'India to be among hardest hit by global warming'

Times of India , Friday, February 16, 2007
Correspondent : Nitin Sethi
NEW DELHI: Nicholas Stern, whose eponymous report had recently stirred the world into debating climate change afresh, reiterated that India and other countries in the sub-continent stood to suffer the most from global warming. He said this in Washington, talking at a two-day legislators' conference on climate change.

Precipitation comes, and the glaciers hold it, he explained in an interview conveyed to the media by the World Bank.

"That's how you get water in the rivers. That effect will not be there if the glaciers and snow are not there. Which means you'll get torrents during the wet season and dry rivers in the dry season. So you'll get a combination of flood and drought,"he explained the ecological link.

"We also don't know what effect that will have on the monsoon, and it could have quite a strong effect. That kind of thing is being studied now,"he added.

Stern pointed out that both Indian agriculture and its urban areas would suffer economically. He pointed out that countries had to adapt, prepare and works towards mitigation.

"We have to adapt how we handle water extraction and irrigation. Water management is involved in all of this. Work has to be done on what crops would be resilient."

He made it clear that urban areas in the region were also at risk, as water supplies could be disrupted over time. Urban areas on the coast were especially vulnerable and work had to be done to create resilience against future changes.

In his report, Stern had pointed out that the potential melting of the Himalayan glaciers could affect millions in India along with almost one-quarter of Chinese population.

Any changes in rainfall patterns of the Asian monsoon, would severely affect the lives of millions of people across south Asia. The talk in US, a country which has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, didn't focus too hard at the international politics that underlies all climate change negotiations.

SOURCE : Times of India, Friday, February 16, 2007

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