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Global warming: South Asia to feel the heat
Global warming poses threat to the lives of people in the South Asia. The general temperature would increase by 2.5 degree Celsius in next 50 years. The melting of glaciers, a resultant effect, might also gobble up the Sunderban delta.
FIVE BILLION people and large-scale vegetation in the South Asian region face major threat of climatic changes and global warming. Scientists have warned that 80 per cent of bio-diversity is going to be at an increased risk and people in the region are going to be affected directly or indirectly in the coming years. The general temperature is likely to increase by 2.5 degree Celsius in next 50 years and India might face situations like more droughts or floods.
 
Dr NH Ravindranath of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore said, “Northwest India, Pakistan and Nepal are set to see warmer conditions, which will be detrimental for the vegetation and especially the inhabitants in and around the coastal region.” He was speaking at a seminar   ‘Climatic change and biodiversity: Impacts and adaptation’ at the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow.
 
“There are enough scientific evidence to prove that global mean temperature is constantly rising and water level is going down,” he said.
 
 A consistent rise in the green house gas emissions between 1970-2004 was reported, while the worst period of rise, in the global average increase in surface temperature, was between 1988-2006.
 
Dr. Ravindranath stated that the adverse effects were the results of unbridled activities in the northern latitude. He further added that if earth’s temperature went up by two to six degree celsius, in the next 100 years, sea level would also increase by four to six cms resulting in severe consequences for the inhabitants and the vegetation. He also did not rule out the threat of losing some precious vegetation and said it might become endangered in years to come. “It is for sure that food-grain production will be down by 10 to 20 per cent and signs of this effect are visible from now only. We need to arrest it if we can and also, focus on area specific research to conserve the plants, as well as raise their productivity.” He also mentioned that there is a threat of increased rains and floods especially in the north-west region of India and large chunk of land and vegetation there-in might be washed away, and that, reports showing reduction in the size of 30 glaciers, including Gangotri were available which supported the theory.
 
Experts, while presenting their papers, warned that glaciers were already melting because of global warming and the sea level is rising by 1.7ml per year, which posed a threat of submersion to the Sunderban Delta.   Dr. SP Singh of Garhwal University said that glaciers in the Himalayan region had shrunk considerably and reservoir levels were constantly increasing, hence we need to sit and chalk out a concrete action plan to face the threat.
 
There may not be a direct affect on India but imagine if Bangladesh has no farming land and its livelihood resources shrink, where the population would go, he asked and said that in a way it would affect the Indian economy.
 
Director of NBRI Dr Rakesh Tuli said efforts were on to conserve samples of 50, 000 species of precious plants and food-grains.
 
Coastal regions in and around Mumbai, Kolkata Kochi and Vishakapatnam will be the worst affected if the trend continued.
 
AA Boaz, director general, South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, expressed a need to pool the technical and technological resources of the South Asian region to face the forthcoming challenges.
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