Climate Change Threatens Agriculture and Fisheries in Coastal Communities
Depending mainly on agriculture and fisheries, people are vulnerable to losses due to carbon emissions and global warming
In a new study, researchers observed the impact of climate change in five countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The scientists found out that the majority of 72 coastal communities are likely to face significant agriculture and fisheries losses due to extreme climate change projections. The potential losses are also due to other drivers of change, like soil erosion and overfishing.
All these factors have already declined the productivity in agriculture and fisheries, as per the study published in the journal Nature Communications. Comparatively, the potential losses would be higher in the commercial fishing sector than in agriculture. However, if carbon emissions are managed effectively, fewer communities would face such losses.
According to the study, the existing global average temperature is higher by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2° Fahrenheit) than in pre-industrial times. Climate experts have already warned that this temperature would go higher to 3 degrees Celsius (5.4°F) by the end of this century if we don’t do anything to halt the changing climate.
Under such circumstances, there will be extreme weather events in the future, such as marine heat waves and droughts, consequently, badly impacting the productivity of agriculture and fisheries.
For now, researchers want to access climate change impacts first on the coastal communities in tropical regions. It is because communities in these areas face more economical challenges than the communities in their temperate counterparts.
Speaking on climate change, Joshua E. Cinner, the study’s lead author and a marine researcher at Australia’s James Cook University, mentioned how such environmental changes mask the substantial variations in these sectors and how communities are estimated to experience the impact of climate change.
Cinner pointed to Indonesia, where his team observed that the country could face a 15 percent loss in the fishing industry. Likewise, some communities are likely to face losses three times worse than this.
Therefore, the authors of the study have called on the governments of all the countries they studied. The authors suggest that governments must try to expand and improve their climate mitigation efforts. They also need to prepare alternative livelihood programs other than agriculture and fisheries amid climate change.
However, the alternative jobs don’t seem to be a viable substitute for climate change mitigation. It is because there are 6 million coral reef fishers worldwide, which makes it difficult for them to suddenly change their means of livelihood.
It’s high time to work on taking appropriate measures to reduce drastic climate changes with sustainable alternatives and reduction in carbon emissions. Only such positive measures appear to be helpful as of now.