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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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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)

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