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Climate Change Endangers India, UN Says

Source:  Copyright 2007, New York Times
Date:  August 7, 2007
Byline:  Somini Sengupta
Original URL: Status ONLINE

As exceptionally heavy rains continued to cut a wide swath of ruin across northern India, a top United Nations official warned today that climate change could destroy vast swaths of farmland in this country, ultimately affecting food production and adding to the woes of already desperate peasants who live off of the land.

Even a small increase in temperatures, said Jacques Diouf, head of the Food and Agricultural Organization, could push down crop yields in the south around the world, even as agricultural productivity goes up in northern climes, including Europe. A greater frequency of droughts and floods, one of the hallmarks of climate change, the agency added, could be particularly bad for agriculture. “Rain-fed agriculture in marginal areas in semi-arid and sub-humid regions is mostly at risk,” Dr. Diouf explained. “India could lose 125 million tons of its rain-fed cereal production — equivalent to 18 percent of its total production.”

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