Environmental Health & Climate
With rising temperatures, over 200 million Indians could be exposed to lethal heat waves annually by 2030, and electricity demand for cooling appliances is projected to increase six-fold by 2040.
Impact of a warming climate on the monsoon cycle and melting of glaciers in the Himalayas would result in droughts, floods, and disruption of current agricultural practices. The IPCC finds that 30 million people in India’s largest port cities, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat, and Visakhapatnam, will be exposed to coastal flooding if sea levels rise by 50 cm. At the same time, India is one of the most climate-related drought vulnerable countries in the world with its drought-prone area increasing by over 50% since 2000. Adaptation strategy and resilience measures for impacted communities need to be devised and deployed urgently in this decade.
India tops the mortality burden due to ambient air pollution, with over a million premature deaths annually. Along with biomass and agricultural waste burning, air pollution from coal power plants, industries and road transport consistently ranks amongst the top sources of particulate matter. Adopting an aggressive clean energy pathway can avoid ~5 million premature deaths between 2022 and 2047, while also bringing carbon emissions to near zero by mid-century.
Adaptation for warming temperatures
Rising temperatures and heatwaves are projected to increase demand for cooling manifolds. Yet the access to cooling is unequal, determined in many cases by financial access. Several Indian states and cities have announced Heat Action Plans for awareness and adaptation measures. IECC would work with central and local government stakeholders on affordable cooling technology options, energy efficiency/design improvements in buildings and related policy interventions to protect urban and rural communities against more frequent heatwaves.
Air pollution impacts vulnerable communities disproportionately, such as those living next to thermal power plants, auto rickshaw drivers, daily wage workers, waste-pickers, etc. The 2047 India Report shows that adopting an aggressive clean energy pathway can avoid ~4 million premature deaths between 2022 and 2047. Utilizing existing capabilities on air pollution research, expertise of affiliates who have worked in implementing the Clean Air Act in the United States, and collaboration with civil-society organizations in India, the IECC would work to address gaps in the strategies for reducing air pollution