Monday April 23, 2018

Cutting Carbon emissions can increase world hunger : New Study

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New York: As several nations brace for implementing plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, such efforts to rein in global temperatures may lead to more people going hungry, a new study suggests.

“That risk doesn’t negate the need for mitigation, but highlights the importance of comprehensive policies,” said lead researcher Tomoko Hasegawa, National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan.

Previous studies have shown, that climate change reduces how much food farms can produce, which could lead to more people suffering from hunger.

Curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change can help maintain the yields of existing crops.

But there might be indirect ways in which cutting emissions could actually put more people at risk of going hungry, said the study published in ACS journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

“For example, some grasses and other vegetation used for bio fuels, require agricultural land that might otherwise be used for food production. So, increased bio fuel consumption could negatively affect the food supply,” Hasegawa noted.

Also, the high cost of low-emissions technologies, such as carbon capture and storage will be borne by consumers, who will then have less money to spend on food.

The researchers used multiple models to determine the effects of strict emissions cuts, and found that many more people would be at risk of hunger then, more than if those cuts weren’t in place.

The team concluded that governments will have to take measures, such as increasing food aid, as they address climate change. (IANS)

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Arctic permafrost may unleash carbon within decades: NASA

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, so increased plant growth means less carbon in the atmosphere

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NASA to release two missions focused on moon soon in 2022. Pixabay
NASA positive about next planet-hunting mission. Pixabay
  • Permafrost in Northern Arctic can potentially become a permanent source of Carbon
  • It was previously thought to be safe from the effects of Global Warming
  • Rising temperature in the Arctic can cause severe carbon emissions

Permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic — formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment — could thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in a few decades, warns a NASA-led study. This will happen in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years, said the study.

Permafrost in Northern Arctic can become a permanent source of carbon in this century itself, according to NASA. Wikimedia Commons
Permafrost in Northern Arctic can become a permanent source of carbon in this century itself, according to NASA. Wikimedia Commons

Permafrost is soil that has remained frozen for years or centuries under topsoil. It contains carbon-rich organic material, such as leaves, that froze without decaying, NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.

As rising Arctic air temperatures cause permafrost to thaw, the organic material decomposes and releases its carbon to the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

The researchers calculated that as thawing continues, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from the coldest northern Arctic will be 10 times as much as all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.

Warmer, more southerly permafrost regions will not become a carbon source until the end of the 22nd century, even though they are thawing now, said the study led by scientist Nicholas Parazoo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

That is because other changing Arctic processes will counter the effect of thawing soil in these regions.

The finding that the colder region would transition sooner than the warmer one came as a surprise, according to Parazoo. The researchers used data on soil temperatures in Alaska and Siberia and a numerical model that calculates changes in carbon emissions as plants grow and permafrost thaws in response to climate change.

They assessed when the Arctic will transition to a carbon source instead of the carbon-neutral area it is today — with some processes removing about as much carbon from the atmosphere as other processes emit.

World is under threat due to Global Warming. Wikimedia Commons

They divided the Arctic into two regions of equal size, a colder northern region and a warmer, more southerly belt encircling the northern region. There is far more permafrost in the northern region than in the southern one.

Over the course of the model simulations, northern permafrost lost about five times more carbon per century than southern permafrost.

The southern region transitioned more slowly in the model simulations, Parazoo said, because plant growth increased much faster than expected in the south.

Also Read: Global warming portends ill for India’s flourishing Dairy sector: Experts

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, so increased plant growth means less carbon in the atmosphere.

According to the model, as the southern Arctic grows warmer, increased photosynthesis will balance increased permafrost emissions until the late 2100s. IANS