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Climate Change -Notes, Question UPSC

Table of contents

  • The concept of Climate change in geography
  • "Climate Change is a reality". explain with suitable examples. ( UPSC 2017)
  • Discuss the impact of climate change on developing countries. ( UPPSC 2019)

The concept of Climate change in geography:

Climate change refers to significant and long-term changes in Earth's average weather patterns and overall climate conditions.

Whether climate change is happening or not, we get to know from the changes in temperature, rainfall, and wind patterns.

Presently, our mother earth is facing the problems of climate change due to global warming due to high emission of greenhouse gases. Today, due to climate change, the sea level is rising and the global temperature is rising continuously. Sometimes too much heat, somewhere too cold, sometimes too much rain, and sometimes drought, all these are symptoms of climate change.

The following are the major aspects of the study of climate change in geography:

Human Environment Interaction:

In geography, we study climate change to find out how human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use change, contribute to climate change. They also examine how climate change affects human societies and economies.

Effect of Climate Change on Physical Geography:

In geography, we study climate change to find out how climate change affects physical geography elements such as glaciers, rivers, and coastlines. Geographers study how melting ice, changed river flows and rising sea levels affect landscapes.

Impact of Climate Change on Ecosystems and Biodiversity:

Climate change affects ecosystems and biodiversity. Geographers examine changes in vegetation zones, species migrations, and biodiversity loss due to changing climates.

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies:

Geographers are involved in assessing strategies for mitigating climate change, such as the adoption of renewable energy, reforestation, and sustainable urban planning.

Geographers use geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques to collect and analyze climate-related data, helping to visualize and understand the spatial aspects of climate change.

Geography looks at climate change on a global and local scale. It considers both broad trends and local impacts on communities and the environment.

In summary, geography plays an important role in studying climate change by providing insight into its spatial distribution, impacts, and interactions with human and natural systems. Geographers contribute to understanding the complex and multidimensional nature of climate change, which is important for informed decision-making and sustainable development planning.


"Climate Change is a reality". explain with suitable examples.

( UPSC 2017)


Climate change is real and indeed a well-established and scientifically supported reality. 

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in Earth's climate patterns, primarily driven by human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes. 

Here are some suitable examples illustrating the reality of climate change:

Rising Global Temperatures: 

Average global temperatures have been steadily rising over the past century due to increased greenhouse gas emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the last few decades have been the warmest. For instance, 2020 and 2016 as the warmest years ever recorded.

Melting Polar Ice and Glaciers:

Climate change has led to the rapid melting of polar ice caps and glaciers. The Arctic, for example, has seen a significant reduction in sea ice extent, impacting the region's ecosystems and contributing to rising sea levels.

Sea Level Rise: 

As the mother earth warms, thermal expansion and the melting of ice contribute to rising sea levels. Coastal cities worldwide are experiencing increased flooding and erosion. For instance, many islands like Maldives and Lakshadweep face more frequent and severe coastal inundations.

Extreme Weather Events: 

Climate change has been linked to an increase in extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and heavy rainfall. For instance, the intensity and frequency of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea have been on the rise, causing significant damage and displacement of communities.

Changing Rainfall Patterns:

Climate change alters precipitation patterns, leading to more prolonged droughts in some regions and increased rainfall in others. For example, patterns and intensity of monsoon rainfall in India are changing very fast, as a result, India is facing both drought and flooding during the rainy season.

Ocean Acidification: 

Increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are not only warming the planet but also leading to ocean acidification. This harms marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, and shellfish populations.

Species Extinction: 

Many species are struggling to adapt to the rapid changes in their habitats caused by climate change. Polar bears, for instance, are facing a loss of their sea ice habitat, putting their survival at risk.

Impact on Agriculture: 

Climate change affects global food production by altering growing seasons, increasing the risk of pests and diseases, and causing crop failures. This can lead to food shortages and price increases.

Human Migration: 

Climate-induced changes in weather patterns and resource availability can trigger human migration, leading to conflicts and social disruptions. For example, rural-to-urban migration in India is on the rise due to uncertainty in monsoon.

These examples demonstrate that climate change is a multifaceted and undeniable reality with widespread and far-reaching consequences. Addressing this challenge requires global cooperation and concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the changes that are already occurring, and mitigate the future impacts of climate change.


Discuss the impact of climate change on developing countries. 

( UPPSC Mains General Studies-II/GS-2 2019)


Climate change has significant and often negative ( disproportionate) impacts on developing countries. 

Developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, which are already facing various socio-economic challenges, are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change due to factors like limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, and reliance on climate-sensitive sectors.

The impacts of climate change on developing countries are as follows:

Extreme Weather Events: 

Developing countries are more prone to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, floods, and droughts. These events can cause widespread destruction of infrastructure, homes, and agricultural land, leading to loss of lives and livelihoods. For example, as per the United Nations ( UN) report, " Amphan Cyclone" resulted in $14 bn economic losses in India in the year 2020.

Food Insecurity: 

Climate change can adversely affect agricultural productivity, leading to crop failures and reduced food production. This can exacerbate food insecurity and malnutrition in developing countries, where a significant portion of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. For example, African countries are facing food insecurity due to increasing drought situations led by climate change.

Adaptation Costs: 

Developing countries often face challenges in accessing funds and technology to adapt to climate change. The cost of climate change adaptation measures can be a burden on their limited resources.

Inequity and Justice: 

Developing countries have contributed relatively less to greenhouse gas emissions but bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts. This raises questions of climate justice and equitable sharing of responsibilities in addressing climate change.

Water Scarcity: 

Changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures can lead to water scarcity in many developing regions. This can impact access to clean drinking water, agricultural irrigation, and industrial needs, affecting overall economic development.

Rising Sea Levels: 

Many developing countries have large coastal areas and low-lying islands that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. This poses a significant threat to infrastructure, human settlements, and ecosystems in these regions.

Health Impacts: 

Climate change can exacerbate health issues in developing countries, including the spread of infectious diseases, heat-related illnesses, and malnutrition due to food insecurity.

Loss of Biodiversity: 

Developing countries are often rich in biodiversity, but climate change can lead to habitat loss, species extinction, and disruption of ecosystems, impacting local communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Migration and Displacement: 

Climate change-induced impacts can lead to internal and cross-border migration, as people are forced to leave their homes in search of better living conditions, leading to social and economic challenges.

Economic Losses: 

Developing countries are heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Climate-related disasters and changing weather patterns can result in significant economic losses and hinder overall economic growth and development.

International efforts and climate agreements, such as the Paris Agreement, aim to support developing countries in their climate action and sustainable development goals.

Addressing the impacts of climate change on developing countries requires global cooperation, financial support, and technology transfer to enable these nations to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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