Climate change may have caused Kashmir floods: Sunita Narayan

New Delhi, Sep 10 :

The devastating floods in Jammu and Kashmir could be a manifestation of extreme weather events induced by climate change, the Centre for Science and Environment said Wednesday.

Sunita Narain, director general of CSE, said the calamities in Mumbai (2005), Leh (2010), Uttarakhand (2013) and now Jammu and Kashmir show a similar pattern of extreme rainfall, which can be a result of climate change.

Dr Sunita Narayan
Dr Sunita Narayan

She said that as was the case with some of the previous extreme rainfall events, the scale of disaster in Jammu and Kashmir has been exacerbated by unplanned development, especially along the river banks.

She said: “In the last 100 years, more than 50 percent of lakes, ponds and wetlands of Srinagar have been encroached upon for constructing buildings and roads. The banks of the Jhelum river have been taken over in a similar manner, vastly reducing the river’s drainage capacity.”

CSE deputy general director Chandra Bhushan said Jammu and Kashmir is not prepared to handle extreme rainfall events.

“Jammu and Kashmir does not have a flood forecasting system. Its disaster management system is also rudimentary,” he said.

Narain said that according to the latest analysis by the Working Group II of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) assessment report (AR5), floods and droughts are likely to increase in India.

She added: “The IPCC’s 2011 special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation presents projections for the period 2071-2100. It points to increasing incidents of more frequent and intense heavy precipitation over most regions.”

She exhorted the government to come out of its denial mode that climate change is not affecting us.

“The government must discard its ostrich-like policy and get out of its denial mode. We will have to see the linkages between climate change and the events such as those unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir. We will have to accept that climate change is going to affect us more and more in the future. We will have to start preparing to adapt to the climate change,” she said.


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