'Bengaluru will face acute drinking water shortage'

Experts say there is a need for micro-level interventions to combat climate change

August 20, 2021 01:31 am | Updated November 22, 2021 09:52 pm IST - Bengaluru

Bengaluru city will face acute drinking water shortage in the coming years, warned experts while discussing the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

At a webinar, ‘Responding to Climate Change: What should Karnataka and India do’, organised by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) on Thursday, Krishna Raj, professor, Centre of Economic Studies and Policy, ISEC, highlighted the issue of high carbon economy that has resulted in rise of temperature by 1°C, which he said in turn costed around 5% of the GDP.

“Bengaluru city will face acute drinking water shortage in the coming years with reduction in water availability in the Cauvery river basin mainly due to variation in precipitation levels. As per the Climate Policy Initiative’s on Global Climate Finance 2019, 44% and 56% respectively constitute public and private finances. The main concern is that about 93% of the total public and private finances flow to mitigation activities and adaptation activities receive less than 7%. While India wants to increase the forest cover aimed at reducing CO2 levels by 2030, deficient climate finances may limit realising the climate targets,” he said.

The IPCC report had concluded that the earth’s climate is getting so warm that temperatures in about a decade will probably go past the warning level.

Vulnerable population

Balasubramaniam, assistant professor, Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources, ISEC, said the current and future global mean temperature impacts vulnerable populations such as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, elderly population, women, and children. “In Karnataka, 65% of households are highly vulnerable, 30% of households are less vulnerable, only 5% moderately vulnerable,” he said, emphasising on the urgent need for mitigation and adaptation to climate change to reduce climate extreme events in the State and the vulnerability of households.

But is urbanisation leading to climate change in India? Kala S. Sridhar, professor, Centre for Research in Urban Affairs, ISEC, using time series data from World Development Indicators, presented evidence on the causes of carbon emissions, and said urbanisation has no effect at the country level.

“At the district level, climate change indicators such as rainfall, extreme temperature differences, and urbanisation do not affect agricultural income. In some specifications, urbanisation actually led to increased agricultural income. Coastal districts experienced decreased agricultural income,” she said, adding that as a way forward, there was a need to depend on renewable sources of energy and reducing vehicle emissions in cities by encouraging public transport.

 

Sunil Nautiyal, professor, Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources at ISEC, also said keeping India as a whole, macro-level study will not support policy formulations due to diversified ecology.

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