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Government data reveal serious climate change threat to India

The report says rising temperature has a direct impact on rabi crops and every one degree celsius rise in temperature will reduce production by 4-5 mt

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Government data reveal serious climate change threat to India

India's carbon emissions constitute only a minuscule portion of the world total but the country will still face adverse effects of climate change, showed government data released on Friday.

According to statistics on climate change released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, India emits 1,146 million tonnes of carbon dioxide or 3.96 per cent of global emissions, but it faces significant changes to its weather pattern due to climate change.

The report, which comes days before the climate change meet in Paris, highlights the impact of climate change on India's agricultural sector. It says rising temperature has a direct impact on rabi crops and every one degree celsius rise in temperature will reduce wheat production by four to five million tonnes.

The data for drought, collected every five years, showed that in the past 130 years, the percentage area affected has shown a rising trend. The percentage was 46 per cent of the total area of the country in 2009.

The report said regional variations in monsoon rains showed a 10-12 per cent increase along the west coast, northern Andhra Pradesh and north-western India during the past century. However, a decreasing trend of six to eight per cent was observed over eastern Madhya Pradesh, North-Eastern India and some parts of Gujarat and Kerala.

An increase in surface air temperature was observed in the past century, while a warming trend dominated along the west coast, central India and interior parts of the southern peninsula. Temperatures have risen in the north-western and southern parts of the country.

On the rise in sea levels, the report says coral reefs in the Indian ocean and the fragile mangrove ecosystem in West Bengal are particularly at risk. Kavaratti, administrative capital of the Lakshadweep Islands, is at risk since it lies only two to five metres above the sea level. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated a mean sea level rise of one to two millimetres per year globally. This directly threatens 10 per cent of the world population - 634 million people who live on the land below 10 metres of elevation.

The report also notes a burgeoning population has resulted in myriad issues, which need to be addressed expediently. The total municipal solid waste generation in 59 major cities across the country stood at 50,000 tonnes a day in 2010-11.

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First Published: Sat, November 28 2015. 00:26 IST
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