HomeScience & TechMajority of Indians Experiencing Climate Change Effects, Many Considering Relocation

Majority of Indians Experiencing Climate Change Effects, Many Considering Relocation

A significant 85% of people surveyed in India report already feeling the effects of climate change, with over a third considering or having already relocated due to extreme weather events such as severe heat, droughts, and floods. This data comes from a survey conducted between September 5 and November 1 last year by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and CVoter, which polled 2,178 adults.

The survey reveals widespread concern about climate change, with 91% of respondents expressing worry about global warming. A substantial 38% of the participants reported experiencing a lack of clean drinking water for at least one day in the past year, and 72% face regular electricity disruptions.

The impacts of climate change are driving significant migration, as 34% of respondents have either already moved or considered moving due to extreme weather. The Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that weather-related disasters triggered over half a million internal displacements in India in 2023 and around 2.5 million in 2022.

India has faced severe climate-related challenges in recent years, including heatwaves, floods, and glacial lake outburst floods. These events have had devastating effects on health, agriculture, water availability, and power generation. For instance, the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand experienced deadly floods last year, and a glacial lake outburst in Sikkim in October caused a hydroelectric dam collapse, killing over 100 people and affecting more than 88,000.

The survey highlights that more than 70% of respondents believe global warming affects local weather and monsoons in India. However, only 64% reported receiving warnings before extreme weather events. Despite this, there is strong support for India’s climate commitments, with 86% backing the nation’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Moreover, 78% feel the government should intensify its efforts to combat global warming.

A majority of 61% advocate for increased use of renewable energy, while only 14% support the expansion of fossil fuels. Despite India accounting for nearly 18% of the global population, it uses only 6% of the world’s primary energy, according to the International Energy Agency. However, due to its large population, India is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter globally, following China and the US.

Research underscores India’s vulnerability to climate impacts. The country’s growing seasons are being altered, affecting productivity and health, particularly in agriculture, which employs around 50% of the population. The Council on Energy, Environment and Water, an independent think tank, reports that over 80% of India’s population lives in areas highly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Projections indicate that by 2050, 148.3 million people in India will be living in severe climate hotspots.

The survey results and related studies highlight the urgent need for robust climate action and disaster preparedness to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on India’s population and economy.

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