The average temperature in India is expected to increase by 2.4 to 4.4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 and summer heatwaves are predicted to double or quadruple by that time, as per a survey published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Thursday, 21 July.
The latest report called The 2022 Global Food Policy Report stated that the average land productivity is decreasing with the increase in temperature. Annual mean temperature for South Asia region was predicted to rise by 1.2 to 4.3 degrees Celsius (under low- and high-emission scenarios), the new findings revealed.
Additionally, the report noted, “South Asia is a climate change hotspot, with many climate-induced risks compounded by significant existing vulnerabilities."
On Paris Agreement
Referring to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the report noted that although policy actions differ in different nations, the agreement was signed by all governments in the region.
However, it warned that South Asia is significantly lagging behind in terms of climate change reforms and mitigation in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic has also ensured a reduction in climate-related investments, it said.
Aditi Mukherji, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), said, “In South Asia, the average temperature rise has been a little less than the global average temperature because of the cooling effect of aerosols, including short-lived climate pollutants. But it has its own negative health and agricultural consequences.”
Noting that the future outlook is bleak, the report said that extreme events like intense heat, protracted droughts, and floods are occurring more frequently and with more intensity.
Both low and high temperature in South Asia have worsened since the 1980s with even more frequent episodes of dry spells and floods.
It said, “Notably in India, summer monsoon precipitation has shown declining trends over the last few decades, with larger decreases over the main breadbasket region of the Indo-Gangetic belt.”
Shahidur Rashid, Director-South Asia, IFPRI, warned that the impact of climate change will cause difficulties in meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger by 2030.
According to the report, food systems will require about $350 billion annually to achieve climate-related targets, much of which may be "reoriented" from existing sources.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times.)