The Costs of Climate Change in India: A Review of the Climate-Related Risks Facing India, and their Economic and Social Costs

Angela Picciariello, Sarah Colenbrander, Amir Bazaz, Rathin Roy | 2021

Over the last three decades, India has made rapid progress in boosting incomes and living standards. Before the pandemic struck, the median annual income in India was $2,100 – just shy of eight dollars a day (World Bank, 2021). This is almost a sixfold increase since 1990, yet most Indians still live close to the poverty line. In that same period, slightly over half of all cumulative global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been released (Ritchie and Roser, 2018). Global warming has consequently accelerated and average temperatures around the world were 1°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017 (Connors et al., 2019). With rapid, ambitious and well-targeted mitigation action, it may be possible to hold the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C at the end of the century (IPCC, 2018). However, current policies will result in warming of at least 3°C above pre-industrial levels (UN Environment, 2020) – and a much more severe climate crisis, the costs of which will be borne most heavily by low-income and other marginalised groups.