Washington: Global warming could lead to more extreme droughts in large parts of India, resulting in widespread food shortages and hardship in the country, in the next few decades, a new World Bank report warned Wednesday.
The impact of a possible global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius in the next few decades threatens to trap millions of people in poverty, according to the report.
The soaring temperatures will also drive regular food shortages in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Shifting rain patterns in South Asia due to warming could leave some parts under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation, or drinking, the report said.
"Events like the devastating Pakistan floods of 2010, which affected more than 20 million people, could become common place. More extreme droughts in large parts of India could lead to widespread food shortages and hardship," the report said.
Another impact of climate change could be degradation and loss of reefs in South East Asia possibly resulting in reduced fish stocks and coastal communities, while cities could be more vulnerable to increasingly violent storms, it said.
The new report builds on a World Bank report released late last year, which concluded the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action now.
This new report looks at the likely impacts of present day, 2 degrees Celsius and 4 degrees Celsius warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.
"The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2 degrees C - warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years - that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
"In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth`s temperature," Kim said.
The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, reveals that in South Asia, the potential change in the regularity and impact of the all-important monsoon could precipitate a major crisis in the region.
Across South East Asia, rural livelihoods are faced with mounting pressures as sea levels rise, tropical cyclones increase in intensity, and important marine ecosystem services are lost as warming approaches 4 degrees Celsius.
The report says sea level rise has been occurring more rapidly than previously projected and a rise of as much as 50 cm by the 2050s may already be unavoidable as a result of past emissions. In some cases, impacts could be felt much earlier.