Climate change and its impact on India
Climate change will make monsoons unpredictable; as a result, rain-fed wheat cultivation in South Asia will suffer in a big way and the total cereal production will go down.
Industrial development is important for economic growth, employment generation and improvement in the quality of life.
However, industrial activities without proper precautionary measures for environmental protection are known to cause pollution and associated problems. If ecological and environmental criteria are forsaken, "industrialize and perish" will be the nature's retort.
Now, there is a global consensus about the threat posed by the climate change. The disagreement is only, on how to go about altering human activities that unleash greenhouse gases, fuelling global warming.
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the latest scientific assessment of the impact of global warming on human, animal and plant life. The culprit is greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These are accumulating to unprecedented levels in the atmosphere as a result of profligate burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, farming activities and changing land use.
The greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the earth, trapping too much of the heat that would otherwise have escaped into space.
The IPCC is a body of 2500 scientists that brings out reports, considered the last word on the Science of Climate Change. "Warming of the Climate System is unequivocal", says the IPCC in its latest report, pointing to the increased global, air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow, and ice and rising sea levels.
If the introduction of these greenhouse gases continued to soar, global temperature could rise up by 2.40C to 6.40 C by the end of the century, with far-reaching consequences for the climate, warned the IPCC. The report has given fresh impetus to finding solutions to the global warming problem.
The summit meeting of the Group of Eight Industrialised countries (G8) to be held in June in Germany is expected to launch new initiatives for collective action by both rich nations and fast growing developing countries to combat climate change.
The report provides hope that concerted action can make a real difference in the next quarter century. The panel is convinced that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be pegged at relatively safe levels, with measures that will not affect GDP growth. It is little surprise that the panel found that owing to human activity, gas emissions, primarily CO2 , rose by 70 per cent between 1970 and 2004. What is of great interest to policymakers is the actionable part of the report, which addresses emissions by sectors such as energy producers, transport, buildings, land use, agriculture, and forestry. Much of that challenge lies in implementing carbon capture and storage technologies in the energy supply sector, which in the past three and half decades has been responsible for a 145 per cent increase in gas emissions.
Climate change will make monsoons unpredictable. As a result, rain-fed wheat cultivation in South Asia will suffer in a big way. Total cereal production will go down. The crop yield per hectare will be hit badly, causing food insecurity and loss of livelihood.
The rising levels of the sea in the coastal areas will damage nursery areas for fisheries, causing coastal erosion and flooding.
The Arctic regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, small islands and Asian mega deltas, including the Ganga and Brahmaputra, will be affected most.
Changes in climate around the globe are expected to trigger a steep fall in the production of cereals, says R K Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC. He estimated that a rise of 0.5 degree celsius in winter tempratures could cause a 0.45 tonne per hectare fall in India's wheat production. The average per hectare production in India is 2.6...
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