and waste.

“How much will we mitigate and what will be our carbon emission level is still under consideration,” he said. “We will submit our INDC by September and reveal exact targets as soon as prime minister Nawaz Sharif approves the draft.”

The INDCs are the commitments that are required from more than 190 countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for addressing climate change beyond 2020. The proposals are intended to set the stage for the negotiation of a new global climate pact in Paris, in December 2015.

Pakistan is finalising its INDC with technical support from World Bank, Lead-Pakistan, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) and Pakistan Center for Climate Research and Development (CCRD).

Climate tracker: Who has pledged what for Paris summit?

The minister said that Pakistan remains to be one of the most vulnerable countries to adverse impacts of the climate change like floods, droughts, climate and weather variability; therefore effective adaptation measures will also be part of the INDC.

“The biggest challenge for Pakistan is to ensure survival of floods and droughts affectees and traditional crop patterns,” he said, adding Pakistan is a glacier-fed country and it would be facing severe water shortages and flooding in the next 25 to 50 years.

Pakistan suffered over US$25 billion loss in economic damages to public infrastructure, agriculture, irrigation network, health and educational facilities from five consecutive floods since 2010, he said. “We now need over 35 billion dollars to recover these damages.”

The minister said Pakistan needs support of rich countries to cope with the adverse impacts of the climate change as the country requires US$10-15 billion annually to ensure mitigation and adaptation measures.

“We urge the developed countries that are in fact polluting the world through their industries to extend financial support to Pakistan besides transferring technology and capacity building in climate change related fields,” he said.

- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/05/fears-of-floods-and-droughts-dominate-pakistan-climate-plan/#sthash.cliqJUGI.dpuf

Riaz Haq said...

The death toll in the heatwave sweeping India has passed 1,000, with temperatures nearing 50C (122F) in some areas.
Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where at least 1,118 people have died since last week.
Reports say at least 24 people have died from the heat in West Bengal and Orissa.
Temperatures are likely to drop in some parts over the coming days.
Hospitals are on alert to treat heatstroke patients and authorities have advised people to stay indoors.
Heatwave conditions have been prevailing in the two worst-affected southern Indian states since mid-April, but most of the deaths have happened in the past week.
In the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh, where temperatures climbed to 47C on Monday, 852 people have died.
"The state government has taken up education programmes through television and other media to tell people not to venture into the outside without a cap, to drink water and other measures," news agency AFP quoted P Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management in the state, as saying.
"We have also requested NGOs and government organisations to open up drinking water camps so that water will be readily available for all the people in the towns," he added.
In neighbouring Telangana state, 266 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 48C (118F) over the weekend.
Alfred Innes lives in its capital Hyderabad and says members of the public have received little help so far.
"I have personally witnessed the death of a three-year-old very close to where I stay and that was because of severe heat. It's very sad.
"The government isn't doing much, but as individuals we are trying our best," he added.
Temperatures fell slightly in Telangana on Tuesday, and are expected to start dropping in Andhra Pradesh by the end of the week.
The weather is likely to cool further when the summer monsoon begins at the end of the month.

Heatwaves are defined as periods of abnormally high temperatures and usually occur between March and June in India
May is the country's hottest month, with thermometers reaching a maximum of 41C (104F) in New Delhi
Longer, more severe heatwaves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally
Intense heat can cause cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke
Thousands of people died across India during heatwaves in 2002 and 2003
In 2010 around 300 people were killed by intense temperatures, according to media reports from the time
Sources: National Disaster Management Authority of India and BBC
line
The Indian capital, Delhi, is enduring a week of sweltering heat as the maximum temperature in the city hit a two-year high of 45.5C (113.9F) on Monday.
The Hindustan Times newspaper carried a front-page photo of a zebra pedestrian crossing in the city melting in the heat.
"It's baking hot out here - our outing has turned into a nightmare," said Meena Sheshadri, a tourist from the western city of Pune, who was visiting a Delhi monument with her children.
"My throat is parched, even though I've been constantly sipping water."

The meteorological department has issued a warning for Orissa, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh states saying that maximum temperatures there would remain above 45C (113F).
Meteorological officials said the heatwave was due to a lack of rain.
There are fears that some of the worst-affected states could be hit by drought before the monsoon rains arrive.
The monsoon is expected to hit the southern state of Kerala towards the end of this month before sweeping across the country.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32880180

Riaz Haq said...

#technology Billionaires Team Up to Take On #climatechange Ahead of UN #ParisClimateConference http://www.wired.com/2015/11/zuckerberg-gates-climate-change-breakthrough-energy-coalition/ … via @WIRED

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and pretty much every other crazy rich tech leader you can imagine have announced that they’re banding together to combat climate change with a new partnership called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. Their timing couldn’t be better—or more telling.

Through the partnership, the group’s members have committed to use a substantial portion of their hundreds of billions of dollars in collective net worth to invest in early stage clean energy companies.

Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook post Sunday night announcing the partnership, complete with a photo of WIRED’s 2010 cover shoot of Zuckerberg and Gates. In the post, Zuckerberg framed clean energy as foundational to solving so many of the world’s other problems. “Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world,” he wrote. “We won’t be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges—like educating or connecting the world—without secure energy and a stable climate.”

The timing of the announcement coincides with the global climate conference, COP21, taking place in Paris this week, where world leaders including President Barack Obama will convene to discuss their plans to deal with climate change. On one hand, with this timing, the Coalition is capitalizing on the fact that clean energy is on everyone’s radar this week. On the other hand, the announcement smacks of a distinctly tech-centric belief, shared by so many in Silicon Valley, that there’s only so much that the government leaders gathered at COP21 will ever be able to accomplish without the private sector’s help.

In a video explaining his involvement with the coalition, Bill Gates essentially said as much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzDE8rTRqY4

“If you look at where we’ve had huge success in the past, the government’s been there to fund the basic research,” he says in the video, adding that the government was critical to funding the research that led to the creation of the Internet. “We need the basic research, but we have to pair that with people who are willing to fund high-risk breakthrough energy companies.”

There’s no word yet on just how much the members of the coalition—which also include Jack Ma, Meg Whitman, George Soros, and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer—plan to invest. But they say they will fund startups in a range of industries, from agriculture to transportation to electricity storage. They’ll also focus the investments on the countries that are part of Mission Innovation—a consortium of 20 countries, including the US, that have committed to doubling their investment in clean energy over the next five years.

Rehan Khan said...

akistan has recorded one of the highest temperatures in the world – 53.5 °C (128.3 °F) – on 26 May 2010. It is not only the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, but also the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded in the continent of Asia ..
Murree Temperature Today

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Is #India facing its worst-ever #water crisis? #Ganges #Farakka #Bangladesh #climatechange http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35888535 …

On 11 March, panic struck engineers at a giant power station on the banks of the Ganges river in West Bengal state.
Readings showed that the water level in the canal connecting the river to the plant was going down rapidly. Water is used to produce steam to run the turbines and for cooling vital equipment of coal-fired power stations.
By next day, authorities were forced to suspend generation at the 2,300-megawatt plant in Farakka town causing shortages in India's power grid. Next, the vast township on the river, where more than 1,000 families of plant workers live, ran out of water. Thousands of bottles of packaged drinking water were distributed to residents, and fire engines rushed to the river to extract water for cooking and cleaning.
'Shortage of water'
The power station - one of the 41 run by the state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation, which generates a quarter of India's electricity - was shut for 10 days, unprecedented in its 30-year history.
"Never before have we shut down the plant because of a shortage of water," says Milan Kumar, a senior plant official.
"We are being told by the authorities that water levels in the river have receded, and that they can do very little."
Further downstream, say locals, ferries were suspended and sandbars emerged on the river. Some 13 barges carrying imported coal to the power station were stranded midstream because of insufficient water. Children were seen playing on a near-dry river bed.

Nobody is sure why the water level on the Ganges receded at Farakka, where India built a barrage in the 1970s to divert water away from Bangladesh. Much later, in the mid-1990s, the countries signed a 30-year agreement to share water. (The precipitous decline in water levels happened during a 10-day cycle when India is bound by the pact to divert most of the water to Bangladesh. The fall in level left India with much less water than usual.)
Monsoon rains have been scanty in India for the second year in succession. The melting of snow in the Himalayas - the mountain holds the world's largest body of ice outside the polar caps and contributes up to 15% of the river flow - has been delayed this year, says SK Haldar, general manager of the barrage. "There are fluctuations like this every year," he says.
'Filthy river'
But the evidence about the declining water levels and waning health of the 2,500km (1,553 miles)-long Ganges, which supports a quarter of India's 1.3 billion people, is mounting.
Part of a river's water level is determined by the groundwater reserves in the area drained by it and the duration and intensity of monsoon rains. Water tables have been declining in the Ganges basin due to the reckless extraction of groundwater. Much of the groundwater is, anyway, already contaminated with arsenic and fluoride. A controversial UN climate report said the Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of the current levels by 2035.
Emmanuel Theophilus and his son, Theo, kayaked on the Ganges during their 87-day, 2,500km journey of India's rivers last year. They asked fishermen and people living on the river what had changed most about it.

"All of them said there had been a reduction in water levels over the years. Also when we were sailing on the Ganges, we did not find a single turtle. The river was so dirty that it stank. There were effluents, sewage and dead bodies floating," says Mr Theophilus.
The waning health of the sacred river underscores the rising crisis of water in India. Two successive bad monsoons have already led to a drought-like situation, and river basins are facing water shortages.
Water conflicts
T

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #India climate: What do drowning rhinos and drought tell us? #Pakistan #climatechange
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36989173

A river, swollen by raging monsoon floodwaters, had torn down a bridge on the main road between Mumbai and Goa.
More than 30 people are thought to have died when the great stone structure crashed into the torrent, taking with it two buses and a number of cars.
Some of the bodies were swept more than 60 miles downriver in two days.
Rescue workers search the flooded River Savitri after an old bridge collapsed in Mahad, western Maharashtra state, India, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

In the heart-wrenchingly brutal calculus of the newsroom, this isn't a major story. But zoom out, and you begin to see the outlines of a much bigger and more worrying picture.
India, indeed the whole South Asia region, has been riding a rollercoaster of extreme weather.
The summer monsoon is the most productive rain system in the world, and this year the region is experiencing a strong one. The floods it caused have affected more than 8.5 million people; more than a million are living in temporary shelters; some 300 people have been killed.
Though what really caught people's interest was the three baby rhinos rescued from the waters in the north Indian state of Assam.


The fact that 17 adult rhinos drowned got rather less attention.
But the important point is that the region is awash with water. Just a few months ago, it was a very different story. The previous two monsoons were unusually weak. The result was a terrible drought in northern India, and parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
And it was exacerbated by another extreme weather event - record heat.
India experienced its highest temperature ever this summer, a blistering 51C.
Rivers ran dry; water holes evaporated; reservoirs became dusty plains. And, once again, the statistics were staggering.
More than 300 million people were affected by water shortages - the equivalent of the entire population of the US. A city of half a million people was left completely dry. It had to rely on supplies brought in by train.

As if that weren't bad enough, in spite of the drought, the country was hit by a series of unseasonal rain and hailstorms. They caused such terrible damage to crops that some farmers were driven to suicide.
All these examples of extreme weather were widely reported, rightly so. What tended not to be discussed was the underlying cause.
We are all interested in weather; few of us want to be told - once again - that our lifestyles are disrupting the global climate. Yet the truth is that many climatologists believe the monsoon, always fickle, is becoming even more erratic as a result of global warming.
The picture in the last couple of years is complicated by the fact that the world has been experiencing a particularly strong El Nino, the periodic weather variation caused by warming of the sea in the Pacific.
But a series of long-term studies have shown the number of extreme rainfall events in South Asia increasing while low-to-moderate events are decreasing. And increasingly erratic and extreme weather is precisely what scientists expect climate change will bring.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted "rainfall patterns in peninsular India will become more and more erratic, with a possible decrease in overall rainfall, but an increase in extreme weather events".
Indian pedestrians and a cyclist wade through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rain showers in Mumbai on June 21, 2016