Climate Change May Hit Rice Yields in Asia: IPCC Report

Oct 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Agriculture, IPCC

The Hindu: Rural poverty in parts of Asia could be exacerbated due to negative impacts from climate change on rice production, and a general increase in food prices and the cost of living, says the report of working group two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.

Launched on Thursday, the report Climate Change 2014 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of the IPCC says rice is a key staple crop in Asia and 90 per cent or more of the world’s rice production is from Asia. The most vulnerable regions were western Japan, eastern China, the southern part of the Indochina peninsula, and the northern part of South Asia.

However, the report has some good news for Pakistan. In contrast, climate change may provide a windfall for wheat farmers in parts of Pakistan. Warming temperatures would make it possible to grow at least two crops (wheat and maize) a year in mountainous areas according to studies.

In the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia there could be a decrease of about 50 per cent in the most favourable and high-yielding wheat area as a result of heat stress.

The report says Asia experienced the highest number of weather and climate-related disasters in the world during the period 2000–2008 and suffered huge economic losses, accounting for the second highest proportion (27.5 per cent) of the total global economic loss. Flood mortality risk is heavily concentrated in Asia. Severe floods in Mumbai in 2005 have been attributed to both climatic factors and non-climatic factors.

Impacts of climate change on food production and food security in Asia will vary by region, with many regions to experience a decline in productivity. This is evident in the case of rice production. People living in low-lying coastal zones and flood plains are probably most at risk from climate change impacts in Asia. Half of Asia’s urban population lives in these areas. Compounding the risk for coastal communities, Asia has more than 90 per cent of the global population exposed to tropical cyclones, the report adds.

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