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E-Somanathan_#theindiadialogue Feb 2023.pdf

  1. Environmental progress E. Somanathan Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, & Professor of Economics, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi The India Dialog, Feb 23-24, 2023 Panel on “Integration of Economic Growth and Social Progress”
  2. Three points • Tremendous opportunity for economic and environmental progress at the local (districts/cities/towns/villages) level. • Great opportunity for environmental progress at the state & national levels. • Great danger at the global level
  3. Protection from climate change – a global public good • India is vulnerable because it has a large population living in one of the hottest habitable parts of the earth.
  4. Black areas have mean annual temp > 29 C today. Shaded areas will be above this in 2070 if emissions continue along the RCP8.5 scenario. From Xu, Chi, et al. "Future of the human climate niche." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020).
  5. Economic impacts in India already observed • Wheat yields 5% lower than they would have been absent temperature increase in 1981-2009. Gupta, Somanathan, & Dey, Climatic Change 2016.
  6. • Rice production is also a few percentage points lower. Auffhammer, Ramanathan, & Vincent, PNAS 2006
  7. • The impacts on crop yields not huge, a few percent each. • Losses faced by the poor are in percentage terms 3 to 6 times greater than the first-order impact on production. (Gupta, Ramaswami, & Somanathan, Econ. of Disasters & Clim. Change, 2021)
  8. Manufacturing output falls by 2% per degree rise in temperature. Somanathan, Somanathan, Sudarshan, & Tewari, J. Polit. Econ. 2021.
  9. Sample: 396 informal-sector workers, Delhi, summer 2019. Numbers on the axis are fraction of income/expenditure gained (lost if negative) per degree Celsius rise in temperature. Das & Somanathan (in preparation)
  10. Source: The Hindu Kush Himalaya assessment: mountains, climate change, sustainability and people. ICIMOD, 2019. Chapter 7.
  11. Sea level rise
  12. Policy responses • Adaptation possibilities are limited • Emission reduction followed by carbon dioxide removal will have effects too late to protect us in this century. • Bottom line: • Warming will double or triple in this century • Damages will much more than double or triple.
  13. • The only possible protection left: • research, deploy, and optimize one or more solar radiation modification (SRM) technologies.
  14. • Two SRM technologies • marine cloud brightening, • and stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI).
  15. Stratospheric aerosol injection US Geological Survey “Nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were injected into the stratosphere in Pinatubo's 1991 eruptions, and dispersal of this gas cloud around the world caused global temperatures to drop temporarily (1991 through 1993) by about 1°F (0.5°C).”
  16. SAI will be very cheap to implement. Cooling the planet by a degree will cost only 2/10,000ths of world income annually. Still, can only be done by large countries
  17. Downsides • there will be changes in rainfall and other weather patterns that could be adverse in some times and places. • Recovery of the ozone layer could be slowed but not by much.
  18. The more serious problem is that nearly everyone thinks like Bart rather than like Homer Simpson.
  19. • India should invest much more in climate science and research into SRM, • And take the lead on an international organization to conduct research on SRM