India loses more people
to climate change than any other country
By Joydeep Gupta
(Poland), Dec 5 (IANS) Between 1998 and 2007, India has lost
more people due to extreme weather events caused by climate
change than any other country, with an average of 4,532 people
killed every year, a well-known German NGO has calculated.
monetary losses were an average of $12 billion a year in terms
of purchasing power parity, representing 0.62 percent of India's
GDP, added Sven Harmeling of Germanwatch here Thursday.
his findings on the sidelines of the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit in this western Poland town,
Harmeling said if one took into account average death, deaths
per 100,000 inhabitants, average total losses and average
losses as percentage of GDP, India would rank seventh among
countries most affected by extreme weather events in the last
had created an index with these four factors, by which Honduras
was the country worst affected in the last decade, followed
benchmark Fourth Assessment Report brought out by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change in 2007 had said extreme weather events
such as more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and
storms were strongly correlated to climate change caused by
said 2,502 Indians had been killed by extreme weather events
in 2007 alone. But other countries had suffered worse, which
placed India 19th among the list of countries affected last
9,000 delegates from 186 countries and over 400 NGOs are attending
the UNFCCC summit. Harmeling said that since climate change
was now an ongoing reality, countries had to step up their
risk management systems in every way.
Singh, policy analyst at the Chennai office of the international
NGO ActionAid, said government representatives at the summit
were discussing risk management, "but insurance and derivatives
are overwhelming other strategies".
Singh wanted to have "people at the centre of the risk
assessment framework, especially the small farmers who are
the worst sufferers of climate change".
are the people who are being forced to commit suicide as their
crops fail due to climate change," he told IANS. "We
have to find ways to help them by expanding public expenditure,
while using the farmers' owns traditional knowledge to cope
with the changing climate."
Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)