Indian expert on new climate change panel

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London, Mar 11: Rita Sharma, Secretary of India's National Advisory Council (NAC), has been appointed to a new commission on climate change to be chaired by Britain's chief scientific adviser Sir John Beddington.

The new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, has been set up by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research's Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program (CCAFS).

Sharma is among 13 members of the commission which, in the next 10 months, will seek to build global consensus on a clear set of policy actions aimed at influencing negotiations to help global agriculture adapt to climate change, achieve food security, and reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions, a release by CGIAR said.

The Commission brings together senior natural and social scientists working in agriculture, climate, food and nutrition, economics, and natural resources from Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, France, Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the US and Vietnam.

Sharma has worked at various levels of government in India, including as secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development; special secretary in the Department of Agricultural Research and Education; and commissioner of land resources and extension in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Speaking after the announcement, Beddington said: "Extreme weather like the droughts in Russia, China and Brazil and the flooding in Pakistan and Australia have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven't seen since the oil crisis of 40 years ago.

"Unfortunately, this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress."


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