Times of India And Business Recorder: The productivity of staple grain wheat could decline by upto 18% by 2020 due to adverse impact of climate change which is causing rise in temperature, Parliament was informed today. The yield of another major food crop rice might also fall by up to 6 per cent by 2020, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said in Rajya Sabha quoting from research conducted under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)’s Network Project on Climate Change (NPCC).
“Indian studies conducted under ICAR’s NPCC indicate that climate change may reduce yield of timely sown irrigated wheat by about 6 per cent in 2020,” Pawar said in a written reply. He pointed out that in the case of late and very late sown wheat, the projected impact can reduce the productivity by 18 per cent, if no adaptation measures are followed.
India produced a record wheat and rice production at 88.31 million tonnes and 102.75 million tonnes, respectively. The productivity of kharif maize and sorghum could also be affected by climate change, the minister said.
Pawar referred to reports like Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) and Universal Ecological Fund (2011), which have indicated affect of climate change on agriculture globally. “According to these reports, there will be 14 per cent deficit in global wheat production, 11 per cent in rice and 9 per cent in maize by 2020,” the minister pointed out.
Climate Change Risks
Business Recorder: A UN report on the effects of climate change warns of world-wide increase in heatwaves, more intense rains and floods and a probable rise in the intensity of droughts. Asia, it says, will be more vulnerable to natural disasters. As a matter of fact, change is already in evidence, weather-related disasters having more than tripled since 1980.
Pakistan is among the top ten countries most affected by climate change. Last year’s devastating floods in vast swathes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, southern Punjab and Sindh are believed to be related to the same phenomenon.
The situation is likely to get worse in the years to come since glaciers in the Himalayan mountain range feeding our river system are said to be melting, which in the initial phase is to result in alternating periods of heavy floods and droughts. For an agricultural economy like Pakistan that means disaster not only in terms of human suffering but also severe economic losses.
According to experts, climate change could hit the country with up to $14 billion annually as it grapples with calamitous situations and their aftermath. The purpose of the UN report, as its title “Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation” suggests is to cajole policymakers into making timely decisions to handle any eventuality.
This is extremely important in the case of Pakistan considering that there is an incorrigible tendency among policymakers never to plan for the longer-term. Some of the things that need to be done require global action, especially on the part of major industrialised nations responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent global warming. The bigger polluters must take bigger responsibility for curbing carbon emissions within the framework of the ongoing climate change negotiations.
Individual countries, especially ones within higher vulnerability range like Pakistan, need to focus on two areas: one, putting in place plans and policies that aim to adapt to the changing scenario; and the other, better preparedness to deal with impending destructive events.
That would require careful and continual extreme weather projections, and identifying greater risk areas. Also, serious campaigns need to be undertaken to increase the country’s forest cover, since trees have a significant role to play in mitigating the effects of warming.
Then there is the issue of increasing population pressures and lack of planning that has led to haphazard growth of human habitations, often times blocking the flow of heavy rainwaters. That was a significant cause last year of the loss to life and property in the flashfloods prone parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the ‘Kutcha area’ along the Indus River banks.
The UN report, it is hoped, will serve to alarm the government about the dangers ahead, leading to a well thought-out longer-term strategy to deal with the changing climate.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>