Few months before I was attending a conference on smart agriculture with focus on climate change – climate resilient crops. Amidst of controversies laying around the climate change, this was timely. We have heard that few world leaders have called climate change a hoax. The earth’s atmosphere keeps cooling and heating over several centuries, as if it is a natural cycle, and self interest groups are creating mess. This is what a section of public feels. Funding related to climate change has gone down. Before, you take a stance, I would like you to first see this movie before going any further (available on Youtube).
Must Watch Movie on Climate Change : An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore (2006).
Now, that you have seen the movie, lets face the facts:
- CO2 (the green house gas) concentration has reached 406ppm and will reach 634ppm by the end of this century. Thus, CO2 level has increased by over 35% in the past 200 years. For every 1C temperature rise, crop yield is estimated to be reduced by 5%.
- Agriculture is the most sensitive sector to climate change. There may be 12% less than average rainfall in the coming years.
- Drought will be a fairly common phenomenon. Now, drought is happening once in every 3 – 5 years, whereas during pre-independence era, drought happened once in 12 years.
- Long lived natural pools such as soils, perennial green biomass and forest acts as sinks for reducing carbon foot print. However, these pools are decreasing and many forest species are becoming extinct.
- Coping with adverse impact of climate change need careful management of natural resources like soil, water and electricity.
- Increase in temperature could reduce crop growth periods, alter photosynthetic processes, effect pest populations, and nutrient loss in soils.
- Rise in temperature will be good for some crops like soybean, and mixed (sorghum and millets) and bad (rice and wheat) for others but water scarcity will be the spoilsport.
- Studies conducted in Himalayan regions confirmed that shifting pattern of crop cultivation, thus effecting rural population and their livelihood.
- Enhanced frequency and duration of extreme weather events such as flood, drought, cyclone, cold and heat wave may adversely affect agricultural productivity.
- However, rise in temperature may decrease cold waves, and frost events leading to reduced damage to frost-sensitive crops such as chickpea, mustard, potato and other vegetables.