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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases full version of fifth assessment report which reiterates what the draft report had said about a looming food crisis and health risks

The report observes that farmers 
in Asia are moving away from agriculture because of repeated droughts (Photo 
by Aparna Pallavi)

Growing food could become harder which could lead to a food crisis was what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had said in March 2014 when it launched its report—Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability—as part of its Fifth Assessment Report. This message has been reiterated in the full version of the report released on October 16. The section focused on Asia identifies the most vulnerable regions as western Japan, eastern China, the southern part of the Indochina peninsula, and the northern part of South Asia. It goes on to observe that poverty reduction has been adversely affected by climate related hazards in south Asia and that farmers are moving away from agriculture due to repeated droughts across Asia. The report also warns that livelihoods of indigenous communities in Asia are in danger and climate change will end up increasing the food price, increase in cost of living and will further exacerbate poverty.

The full Working Group II Report

The report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability is written by the Working Group II of the IPCC and the full report includes a summary for policymakers, a technical summary, 30 assessment chapters, cross-chapter boxes, and frequently asked questions.

The summaries, chapters, and cross-chapter material were released in draft form on 31 March, this year and now full versions of reports with complete and transparent view of the volume’s development have been launched with following key features:

  • Early draft chapter versions, many thousands of searchable reviewer comments on drafts, and author team responses to reviewer comments are now available – to see who submitted review comments and the balance across review comments
  • Searchable database of non-journal literature cited in the report. The high-resolution graphics, early drafts, comments, and responses to comments are newly accessible in this launch

“The IPCC is committed to a high level of transparency about the assessment process. The new material included in this launch provides a detailed look at all the stages of constructing a report, at the evidence and interpretations suggested by expert reviewers, and at the way author teams addressed comments,” said Chris Field, co-chair of Working Group II.

Impacts on India

Observed trends in temperature and precipitation in India as well as their potential impacts are discussed in the report. Some of the projections are as follows:

  • Temperatures are projected to increase as will summer monsoon precipitation.
  • Reduction in groundwater recharge expected; 36 per cent of springs have dried, heads of perennial streams have dried, and water discharge in springs and streams has decreased considerably between 1990 –2010.
  • Mass bleaching has been observed in the corals at Andaman Islands.
  • 34 to 39 per cent forests of India will change forest type.
  • Sorghum winter grain yield will reduce by up to 7 per cent by 2020, up to 11 per cent by 2050 and up to 32 per cent by 2080 in Indo-Gangetic plains, Indore, Hyderabad and Dharwad area of India.
  • Reduction in wheat growing areas by as much as 50 per cent in the most favourable and high yielding zones of the Indo-gangetic plains due to heat stress
  • Loss of livelihoods of indigenous people from declining alpine biodiversity