DMPQ- “India needs a separate carbon emission policy for it’s Agriculture sector.” Elaborate.

The Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group – 1 has literally issued a “code red” to humanity as we rush towards a 1.5 degree Celsius hotter planet by 2040. The UK is set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (CoP26) in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 with a view to accelerate action towards the Paris Agreement’s goals. Union minister for environment, forest and climate change, Bhupender Yadav, says that the focus should be on climate finance and transfer of green technologies at low cost.

Climate Change and Agriculture

  • India’s Position in Air Pollution: As per the World Air Quality Report, 2020, 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India and Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital. Delhi suffers severely from air pollution during the winter months due to stubble burning in adjoining states.
  • The Air Quality Index (AQI) goes beyond 300 on average, with some days going as high as 600 to 800, while the safe limit is below 50.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Globally, India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas after China and the US, emitting around 2.6 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent annually.
  • India’s Sector-wise Emissions: At global level, electricity and heat production, agriculture, forestry and other land use make up 50% of the emissions.

Carbon efficient Agriculture

  • Providing Legal Support to the Idea: A carbon policy for agriculture must be framed with the aim to reduce its emissions and reward farmers through carbon credits which should be globally tradable.
  • Changing Feeding Practices: With the world’s largest livestock population (537 million), India needs better feeding practices with smaller numbers of cattle by raising their productivity.
  • Promoting Biofuels: Encouraging the use of watersaving crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol, and production of ethanol from non-food feedstock. € It will help not only reduce India’s huge dependence on crude oil imports but also reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Encouraging Fertigation: An alternative for better and efficient fertiliser use would be to promote fertigation (injection of fertilizers) and subsidise soluble fertilisers.
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