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Current Affairs

Climate vulnerability index by CEEW

Date: 29 October 2021 Tags: Reports & Indices

Issue

 Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) has been brought out by environmental think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

 

Background

Vulnerability to extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods, heat-waves, droughts, etc has been assed across 640 districts in India.

 

Details

The study will look at combined risk of hydro-met disasters instead of looking at the climate extremes in isolation. Other natural disasters such as earthquakes are not considered.

 

Criteria

  • Exposure: Whether the district is prone to extreme weather events

  • Sensitivity: Likelihood of an impact on the district by the weather event

  • Adaptive capacity: Response or coping mechanism of the district

 

Significance

It will help in mapping the critical vulnerabilities and plan strategies to improve resilience and adapt by climate-proofing communities, economies and infrastructure.

 

Need for climate vulnerability index

  • Extreme weather events have been occurring regularly in the country. India is currently the seventh-most vulnerable country with respect to climate extremes.

  • Super cyclone Amphan, landslides and floods in Uttarakhand and Kerala have been all part of extreme climate.

  • Large number of districts in India are becoming extreme event hotspots. About 40 percent of districts are showing swapping trend.

  • This means that traditionally flood-prone areas are witnessing more frequent and intense droughts and vice-versa. 

 

Major findings

  • States such as Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are most vulnerable to extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones.

  • Climate vulnerable districts in India include Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Gajapati in Odisha, Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, Khammam in Telangana, Demaji and Nagaon in Assam.

  • More than 80 percent citizens live in districts vulnerable to extreme climatic events. About 60 percent districts have medium to low adaptive capacity in handing extreme weather events.

  • Kerala and west Bengal are best performing states, despite both being coastal states and dealing with the threat of cyclones and floods annually.

 

Reasons for increasing threats

  • Land disruptions caused by anthropogenic activity are considered the major reason.  This includes change of land use, increased construction, reclaiming of land for development.

  • Destruction of forests, wetlands, mangroves etc have further enhanced threats. This is because they acted as natural buffer against weather extremities.

 

Recommendations

  • Developing high-resolution Climate Risk Atlas (CRA) to map critical vulnerabilities at the district level.

  • Setting up centralized climate-risk commission to coordinate the environmental de-risking mission.

  • Climate-sensitivity-led landscape restoration process has to be undertaken.

  • Infrastructure planning and climate risk profiling has to be integrated.