India’s Climate Vulnerabilities and Pathway to Climate Adaptation

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India’s Climate Vulnerabilities and Pathway to Climate Adaptation

The Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI), a world leader in physical climate risk, released the latest ranking of provinces worldwide facing the highest risk to their physical infrastructure to climate change effects like flooding both riverine and surface, forest fires, extreme heat, soil movement due to droughts, extreme wind and freeze-thaw, and rising sea levels by 2050.

China, the United States, and India are included in the top 50 most at-risk states and provinces in 2050, taking the first, second, and third place, respectively.

Two of China’s largest sub-national economies, Jiangsu and Shandong, are in first and second place, and over half of the provinces in the top 50 global rankings are in the country.

In the US, 18 states are in the top 100. Florida ranks high, followed by California and Texas.

South Asia has 24 of the top 200 most at-risk provinces. After China, India has the highest number of states in the top 50, with nine provinces at high risk from climate change effects, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Kerala. Bihar is the most vulnerable state, ranked 22 globally, followed by Uttar Pradesh (25), Assam (28) and Rajasthan (32).

A climate vulnerability index (CVI) developed by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), designed to map and assess India’s climate vulnerability, finds that 80 per cent of India’s population lives in districts highly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

The report states that India’s northeast is more vulnerable to floods, and the southern and central parts are more susceptible to extreme droughts. According to the Climate Vulnerability Index, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Bihar are highly vulnerable to extreme climate events such as floods, droughts and cyclones.

Still, according to the report, an unsustainable landscape, lack of infrastructure planning, and human-induced microclimate change are key drivers of this high vulnerability. It provides recommendations on how India could address these vulnerabilities and build resilience.

The increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events will disproportionately impact India’s communities with low adaptive capacities, and disasters will quickly erode its progress over many years of development and can increase poverty. The report notes that India’s Investments in infrastructure, such as housing, transport, and industries, will be threatened, especially along the coasts.

Abinash Mohanty, sector head of an international development organisation, IPE-Global, talking about the XDI report, says that “climate change will be marauding the developmental trajectories across the global south”.

According to Mohanty, at 0.8°C, more than three-quarters of India’s districts are already hotspots, accounting for a 5% GDP loss. If warming exceeds 2°C, climate-vulnerable states like Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, among others, will lose more than 10% of their gross state domestic product (GSDP) and promotes applying nature-based solutions to avert the loss and damage to physical assets caused by climate change.

The World Resource Institute presents climate initiatives in Indian cities, from implementing nature-based solutions to rolling out thousands of electric buses.

In the Indian cities of Kochi, Mumbai, and Jaipur, struggling with urban flooding, extreme heat, and water shortages, WRI partners with local governments, community organisations, and others to develop 30 nature-based projects.

One is creating an urban farm on prison grounds at Jaipur Central Jail. The organic produce is served to over 1000 inmates, and the farm also helps cool the property. Another is implementing a school-based urban gardening project in 250 public schools around Mumbai to help improve food security for more than 70,000 students.

Rolling out 10,000 Electric Buses up to 169 Indian cities

According to an article from the World Resources Institute, India’s transport sector is its third highest CO2 emitting sector, with road transport accounting for most (90%) of these emissions.

Switching to electric buses will meet two of India’s goals – reaching net zero by 2070 and providing its citizens with clean and reliable public transport, which many Indians lack access to. The $2.5 billion electric bus initiative is expected to benefit 170 million residents, improving its cities’ public transportation access and air quality.


XDI releases world-first comparison of every state’s physical climate risk. (2023, February 20). Prevention Web. Retrieved from

Nandi, J. (2023, February 21). Climate risk: 9 Indian states among top vulnerable places in the world. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from

Mapping India’s Climate Vulnerability. (2021, October 26). CEEW. Retrieved from

Indian Cities Pioneer Nature-based Solutions and Inspire National Climate Action. (2024, February 13). World Resource Institute. Retrieved from

India Rolls Out 10,000 Electric Buses in Dozens of Cities. (2024, February 13). World Resource Institute. Retrieved from

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