The Indian Wire » Environment » The fault in our stats: Climate Risk Assessments and their uncertainties have a story to tell about India
Environment

The fault in our stats: Climate Risk Assessments and their uncertainties have a story to tell about India

Data is the key to every secret. Coupled with more relevant and reliable data one can collect, aggressive analytics can help decipher the future in more appropriate ways.

The dearth of information in the world can lead to darkness, with no better direction to look forth.

Climate change is a variable that can be apparently measured using right indicators, collected using a wide base and diverse population.

It is a problem that affects all and whatever happens in one region has a spill-over effect on the other. Though the symptoms may vary, problem remains the same.

Yet it will not be wise to assert that the intensity with which climate change hurts one population is similar to the other: developed and developing, Global North and South, Industrialized and agriculture-based economies etc.

And therefore, 2021’s analysis of 16th edition of the Global Climate Risk Index has reconfirmed the previous results: Lesser developed Nations are generally more affected than the industrialized ones.

Findings are that nearly 8 of every 10 most hit countries between 2000 and 2019 have been found to be developing countries with low or lower middle income per person.

This is annually provided by Germanwatch, a non-profit Environmental think tank.

How such an Index gets produced?

The Bonn and Berlin based organization, analyses and carefully estimates the impacts of extreme weather events which is then depicted in terms of fatalities and economic losses.

This index categorized and ranked nearly 180 world countries, also taking into account the socio-economic data from 2000-2019.

The information used in preparing the index has been picked up from the Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE, which is not questioned in terms of reliability worldwide.

However it is to note that this data is based on approximate values and not verified at ground levels.

It may serve a red flag for the places or regions with existing vulnerabilities but with a registered increase in more frequent or severe impacts due to climate change.

Indicators for measuring the Index:

There are for such indicators deciding the fate of countries in consideration:

1. Number of deaths

2. Number of deaths per 1,00,000 inhabitants

3. Sum of losses in Purchasing Power Parity (in U.S. dollars)

4. Losses per unit of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

This index has found reference when the world has begun experiencing ill effects of Climate change, in contextualizing the ever-going debates over Climate change and especially the negotiations going on, in the wake of the Climate Conference held recently at Glasgow.

It finds its purpose to warn and prepare the target countries as per their needs, according to the projections made for them in due time.

It even uses historical data to establish a pattern providing insights on the exposure to extreme Climate events.

Is methodology and interpretation of Data absolute?

Experts have pointed out that recommendations arising out of this index, if exercised, should attract greater amount of caution.

Deep Fault Lines in the Index:

Reason 1: Vague Index parameter selection

Reason 2: Exclusion and inclusion errors

Mere losses to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cannot provide a complete picture at macro level for a greater vulnerability, this approach is fraught with errors.

While a few important micro indicators are not included in any such calculation, be it the number of people injured or livestock lost, losses to public and private infrastructure, crop loss, diminishing land productivity etc.

Reason 3: Selective bias towards weather events and not disturbances to Earth

It clearly focusses on weather-related events like cyclones, floods, extremes hot or cold and mass migrations while it asserts nothing about geological events like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis.

The latter also find its causes to climate change and even cause debilitating impact on human lives and livelihoods. There is no certain reason why these shall remain untouched.

These fault lines are rather unwelcomed but there are other matters of uncertainties, scale etc., those may intentionally be allowed to be accounted.

This necessitates Climate Risk Assessment even more, which is looked after in India by National Disaster Management Information System (NDMIS) that brings into account the damage and losses caused by Natural calamities, as stated in COP26 as well.

Across the globe, Sendai framework deals with the monitoring and implementation of disaster relief measures and mitigation. They do not inhibit development but with more considerable approach to the same.

But any adaptation to these, for the countries in difficult positions fiscally, is a matter of will and time.

India and its preparation for Future:

India began collating its Climate change assessment reports in 2020, stating that current “business as usual” scenario can drive the global temperatures to 4.4 degrees C.

What more will happen?

Sea level will rise by 30 cm (12 inches), cyclones and heat spells intensity will rise manifold, people may abandon their work in fields, fisheries, farms etc., consequent migration of millions of people.

Will they be protected by the authorities?

Alas, India’s security schemes do not cover climate threats, but once struck by these, the Union or concerned state government may devise schemes for rehabilitation.

Even MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME (MGNREGS) in such areas of trauma, talks of 150 days of employment, but this has been negated in the very report itself.

And hence, the measures are seemingly not enough. A revamped structure is the need of the hour, something that necessitates prevention and protection simultaneously.

India can, thus not win this war against Climate change without consolidating its livelihoods, even if we become a leader in almost every other prospect of life.

About the author

Alaina Ali Beg

I am a lover of all arts and therefore can dream myself in all places where the World takes me. I am an avid animal lover and firmly believes that Nature is the true sorcerer.

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