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India Lost 5.4% of its GDP to Extreme Heat in 2021: Climate Transparency Report

G20 government support to produce fossil fuels touched $64 billion in 2021, the report added.

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India incurred losses amounting to 159 billion - 5.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - due to effects of extreme heat in 2021, indicated the Climate Transparency Report 2022, compiled by an international partnership of organisations.

The analysis, released on Thursday, 21 October, provides an overview of the findings pertaining to the state of climate-related action of the majority of G20 nations.

As per the report, despite the worsening climate crises and prior to the energy crisis brought about by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, G20 government support to produce fossil fuels touched $64 billion in 2021.

It also indicated that energy emissions likewise rebounded across G20 countries by 5.9 percent in 2021, climbing back above pre-pandemic levels.

Further, the report also contains information on how climate change is already impacting some G20 economies.

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How Extreme Heat Is Impacting India

“Rising temperatures have already brought income losses in services, manufacturing, agriculture, and construction sectors. Countries most affected by income losses in above sectors in 2021 were India (5.4 percent of GDP), Indonesia (1.6 percent of GDP), and Saudi Arabia (1 percent of GDP),” the report showed.

In India, heat exposure in the country also led to the loss of 167 billion potential labour hours, which is a 39 percent increase from 1990–1999.

Moreover, between 2016–2021, extreme events such as cyclones, flash floods, floods, and landslides caused damage to crops in over 36 million hectares - a $3.75 billion loss for farmers in the country.

Due to increasing temperatures, around 10 percent of the current population will likely be affected by heatwaves in India and Brazil. At 3°C of warming, this will likely increase to over 20 percent in Brazil, and almost 30 percent in India. 

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain at All-Time High

In 2020, G20 government fossil fuel subsidies had fallen to $147 billion, but they rose by 29 percent to $190 billion in 2021, as per data from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the report showed.

It read, "... the eventual rebound of consumption levels, combined with rising oil and gas prices resulting from the escalation in energy prices later in the year, led to a large increase in fossil fuel subsidies in 2021 to USD 190 billion."

In 2009, G20 members had committed to “rationalise and phase out over the medium-term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption." They had reaffirmed this commitment at Glasgow last year.

The countries with the highest total subsidies for fossil fuels were China, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom.

"The historically high subsidy levels are likely to continue in 2022 due to increased support to consumers through energy price caps in Europe this winter – already implemented in France and being considered in the UK," the report said.

Emissions Rising, Despite G20s Capacity To Act on Climate

Energy emissions, too, rebounded across G20 countries by 5.9 in 2021, going above pre-pandemic levels.

Emissions in the power and buildings sector rose in 2021 to higher than pre-pandemic levels, and per capita emissions in China and Turkey are now higher than in 2019.

This comes despite warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that government must halve emissions by 2030, to sustain the 1.5 degrees warming limit enshrined in the Paris Agreement alive.

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“The G20 is responsible for three-quarters of the world’s emissions. These are the world’s biggest economies, many of them home to the finance and technologies needed to tackle the climate crisis. We are now in a moment where geopolitics and energy security issues are combining to really hammer home the benefits of cheap renewables, yet we are still seeing many of these governments turning to fossil fuels as the solution,” said CEO of Climate Analytics Bill Hare, one of the organisations leading the analysis in the report. 

He added, “gas and coal can be the most expensive, highest emitting, and least secure options for energy, but they still will receive the highest levels of government support."

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Topics:  Climate Change 

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