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Indian Economy After Independence Essays On Global Warming

Global warming is understood as the rise in average global temperature, with thisrisebeing attested by various evidences over the past 150 years (Fulekar, Pathak, & Kale, 2013). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that climatic changes caused by global warming is affecting almost all aspects in the world like agriculture, energy, coastal structures and rainwater harvesting, among others (Mendelsohn, Dinar, & Sanghi, 2001). The impact of this change in temperature is global and many country-centric or region-centric studies have been conducted over the years to study the phenomenon. With regard to agriculture, global warming mainly affects its production by altering the agro-ecological zones, which intensifies drought or flood or causes precipitation and temperature variance (Rajeevan, 2013).There are several acclaimed researchers who assert that agriculture in developing countries will face bigger repercussions and lose more from the impact of global warming as compared to the developed countries (Cline, 2007; Sahai, 2010). The fact is temperature in most developing countries is at a lower altitude and further global warming will only reduce their agricultural productivity, ‘as much as 40%’ as a result of the lower elevation (Sahai, 2010). Developing countries have also lesser capacity to cope with such changes and to come up with methods and tools to combat global warming in order to improve agricultural productivity remains unlikely at present. In addition to this predicament, agriculture constitutes a larger fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as compared to the developed countries, making them more vulnerable to loss in a larger proportion (Cline, 2007; Sanghi, Mendelsohn, & Dinar, 1998).

How rise in temperature will affect crops in India?

Developing countries like India lie in tropical and sub-tropical zones and practice various cropping patterns in different climatic zones, which will be adversely affected by global warming. Over the past 25 years, notable changes in climate have been observed in northern India during the rabi cropping season, where there is change in temperature of 1°C or more, affecting agricultural production in return (Prasada, Rao, & Rao, 2010). Wheat-growing regions in Punjab and Haryana have experienced temperature rise as high as 2.3 – 4.5°C, affecting the regional production of this major crop (Prasada et al., 2010). Studies by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) show that every rise in 1°C reduces wheat production in India by 4-5 million tons (Jiang, 2012). Other crops such as rice are also experiencing severe loss in productivity owing to climate change. Global warming has also initiated an unpredictable weather system, where semi-arid regions in Western India are experiencing unusual rainfall. Areas like Chattishgarh have been receiving lesser amount of rainfall and untimely rainfall in the last few years (Prasada et al., 2010). This has affected the rice crop in the region. Changes in temperature and rise in Greenhouse Gases are also leading to frequent cyclonic activities in the coastal areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra, destroying standing crops, and also causing inundation and salinisation (Prasada et al., 2010).  Areas like Rajasthan are experiencing decline in pearl millet and Madhya Pradesh is likely to experience decrease in soybean production if temperature and carbon dioxide increase together in the atmosphere at the same time. Global warming has also led to change in soil (changing the moisture content), frequent drought and floods and rise in weeds and pests, thus affecting agricultural production. In terms of soil and change in fertility, historical evidence along with present regional statistics and scientific fertility experiment shows that regions like the Indo-Gangetic plain (once the most fertile region) have shown significant decline in its rice yields in the past few years (Agarwal & Sivakumar, 2010).

Impact of global warming on the quality of produce

Since the Indian population is increasingly becoming dependent on wheat and rice, Greenhouse Gases impact on these crops’ production will definitely affect the food security of the nation. Hunger and poverty will loom larger than it is expected with such complicated climatic changes in the near future. Thus, global warming and change in climate and its impact on agricultural productivity is a serious concern for India, which is mitigating the risks through ‘food security’ for every household(Agarwal & Sivakumar, 2010; Deevi & Biswas, 2011; Prasada et al., 2010). The impact of global warming on agricultural productivity by 2080s’ has been predicted to undergo many changes as shown in Table I. Food crops have not been affected in terms of yield and quantity, but global warming has also been found to affect the quality of food crops.  For instance, the nutritional value of cereals has been detected as undergoing deterioration (Agarwal & Sivakumar, 2010), which in turn affects the nutritional security of the country. Cereal constitutes one of the primary diet, and the increasing carbon dioxide concentration and rise in temperature plays no justice for such crops. When the rise in temperature causes increase in pests and weeds, usage of pesticides and insecticides increases, which leads to change in soil, yield and quality of the crop. Cold waves are also expected to rise due to melting of ice, which will affect the production quality of guava, eggplants, tomato, potato, etc. Most importantly, the decrease in food productivity, quality of food and rise in poverty has led to increasing farmer suicides in India. In a report released by the National Crime Records Bureau and others, it is recorded that Maharashtra has the worst record for farmer suicides (National Crime Records Bureau, 2012; Tiwary, 2014). From 1995-1999, Maharashtra saw 10,000 farmers committing suicide, with as much as 3786 suicides in 2012 alone.

Table I: Impact of Global Warming by 2080s on Indian Agricultural Productivity Source: (Cline, 2007, p. 50).

RegionPresentClimateImplied Constant K for other variablesFuture Climate

Change in Log

Present Change
Net RevenueOutput
Northeast2.10069.3625-0.3408-2.441-91.3-60.9
Northwest-236784.8941-4.39922.031-86.9-57.9
Southeast-4.55162.7103-51900-0.633-46.9-31.3
Southwest-4.30512.9568-5.1085-0.803-55.2-36.8

Agriculture- climate sensitive models

With increasing concentration of Greenhouse Gases, the situation of Indian agricultural productivity does not see positive results in current and the near future scenario, unless the country adopts effective methods and measure to combat the increasing Greenhouse Gases. A comprehensive and critical evaluation of the impact of global warming on agriculture is required in order to determine how changes in climate affect agricultural productivity, and how it can be redressed.Some agriculture-climate sensitive models have been proposed by some scholars over the years, among which the frequently quoted model by various economists, agriculturists and other scholars’ alike, is the Ricardian model on ‘cross-sectional technique’ (Ricardo, 1821, pp. 55-75). This cross-sectional technique looks into how there exist and empirical relationship between ‘land values and climate’. The method’s analysis is that ‘land values’ which is determined by soil, geographical location and climate ultimately reflects the long term productivity of the land. Ricardian models indicate that agricultural productivity experiences improvement when the weather moves from cold to warm, and the productivity deteriorates when it moves from warm to hot, thus attesting the negative impact of global warming. By contextualizing this model, people can work towards improving the climatic condition, which will in turn increase the soil productivity.The ‘Mendelsohn-Dinar-Sanghi model’ which attributes technology as bringing climatic change and majorly affecting the agricultural productivity, can also be noted by using more environmental friendly technologies.

References

  • Agarwal, P. K., & Sivakumar, M. V. K. (2010). Global Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia: An Adaptation and Mitigation Framework. In R. Lal, M. V. Sivakumar, A. H. M. M. R. M. A. Faiz, & K. R. Islam (Eds.), Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Cline, W. R. (2007). Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country. Washington D.C.: Peterson Institute.
  • Deevi, K. C., & Biswas, S. (2011). Organic Input Production and Marketing in India Efficiency, Issues and Policies (CMA Publication No. 239). New Delhi: Allied Publishers.
  • Fulekar, M. H., Pathak, B., & Kale, R. K. (2013). Environment and Sustainable Development. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Jiang, X. (2012). Legal Issues for Implementing the Clean Development Mechanism in China. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Mendelsohn, R., Dinar, A., & Sanghi, A. (2001). The effect of development on the climate, 6, 85–101.
  • National Crime Records Bureau. (2012). Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2012. ADSI Report Annual – 2012.
  • Prasada, G. S. L. H. V., Rao, V. U. M., & Rao, G. G. S. N. (2010). Climate Change and Agriculture Over India. New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
  • Rajeevan, M. (2013). Climate Change and its Impact on Indian Agriculture. In P. K. Shetty, S. Ayyappan, & M. S. Swaminathan (Eds.), Climate Change and Sustainable Food Security. Bangalore.
  • Ricardo, D. (1821). On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation. London: John Murray.
  • Sahai, S. (2010, July). Climate change and food security | Agricultural revival |. Infochange Agenda.
  • Sanghi, A., Mendelsohn, R., & Dinar, A. (1998). The Climate Senitivity of Indian Agriculture. In A. Dinar (Ed.), Measuring the Impact of Climate Change on Indian Agriculture, Volumes 23-402. Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications.
  • Tiwary, D. (2014, August). NDA, UPA failed to curb farmer suicides – The Times of India. The Times of India. New Delhi.

Pamkhuila Shaiza

Research analyst at Project Guru

Shaiza worked as a Lecturer inKannur University, Kerala before, but after deeming it as boring and monotonous work, she turned herself to writing. She is an enthusiastic writer on 'entomophagy'.

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Global warming will cost the world economy more than £1.5 trillion a year in lost productivity by 2030 as it becomes too hot to work in many jobs, according to a major new report.

In just 14 years' time in India, where some jobs are already shared by two people to allow regular breaks from the heat, the bill will be £340bn a year.

China is predicted to experience similar losses, while other countries among the worst affected include Indonesia (£188bn), Malaysia (£188bn) and Thailand (£113bn).

The figures were published in a research paper launched at a forum on how to reduce the risks of severe weather events held in Kuala Lumpur by the United Nations University and UN Development Programme.

Other papers highlighted the risk of increasingly heavy rain helping to spread diseases by expanding insect-breeding sites, driving rodents from their burrows and contaminating freshwater supplies; a decline in air quality caused by fires and dust storms; and more floods, mudslides, drought and high winds.

Dr Tord Kjellstrom, author of the paper on the effect of ‘heat stress’ on the economy, told The Independent: “The effect of heat on people’s daily lives and particular on their work has not been given enough attention.

“If you are physically active in work, the hotter it is, the slower you work. Your body adapts to the heat and in doing that it protects you from the heat.

“For individual countries, even within a short timespan, the losses due to the increasing heat can be in the many billions.”

Dr Kjellstrom, of the Health and Environment International Trust in New Zealand, said the increases in temperature until about 2050 were already inevitable.

Ludovico Einaudi plays the piano as Arctic melts around him

However he said reducing emissions now could still have a significant impact after that date.

“Beyond 2050, it will make a big difference if we take action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally,” Dr Kjellstrom said.

However he said some countries appeared to be planning simply to cope with the coming changes, rather than try to prevent them.

“A lot of countries have focussed in the last few years on adaptation with the impression that we can find methods to adjust to the future changes in climate … and protect people and protect our societies,” he said.

“I think personally that the need for mitigation, which means to reduce climate change, has not been given enough focus.

“It’s quite urgent because the action needs to be taken now, not 40 years from now.”

The Paris climate summit last year was hailed as a success with countries committing to keep the amount of warming as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as possible. The world has already seen nearly 1C of warming.

However the effect of the actions promised by individual states could allow a rise of 3.1C by 2100.

Anthony Capon, director of the UN University’s International Institute for Global Health, said he hoped the research presented at the forum would “help improve understanding … of the threat climate change poses to hard-won advances in human health worldwide”.

"It is not clear yet whether considerations of health and sustainability will overrule the press of economic progress in coming decades, and ethical considerations surrounding the right to development are thorny indeed,” he said.

“Decisions made today will have a profound impact on health around the world for many decades to come.”

In an introduction to the papers, published in a special edition of the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, Professor Jamal Hashim and Dr José Siri, both of the UN University, wrote that humanity was facing “substantial health risks from the degradation of the natural life support systems which are critical for human survival”. 

But they added: “It has become increasingly apparent that actions to mitigate environmental change have powerful co-benefits for health."

Professor Jamal said the Asia-Pacific region was already seeing more extreme weather events, as predicted by models of climate change.

“It doesn’t look like carbon emissions will reduce significantly in the near future too we may be talking about a further increase in global temperature,” he said.

“I think we will be seeing more and more of this [extreme storms]. How severe and how extreme is anybody’s guess, but we have to be prepared.”

However Professor Jamal added that there were some reasons for optimism.

“I think there’s less argument now about whether there actually is climate change,” he said.

“At last we are over the stage of quarrelling about whether there actually is climate change."

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