G20 Climate Risk Atlas | 29 Oct 2021

Why in News

Recently, a report named G20 Climate Risk Atlas from the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) has said that G20 (Group of 20) countries including the wealthiest like the US, European countries, and Australia will bear extreme impacts of climate change over the coming years.

  • The first study of its kind, it provides climate scenarios, information, data and future changes in climate across the G20 countries.
  • The report came two days ahead of the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October 2021.

Key Points

  • Impact on G20 Countries:
    • Heatwaves:
      • Heatwaves could last at least ten times longer in all G20 countries, with heatwaves in Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia lasting over 60 times longer by 2050.
    • GDP Loss:
      • GDP (Gross Domestic product) losses due to climate damage in G20 countries increase each year, rising to at least 4% annually by 2050. This can reach over 8% by 2100, equivalent to twice the bloc’s economic losses from Covid-19.
        • Some countries will be even worse hit, such as Canada, which could see at least a 4% decrease in its GDP by 2050 and over 13% by 2100.
    • Sea Level Rise:
      • The sea level rise could wreck coastal infrastructure within 30 years, with Japan set to lose 404 billion euro and South Africa 815 million euro by 2050, on a high emissions pathway.
    • Flooding
      • Expected annual damages from riverine flooding by 2050 are estimated to be 376.4 billion Euro under a low emissions scenario and rise to 585.6 billion EUR under a high emissions scenario.
  • Impact on India:
    • Emission Scenarios:
      • Low Emission (emissions lower than in present):
        • Projected temperature variations will remain contained under 1.5 degree celsius , both by 2050 and 2100.
      • Medium Emission (same as present):
        • Between 2036 and 2065, the maximum temperature of the warmest month in India could rise by at least 1.2 degree celsius in a medium emission pathway.
      • High Emission (higher than present):
        • By 2050 under a high emission scenario average temperature could rise to 2 degree celsius.
    • Rainfall:
      • Annual rainfall is likely to record a steep increase by 2050 with an 8% to 19.3% increase in all emission scenarios.
    • Economic Impact:
      • In India, declines in rice and wheat yields due to climate change could lead to economic losses between 43 and 81 billion EUR (or 1.8-3.4% of (GDP) by 2050.
      • Water demand for agriculture is likely to rise around about 29% by 2050 – meaning yield losses are likely to be underestimated.
    • Heatwaves:
      • Heatwaves in India will last 25 times longer by 2036-2065 if emissions are high (4°C), over five times longer if global temperature rise is constrained to about 2°C, and one and a half times longer if emissions are very low and temperature rise only reaches 1.5°C.
    • Agricultural Drought:
      • On a pathway to 4°C global heating, agricultural drought will become 48% more frequent by 2036-2065.
      • On a 2°C pathway (the maximum temperature agreed by the Paris Agreement) this drops to 20% more frequent, and constraining temperature rise to 1.5°C (the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement), agricultural drought will still be 13% more frequent.
    • Flooding:
      • Under 18 million Indians could be at risk of river flooding by 2050 if emissions are high, compared to 1.3 million today.
    • Labour:
      • Total labour is expected to decline by 13.4% under a low emissions scenario by 2050 due to the increase in heat, and by 24% under a medium emissions scenario by 2080.
    • Food Security:
      • In India, declines in rice and wheat production could spark economic losses of up to Euros 81 billion by 2050 and a loss of 15% of farmers’ incomes by 2100.

Way Forward

  • The window to act is closing fast. As the G20 countries incentivize economic recovery from Covid-19 and prepare climate plans ahead of COP26, they face an urgent choice to protect the global economy and make a rapid transition to a low-carbon future; or derail the global economy by pursuing polluting policies.
  • It's time for the G20 to make its economic agenda a climate agenda. Rapid action is needed to tackle emissions and adapt to climate change will limit the severe impacts of climate change.
  • G20 governments should listen to science and put the world on a path to a better, fairer and more stable future.