Climate change will lower standards of living and impact GDP in India: World Bank report

According to a new World Bank report, unchecked climate change will lower the standards of living for about half of South Asia’s population, including 600 million Indians, by 2050. The report also suggests that climate change will shave off an estimated 2.8% of India’s GDP in that same period.


South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. And it’s getting worse.

A new World Bank report, South Asia’s Hotspots, finds that average temperatures in the region have increased in the last sixty years and will continue rising. Rainfall is becoming more erratic: some areas will experience more droughts, others more rain.

These changes impact agriculture, health, and productivity. Changes in average weather will create hotspots across South Asia, where the living standards of communities will be negatively impacted.

More than 800 million people are living in areas that are projected to become hotspots.

Main findings

  • The report analyzes two future climate scenarios—one that is “climate-sensitive,” which includes collective mitigation efforts under the Paris Agreement (RCP 4.5); and one that is “carbon-intensive,” which assumes minimal collective action is taken (RCP 8.5). Both show rising temperatures throughout the region in coming decades, with the carbon-intensive scenario showing greater increases.
  • Average household consumption in the region is shown to decline—other things equal—after average temperature exceeds a peak, and a majority of the region’s population lives in areas where temperature is already above that peak. On the other hand, increases in rainfall are generally associated with higher living standards.
  • The combination of these two estimated gradients is used to predict changes in household consumption at the local level in each of the two future climate scenarios. The report finds that most of the expected hotspots are currently characterized by low living standards, poor road connectivity, uneven access to markets, and other development challenges.
  • Almost half of South Asia’s population currently lives in areas that are projected to become moderate to severe hotspots by 2050 under the carbon-intensive scenario. At the same time, living standards in some currently cold and dry mountain areas could improve marginally.
  • Importantly, most of the hotspots are in inland areas. Analyses of climate change focused on extreme weather events and sea-level rise have focused attention on relatively richer coastal areas. This report is a call to think about strategies targeted to hotspot inhabitants, the hidden victims of climate change.


Read the full report here: World Bank