Environment Current Affairs

Climate change costs India $10 billion every year: Government

In its recent report, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has observed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually. It also observed that climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century.

It also mentioned that the extreme weather events are not always linked to climate change but their frequency and severity is increasing and this is being increasingly read as fallout of climate change.

Impact of Climate change on agriculture

Decrease in Productivity

The productivity of major crops will be marginal in the next few years but it could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather. Major crops such as wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years.

It will force farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. It could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk. Adaptation to climate change will need different cropping patterns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.

Food Security

Vulnerability of Indian agriculture due to vagaries associated with climate change and low adaptation capacity of majority of Indian farmers poses risk to food security of the country. By 2030, India may need 70 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17.

The demand for food is also going to increase due to an increasing population, expanding urbanisation and rising income.  To meet increasing demand, India to depend on import if it does not act on time to increase production and productivity of major food crops, pulses, oilseeds and milk by adapting to climate change.

Projected food demand

The ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes (MT) by 2030- almost 30% higher than in 2011. The projected demands for fruits, vegetables, milk, animal products (meat, eggs and fish), sugar and edible oil, by 2030 is estimated to be 2-3 times more than that in 2011.

Economic Losses

According to the economic survey estimates, India currently incurs losses of about $9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured. The quantum of losses are going to increase substantially in future if one takes into account the impact of climate change on farm productivity.

Improve in Yields

Though there is possibility of decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas due to climate change but it may increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern. Though most crops will see reduced production, but climate change may also help improve yields of soyabean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut (western coast) and potato (in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh).

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Government launches Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign.

The campaign was launched with an aim to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution. 

Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign

The campaign aims at enlightening the children about harmful fire crackers. It will motivate children to not to buy fire crackers, instead buy a gift, food items, or sweets for poor and underprivileged children living in their locality. Under this campaign, the MoEFCC will undertake various activities for creating awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.

Some of the activities will include promoting Green Diwali among school children include stickers/logo distribution, advertisement on public ransport systems, poster competition, public appeal using Radio. Social media campaign will be also undertaken uder it. Moreover an online video competition will be conducted, where any individual or organisation can make a video on the theme ‘Pollution Free Diwali’. 

Background

The weather after the post 2016 Diwali celebrations in Delhi and NCR saw extreme pollution due to excessive bursting of crackers. The adverse air pollution in Delhi and NCR had reached beyond permissable levels that led Government to declare emergency situation in the national capital, which led to closing down of schools, construction sites and power stations.

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