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In the long run, the climatic change could affect                                                   continuation of the cu...
technologies, which speed up and reduce water                          ecosystem, which provides the soil with everything ...
which live in the exceptional ecosystems formed by             Global warming, the prerequisite of climate change,
just 30 hours. Higher rainfall intensity means that                 and wetlands, are particularly at risk because
In the last few decades, India has seen its share of          These statistics clearly reveal that climate change
extreme ...
Training at the Alliance on November 21, 2009. The
audience was dynamic and consisted of persons of                       ...
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The Climate Project India Newsletter November Issue 09


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Monthly Issues - The Climate Project India

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The Climate Project India Newsletter November Issue 09

  1. 1. THE CLIMATE MONITOR !""#$%&'(%)*+$,-$.%'//0% % CLIMATE CHANGE & A study published in Science suggest that, due to climate change, “Southern Africa could lose more AGRICULTURE than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030. In South Asia losses of many regional staples, such as rice, Climate change and agriculture are interrelated millet and maize could top 10%". The 2001 IPCC globally. Global warming is projected to have Assessment Report concluded that the poorest significant impacts on agriculture, including countries would be hardest hit, with reductions in temperature, carbon dioxide, glacial run-off and crop yields in most tropical and sub-tropical regions precipitation. These conditions determine the due to decreased water availability. In Africa and capacity of the biosphere to produce food for human Latin America many rain fed crops are near their and animals and the overall effect of climate change maximum temperature tolerance, such that yields on agriculture will depend on the balance of these are likely to fall sharply for even small climate effects. changes. Rise, Fall and Potential of India's Traditional Water Harvesting System provides a comprehensive overview of India's millennia-old traditions of water harvesting. This book triggered a nationwide interest in community-based water management. Climate change is likely to affect crops differently from region to :;*<!!""#$%%&&&'#=-"/=;,>?;*@,>"=;->'0/(%;()8->%1*@;)ABCD)=(*;8'7#89 region. According to the UK Met 9 Office, average Various methodologies have been developed to crop yield is !""#$%%&&&'()*+,-.#/'0/(%123456%+)('7#89 measure the impact on agriculture. There is a link expected to drop starting with economic activity to greenhouse gas down to 50% in Pakistan whereas corn production in emissions and concentrations, radiative forcing, Europe is expected to grow up to 25%. More climate change, market and non-market impacts to favourable effects on yield tend to depend, to a large economic damages. Land use change such as extent, on realization of the potentially beneficial deforestation and desertification, together are the effects of carbon dioxide on crop growth and major anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide. increase of efficiency in water use. Decrease in potential yields is likely to be caused by shortening Despite technological advances, such as improved of the growing period, decrease in water availability varieties, genetically modified organisms and and poor vernalization. A yam are not just a food irrigation systems, weather is still a key factor in crop, but embraces a whole culture in it, like rice agriculture, soil properties and natural communities. cultures in Indonesia, Thailand and other rice The effect of climate on agriculture is related to growing communities, there is a whole lot more than variabilities in local climates rather than in global meets the eye. This puts pressure on forest areas, climate patterns. The earth's average surface as large families tend to make more than one temperature has increased by 1 degree F over the garden. In forest communities, the general thinking last century. Agronomist considers an assessment is that there are enough areas for gardening and so has to be individually considered for each local area. the traditional shifting agriculture is still a major Agriculture trade has grown enormously on a practice. So now the pressure is on yam growing national level. The international aspect of trade and communities and will need to look at new ways of security in terms of food implies the need to consider cultivating yams. This calls for massive the effects of climate change on a global scale. dissemination of new thinking and practices that are environmental friendly. 1
  2. 2. In the long run, the climatic change could affect continuation of the current retreat will eventually agriculture in several ways like productivity, in terms deplete the glacial ice and substantially reduce or of quantity and quality of crops; agricultural eliminate runoff. A reduction in runoff will affect the practices, through changes of water use and ability to irrigate crops and will reduce summer agricultural inputs such as herbicides, insecticides stream flows necessary to keep dams and reservoirs and fertilizers; environmental effects, particularly in replenished. According to a UN climate report, the relation to frequency and intensity of soil drainage Himalayan glaciers, principal dry-season water (leading to nitrogen leaching); soil erosion, reduction sources of Asia's biggest rivers - Ganges, Indus, of crop diversity; rural space, through the loss and Brahmaputra, Mekong, Salween and Yellow - could gain of cultivated lands, land speculation, land disappear by 2035. Approximately 2.4 billion people renunciation, and hydraulic amenities. Crops may live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers. become less competitive, as humans may develop India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, more competitive organisms, such as flood resistant Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods or salt resistant varieties of rice. Rapid climate followed by severe droughts. In India alone, Ganges change could harm agriculture in many countries, provides water to more than 500 million people. The especially those that are already suffering from west coast of North America, which gets its water rather poor soil and climate conditions, because from glaciers in mountain ranges like Rocky there is less time for optimum natural selection and Mountains would be affected. adaptation. Sweet potato, the world's seventh most important food crop, is extremely important to global food security, according to Experts. Yet very little genomic information is available in a form that sweet potato breeders can use to develop new varieties for enhanced nutrition or improved resistance to stresses brought about by climate change and adverse environmental conditions. In addition to creating genetic maps of sweet potato, Experts will use high-throughput DNA sequencer to develop sweet potato micro array for studying where, when and how certain genes are expressed, especially during stress, related to environmental factors such !""#$%%;>;=;)'E;F->'&/=@#=->>'0/(%BCCG%CH%8F)0;-=>'7#89 as drought. They are large uncertainties to uncover, particularly because there is lack of information that include the uncertainties on magnitude of climate change, the effects of technological changes on productivity, global food demands, and the numerous possibilities of adaptation. Most agronomists believe that agricultural production will be mostly affected by the severity and pace of climate change, not so much by gradual trends in climate. If change is gradual, there may be enough time for adjustments. In conclusion, climate change is expected to "##$%&&'''(#")*+,-./0))1(234&24&#")*+,-./0))1&,4+/)5&67&5'))#8$3#+#389+--84+0:)#8-/(;$/! increase temperatures, affect changes in precipitation, increase likelihood of floods, reduce Areas like Bangladesh, India and Vietnam will fresh water availability, impact on Coastal agriculture experience major loss of rice crop if sea levels are and promote outbreak of pests and diseases. expected to rise by the end of the century. We, especially in India, need to learn to live with less The continued retreat of glaciers will have a number water from technologies currently available from of different quantitative impacts. In areas that are such countries like Israel. We should introduce heavily dependent on water runoff from glaciers that energy efficient pumps, drip irrigation and growing melt during the warmer summer months, a seedlings such as for rice using hydroponics with 2
  3. 3. technologies, which speed up and reduce water ecosystem, which provides the soil with everything it required for such cultivation. needs for good fertility, through the actions of tree’s roots and litter. (Trees, crops and soil fertility; India has over 135,000 varieties of rice and many concept and research method, Par Goetz varieties are becoming extinct. There are special Schroth,Fergus L. Sinclair) varieties of rice such as deepwater floating rice and we need to learn how to preserve and grow such Put simply, if we conserve forests, we enable the varieties. water to penetrate the topsoil and to replenish groundwater, which is crucial to agriculture, instead We also need to encourage expertise and of allowing excessive evaporation from top soil. production of crops such as Drumsticks, Annual Moringa, Sweet potato, Yam and Dioscorea alata (a life saving crop), according to Prof. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. There are neglected crops for coping with climate change such as ragi and millet and these need attention. We need to prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best. If the Himalayan glaciers dry up by 2035, we should have an alternative plan in place for crops as well as for drinking water. !""#$%%&&&I'>,F-<!)'0/(%(>"/=-%)=-@-J%)FK,(>%@-E),F"%D/=->">ABCI'7#89 This is a collective challenge we have to face. Forests keep the rainfall from “washing” the soil away by their leaf cover and their roots and Mr. Kamal Meattle, TCP-India - Presenter therefore prevent soil erosion. By “keeping” this rainwater trapped in its soil, forests reduce flooding, FORESTS: AN ALLY AGAINST particularly during monsoon season, which would CLIMATE CHANGE lead to less groundwater and even more and intense floods. Forest conservation is a means to ensure India has a water supply and soil fertility to local farmers. long tradition of forest Soil erosion, while a natural phenomenon is protection, presently being exacerbated dramatically by human dating back activities, and can lead to brutal consequences like 142 years. landslides, earthquakes or volcanic activity (Vanoni, India’s Forest 2006). and Tree The causes of erosion are multiple: wind, water, Covers change in temperature or lack of vegetation. The !""#$%%&&&'8=,#/0=-0-='/=8%;()8->%>)#F;*8'7#89 account for consequences are an impoverished land and a loss 23.84% of the total geographical area of the country. of fertile soil. Deforestation in India was mainly caused because of excessive wood product industries. However for the The most noticeable effect of climate change directly last few decades, Indian forests have grown, at the impacting forests is rise in temperature, since it rate of 0.3 million hectares between 1997 and 2007, affects the lifecycle of plants and animals. This is adding to a total of 3.13 million hectares (State of called phenology. For the past 100 years, the the World’s Forests, 2009). Today, pressure is put average global temperature has risen by on these forests exploited for pulp, plywood, logging approximately 0.6° C (Nature 421, 2003), which has or timber. consequences on the cycles of plant blossom and production, as well as animal reproduction. Some of Forests are extremely vital for agriculture, climate them might not even survive the increase in and human welfare, mainly because they reduce the temperature and disappear. India already hosts loss of surface water. A forest is a balanced 2.9% of the world’s threatened species, many of 3
  4. 4. which live in the exceptional ecosystems formed by Global warming, the prerequisite of climate change, forests (Biodiversity Profile of India). accelerates the processes within the hydrologic cycle. Precipitation, evaporation and evapo- Because of climate change, droughts and floods will transpiration (evaporation of water from vegetative appear in unusual areas, causing ecological matter) processes are sped up, which by implication disasters in forests. India’s forest cover is going to effects water availability (Loaiciga et al., 1996). be greatly affected by climate change; some will Water supply for agriculture comes from two main disappear and some will mutate into tropical or moist sources within the hydrologic cycle, surface water forests, which will cause great damage to the fauna and groundwater. Surface water is stored in rivers, and flora that they host. wetlands and lakes and is replenished through precipitation and snow-melt. Ground water, also It is important to note that through photosynthesis, referred to as sub-surface water is stored forests act as a gigantic carbon reservoir. According underground, either in porous rock and soil material to a 2009 report by the ministry of Environment and just below the surface layer of the earth or in Forests of India “In India the total amount of carbon aquifers below the water table. The replenishment of stocked in forests rose up to 6,662 million tons in groundwater happens at much slower rates 2005. These CO2 sequesters compensate for compared with surface water. Infiltration is the 11.25% of India’s total GHG as emissions. This can primary method by which precipitated water filters also be appreciated as100% emissions from all through permeable surfaces of the earth to reach energy in residential and transport sectors; or 40% underground aquifers (Narasimham, 2009). of India’s agricultural sector’s emissions” (India’s forest and tree cover; Contribution as a carbon sink, 2009). Sustainable agriculture depends on forests and forests depend on sustainable agriculture. Forests play a great role in mitigating the effects of climate change, and it is clear that protecting them must be a high priority for us! Mathilde Bres, Volunteer, TCP-India HYDRO CLIMATIC CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE IN INDIA India’s water supply is already in high demand due Global per capita ground water availability to increased urbanisation, rapid industrialisation, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Freshwater availability: groundwater and river flow, UNEP/GRID- population growth and economic development. Arendal Maps and Graphics Library, availability-groundwater-and-river-flow (Accessed 8 September 2008). Added demand from agricultural expansion grossly heightens anthropocentric modification of the The implications of an accelerated hydrologic cycle hydrologic cycle. Climate change serves to add are however temporal and geographically variable. further pressure to India’s water sources, which Some areas, such as India’s Indo-Gangetic basin, without careful management could become are expected to receive increased surface water unsustainably challenged. Agriculture is particularly availability from increased snow-melt until the year vulnerable to climatic change because it is directly 2030. Thereafter, surface water reserves will dependent on weather conditions (Mall et al., 2006). gradually decline as sources of snow-melt are Adequate water supply is essential for the irrigation exhausted. Though rainfall in the Indo-Gangetic of most crops grown in India. It is also a mainstay of basin is likely to lessen, most other hydrologic India’s livelihood, agriculture supplies food for over basins are likely to experience greater precipitation. 1.16 billion people and contributes to over 17% of The increase in precipitation however, coincides with India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Kumar and greater rainfall intensity. Currently India’s total Parikhi, 2001) Because of the importance and annual rainfall occurs within only 100 hours during vulnerability of agriculture in India, sustainable water monsoon season. Hydro-climatic change could management is crucial for resiliency towards climate result in half of the predicted rainfall occurring within change and pressures from a growing population. 4
  5. 5. just 30 hours. Higher rainfall intensity means that and wetlands, are particularly at risk because surface water run off will be exaggerated (Shah, increased run-off will transport more pollutants at 2009). This raises flood risk because excessive run rates too fast to allow for natural filtration to reduce off can exceed the carrying capacity of most rivers, the contamination. Groundwater sources have a lakes and wetlands. Groundwater reserves are also better capacity to filter out pollutants, however once negatively affected by excess run off as it limits they become contaminated they are extremely replenishment through infiltration (Narasimham, difficult to decontaminate. Groundwater sources are 2009). particularly susceptible to seepage from organic chemicals used as pesticides in agriculture, which can be toxic even at very low quantities. Furthermore due to global sea level rise associated with climate change, groundwater supplies, specifically in coastal areas, are at risk of becoming contaminated by saltwater intrusion. Saltwater contamination of groundwater would render it unusable for both potable needs and agricultural irrigation (Loaiciga et al., 1996). Climate change coupled with pressures from population growth put water availability and water quality at risk. Integrated management of surface water and groundwater reserves is necessary to ensure agricultural pursuits are sustainable across geographic regions and throughout seasonal variations in India. Agricultural practices which limit !""#$%%&&&'@*='>")"-'&;',>%/=8%&)"-=%>&;(>%#!/"/>%)G0)'7#-89 the likelihood of water contamination are also The implication of such varied seasonal impacts primarily important in mitigating adverse effects of means that Indian agriculture will experience a climate change (Shah, 2009). range of potentially damaging effects. Kharif, or monsoon season crops, such as rice, will experience Jayme Thompson, Volunteer, TCP-India heightened risk of flooding during the monsoon season but are likely to experience drought ECONOMIC IMPACTS: conditions throughout the rest of the year. Winter and summer crops will be affected by greater evapo- AGRICULTURE AS A LIVELIHOOD transpiration, which means they will require more frequent irrigation (Kumar and Parikhi, 2001). Surface water will receive higher rates of replenishment through increased run off, but will also be susceptible to loss through increased evaporation. Groundwater sources may be less directly affected by climate change but because changes to surface water will be increasingly variable, the use of ground water will become more frequently exploited. This means that regions where groundwater is already in short supply are likely to face even greater scarcity (Mall et al 2006). Aside from variable water supply concerns, climate "##$%&&1)'5,4/(<<2(23(=:&4)*,+&,4+/)5&>?@>ABBB&;$/&C>?@>A>@DC,1*,+C<3*.C+$(;$/! change and population growth will also put at risk water quality. Both surface water and ground water It is no secret that agriculture forms the basis of our sources can be affected which will have disastrous livelihoods, and that climate change plays a major effects regarding potable use. Unsustainable role in the future of agricultural productivity. Whether agricultural practices can be held responsible for agriculture is a source of income, food or increases in effluent, nutrient and chemical employment, it forms the basis of our existence. contaminates entering vital water reserves. (Mall et However, as a result of climate change, the future of al 2006). Surface water catchments, lakes, rivers agriculture in India appears to be at risk. 5
  6. 6. In the last few decades, India has seen its share of These statistics clearly reveal that climate change extreme events in various forms – cyclones, floods and consequently extreme natural calamities will and droughts. Not only have these impacts directly have a drastic impact on agriculture. It is crucial that affected the farmers, but have also caused deaths, programs are undertaken in order to ensure that the massive destruction and displacement of numerous livelihood of the farmers is not severely affected. people from their homes. Keeping India’s geographic diversity in mind, different programs will be required to be implemented in various regions. For example, in drought prone areas, farmers require support and education to make a smooth transition to sustainable dryland farming on a large scale. By understanding and expanding into agro- forestry or livestock production, farmers can find a more resilient source of living. Furthermore, regular cycles of drought in these areas require farmers to shift to dryland crops so as to adapt to the extreme climatic conditions. In order to deal with the large debt that the farmers hold as a result of this drought, "##$%&&'''()2(/2(2+&EFGH8FIGE&BJKLLLMA8NK?A8>O?P8@Q?J8 they must look for alternate options. By encouraging APQLRM@MLRLA&2"P8*03=/"#SAODSAK(;$/! the start of new businesses or providing insurance According to the report, Climate Change Impacts in options, these farmers will be will be given Drought and Flood Affected Areas: Case Studies in opportunities to find new avenues by which they are India (June, 2008), it is clear that the damage able to sustain themselves. caused by climate change will have disastrous impact on crops. To bring this point home, take the Flood prone areas, on the other hand, require other example of Maharashtra - rainfall is expected to types of programs, for example providing the o increase by 20-30% with a 2.4-3.8 C rise in farmers with knowledge of rainfall-tolerant and temperature. On one hand, it is projected that this shorter duration crops that are more resilient to shift in rainfall and temperature increase will flooding. Aquaculture can be a great boon to increase the yield of dryland crops such as jowar, farmers, if consistent progress is made in the field. which will consequently increase farmers’ incomes Moreover, better planning could ensure that flood by 8-10%. On the other hand, yield of sugarcane is zoning is undertaken. In this way, the growing predicted to decline by as much as 30%, severely population will be able to make efficient use of the affecting farmers’ incomes in this area. In another land. drought prone part of the country, Andhra Pradesh, for example, farmers’ incomes are expected to These are just some of the various programs that plunge by 20% due to a shift in weather patterns. In can be undertaken to alleviate the damage done to this scenario, with small rain-fed farms in large parts the lives and livelihood of the farmers. Each extreme of the country, agriculture will no longer be able to event, whether a drought, flood or cyclone, brings sustain our large population. with it a great amount of damage – in the form of disaster-victims, damage to property or loss of The report also talks about flood prone Orissa, livelihood. where we have been seeing a consistent and dangerous rise in flood-waters. It is projected that While each of us might be doing our part to rice yield is expected to drop by 12%, causing contribute to reducing the effects of climate change, immeasurable losses to all those relying on this we must ensure that those who do not have the either directly or indirectly. available resources are provided with substantial aid to meet this challenge. The Economist reports that Uttar Pradesh, home to 185 million people, will be hit hard with rice Divya Shah, Analyst, TCP-India production expected to go down by 60%. With India’s primary reservoirs one-third below their CIVIL SOCIETY TRAINING seasonal average, wheat production will also be greatly affected. Water supply to major cities like This month, TCP-India in collaboration with Alliance Delhi will be dramatically impacted as well. Francaise, Mumbai held another Civil Society 6
  7. 7. Training at the Alliance on November 21, 2009. The audience was dynamic and consisted of persons of REFERENCES diverse backgrounds including, college students, journalists, entrepreneurs, professionals, and State of the World’s Forests 2009 (FAO) _ NGO’s. Centre for Ecological Science Bangalore _ The first half of the workshop kicked off with a Species friendly and intelligent repertoire about the science India’s Forest and Tree Cover: Contribution as a carbon sink: and Indian impacts of climate change delivered by TCP-India’s Presenters - Anokhi Parikh and Anuskha Pinto. During the second half of the day, Loaiciga, H, Valdes, J, Vogel, R, Garvey, J and Shwarz, H (1996) the guest speakers shook the audience into an Global Warming and the Hydrologic Cycle. Journal of Hydrology (174) awakening account of the state of India’s biodiversity pp 83-127 and waste management solutions. Dr. Anish Kumar, L and Parikhi, J (2001) Indian Agriculture and Climate Andheria from Sancutary Magazine, gave am awe Sensitivity. Global Environmental Change (11) pp 147-154 inspiring talk with much energy and enthusiasm as he regaled the audience with his own experiences Mall, R, Gupta, A, Singh, R, Singh, R and Rathmore, L (2006) Water and educated them about the plants and animals Resources and Climate Change: An Indian Perspective. Current Science (90) (12) pp 1610-1626 that make up India’s precious but vulnerable biodiversity. Mr Chetan Zaveri from IL&FS Ecosmart Narasimham, T (2009) Groundwater: from Mystery to Management. Ltd had much of the same effect on the audience as Environmental Research Letters (4) 035002 he explained how he completed the unfathomable task of transforming a landfill site into clean, green Shah, T (2009) Climate Change and groundwater: India’s opportunities for mitigation and adaptation. Environmental Research Letters (4) high profile real-estate. Bringing the day to a close, 03500 Anil Ranglani, from “Daily Dump” talked about a simple but effective solution to waste management ! that is easy implemented in your home and result ensure 100% separation of waste and recycling of your dry waste. NATURE WALK At the end of the Civil Society workshop, our guest speaker Dr. Anish Andheria offered the audience an opportunity to go on a nature walk to our very own Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which offer was received with great enthusiasm. The nature walk was held on December 6, 2009, and this fantastic experience allowed those who joined us to truly understand the importance of various elements of nature and the importance of our forests and the ec systems that it supports. 7