New Delhi: The impact of climate change and climate variability on the water resources is likely to affect India’s irrigated agriculture, installed power capacity, and environmental flows in the dry season and wet season, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
As part of its National Communication, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) conducted studies on the impact of climate change in India which are summarized in the ‘Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation’ chapter. Climate change scenarios were analysed using a high-resolution regional climate model. Simulations for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s indicate an all-round warming for the Indian subcontinent. Under the NAPCC missions, many research and development (R&D) projects have been supported in climate change studies across India to assess the impact of climate change on coastal vulnerability, health, agriculture and water.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha today, the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, also referred to studies on impact of climate change on agriculture conducted by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI)-ICAR and Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which indicated that the rice yield is expected to decline by 6.5 % in the near century (2021 – 2035). In addition, rainfed maize is expected to decline in yield.
Another study conducted by the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad on major pulse diseases (pigeon pea and chickpea) indicated variation in the occurrence of blight diseases in different seasons in future climate scenarios.
Moreover, the horticulture sector is likely to be severely affected due to unseasonal rains and temperature variations. The drought, flooding, and hailstorms, associated with global warming can prove disastrous to farmers engaged in horticulture cropping. Besides, increasing temperature is likely to impact livestock production and health resulting in a decline in productivity in terms of milk, meat, wool and draught power.
As per the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, climate change impacts several crops, natural resources, livestock and fisheries. In the absence of the adoption of adaptation measures, climate change projections are likely to reduce rainfed rice yields by 20% in 2050 and 47% in 2080 scenarios while, irrigated rice yields by 3.5% in 2050 and 5% in 2080 scenarios, wheat yield by 19.3% in 2050 and 40% in 2080 scenarios, kharif maize yields by 18 to 23% in 2050 and 2080 scenarios. The projected effect on rainfed sorghum is a reduction of yield by 8% in the 2050 scenario, and climate change is projected to impact mustard negatively with seed yield reduction of up to 7.9% in 2050 and up to 15% in 2080 scenarios.
The kharif groundnut yields are projected to be increased by 7% in the 2050 scenario whereas in the 2080 scenario, the yield is likely to decline by 5%. It is also found that future climate scenarios are likely to benefit chickpeas with an increase in productivity. Soybean yields are projected to increase by 8% in 2030 and 13% in 2080 scenarios.
It may be mentioned that to meet the challenges of sustaining domestic food production in the face of changing climate, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and the Government of India launched a flagship network project ‘National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture’ (NICRA) in 2011.
Referring to the project, Choubey said that the project aimed to develop and promote climate-resilient technologies in agriculture which would address vulnerable areas of the country. He said the outputs of the project would help the districts and regions prone to extreme weather conditions like droughts, floods, frost, heat waves, etc. to cope with such extremes.
The project is implemented through components such as strategic research, technology demonstration, dissemination and capacity building in 151 clusters of villages in each one of the identified climatically vulnerable districts.
The programme is being implemented in 446 villages involving an area of about 2,71,605 hectares with 2,31,421 households distributed in 28 States and one Union Territory. Demonstrations of proven technologies (location-specific) were given to farmers to enhance adaptive capacity and cope with current climatic variability. The interventions are divided into natural resource management, crop production, livestock and fisheries and the creation of institutional structures.
The Minister informed that 34 States/Union Territories (UTs) have prepared their State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) in line with the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) taking into account the state-specific issues relating to the change. He said under the NAPCC missions, several R&D projects have been supported in climate change studies across India to assess the impact on coastal vulnerability, health, agriculture and water.
Moreover, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) coordinated and implemented two national missions, the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, and the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC), as part of the NAPCC. Under both missions, a large number of R&D projects have been supported in climate change studies to assess the impact on sectors like Health, agriculture and water and to come up with coping adaptation strategies.
Choubey mentioned that India has always emphasized that climate change is a global collective action problem and requires international cooperation for its solution.
“India is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol (KP), and the Paris Agreement (PA). India is also a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),” he pointed out. He also referred to reports from various sources including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighting that the challenges faced due to global warming are mainly due to cumulative historical and current greenhouse gas emissions of the developed countries.
He said even though, India is not part of the problem, “it has done far more than its fair share” in addressing climate change. He said the Government of India was committed to combating climate change through its several programmes and schemes including the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)/State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) which comprises missions in specific areas of solar energy, energy efficiency, water, sustainable agriculture, health, Himalayan ecosystem, sustainable habitat, Green India, and Strategic knowledge for climate change. The NAPCC provides an overarching framework for all climate actions.
He also referred to India taking a proactive lead in promoting international collaborations through the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)and Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy(LT-LEDS) are determined by the countries themselves and communicated to the UNFCCC. In keeping with this, India, he said, submitted its updated NDCs on August 26, 2022, and submitted its long-term low-carbon development strategy on November 14, 2022.
– global bihari bureau