Responsible Futures Matter
Edited by Moazzem Hossain, Tapan Sarker and Malcolm McIntosh
Chapter 5: Indian agriculture in the era of global warming
The steady and continuous rise of the average temperature of the earth’s surface, alterations in the radiation balance of the earth–atmosphere system and the subsequent consequences are usually referred to collectively as global warming. As per the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2001), the temperature of the earth’s surface has increased by about 0.6°C, ±2°C in the twentieth century. By the twenty-first century, the earth’s temperature is expected to increase by 1.6°C to 2.0°C. The root cause of this abrupt change in the climate is the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide and methane, in the upper atmosphere of the earth. The extra gases that build up in the earth’s atmosphere prevent additional thermal radiation from leaving the earth and trap the excess heat of the sun. The total carbon dioxide emitted in the world is 27 billion tonnes (Manne and Richels1993). Globally, agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions have increased by 17 per cent from 1990 to 2005, and are projected to increase by another 35–60 per cent by 2030, partly driven by the intensive use of nitrogen fertilizer and increased livestock production. This increase in the GHGs is due to human activities like burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, farming and deforestation (Oak Ridge National Laboratory 1993).
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