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Droughts, floods come as wake-up call: Greenpeace

New Delhi, June 20, 2013 (IANS):
oldiers rescue stranded people after heavy rains in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand June 18, 2013. India's monsoon rains could ease soon after hitting 89 percent over averages in the week to June 19, according to weather office sources, in a third straight week of downpours that have caused major flooding in north India. Picture taken June 18, 2013. REUTERS

A day after a World Bank report highlighted the effects global warming may have on the monsoon pattern in South Asia, Greenpeace Thursday said droughts and floods in different parts of India came as a wake-up call.

The World Bank report, released Wednesday, said significant increases in inter-annual and intra-seasonal variability of monsoon rainfall are to be expected, with global mean warming approaching 40 degrees Celsius.

An increase in intra-seasonal variability in the Indian summer monsoon precipitation of approximately 10 percent is projected.

"India cannot afford the world to move to 40 degrees Celsius warming. The floods in northern India and the drought in Maharashtra are reminders that the very lifeline of our monsoon is under threat," said Vinuta Gopal, climate and energy campaign manager of Greenpeace.

A statement from Greenpeace said Thursday that the use of fossil fuel was to be blamed for climate change, and the emphasis should be on renewable energy.

"Fossil fuels are being extracted and burned in the name of development and prosperity, but increasingly, they are delivering the opposite. Any short-term economic gains will be of little value if climate change continues unchecked. It will roll back decades of development, trapping millions in poverty," Gopal said.

"About 80 percent of its new power plants are coal-based and a severe drought, like this year's drought in Maharashtra, can pose a serious challenge in providing adequate water for drinking, irrigation and running coal-based thermal power plants," she said.

The statement also highlighted Greenpeace's study on the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, which showed that upcoming power plants in the region will face water scarcity every few years, forcing them to shut down, risking power production.


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