India facing major climate change, new study says

Report says India could be 2°C warmer than 1970s levels within 20 years.

NEW DELHI // A new report says India could be 2°C warmer than 1970s levels within 20 years - a change that would disrupt rain cycles, harm agriculture and disrupt water supplies, experts said yesterday.

More flooding, more drought and a spreading of malaria would occur, as the disease migrates north into Kashmir and the Himalayas, according to the report by 220 Indian scientists and 120 research institutions.

The temperature rise, which could be even more extreme along the coasts, would devastate agriculture - the main source of livelihood for most of India's 1.2 billion people.

The report was released in advance of the November 29 start of the UN climate summit in Mexico, where nations will try again to reach a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions thought to contribute to global warming.

Last year's UN climate summit in Copenhagen ended with an international pledge to limit the rise of the Earth's average temperature to 2°C above levels recorded before industries began pumping carbon dioxide into the air 200 years ago.

The report by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment exceeds UN expert predictions that suggested India could be 2°C warmer by 2050.