South Asia to be hit hardest by climate change: US envoy

Climate change

Kolkata, March 11  Observing that economic impact of climate change will be profound on South Asia, US envoy Richard Verma said on Wednesday that India was projected to face an annual loss of 2.2 percent of GDP by 2050 because of the phenomenon.

Addressing a two-day seminar here on “Building Pan Asian Connectivity”, Verma said the intersection of climate change, human migration and governance will present novel challenges for South Asia.

“South Asia will not only be one of the regions hit hardest by climate change, it will also have to confront significant migration away from drought impacted regions, away from conflict zones and away from the disruptions caused by severe weather,” said Verma, quoting Michael Werz of the US-based think tank Center for American Progress.

Verma pointed to the floods in Jammu and Kashmir last year, Uttarakhand in 2013 and Assam in 2012 that displaced over 1.5 million people.

“The economic impact of climate change will be profound. South Asia risks losing an equivalent of 1.8 percent of GDP by 2050, if the world continues its fossil-fuel intensive energy consumption,” said Verma, quoting the Asian Development Bank’s June 2014 report.

“India alone is projected to face an annualised loss of 2.2 percent of its GDP by 2050,” he said.

Setting the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan as a benchmark, Verma called for more such agreements for addressing concerns over natural resources.

“Despite their other disagreements, the Indus treaty has helped India-Pakistan resolve many disputes. India-Bangladesh have also been sharing water of the Ganges for many years. We can build on the lessons learnt from these agreements to address other regional concerns over natural resources,” said the US diplomat.

“Addressing the issues concerning climate change may be vexing but will ultimately bring us closer to our shared goal of a peaceful, prosperous and stable world,” added Verma.

(IANS)