The question “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one metre by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region?" was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 3. Let us look at the model answer to this question.
Answer: The projection of a one-meter sea level rise by AD 2100, as foreseen by IPCC, looms over the Indian Ocean region poses challenges from Coastal flooding to displacement of communities, impending crisis demands a comprehensive exploration of its far reaching implications.
The potential impact of global sea level rise on India and other countries include:
- Coastal Erosion and Increased Flooding: Rising sea levels will lead to the loss of beaches, shorelines, and land along the coast.
- Saline Intrusion: Rising sea levels can lead to the intrusion of saltwater into freshwater sources in coastal regions, affecting drinking water supplies and agriculture, impacting food security and livelihoods.
- Loss of Biodiversity: Coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and coral reefs, will be threatened as they face submergence. These ecosystems are vital for biodiversity, fishery resources, and protection against storm surges.
- Economic Impact: Sea level rise can disrupt maritime activities, including shipping and fishing. Also, the cost of adapting to sea level rise through infrastructure improvements and coastal defenses will be substantial.
- Displacement and Migration: The loss of habitable land along the coast and increased vulnerability to extreme events may force communities to migrate inland or to other regions. This could lead to conflicts over resources and create challenges for urban planning and housing.
- National Security Concerns: Displacement and resource scarcity could potentially lead to conflicts and security concerns.
To mitigate these impacts, countries in the Indian Ocean region will need to adopt comprehensive strategies that include:
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Measures to slow the rate of sea level rise in the long term.
- For example Carbon Capture and Sequestration
- Adaptation Measures: Building seawalls, enhancing natural defenses like mangroves, and improving early warning systems.
- For example, Great Garuda Seawall by Indonesia.
- Sustainable Development: Encouraging sustainable coastal development and land-use planning.
- For example, National Coastal Mission.
- International Collaboration: Collaboration to address transboundary challenges and share knowledge and resources.
- For example, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC).
A one-meter sea level rise have multifaceted impacts, requiring coordinated efforts at the national and international levels, to adapt and mitigate these challenges. In this regard, following recommendations of IPCC Assessment Report can be a good step for the world.