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Climate change could negate India's economic progress, push 45 mn into poverty: report

09 December 2015

Climate change could negate India's economic progress and push 45 million Indians into extreme poverty over the next 15 years, a World Bank report published last month said.
Without climate change, according to the World Bank report, 189 million Indians would be living in poverty (ie, on less than $1.9 or Rs127 a day) by 2030 and with climate change the numbers could rise to as high as 234 million.

A recent World Bank report that used a revised $1.9-a-day poverty line estimated 263 million Indians living in poverty in 2011.

The situation where 45 million became poor due to climate change was only one of the scenarios described in the World Bank report ''Shock waves: Managing the impacts of climate change on poverty''.

Some of the Bank's suggestions to rein in the fresh poverty seemed to run counter to the economic policies of Narendra Modi's government, according to commentators. For instance, even as the government reined in health funding this year - with lesser money for states even after devolution, the report suggested greater investment in health infrastructure, which included more subsidised healthcare, health insurance and systems to warn about emerging health crises.

''We published this report…to remind everybody…that the climate change challenge is not only about the environment and the climate,'' said Julie Rozenberg, co-author and World Bank economist. ''It is also about the future of poor and vulnerable people and our ability to eradicate poverty. And, for countries like India, failing to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases could threaten prosperity and the future of millions of people.''

Meanwhile, private sector lender YES Bank said it would mobilise $5 billion by 2020 towards its commitment to climate finance in India. YES Bank also announced a funding target of 5,000 MW of clean energy, with graduated increase of renewable energy in its power portfolio. The bank would also contribute towards creating a carbon sink by planting 2 million trees, impact 100 million lives through its safe and clean drinking water programme. It would also offset carbon emissions of the bank's operations. The lender made the announcement on the occasion of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 climate summit underway in Paris.

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