Over 9 crore Indians at risk of starvation due to climate change: Report

As per the report, average temperatures across India are projected to increase between 2.4°C and 4.4°C by 2100. Similarly, summer heatwaves are projected to triple or quadruple by 2100 in India.

Representational image. iStock photo

The impacts of climate change will put 9.06 crore Indians at risk of starvation in the next eight years, according to the 2022 Global Food Policy Report on ‘Climate change and food systems’ by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The report released on Thursday (12 May), said that by 2030, without climate change 7.39 crore Indians are at risk of starvation but when the effects of climate change are taken into account, the number rises to 9.06 crore.

However, as per reports, the same amount will drop from 9.06 crore to 4.49 crore in 2050. Without climate change, it would be 4.5 crore.

In South Asia, climate change is projected to reduce agricultural GDP through reduced crop yields, and increased consumer prices, with greater losses associated with higher rates of warming.

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By 2030, the number of hungry in developing countries will fall by 18.6 crore (36%) with investment without climate change while making the same investment under climate change reduces hunger by only 16.5 crore (28%), according to the report.

As per the report, the average temperature across India is projected to increase between 2.4°C and 4.4°C by 2100. Similarly, summer heatwaves are projected to triple or quadruple by 2100 in India.

A global study that takes into account extreme weather events estimates that, by 2050, the number of people at risk of starvation will increase by 11 to 20%, with South Asia (along with sub-Saharan Africa) at the greatest risk, and estimates that South Asia will need three double its current food reserves to offset the impact of such an event, he added.

The aggregate food production index without climate change will be 1.627 in 2030 and 2.164 in 2050, and with climate change impacts it will be 1.549 in 2030 and 2.003 in 2050. In 2010, it was 1.00.

Furthermore, speaking of the impacts of climate change, the IFPRI report says, “Climate change is a growing threat to our food system, with increasingly real impacts. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events, among other effects, have reduced agricultural yields and disrupted food supply chains. By 2050, climate change is expected to put millions of people at risk of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.”

Decrease in agricultural production in India

“The world is still far from achieving the emission reductions needed to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. While this goal remains viable, the longer we wait, the harder it will be to achieve it. For every tenth of a degree increase in global average temperature above 1.5°C, human and environmental costs are expected to increase at an increasing rate. For the foreseeable future, climate change will continue to disrupt food systems with greater frequency and severity, unless action is taken now,” he added.

The report raises concerns that with 2030 less than eight years away, meeting the goals of eliminating hunger and malnutrition presents formidable challenges, demanding new efforts to increase productivity and incomes to lift billions of people out of poverty.

In India, agricultural production data (1967–2016) for several crops show that average land productivity declines as average temperatures increase, and this effect accelerates at higher warming rates. Projections show India’s crop yields to fall by 1.8 to 6.6% by mid-century (2041–2060) and by 7.2 to 23.6% by end of century (2061–2080) under the mid-century scenario for climate change. Yield losses are projected to be higher in rainfed conditions, and yield losses to wheat and corn are projected to be higher than yield losses to rice, the report said.

‘Code Red for Humanity’

Johan Swinnen, Director General, IFPRI, and Global Director, System Transformation, CGIAR, said, “This year’s Global Food Policy Report on food system transformation and climate change echoes the grim warnings issued by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report recently. recently: as we continue to destroy the environment and push beyond the boundaries of our planet, we are entering ‘Code Red for Humanity’. The food system is inextricably linked to this unprecedented crisis, which threatens the food security, nutrition and health of billions of people.”

“Not only are our food systems severely affected by climate change, requiring an urgent focus on adaptation, but they also play a role in causing about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, with two-thirds of this resulting from agriculture, forestry and other land uses. Investing in the transformation of food systems is a key piece of the climate change puzzle, but is severely underfunded, with only a tiny fraction of climate finance directed towards this goal,” added Swinnen.

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