Millions seen at risk in South Asia from warmer world|
Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:22am EDT
KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Rising seas and water shortages will displace
about 125 million people living along the coasts of India and Bangladesh by the
turn of the century, Greenpeace said on Tuesday.
In a study on rapidly warming South Asia, the global environment group said
climate change would also trigger erratic monsoons and break down agricultural
systems in the vast and densely populated Gangetic delta.
India, whose economy has grown by 8-9 percent annually in recent years, is
one of the world's top polluters and contributes around 4 percent of global
greenhouse gas emissions as its consumption of fossil fuels grows.
"We cannot wait for the inevitable to happen and hope to adapt to it," Vinuta
Gopal, the group's climate and energy campaigner in India said, releasing the
report on the ecologically sensitive region, one of the poorest in the
"We need policies that reduce the risk of destructive climate change, and
moves towards economic development through decarbonization," Gopal said.
The U.N. Development Program in its latest report has also warned climate
change will hit the world's poorest countries, increasing risks of disease,
destruction of traditional livelihoods and triggering massive displacement.
Together, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have nearly 130 million people
living along coastal areas less than 10 meters (33 feet) above sea level, the
Greenpeace report said.
"We are already seeing the effects," said Sudhir Chella Rajan, the author of
the report and a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology.
He said the effect of rising temperatures was already apparent in the
recurrent floods in coastal Bangladesh.
The number of people displaced by global warming could dwarf the nearly 10
million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people already
fleeing wars and oppression.
Christian Aid has predicted there will be one billion people displaced by
climate change globally by 2050.
India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have a total population of about 1.4 billion
(Reporting by Tamajit Pain; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and David
Original article: Reuters
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