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Climate change to pose dire consequences to Indian agriculture

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Climate change will soon be a threat of huge magnitude to India, which will face dire consequences in the Agriculture sector, despite contributing a very small proportion of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, stated government data released on Friday.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released climate change statistics, which states that India contributes to only 3.96 per cent of global emissions, amounting to 1,146 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Yet, the overall climate change will change the weather pattern of the country significantly.

The impact of climate change on India’s agricultural sector constituted the main focus of the report.

It states that India’s wheat production will come down by four to five million tonnes with the rise of every one degree in temperature. Rabi crops would be directly affected by climate change.

The past 130 years has shown a rising trend in case of drought-affected areas. Data concerning droughts, which is collected every five years, states that in 2009, 46 per cent of the country was already affected.

The famous Indian monsoons have undergone serious regional changes. Areas along the west coast, North-West India and northern Andhra Pradesh encountered a 10-12 per cent increase in rains over the last century. However, eastern Madhya Pradesh, some areas of Gujarat, Kerala and North-Eastern India faced decreasing rainfall by 6-8 per cent.

The air temperature has also fluctuated over the past century. While a warming trend prevailed along the west coast, interior regions of the southern peninsula, and central India, temperatures cooled in the southern and north-western parts of the country.

The sea level is rising globally at an average rate of two millimetres per year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As a result, 634 million people, constituting 10 per cent of the world population, who live in areas below 10 metres of elevation from the sea level, will come under direct threat.

Areas under threat from rising sea level include the administrative capital of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti, which lies just about two-five metres above the sea level. The delicate mangrove ecosystem in Sundarban, West Bengal, along with the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean will also particularly come under danger.

The rising population also poses a huge issue and needs to be urgently addressed, states the report. The population of 59 major Indian cities produced 50,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day in the period of 2010-2011.

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World could see 140mn climate migrants by 2050: Report

World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said the new research provides a wake-up call to countries and development institutions

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climate change is happening at a quickened pace and thus leading to melting of huge ice bergs
climate change is happening at a quickened pace and thus leading to melting of huge ice bergs
  • Three regions can witness migration due to climate change
  • The regions also include South Asia
  • It is important to take measures to control climate change

Three densely populated regions of the world, including South Asia, could see internal climate migrants of over 140 million people in the next three decades if climate change impacts continue, a new World Bank Group report finds.

The report, “Groundswell — Preparing for Internal Climate Migration”, released on Monday, finds that unless urgent climate and development action is taken globally and nationally, the three regions — Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America — together could be dealing with tens of millions of internal climate migrants by 2050.

World can witness migration of many due to climate change. VOA
World can witness migration of many due to climate change. VOA

These people will be forced to move from increasingly non-viable areas of their countries due to growing problems like water scarcity, crop failure, sea-level rise and storm surges.

The “climate migrants” would be an addition to the millions of people already moving within their countries for economic, social, political or other reasons, the report warns. The exodus could create a looming humanitarian crisis and will threaten the development process.

Also Read: Climate change driving dramatic rise in sea levels: NASA

However, with concerted actions — including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level — this scenario could be dramatically reduced by up to 80 per cent or more than 100 million people.

The report is the first and most comprehensive study of its kind to focus on the nexus between slow-onset climate change impacts, internal migration patterns and, development in these three developing regions of the world.

World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said the new research provides a wake-up call to countries and development institutions. “We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality,” Georgieva said.

It is important to control climate change now.

“Steps cities take to cope with the upward trend of arrivals from rural areas and to improve opportunities for education, training and jobs will pay long-term dividends. It’s also important to help people make good decisions about whether to stay where they are or move to new locations where they are less vulnerable.”

The research team, led by World Bank Lead Environmental Specialist Kanta Kumari Rigaud, include researchers and modellers from CIESIN Columbia University, CUNY Institute of Demographic Research, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Also Read: Maharashtra’s climate action plan yielded disappointments

They applied a multi-dimensional modelling approach to estimate the potential scale of internal climate migration across the three regions. They looked at three potential climate change and development scenarios, comparing the most “pessimistic” (high greenhouse gas emissions and unequal development paths), to “climate-friendly” and “more inclusive development” scenarios in which climate and national development action increases in line with the challenge. Across each scenario, they applied demographic, socio-economic and climate impact data at a 14 sq.km grid-cell level to model likely shifts in population within countries.

This approach identified major “hotspots” of climate in- and out-migration – areas from which people are expected to move and urban, peri-urban and rural areas to which people will try to move to build new lives and livelihoods. “Without the right planning and support, people migrating from rural areas into cities could be facing new and even more dangerous risks,” the report added. IANS