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Climate change to pose dire consequences to Indian agriculture

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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