Partitioning of CH4 and CO2 production originating from rice straw, soil and root organic carbon in rice microcosms

Partitioning of CH4 and CO2 production originating from rice straw, soil and root organic carbon in rice microcosms
Author(s): Quan Yuan, Judith Pump, Ralf Conrad
Source: PLoS ONE | November 5, 2012

Flooded rice fields are an important source of the greenhouse gas CH4. Possible carbon sources for CH4 and CO2 production in rice fields are soil organic matter (SOM), root organic carbon (ROC) and rice straw (RS), but partitioning of the flux between the different carbon sources is difficult. We conducted greenhouse experiments using soil microcosms planted with rice.

http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObjectAttachment.action;jsessionid=57CCBF742B732BA8A41EB07736ED366E?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0049073&representation=PDF

Climate Change and Indian Agriculture – Implications & Way Forward

Study team: Ramanjaneyulu, Chandrashekar

Indian agriculture ails today. As against a 7- 8% growth rate of economy in the last few years, agriculture and allied sectors in the last decade and half have registered a much lower growth trajectory and face stagnation. With per capita food availability at a low point and land alienation at a high point, the magnitude of food insecurity manifests itself in varied ways to multiply distress for our poor and excluded people.

The current study is a small beginning for ActionAid India to understand the climate and agriculture from the perspective of small and marginal farmers. The study was conducted in three drought-prone regions of India- Anantapur of Andhra Pradesh, Balangir of Odisha and Bundelkhand regions of Uttar Pradesh.

Field researchers, using participatory methodologies, interviewed 1000 marginal and small farmers, spent time understanding their perspectives and have then compiled the major findings from the field.

This study has attempted a possible adaptation framework for climate change vis-à-vis agriculture.

Climate Change and Indian Agriculture – Implications & Way Forward

రైతాంగంపై వాతావ‘రణం’!

భూవాతావరణంలో వస్తున్న పెనుమార్పుల ప్రభా వం మనకు నిత్యమూ అనుభవంలోకి వస్తూనే ఉంది. వ్యవసాయం ప్రధానంగా వాతావరణంపై ఆధారపడి సాగే ఉత్పత్తి కార్యకలాపం. నిజానికి వాతావరణంలోని మార్పులు, వ్యవసాయం పరస్పరం ప్రభావాన్ని నెరపుతుంటాయి. వాతావరణంలోని మార్పు ల ప్రభావాన్ని తక్కువగా అంచనావేయడం తరచుగా జరుగుతోంది. అలాగే వాతావరణంపై వ్యవసాయం కలుగజేస్తున్న మార్పులను కూడా చిన్నచూపు చూస్తు న్నాం. అందువల్లనే సాధారణంగా వాతావరణ మార్పులకు అనుగుణమైన వ్యవసాయ పద్ధతులు, సాంకేతిక పరిజ్ఞానం చుట్టూనే చర్చలు సాగుతుం టాయి. నిజంగానే వాతావరణ మార్పులకు అనువైన సేద్య పద్ధతులను రూపొందించాలన్నా, అమలు చేయాలన్నా ముందుగా వ్యవసాయం, వాతావరణాల మధ్య పరస్పర ప్రభావ సంబంధాలను సమగ్రంగా అర్థం చేసుకోవడం అవసరం. భారత రైతాంగం ఇప్పటికే అనుభవిస్తున్న జీవావరణ, ఆర్థిక, సామాజిక రాజకీయ సంక్షోభపు విశాల నేపథ్యం నుంచి వాటిని అవగాహన చేసుకోవడం అంతకంటే అవసరం.

వ్యవసాయానికి, వాతావరణ మార్పులకు మధ్య సంబంధం త్రిముఖమైనది. ఒకటి, వృక్ష, జంతు, జీవప్రక్రియలపై వ్యవసాయంలోని మార్పులు కలుగజేసే ప్రత్యక్ష ప్రభావం. రెండు, నేలలోనూ, నేలలోని తేమలోనూ వచ్చే మార్పులు, చీడపీడలూ, వ్యాధులూ తదితర వ్యవసాయ జీవావరణ సంబంధమైన మార్పులు. మూడు భూతాపం పెరుగుదలతో వాతావరణంలో వస్తున్న మార్పుల రీత్యా ఎదురవుతున్న సవాళ్లను ఎదుర్కోవడంలో ప్రత్యేకించి గ్రామీ ణ ప్రాంతాలలో ప్రస్తుతం ఉన్న సామాజిక, ఆర్థికసంస్థల శక్తిసామర్థ్యాలు.

వ్యవసాయంపై వాతావరణ మార్పుల ప్రభావం

వాతావరణ మార్పులు దేశవ్యాప్తంగా పలు విధాలుగా రూపు తీసుకుంటాయి. ప్రాంతీయమైన తేడాలున్నా దేశవ్యాప్తంగా పలుచోట్ల వేసవిలో వర్షపాతం పెరగడం, మొత్తంగా వర్షం కురిసిన రోజుల సంఖ్య తగ్గడం కనిపిస్తోంది. ఇక ఉష్ణోగ్రతలకు సంబంధించి గత వందేళ్లలో 0.6 డిగ్రీల సెల్సియస్ పెరుగుదల మాత్రమే ఉంది. కానీ 2100 నాటికి ఉష్ణోగ్రతలో పెరుగుదల 3.5 నుంచి 5 డిగ్రీల సెల్సియస్ వరకు పెరగవచ్చని అంచనా. బొగ్గుపులుసు వాయువు సాంద్రత మాత్రం ఏడాదికి 1.9 పీపీఎం మేర పెరుగుతోంది. 2050 నాటికి అది 550 పీపీఎంలకు చేరుతుంది. అతి వేడి, అతి శీతల గాలులు, దుర్భిక్షాలు, వరదలు వంటి అసాధారణ వైపరీత్యాలు ఇప్పటికే మన అనుభవంలోకి నిత్యం వస్తూనే ఉన్నాయి. భారత వ్యవసాయం ప్రధానంగా వర్షాధారం. వాతావరణ మార్పుల కారణంగా వర్షపాతంలో మార్పులు సంభవిస్తాయని పరిశోధనలు ఎప్పుడో తేల్చి చెప్పాయి. రుతుపవనాలు, వాతావరణం, నీటి వనరుల మధ్య సన్నిహిత సంబంధం ఉంది. ఉదాహరణకు దేశంలో మొత్తంగా పంట వేసిన ప్రాంతంలో మూడింట రెండువంతులు క్షామపీడిత ప్రాంతమని, 4 కోట్ల హెక్టార్లు వరదలకు గురయ్యే ప్రాంతమని అంచనా. వాతావరణ మార్పుల తాకిడికి ఎక్కువగా గురయ్యేది నిరుపేద రైతులే. వాళ్లు ప్రధానంగా వర్షాధార భూములపైనా, చేపల పెంపకంపైనా ఆధారపడి ఉంటారు. పైగా వారి భూములు నిస్సారమైనవిగా, వరదలకు గురయ్యేవిగా ఉంటాయి. వాతావరణ మార్పులను తట్టుకోగలిగిన ఆర్థిక స్థోమత వారికి ఉండదు.

వాతావరణంలోని మార్పుల ఫలితంగా నేలలోని జీవసేంద్రియ పదార్థాలు, తేమ స్థాయి తగ్గుతుంది. భూసారం కొట్టుకుపోతుంది. ఫలితంగా పంట స్వభావంలో మార్పులు సంభవిస్తాయి. నైట్రోజన్, ప్రొటీన్‌లస్థాయి తగ్గి, ఎంజైమ్‌లస్థాయి పెరుగుతుంది. వరిలో జింకు, ఇనుము శాతం తగ్గి, జంతువుల పునరుత్పత్తి క్షీణిస్తుంది. దీంతో చీడపీడలు పెరిగిపోతాయి. క్లుప్తంగా చెప్పాలంటే భూతాపం పెరగడం వల్ల నీరు ఆవిరై, వాతావరణంలో సగటు ఆవిరి పెరుగుతుంది. రుతుపవన సంవిధానంలో గణనీయమైన మార్పులు చోటుచోసుకొని సుదీర్ఘమైన వర్షాభావానికి, కుంభవృష్టికి దారితీస్తాయి. తుఫానుల క్రమంలోనూ మార్పులు వస్తాయి. ఫలితంగా చీడపీడలు, తెగుళ్లు, వ్యాధికారక క్రిములు విస్రృతంగా ఒక చోటి నుంచి మరో చోటికి వ్యాప్తి చెందుతాయి.

చీడపీడలు, తెగుళ్లు, వ్యాధుల సంబంధమైన మార్పులు

వ్యవసాయ జీవావరణ వ్యవస్థలలో నేల, మొక్కలు, జంతువుల మధ్య నిరంతర సంసర్గం, చలనశీలమైన సమతూకం అవసరం. ఈ జీవావరణ వ్యవస్థ సమతూకంలో వచ్చే మార్పులతోపాటూ చీడపీడలు, వ్యాధులలో కూడా మార్పులు రావడం కనబడుతుంది. పంటల పద్ధతులు, చీడపీడల నివారణ పద్ధతులలోని మార్పుల మూలంగా హానికరమైన, మేలుచేసే క్రిమికీటకాల మధ్య సహజమైన సమతూకం దెబ్బతినిపోతుంది. వాతావరణ మార్పులు నేరుగా చీడపీడలు పెరగడానికి దోహదం చేస్తాయి.
జీవరాశి అంతా అత్యంత పరిమితమైన ఉష్ణోగ్రతా పరిధుల మధ్యనే మనుగడ సాగించగలుగుతుంది. ఆవశ్యకమైన ఉష్ణోగ్రతా పరిధుల తర్వాత కొంత అవధి దాటిన వెంటనే ఆయా జాతుల మనుగడకు ముప్పు ఏర్పడుతుంది. సాధారణంగా హానికారకమైన క్రిమికీటకాలు, చీడ పీడలకంటే వాటిని ఆశించిబతికే మేలుకలుగజేసే క్రిమికీటకాలకు ఉష్ణోగ్రతలోని హెచ్చుతగ్గులను తట్టుకునే శక్తి తక్కువగా ఉంటుంది. ఉదాహరణకు, పచ్చదోమకు, దాన్ని ఆశించి బతికే పరాన్నభుక్కు సూక్ష్మ క్రిమికి మధ్య ‘తెగులు-సహజ శత్రువు’ సంబంధం ఉంది. పచ్చదోమకు దాని సహజ శత్రువుకంటే 17 రెట్లు ఎక్కువగా అధిక ఉష్ణోగ్రతను తట్టుకోగల శక్తి ఉంది.
నేలకు సంబంధించిన క్రిమికీటకాలు చాలావరకు పొడి వాతావరణంలోనే బతుకుతాయి. అవి మొక్కల నుంచి స్వీకరించే ఆహారంతో పాటే వాటికి నీరు కూడా లభిస్తుంది. పంటలకు వచ్చే తెగుళ్లను నివారించడంలో ఈ క్రిమికీటకాలు కీలక పాత్రను నిర్వహిస్తాయి. అయితే అసాధారణమైన వేడిగాలి, వర్షాభావం వాటికి ప్రాణాంతకంగా మారుతుంది. తెలంగాణలోని గత రెండేళ్ల అసాధారణ వర్షాభావ పరిస్థితులలో ఆ కారణంగానే తాటాకు తెగులు ప్రబలింది.

ఆకులను, పళ్లను తిని బతికే గొంగళి పురుగుల స్థానే రసాన్ని పీల్చేసే తెగుళ్లు ప్రవేశించడం ఇటీవల కనిపిస్తోంది. ఒకే పంటను లేదా ఒకే రకాన్ని పండించడమూ, రసాయనిక క్రిమినాశనకారుల వాడకమూ ఈ మార్పునకు కారణం. ఉదాహరణకు, పత్తి విషయంలో ప్రత్యేకించి బీటీ పత్తిని ప్రవేశపెట్టిన తర్వాత పచ్చదోమ వంటి తెగుళ్లు ప్రబలుతున్నాయి. వేరుశనగకు పేనుబంక, తామరపురుగు, మిరప పంటకు పచ్చనల్లి తెగులు అలాగే వ్యాపించాయి. ఈ పీల్చేసే తెగుళ్లు, పలు వైరల్ వ్యాధులకు కారకాలుగా కూడా ఉంటున్నాయి. ఉదాహరణకు, వేరుశెనగకు మొవ్వకుళ్లు, పత్తికి ‘పొగాకు ఈనె వ్యాధి’ అలాగే సంక్రమించాయి. చాలా వరకు పళ్లు, కూరగాయలకు ఇలాంటి వైరల్ వ్యాధులే సంక్రమిస్తున్నాయి.

వాతావరణ మార్పులకు తట్టుకోవాలంటే?

మొక్కల జన్యువులు మొదలుకొని, జాతులు, జీవావరణ వ్యవస్థల వరకు సార్వత్రికమైన జీవవైవిధ్యాన్ని పెంపొందింపజేయడం ద్వారా వాతావరణంలో వస్తున్న మార్పుల దుష్ఫలితాలను తట్టుకునే శక్తి పెరుగుతుంది. జన్యుపరంగా భిన్నత్వం కలిగిన పంటలు, మొక్కలు, వివిధ జాతులతో సుసంపన్నమైన జీవావరణ వ్యవస్థలను నెలకొల్పడం ఇందులో కీలకం. దేశీయ, స్థానిక రకాల మొక్కలు, పంటలను, జంతువులను ఉపయోగించాలి. తద్వారా అసాధారణమైన పరిస్థితులను తట్టుకోగల రకరకాల పంటలు, జంతు జీవవైవిధ్యంపెంపొందుతాయి. రైతులు వాతావరణ మార్పులను తట్టుకోగలుగుతారు.

పెంపొందింపజేయాల్సిన పంటలు, జంతువులకు సంబంధించిన కృషిని వ్యవసాయ జీవావర ణ నిర్వహణా కృషి నుంచి వేరుచేయకూడదు. ఉదాహరణకు మన ప్రధాన ఆహార పంట అయిన వరిలో అధిక ఉష్ణోగ్రతలను, చౌడుదనాన్ని, దుర్భిక్షాన్ని, వరదలను తట్టుకునే శక్తి ఉన్న పలు రకాలు ఉన్నాయి. ఉదాహరణకు, 2004 సునామీ కారణంగా దెబ్బ తినిపోయిన పంట భూములలో అలాంటి రకాలను వాడి మంచి ఉత్పత్తిని సాధించవచ్చు. శ్రీవరి సాగు వంటి పద్ధతుల వల్ల నీటి వాడకం తగ్గడంతో పాటు 4 రెట్లు తక్కువ మిథేన్, 5 రెట్లు తక్కువ నైట్రస్ ఆక్సైడ్ విడుదల అవుతాయి.

వాతావరణ మార్పులను తట్టుకునే వ్యవసాయ పద్ధతులు అతివృష్టి కారణంగా సాగునీరు ఎక్కువయ్యే పరిస్థితులను, వర్షాభావం వల్ల ఏర్పడే నీటి ఎద్దడి పరిస్థితులను తట్టుకునేవిగా ఉండడం తప్పనిసరి. నేలలోని సేంద్రియ పదార్థమే ఈ రెండు సమస్యలకు కీలకం. అది నేల నిర్మాణాన్ని మెరుగుపరుస్తుంది, స్థిరీకరిస్తుంది. తద్వారా పైపొర, భూసారం కొట్టుకుపోకుండానే, దిగువన ముంపునకు గురికాకుండానే నేలలు ఎక్కువ నీటిని పీల్చుకోగలుగుతాయి. ఎక్కువగా దున్నడం వలన భూసేంద్రియ పదార్థం క్షీణిస్తుంది. తక్కువగా దున్నడం, నేలను శాశ్వతంగా కప్పి ఉంచడం (పంటలు, పంట అవశేషాలతో లేదా నేలను కప్పే పంటలు) వల్ల భూ సేంద్రియ పదార్థం పెరుగుతుంది. అసలు దున్నకుండా వదిలేస్తే భూమి నిర్మాణంతో పాటూ దాని జీవజాలం కూడా చెక్కుచెదరకుండా ఉంటుంది. వానపాములు, చెదలు, వేళ్లు ఎక్కువ నీరు బయటికిపోయే మార్గాలుగా పనిచేస్తాయి. నేలను గడ్డితో కప్పి ఉంచడం నేలను అధిక ఉష్ణోగ్రతల నుంచి కాపాడుతుంది. పంటకు అవసరమయ్యే నీటిని 30 శాతానికి తగ్గిస్తుంది. అందువలన సేంద్రియ, జీవవారణ వ్యవసాయం నేలలోని జీవ సేంద్రియాలను పెంపొందింపజేసి, క్షార ఎరువుల వాడకాన్ని తగ్గిస్తుంది. ఫలితంగా వ్యవసాయ వ్యయాలు తగ్గుతాయి.

ఉత్పత్తిలోని అస్థిరతలను తట్టుకోడానికి పలు నీటి నిర్వహణ పద్ధతులున్నాయి. భూసార పరిరక్షణ పద్ధతులు వర్షాభావ కాలాల్లో నేలలోని తేమను పెంచడానికి గణనీయంగా తోడ్పడతాయి. అతివృష్టి ప్రాంతాల్లో నేలను కప్పి ఉంచడం, దున్నకుండా సేద్యం చేయడం ద్వారా భూసారం కొట్టుకుపోకుండా కాపాడుకోవచ్చు. అయితే ఏడాదికి ఏడాదికి మధ్య అధిక వర్షపు నీటిని నిల్వ చేయడమనేదే సమర్థమైన నీటి నిర్వహణ పద్ధతి. ఇక పశువుల పెంపకంలో మార్పులు తేవడం ద్వారా గ్రీన్‌హౌస్ వాయువుల విడుదల సమస్య ప్రభావాన్ని పరిహరించగలుగుతాం. బయోగ్యాస్ తదితర పద్ధతుల ద్వారా వ్యర్థాల నిర్వహణను చేపట్టాలి. వాతావరణ మార్పుల దుష్ర్పభావానికి ఎక్కువగా గురయ్యేది పేద రైతులే, కాబట్టి వాతావరణంలోని అసాధారణ మార్పులను తట్టుకునే పద్ధతులు వారికి ఎక్కువగా అవసరం. జీవావరణ వ్యవసాయం, సేంద్రియ వ్యవసాయం, క్రిమిసంహారక మందులు లేని వ్యవసాయం, శ్రీసాగు తదితర పద్ధతులతో కూడిన సుస్థిర వ్యవసాయం అటు రైతుకు, వినియోగదారునికి కూడా లాభదాయకం. అంతేకాదు, వాతావరణ మార్పులను ఉపశమించేది కూడా అదే!

Farmers increasingly using weather insurance to mitigate risks from climate change

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/farmers-increasingly-using-weather-insurance-to-mitigate-risks-from-climate-change/articleshow/15263801.cms

NEW DELHI: More farmers are using weather insurance to mitigate risks from climate change. Top two weather insurers — Agricultural Insurance Corporation (AIC) and ICICI Lombard — say business is growing at 25% annually and now covers more than 200 districts across 21 states.
“The growth has been so spectacular over the past five years that as many as 12 million farmers, growing crops on over 15 million hectares of cropped area, might have been insured during the 2011-12 crop year,” said KN Rao, deputy general manager, AIC, which enjoys over 75% market share in this insurance category.

While the state-owned AIC covers almost all the designated districts, its nearest competitor ICICI Lombard is present in 11 states, covering over 50 districts. According to Union agriculture ministry, five insurance companies including AIC, ICICI Lombard, Iffco-Tokio and Cholamandlam MS offer insurance to farmers based on monsoon data.

“Uncertainty over monsoon and frequent climate changes have made it necessary for farmers to go for weather-based insurance. This provides them the much-needed cover and helps them withstand financial stress, which may happen due to crop loss,” said RS Sharma, senior agri-scientist, Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Weather insurance was formally introduced in 2003 as a pilot, and by 2007 the government adopted it as an alternative to the existing yield index insurance. Around 40 crops are insured under the category for various climatic phenomena like deficit rainfall, dry-spell, excess rainfall, low temperature, high temperature, high humidity, and high wind.

The premium rates are capped for the cultivator and the premium (rates) beyond the cap are shared by the Centre and concerned state government on 50:50 basis.

“The premium rates for farmers depend on various crops. For wheat, it is capped at 1.5% while for other food crops, it is 2.0%,” said an AIC official.

With the rising popularity of weather-based insurance, the premium business as well as beneficiaries has also gone up over the past few years.

“In the 2010-11 crop year, premium collection was around Rs 1,300 crore while the claim was around Rs 635 crore, benefitting 43.29 lakh farmers. In 2011-12, the premium collection went up to around Rs 1,850 crore while the claims and beneficiaries increased to Rs 887 crore and 46 lakh farmers, respectively,” said an AIC official.

However, weather insurance has its own challenges while catering to over 25-crore farmers in the country.

“One of the key challenges in weather index insurance has been establishing an adequate network of weather stations to service weather insurance as a credible insurance programme. It is estimated that the country needs around 8,000 automatic weather stations and about 32,000 rain gauges to effectively service the index insurance compared to the current network of 5,000,” added Rao.

Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon

http://iprc.soest.hawaii.edu/news/press_releases/2012/monsoon_climate_change.pdf

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1495.html

‘South Asian monsoon variations hard to fathom’

T.V. Padma

 

4 July 2012 | EN

Monsoon changes due to global warming still difficult to decipher, says a review

Flickr/fbloeink

[NEW DELHI] Understanding how the South Asian monsoon will change in response to global warming  and resolving the uncertainties in projected changes are ‘demanding tasks’ for climate science, a review says.

Current state-of-the-art general circulation models have difficulty simulating the regional distribution of monsoon rainfall, the 24 June review in Nature Climate Change says.

The vagaries of the monsoon on short- and long-term timescales impact the lives of more than a billion people in South Asia who depend on rainfall for agriculture, power generation, industrial development and basic human needs.

Authors, Andrew Turner, National Centre for Atmospheric Science-Climate, University of Reading, and Harisubramaniam Annamalai, International Pacific Research Centre, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Hawaii, say variations in the amount of monsoon rains in different years are low (10 per cent of the total summer rainfall).

But, variations within each season, over timescales of a few days or weeks, often have large impacts on agriculture or water supply.

“Perhaps the single biggest scientific challenge is in understanding monsoon variability at intra-seasonal timescales (several weeks), the so-called active and break events in the monsoon, and how they will change in the future,” Turner told SciDev.Net.

They “are poorly understood and difficult to predict,” he said.

The review also describes observed changes to monsoon rainfall over the second half of the 20th century such as an unprecedented rise in greenhouse gases and aerosols (tiny suspended particles in the air, such as sulphates from industry or soot from cook stoves).

Models linking monsoon responses to global warming suggest a rise in monsoon rainfall, but there is a high degree of uncertainty in these projections. Observations from data sets from most areas indicate a declining trend or no change in monsoons, contrary to the projected rise.

Turner explained that there could be reasons for the mismatch between observed and projected monsoon rainfall trends.

Increases in aerosols from pollution since the 1950s may be absorbing the sun’s radiation reaching the earth, impacting temperature differences over land and sea and, in turn, the monsoon.

Other possible factors include the effects of land-use change (the impact of the green revolution and massive expansion in irrigation in northern India, for example), or natural decadal variations in the rainfall, he said.

The review also highlights the need for reprocessing data, consistent data sets and a better understanding of the physics and complex dynamics behind monsoon circulation.

Co-author Annamalai told SciDev.Net that “as far as the Indian monsoon rainfall data goes, it is mostly about data processing techniques.”

When data from observing stations is projected or mapped into regular latitude and longitude grid points, different research groups employ different techniques, he explained.

“It is unclear how many ‘true observed station rainfall data’ go into each and every grid,” Annamalai said.

Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture: A Real Alternative to False Solutions

Climate resilient sustainable agriculture: a real alternative to false solutions
Author(s): Youjin Chung, Christina Billingsley
Source: ActionAid International
Publication Date: 01/06/2012

ActionAid believes that agroecology-based Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CSRA) is an effective way to respond to both the climate and food crisis. CRSA proposes to overcome the gaps of contemporary mitigation and adaptation programmes in agriculture by bringing to the fore the actual priorities, needs, and knowledge of farming communities themselves. CRSA prioritises the right to food, environmental conservation, and long-term community resilience in order to reduce food insecurity at the local level, and contribute to effective national and international climate change policies that support self-sufficiency and sustainability in agricultural systems worldwide.
However, rich countries and multilateral agencies are turning a blind eye to the potential of agroecology as a long-term strategy to tackling climate change. Instead, they are promoting “false solutions”– in the form of biofuels, carbon markets, and soil carbon sequestration which comes packaged with “Climate-Smart Agriculture” – to shift their responsibility and mitigation burden onto poor countries and communities.
In short, this document illustrates the relationship between climate change and agriculture; review and demonstrate how current climate change policy responses fall short of addressing the realities of poor rural farmers who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; and paint an alternative way forward by defining CRSA and suggesting recommendations to national governments.

The Per Capita Myopia:The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis- Mortgaging Our Future

The Per Capita Myopia


Praful Bidwai
Green prophet Praful Bidwai Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Praful Bidwai brings lucid scholarship and a fresh perspective to issues of climate change, says Nagraj Adve

THERE ARE two dominant trends in literature among those who agree that global warming is ongoing and serious: those who think, wrongly, that technological solutions will work in isolation (George Monbiot’s Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning; Mark Lynas’ The God Species); and those who root the climate crisis in the workings of the capitalist system (John Bellamy Foster’s Ecology Against Capitalism; Joel Kovel’s The Enemy of Nature; Jonathan Neale’s Stop Global Warming: Change the World). Praful Bidwai falls in neither.

He does underline energy efficiency in a whole range of applications, and devotes a chapter to the recent flowering of renewable energy in many countries, but he is no technophile. Combating climate change is for him “in the last analysis… about transforming the existing relations of power”. He also mounts a multifaceted critique of India’s changing climate stance, its linkages with our foreign policy and big power ambitions, our energy policies, and offers informed, detailed alternatives. By doing so, he has initiated a third approach, in the Indian context. On the other hand, while he does discuss capitalism’s recent neoliberal avatar and its connections with climate change, and transborder production and globalisation, the book ignores capitalism’s essential logic, which is one of growth, accumulation, profits and the drive to avail of the cheapest input costs, particularly labour and raw material. In the former lies the book’s strengths; in the latter, its main, significant weakness.

The book offers a four-pronged critique of dominant approaches to climate issues: one, of “limited” per capita notions of equity favoured by the Indian government; the alternatives it discusses include, importantly, equity within nations, something that some non-governmental actors also miss out. Two, of reliance on the market. Three, the crafting of India’s climate policy and negotiations as completely elitist and non-participatory, a criticism that also holds for the formulation of climate action plans currently underway in many states. And four, a critique of many of the eight missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

He proffers, in its stead, energy planning models that are decentralised, flexible and ecologically sound. Practical alternatives are presented — more public transport, water-saving measures such as the system of rice intensification, the varied uses of biomass — and, at another level, the potential offered by the remarkable rise of new renewable energy over the past 10 years, particularly wind and solar photovoltaic. He also discusses six categories of alt ernative proposals regarding climate negotiations, of which the most interesting, he suggests rightly, is the Greenhouse Development Rights framework for it imposes obligations on the rich regardless of their nationality. But how some of the visions he discusses will see light of day — particularly in the absence of adequate popular pressure in the four largest emitting countries, China, the US, Russia and India — is moot, a dilemma he’s alive to. Given the urgency of global warming, what is feasible and how quickly we can turn things around — considering the inherent logic of capitalism and its intensification worldwide — is one that he chooses to ignore.

Notwithstanding that, this is a superb book. Bidwai brings lucidity, breadth of knowledge and scholarship to a wide range of issues, some of which include positions mirrored by activist organisations in India: the myth that nuclear power is a panacea for climate change; the many dangers of market mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism; that much of what the Indian government claims as adaptation is merely a repackaging of existing programmes; the hazardous advocacy of large dams and river-linking within the National Water Mission; the need for a more decentralised generation and use of energy, particularly in villages that have no electricity, etc. This book is essential reading for a wide audience even beyond those engaged with climate change. For it to reach them, a cheaper paperback edition would be handy.

Adve is a Delhi-based activist


The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future
The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future
Praful Bidwai 
Orient BlackSwan 
392 pp; Rs 750

Water Options for India in a Changing Climate

SANDRP new report on

Water Options for India in a Changing Climate

 

On the eve of the World Water Day 2012, the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (SANDRP) is happy to publish its new report: Water Sector Options for India in a Changing ClimateThe report highlights that for the poorest sections, also most vulnerable in the climate change context, the water, food, livelihood and energy security, closely linked with the environment security, is already getting severely affected in the changing climate. It is well known that water is the medium through which climate change impacts are most dominant. South Asia is considered possibly the most vulnerable region in terms of number of people that would be affected by climate change impacts, and within South Asia, India has the largest vulnerable population. The importance of understanding the Water Sector Options in such a situation cannot be underestimated. The report highlights the options for coping and mitigating climate change challenges in water sector in India.

 

This report tries to capture the relevant issues for Indian Water Sector in the context of changing climate. The 93+ix page report divided in 12 chapters (including on Rainfall, Himalayan Glaciers, Groundwater, Rivers, Floodplains, Wetlands and water bodies, Big Water Infrastructure, Agriculture, Urban water options and Positive local water adaptation cases). It includes a case study each on Organic Farming (by Shripad Dharmadhikary) and on Forest-Agriculture settings in Western Ghats (by Dr Latha Anantha and S Unnikrishnan).

 

The report concludes that Climate change offers a unique opportunity to revisit our water resources development and management Plans, policies and practices. It also provides an opportunity to learn lessons from past approaches to development and management in a credible way. The purpose for a revamped water management strategy in changing climate could be that of equitable, sustainable, participatory, decentralised, democratic and transparent approach to water management; an approach based on sound knowledge and data to make decisions. Further, this approach would need to include a protection strategy for the rivers, forests, wetlands, water bodies, biodiversity, critical ecological habitats and groundwater reserves, as well as demand side management measures, along with a definition of the clear linkages between these domains. In water scarce situations, all demands cannot be sacrosanct, and there is a need to prioritise the just use of water with right based approach that includes right to drinking water, livelihoods and health. The final chapter gives a list of recommendations in this context.

 

The opportunities provided by climate change are still within reach. India, with the world’s largest water infrastructure also has the biggest performance deficit in terms of what that infrastructure can deliver and what it is delivering now. Groundwater is India’s water lifeline and opportunity beckons to make it sustainable, in the changing climate when demands and losses would go up. Our foodgrains requirements and water for the same would go up, but there are huge opportunities like increasing soil moisture holding capacity, taking up chauka systems in grazing lands, organic farming, System of Rice Intensification, also applicable to other crops on the one hand and water saving crops like millets on the other. Glaciers aremelting, the IPCC glacier-gate notwithstanding, but we have the options of creating large number of local storages and also using underground aquifer storage space. Urban water demands are going up and will put greater pressures in future, but we also have the slew of hardly explored options including local water harvesting, protection of local water systems, achieving proper sewage treatment and recycling, participatory governance, among others.

 

Some of the sections of Indian population that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change in the context of water and agriculture include: farmers dependent on rainfed agriculture, coastal populations, communities from Himalayas, Eastern & Western Ghats, Fisher-folks, Adivasis, Dalits, Rural populations, Urban Poor and Women. Any climate action needs to begin with identifying and listing such sections and than proceeding to prepare plans in a participatory way that would reduce their vulnerabilities through mitigation and adaptation. India’s National Action Plan for Climate Change, or the National Agriculture and Water Missions do not take this first crucial step and hence have remained directionless, ineffective and have not inspired much confidence.

 

Are we using these options and opportunities? If we go by the contents of the National Action Plan for Climate Change, National Water Mission, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, National Mission for Himalayan Ecosystems and also the 12th Plan documents, including the direction of 12th Plan indicated in the Union Budget for 2012-13, the answer is, unfortunately, in the negative. But we hope better sense prevails and the existing opportunities and options also highlighted in this report would be given heed to.

 

The World celebrates March 22 as the World Water Day, following the recommendation of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). As the World prepares for the Rio + 20 conference in Brazil later this year, the theme of the World Water Day 2012 is Water and Food security (see: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about.html). In reality, there is a close nexus between water, food, energy and environment security. The Bonn meeting organised in Nov 2011 (see: http://www.water-energy-food.org/en/home.html), floated the theme that there is a nexus between water, food and energy security. This was welcome, but it forgot to add the crucial fourth leg of this nexus, namely ENVIRONMENT SECURITY, without which none of the other three pillars are secure. The India Water Week 2012, to be held during April 10-14, 2012 with theme (Water, Energy and Food Security Call for Solutions, see: http://www.indiawaterweek.in/) almost identical to that of Bonn conference, also needs to remember not to forget the fourth leg of this nexus. Truly democratic governance holds the key to address these issues.

 

The soft copy of the report is available at: http://sandrp.in/wtrsect/Water_Sector_Options_India_in_Changing_Climate_0312.pdf, the executive summary of the report is available at: http://sandrp.in/wtrsect/Ex_Summary_WATER_SECTOR_OPTIONS_FOR_INDIA_IN_CHANGING_CLIMATE_MARCH_2012.pdf. The Hard copy of the report can be ordered by writing to ht.sandrp@gmail.com.

Himanshu Thakkar (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)

www.sandrp.in

Ph: 27484655/ 9968242798

Land ownership boosts climate resilience in India

Ms. Manipadma Jena’s story on whether owning land equips small farmers in India with more resilience to climate change impacts.


Despite water shortages, Chilipoi village women with their own small homestead plots are able to grow enough vegetables to feed their families. ALERTNET/Manipadma Jena

GANJAM, India (AlertNet) – Efforts to secure land ownership for tribal people in one of India’s poorest states are bolstering their economic security in the face of climate-induced hardships, and helping conserve farmland and forest.
In the hamlet of Kharibandh in Ganjam, a coastal district in the eastern state of Orissa (now officially called Odisha), 13 households of the Sabar tribal community each received title to 400 square metres (0.1 acres) of government land two years ago. The families had lived in Kharibandh for three generations, but had no legal right to the land.

Today, Rabibari Sabar, a 51-year-old widow, pedals vigorously on a foot pump to pipe pond water into her plot of seasonal vegetables interspersed with coconut and papaya trees. As well as feeding her family, she earned 1,500 rupees ($30) last year selling tubers and spinach from her homestead farm to neighbouring villagers.

“Simply owning legal documents to the property has brought about amazing motivation and socio-economic transformation,” says Nakula Sarbar, who works with the Rural Development Institute (RDI), a non-governmental organisation based in the state capital, Bhubaneswar. “What was grazing ground and paddy-threshing yard has now been converted into a virtual lifeline during the frequent crop failures.”

The RDI helped tribal families in Kharibandh apply for their plots under the Orissa government’s Vasundhara (“possessor of wealth”) scheme for distributing land to landless rural families. Tribal people make up about 22 percent of the state’s population, nearly three times the national average.

More than four out of five of Orissa’s inhabitants live in rural areas, with the majority earning a livelihood from small-scale agriculture.

The occurrence of droughts and floods in the state has almost doubled since 1999, and their intensity has increased – a trend experts believe is driven by climate change. Farmers who were already struggling have been hit hard by the extreme weather.

“In 2010, some paddy had been harvested and left in the field to dry while the rest was being cut, when unexpected rains in October flooded this region for eight days, and swept away the season’s entire produce,” says Binaya Kumar Das, a revenue official who settles land titles in the area.

ACCESS TO LOANS, COMPENSATION AND HOMES

Sanjoy Patnaik, RDI’s director in Orissa, underscores the economic vulnerability of farmers who do not own their land.

“(With) farmland leasing being banned under Orissa’s land laws, sharecroppers have no buffer against climate contingencies – the owner gets all the compensation,” says Patnaik.

But in cases where former sharecroppers have title to their land, “these farmers now get cash compensation of Rs 8,000 to 10,000 ($160-200) for each seasonal crop loss (and) that is happening almost every year now – a crucial benefit they could not access previously,” says Das, the revenue official who deals with land titles.

When crops fail and sharecropper farmers have little choice but to borrow cash to feed their families and restart production, interest rates on loans, even from relatives, can be as high as 36 percent annually, while money lenders charge even more.

Land titles, however, enable farmers to take out loans from state-run banks with much lower interest rates, Das said.

In Chilipoi village, 20 km from Kharibandh, 39 households of the Sauntia tribal community displaced by a dam project 38 years ago had their applications for homestead land approved in 2010. Their one-hectare farmland titles are in the final stages of being processed.

Chilipoi suffers from chronic water shortages because of its position on slightly raised ground. “It’s tough to pull up water (from) 20 feet below and carry buckets from the two wells to vegetable gardens and paddy farms farther away,” complains 65-year-old Arakhita Pradhan.

But the farmers’ land ownership papers will make them eligible for a 50 percent government subsidy on a bore well, Das said. And a third of Chilipoi’s households have already moved from mud huts into safer concrete homes, which they are entitled to as landowners under a federal housing scheme for the rural poor.

LESS MIGRATION

While Orissa’s economy has grown nearly 10 percent annually over the past five years, the benefits have not reached everyone. Monthly per capita expenditure, an important indicator of poverty, is Rs 551 ($11), among the lowest in the country, according to government statistics.

But land ownership could help change that. In the past, most men in Kharibandh migrated to Mumbai for six months of the year to find construction work. Today, just two villagers are working in the city temporarily. And as families stay together, their children’s school attendance is increasing too.

“The rural poor have more at stake in their farmland when they own it – an emotional attachment that holds them back from migrating,” says Kailash Chandra Dash, executive director of the Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC), an NGO that works on climate change and land rights.

Rabibari Sabar’s son, for example, now earns Rs 3,000 ($60) per month as a school teacher in a nearby village, thanks to the land title that acknowledges his tribal status and gave him access to jobs reserved for tribal community members.

His mother, meanwhile, has invested in her garden. Apart from spending two hours a day tending crops, the village women have formed self-help collectives to produce organic fertiliser by putting vegetable peelings into pots containing earthworms.

“Where farmers do contract farming, loading the soil with chemical fertilisers to maximise output is common. But when they own the land, practices are much more sustainable,” says RCDC’s Dash.

PROTECTING FOREST LAND

There are also hopes that obtaining land titles for communities living on forest land could improve their lives and management of that resource as well.

In western Orissa’s Bolangir district, collectives of indigenous peoples are developing a forest conservation project they hope will ultimately generate income under the U.N. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, which aims to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests.

The Orissa pilot programme covers 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of forest, including 33 villages and 15,000 tribal people.

According to Ghasiram Panda, who is overseeing the project for RCDC, 31 of the 33 villages have been working with government agencies for more than 10 years to preserve their forests. They are now seeking legal ownership of the land under a 2006 law relating to the land rights of forest-dwelling communities.

Panda is cautiously optimistic about the project’s prospects of generating revenue from the sale of carbon credits.

“Our programme is community-centric, to help forest communities to manage forests sustainably, grow biomass and preserve biodiversity (such as) endemic, rare species and thereby derive more non-timber forest products,” says Panda.

“These activities will automatically develop a more substantial carbon sink; income from sequestering carbon would be a co-benefit,” he adds.

India’s REDD+ framework is still evolving, and RCDC is working with Plan Vivo, a UK-based non-profit organisation that will assess the project and may award credits according to the amount of carbon emissions it reduces.

“If villagers can claim ownership, collectively and individually, over surrounding forest resources, they will have a greater incentive to protect, preserve and use the resources in the most optimum manner. We will see reforestation, not deforestation,” says Barun Mitra, director of Liberty Institute, a property rights think tank in New Delhi.

“After all, people (will) not kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Mitra said.

Manipadma Jena is an environmental journalist based in India. She can be reached at:manipadma.jena@gmail.com. This story is part of a series supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network.

“It rains in the village, but fields remain dry”

BINDU SHAJAN PERAPPADAN

A farmer on the outskirts of the National Capital Region of Dichaun Kalan Village inspecting his spoilt wheat crop following an unseasonal downpour which lashed the northern parts of the country. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.
The HinduA farmer on the outskirts of the National Capital Region of Dichaun Kalan Village inspecting his spoilt wheat crop following an unseasonal downpour which lashed the northern parts of the country. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

Small farmers and crop production are under stress in the face of climate change

The impact of climate change is unfolding at a pace that is much quicker than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stated a new research study released here in the Capital recently.

The study conducted by Action Aid with Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, further stresses that more than 80 per cent of farmers in India, who are mainly small and marginal farmers and contribute about 50 per cent of the total crop production of the country, will be the most affected by the changing climate.

The study was shared and deliberated upon at a national consultation on Climate Change and Agriculture – Adaptation and Mitigation by Small and Marginal Farmers organised in the Capital.

“The pattern of rainfall has changed and it is so scattered that at times it rains in the village but fields remain dry.

The rainfall pattern was not like this about 10-15 years ago, and we are unable to understand it,” said Birendra Sahariya, 40 year old farmer from Sipri village in Lalitpur District of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh who was in Delhi to share his testimony.

“In the 1980s we started using chemical fertilisers and pumping up water from the ground. But these technologies have only put our land under stress and our livestock are also facing shortage of fodder because of this,” he added.

HUGE INVESTMENTS

“I have lost everything due to changing weather and government programmes that are there require huge investment. One of my sons committed suicide unable to pay back a loan of Rs. 2 lakh. I had to sell my ancestral house, ox, cows and sheep to repay this loan,” said a woman farmer Laxmi, 48, from Pathakotha Cheruvu (Guntakal)village, Ananthpur District of Andhra Pradesh. “My younger son has gone to Tirupati as a daily wage labourer, as he does not want to get into this trap like his brother,” she adds. The Action Aid study noted that after the nutrient based subsidy scheme was introduced and manufacturers were given a free hand to fix the price, the cost of fertilisers except urea has increased by more than 300 per cent.

Despite this, there is an increased dependency on chemical fertilisers to meet the soil fertility needs, given the emphasis on the chemical fertiliser-intensive Green Revolution model.

“The small and marginal farmers who are the largest food producers of our country can only sustain their production system if the policies and practices on climate resilient sustainable agriculture is widely adopted,” said Amar Jyoti Nayak of Action Aid India.

According to various estimates, it is suggested that agriculture in India contributes around 25-30 per cent of national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and contributes to a huge ecological loss in terms of increased soil and water pollution with nitrates.

“In this context, the role of small and marginal farmers calls for due attention by the policy makers,” said Sandeep Chachra of Action Aid India.

“Almost 80 per cent of our farmers, categorized as small and marginal land holders are dependent on rain for their agricultural operations and cannot afford the cost of inputs of the Green Revolution model. They can bring in climate resilient agricultural system which will not only contribute to adaptation but will go a long way to mitigate the climate crisis,” he added.