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IAS Exam:Climate Change and Food Security

Food Security is an important aspect of Right to Life. Our Constitution gaurantees the right to life and in the light of the changing climatic condidtions, this right is affected very much. It is an important Topic for the UPSC IAS Main Exam. Lets deal with it in detail

Apr 5, 2016 10:34 IST
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Food security can be defined as the condition of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food. It is Physical, Economic and Ecological access of food. Hence, food security is directly dependent upon the performance of Agriculture, which in turn depends heavily on the climatic factors. Unfortunately, persistent disruptions in the natural climatic phenomena in recent times have created highly sceptical situations for mankind to accomplish food security for its growing population.

The visible and prospective impacts of change in the natural climatic phenomena are being manifested in the form of extremities of temperature and precipitation. The most prominent change can be explained by the global warming, induced by plethora of anthropogenic factors. Their impacts of change in the natural climatic phenomenon over food security can be seen under following sub-headings:

Sea-level rise:

Due to persistent increase in the average temperature of the world, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and water molecules are expanding. These have threatened almost all the coastal areas of the world and low lying islands, whose fertile lands support enormous food production. Rise in the sea level will permanently submerge such regions of the world, excessively reducing the cultivation area.

Climate Uncertainties:

Phenomenon like El-Nino, La Nina are increasing absurdly causing warming of Humboldt current, cold waves in North America, Droughts in South Asia, Forest fires in South East Asia and many such haphazard uncertain climatic conditions highly adverse for agriculture production. Agriculture of regions, especially in developing countries, dependent upon the natural rainfall are highly affected, due to untimely, less and even excessive rainfall. Intensification in heat waves in tropical regions are enhancing the desertification, further shrinking the already stressed cultivable land. Melting of glaciers at the summit of mountains in tropical regions are causing massive floods, landslides and related occurrences destroying crops in the fertile flood plains, which acts as the backbone for agriculture production across the world.

Tropical Cyclones:

Frequent and massive cyclones in the east coast of tropical regions cause massive loss to life and property including standing crops, damaging fertile lands ultimately flooding them. There have been gradual but persistent rise in the formation of Tropical Cyclones.

Impact on Marine life:

Acidification of ocean is increasing gradually affecting many sources of sea foods. Frequent El-Nino drastically reduces the fish production in the eastern Pacific Ocean. There has been observance in the change in the nature of ocean currents too, which have impacted the fish production at Grand Bank and Dogger Bank, well known for massive fish capturing.

Drinking Water:

Drinking water being one of the chief sources of food is getting depleted on daily basis. Glaciers and Ice-caps, which are the biggest sources of fresh water are getting melted and being lost in the ocean. Underground water is also being used at a quick pace to deal in harsh climate and weather.

Apart from all the above discussed causes, there are multiple adverse factors which are hitherto unknown to mankind, but are damaging the food production in perpetuity. Reduction in cultivable land, fall in agriculture productivity, failure of crops and damaging of crops are some of the direct manifestation of change in the natural climatic phenomenon, impacting the food security massively.

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