Washington, Aug.16 : India could lose between seven and seventeen percent of its income from farming because of climate change, a new study has claimed.
Using data on weather and the economic success of farming to model the effect of future warming on the predicted income from farming, Robert Mendelsohn of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Apurva Sanghi of the World Bank said that the focus of their study was on the biological relationship between weather and crop yield instead of the economic connection between weather and farming revenue.
"Our forecast is lower, but I think it's also more realistic," says Mendelsohn.
"By studying how well farmers do financially, we take adaptation into account. The income from farming will depend not only on the direct effect of the weather on the crops and livestock but also on whatever the farmers do to cope with this," he added.
They predicted that Brazil could lose between ten and thirty percent of its farming income under the same scenario, and added that the difference between the countries is most likely due to India's agriculture being less sensitive to climate-dependent changes in rainfall.
However according to the World Bank, farming makes up a whopping 23 percent of Indian GDP as opposed to only six percent of Brazilian GDP, so the country as a whole may be hit harder by a more modest loss in income from agriculture.
If on the other Brazil and India do to adapt to climate change in the future, Mendelsohn believes that switching to crops and livestock that can stand the heat is going to be crucial.
Rachel Warren at the University of East Anglia's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK, says she is pleased to see an explicit study of India and Brazil, because too many studies to date have focused on the US or Europe.