85% of Indians Report Being Affected by Climate Change: Survey

A recent survey reveals that 85% of Indians feel the impact of climate change, with many experiencing extreme weather events such as severe heat, droughts, and floods. Conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and CVoter, the survey included 2,178 adults between September 5 and November 1 of last year, highlighting significant concerns about global warming among the Indian population.

The survey indicates that a substantial 91% of respondents are worried about global warming, reflecting widespread anxiety about climate change’s current and future impacts. Among those surveyed, 34% have either relocated or are considering relocation due to adverse weather conditions.

Further compounding these issues, 38% of participants reported going without enough clean drinking water for at least one day in the past year, while 72% regularly face electricity disruptions. These statistics underscore the severe and pervasive nature of climate-related challenges in India.

According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, weather-related disasters prompted over half a million internal displacements in India in 2023 and approximately 2.5 million in 2022. These figures illustrate the growing pressure on communities forced to move due to environmental changes.

Severe heat waves have repeatedly affected large parts of India, disrupting health services, water availability, agriculture, and power generation. Additionally, deadly floods have wreaked havoc in the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In October, a glacial lake outburst flood in Sikkim caused the collapse of a hydroelectric dam, resulting in over 100 deaths and impacting more than 88,000 people.

The survey also revealed that more than 70% of respondents believe global warming affects local weather patterns and monsoons. However, only 64% typically receive warnings before extreme weather events, indicating a gap in communication and preparedness.

Despite the challenges, there is strong public support for climate action. The survey found that 86% of respondents back India’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, and 78% believe the government should take more aggressive steps to combat global warming. Additionally, 61% think India should increase its use of renewable energy, while only 14% support expanding fossil fuel usage.

India, which accounts for nearly 18% of the global population but only 6% of the world’s primary energy use, is currently the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States. The country’s large population and significant dependence on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture exacerbate its vulnerability to climate change.

Research by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water indicates that over 80% of India’s population lives in districts highly susceptible to extreme weather events. Projections suggest that by 2050, 148.3 million Indians will reside in severe climate hotspots, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive climate resilience strategies.

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