• Who Will Suffer Most from Climate Change?

    Ramesh Tiwari
    September 7, 2015
    Who Will Suffer Most from Climate Change?

    Bill Gates —-
    SEATTLE – A few years ago, Melinda and I visited with a group of rice farmers in Bihar, India, one of the most flood-prone regions of the country. All of them were extremely poor and depended on the rice they grew to feed and support their families. When the monsoon rains arrived each year, the rivers would swell, threatening to flood their farms and ruin their crops. Still, they were willing to bet everything on the chance that their farm would be spared. It was a gamble they often lost. Their crops ruined, they would flee to the cities in search of odd jobs to feed their families. By the next year, however, they would return – often poorer than when they left – ready to plant again.

    Our visit was a powerful reminder that for the world’s poorest farmers, life is a high-wire act – without safety nets. They don’t have access to improved seeds, fertilizer, irrigation systems, and other beneficial technologies, as farmers in rich countries do – and no crop insurance, either, to protect themselves against losses. Just one stroke of bad fortune – a drought, a flood, or an illness – is enough for them to tumble deeper into poverty and hunger.

    Now, climate change is set to add a fresh layer of risk to their lives. Rising temperatures in the decades ahead will lead to major disruptions in agriculture, particularly in tropical zones. Crops won’t grow because of too little rain or too much rain. Pests will thrive in the warmer climate and destroy crops.

    Farmers in wealthier countries will experience changes, too. But they have the tools and supports to manage these risks. The world’s poorest farmers show up for work each day for the most part empty-handed. That’s why of all the people who will suffer from climate change, they are likely to suffer the most.

    Poor farmers will feel the sting of these changes at the same time the world needs their help to feed a growing population. By 2050, global food demand is expected to increase by 60%. Declining harvests would strain the global food system, increasing hunger and eroding the tremendous progress the world has made against poverty over the last half-century.

    I’m optimistic that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change and feed the world – if we act now. There’s an urgent need for governments to invest in new clean-energy innovations that will dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and halt rising temperatures. At the same time, we need to recognize that it’s already too late to stop all of the impacts of hotter temperatures. Even if the world discovered a cheap, clean energy source next week, it would take time for it to kick its fossil fuel-powered habits and shift to a carbon-free future. That’s why it’s critical for the world to invest in efforts to help the poorest adapt.

    Many of the tools they’ll need are quite basic – things that they need anyway to grow more food and earn more income: access to financing, better seeds, fertilizer, training, and markets where they can sell what they grow.

    Other tools are new and tailored to the demands of a changing climate. The Gates Foundation and its partners have worked together to develop new varieties of seeds that grow even during times of drought or flooding. The rice farmers I met in Bihar, for instance, are now growing a new variety of flood-tolerant rice – nicknamed “scuba” rice – that can survive two weeks underwater. They are already prepared if shifts in the weather pattern bring more flooding to their region. Other rice varieties are being developed that can withstand drought, heat, cold, and soil problems like high salt contamination.

    All of these efforts have the power to transform lives. It’s quite common to see these farmers double or triple their harvests and their incomes when they have access to the advances farmers in the rich world take for granted. This new prosperity allows them to improve their diets, invest in their farms, and send their children to school. It also pulls their lives back from the razor’s edge, giving them a sense of security even if they have a bad harvest.

    There will also be threats from climate change that we can’t foresee. To be prepared, the world needs to accelerate research into seeds and supports for smallholder farmers. One of the most exciting innovations to help farmers is satellite technology. In Africa, researchers are using satellite images to create detailed soil maps, which can inform farmers about what varieties will thrive on their land.

    Still, a better seed or a new technology can’t transform the lives of farming families until it’s in their hands. A number of organizations, including a non-profit group called One Acre Fund, are finding ways to ensure that farmers take advantage of these solutions. One Acre Fund works closely with more than 200,000 African farmers, providing access to financing, tools, and training. By 2020, they aim to reach one million farmers.
    In this year’s Annual Letter, Melinda and I made a bet that Africa will be able to feed itself in the next 15 years. Even with the risks of climate change, that’s a bet I stand by.

    Yes, poor farmers have it tough. Their lives are puzzles with so many pieces to get right – from planting the right seeds and using the correct fertilizer to getting training and having a place to sell their harvest. If just one piece falls out of place, their lives can fall apart.
    I know the world has what it takes to help put those pieces in place for both the challenges they face today and the ones they’ll face tomorrow. Most importantly, I know the farmers do, too.

    Bill Gates, Founder and Technology Adviser of the Microsoft Corporation, is Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
    Courtesy : www.project-syndicate.org

    Sept. 7,2015

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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