If the rising prices of cereals and wheat was not enough, RK Pachauri, chairperson of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on Tuesday predicted steep fall in the production of wheat and cereals in India, thanks to the increasing global weather.
In case of winter temperature rise by just 0.5 degrees Celsius, the per hectare wheat production will fall by 0.45 tonnes. In India, the average per hectare production is 2.6 tonnes. Similarly, the production of cereals and many other agricultural crops will see a substantial fall, he said.
What's worse, he said, was that the total agricultural land will reduce and land may not remain suitable to grow the present crops in the future. "Farmers will have to look at the scenario for changing the crop suitable to weather," he said, while pointing that climate change can lead to major food security issues for country like India. "The loss of livelihood in rural India can lead to more slums in the cities," he said.
The UN second working report released last Friday also predicts huge coastal erosion by rising sea levels (about 40 cm) resulting from faster melting of glaciers in Himalaya Hindu-Kush ranges. "It can adversely affect half a million people in India because of excessive flooding in coastal areas and it can increase salinity of groundwater in Sunderbans and surface water in coastal areas," Pachauri said.
India's per capita water availability is expected to fall from 1820 million cubic metre per year in 2001 to 1140 in 2050. "The projected decrease in winter precipitation over the Indian sub-continent would reduce the total seasonal precipitation during December, January and February implying lesser storage and greater water stress," he said, while predicting more erratic monsoon.
Terming the government's response to be inadequate he sought more India oriented research on climate change impacts and a policy on its mitigation. The government, on its part, has formed a Task Force to study the impact of climate change in India and recommend necessary policy changes.