Climate Change Crisis

Manzoor Malik

Climate change, one of the complex problems, is being faced by the world, affecting livelihood of millions of people. India, stands at a higher risk due to adverse climatic conditions. Recent estimate shows that by 2020, pressure on India’s water, air, soil and forests will be higher. The crises of water shortage can affect a large section of population.

Excerpts:

 

A Complex Problem:

 

“Climate change is one of the most complex problems that we face in the current era. What was earlier believed to be just a health issue has resulted now as an existential threat, affecting livelihood of millions of inhabitants around the globe. The present situation will worsen further if the climate-related risks to health, food security, water supply, and green house gas (GHG) concentrations are not taken seriously. The unprecedented change is also risking and endangering our future generations which are a matter of grave concern. India is among the group of countries standing at higher risk due to adverse climatic conditions. A large group of people rely on the natural resource base for their livelihoods, particularly rainfall and forests, making it one of the most densely dependent populations in terms of economic activity. Agriculture uses more than 80 percent of water supplies despite contributing only 15 percent to total GDP. Nearly 100 million people of indigenous communities depend on the forest livelihoods, whereas energy sector is also highly reliable on natural resource base with 60 percent dependence on coal for total electricity generation. These factors push India at a greater risk than its neighboring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. Recent estimates show that by 2020, pressure on India’s water, air, soil, and forests will be highest in the world. The crises of water shortage will affect more than 500 million people in India mainly due to lack of access to drinking water and varying rainfall precipitation. This will be also due to the increasing pressure on ground water, which fulfils almost 70 percent of India’s irrigation needs and 80 percent of its domestic water supplies. World Bank projections predict that India’s water problems are likely to worsen, with more rain expected to fall in fewer days and the rapid melting of glaciers, especially in the western Himalayas. India’s emissions in absolute terms also makes it as one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases in the world contributing 12.5 per cent of total deaths in the country. Hence the human induced climate change is going to take an alarming state in the coming decade in the country.”

 

Climatic Conditions in J&K:

“Over the last few decades, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a huge variation in climatic conditions due to unprecedented snowfall, persistent rains followed by floods and increasing temperatures. These human induced changes have highly affected the socio-economic and livelihood pattern of people in the state particularly those living at the higher regions. These changes are well reflected through changing crop patterns, receding apple production, disasters like floods, landslides due to unlikely rains, long dry spells and the outbreak of vector borne diseases. According to vulnerability index designed by NMSHE to look at the climatic conditions of Himalayan region, Kashmir region is at higher risk with a value of 0.62 based on the scale of 1. Vulnerability index is designed to assess the climatic conditions based on socio-demographic, health and economic factors apart from measures like sensitivity to agricultural production, forest dependent livelihoods and availability of information services and infrastructure. Vulnerability index was computed for all the states in the Himalayan region and Jammu & Kashmir ranked 3rdonly behind Assam and Mizoram in the list of 12 states. The drivers resulting in vulnerability of state are mainly based on the factors such as road density, area under crop insurance, percentage of marginal farmer’s, livestock to human ratio, women in workforce, area under horticulture etc. These indicators are found to be highly sensitive and lacking any specific mitigation and adaptation approach. The destruction caused by climate change is observed across the state and the impact in near future is going to likely affect the increase in rainfall precipitation, loss of wetlands, food security, receding agricultural production and greater risk of calamities like floods and landslides. Hence these changes will likely affect the output production and the level of development in the state.”

 

[Courtesy: daily Rising Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmir, June 11, 2019].

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