Gujarat faces the brunt of climate change but it is also a contributor to it, says a recent study by the Gujarat Ecological Commission, carried out in association with the Institute of Rural Management, Anand. Reproduced below are some interesting excerpts from the 214 page report:
Rapid industrialisation and need for economic growth has burdened our global common property (climate system/ atmosphere) resources, thereby altering it and affecting vulnerable communities. These vulnerable communities are those that contribute the least to global warming. The pressure put on the climate system by Gujarat is enormous. The emissions from the power sector calculated to be 51.4 Tera gram (Tg), the transport sector is 27. 49 Tg cumulatively for roadways, railways, airways and waterways. The industry sector emits a total of 26.09 Tera gram (Tg).
The emissions from rice cultivation is found to be 0.000486Tg, burning of crop residues emit 1.20103 Tg, and emissions from manure management is calculated to be 5.34 Tg, the emissions from cropland remaining cropland are calculated to be 5.5395 Tg. The emission from domestic wastewater is calculated to be 1.4231Tg and the residential sector emits a total of 4.53Tg.
Impacts due to extreme events have been observed in agriculture, livestock, infrastructure and the health sectors on a large scale. A 1 degree C rise in temperature throughout the growing period could reduce wheat yields by 4–5 million tones even after carbon fertilisation. As temperatures increase, thermal heat stress will reduce the milk yield. Sea surface temperatures have increased by 0.116 degrees C per decade since the last two decades causing coral bleaching. Future increase in sea surface temperature and sea level rise may continue causing severe coral bleaching. Decrease in mangrove tree height has also been observed in Jamnagar and Kutch due to increase in temperature. Salinity ingress due to sea-level rise has degraded the quality of drinking water in many parts of the coastal areas.
The poor and the vulnerable population and are found to be most susceptible to climate change. Hence the government has to take initiatives to help communities to build resilience and adapt to effects of climate change through scientific, indigenous knowledge and through evidence-based decisions. Scoping studies need to be conducted to understand communities and ecosystems that are vulnerable to climate change. Research and pilot studies need to be undertaken to understand issues and enhance resilience through scientific and indigenous knowledge.
At the time of its inception, the state’s industrial development was majorly confined to four major cities, namely, Ahmadabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot and some isolated locations. Today almost every district of the state has witnessed industrial development in varying degrees. Gujarat has shown impressive industrial development since its formation in 1960. This was possible only by the judicious exploitation of the natural resources such as minerals, oil and gas, marine, agriculture and animal wealth. Gujarat has diversified its industrial base from textiles and auxiliaries in 1960-61 to 12 major industry groups. This comprises over 1,200 large and 3,45,000 micro, small and medium industries.
Gujarat accounts for 19.69 percent of India’s fixed capital investment and added 15.35 percent of the net value in the industrial sector. The discovery of oil and gas in the 60s played an important role in setting up of petroleum refineries, fertilizer and petrochemical complexesThe state’s contribution in terms of production in India is ammonia fertilizers (19.5 percent), textiles (34percent), refined petroleum (33 percent) and cement (10 percent).
The major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted from ammonia fertilizer production is CO2. The state has seven large-scale plants that contribute to significant emissions from this sector. The total emission for the year 2005 was found to be 5.16Tg; the value is after subtracting the CO2removed during urea production.
The state’s cement production accounts for 10 percent of the total production of India. The major GHG emitted from manufacturing of cement is CO2. The emissions are calculated for those cement industries that are registered with the CMA during the year 2008 -2009 and are estimated to be 8.55 Tg. The district wise emissions based on the installed capacity from the cement industry show Kutch has the highest percentage of emissions of 39.06 percent followed by Amreli 33.78 percent and Junagadh 11.90 percent.
The textile industry accounts for 34 percent of the total production of the country. The emissions are based on energy consumption by the textile industries of the state. The major GHGs that are emitted from this sector are CO2, CH4 and N2O. The major fuel types used are gas, natural gas, furnace oil and diesel. The emissions are found to be 11.89 Tg of CO2 equivalents, of which gas has the highest share of 62 percent (7.36 Tg) followed by furnace oil, 24 percent (2.80 Tg), diesel 14 percent (1.70 Tg). Ahmadabad contributes to 29.72 percent (3.531Tg) followed by Bharuch 24.56 percent (2.91Tg) and Surat 20.98 percent (2.49Tg).
Domestic wastewater is the dominant source of CH4 emission in India. The emission from Gujarat’s domestic wastewater for the year 2010 is calculated to be 1.423121161 Tg. Ahmadabad has the highest emission both in the urban and the rural areas as compared to any other district, with 42.39 percent (0.35 Gg) from the urban areas and 20.96 percent (0.17 Gg) from the rural areas followed by Surat at 3.03 percent (0.0252Gg) from the urban areas and 2.79 percent (0.023Gg) from the rural areas.
Impact of climate change
Thirty year moving point averages of mean summer season (April, May) have shown a significant increase of 0.41 degree C and an increase in normal mean temperature by 0.77 degree C during autumn season, and spring temperatures (March) have also shown a significant increase of 0.51 degree C in North Gujarat. It also shows a gradual increase in mean winter temperature (December, January and February) over North Gujarat.
South Gujarat South Gujarat shows a significant increasing temperature trend for all the seasons. The 30 years moving averages show a significant increase in autumn (0.81 degree C) and winter temperatures (0.59 degree C). There is a gradual increase in summer (0.39 degree C), spring (0.57 degree C) and mean (0.48oC) temperature with an insignificant rise in temperature during the monsoon season (0.05 degree C).
Saurashtra has witnessed an increase in temperature during the autumn and winter months. The thirty years moving point averages show an increase of 0.71 degree C and 0.67 degree C respectively. There is a gradual increase in spring (61 degree C) summer (0.50 degree C) and mean (0.46 degree C) temperature of Saurashtra is observed.
Gujarat faces the threat of sea level rise apart from the climate-induced events. Based on the observations at Kendal it is estimated that the sea level is rising at 3.37mm per year. The study conducted by National Institute of Oceanography shows an increase in sea level rise by 1.06-1.75 mm, which is in accordance with the IPCC value of 1-2 mm. A preliminary research done by the MS University revealed that there has been a shift of 10-15 meters of seawater in the last one decade. The sea level has risen by 80 meters at some places.
Sea level rise is likely to inundate high tidal flats and deltaic plains of Gujarat. The most vulnerable areas towards sea level rise included the Little Rann of Kutch, the southern part of the (main) Rann of Kutch, Okha Rann, Corals of Sikka, high tide mudflats near Porbandar, flood prone areas of Ghed in Junagadh district, the coastal areas of north Bhavnagar, the Gulf of Khambhat, Hajira and the Bhal region. A total of 1,81, 000 ha of coastal area is likely to be affected in case of one meter sea level rise. The maximum wetland losses due to sea level rise will be experienced in Gujarat. With a rate of 3.37 28mm per year, sea level rise at Kandla station can affect Gujarat coastal wetlands very adversely.
In the period between 1920 and 1960 most of the cyclones that hit the state (covering regions like Kandla, Baruch, Bhavnagar, Porbandar) were DEPR (Depression cyclones) with intensity up to 60 km/hr. The analysis of data helps us interpret that the numbers of cyclones hitting the Kutch district has increased in the period between 1990 and 2010. Around 10 cyclones have been reported in the Kutch district during this time period of 20 years most of which are SSTR (Severe Strong Cyclone) with an intensity of 88-117 km/hr.
Also prior to 1990s the maximum number of cyclones recorded within a span of 2 decades was only 5. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the cyclonic events in the coast of Gujarat (mainly Kandla, Rajkot, North Saurashtra, Kutch, Porbandar, and Jamnagar) have increased to a great extent as observed between the years 1890 and 1950.
Analysis of the data of floods from time period 1970 to 2005 suggest that most adverse floods were reported in the years1995-99 and from 2003 to 2005 impacting the districts of Vadodara, Surat, Bharuch, Anand, Kheda, Valsad and Navsari. The years 2000 to 2002 have observed comparatively slight floods having an impact on Vadodara. In early 1970-97, it is observed that the intensity of flood in most districts of Gujarat had been normal with the main districts impacted being Gandhinagar, Banaskantha, Rajkot, Kutch and Vadodara. The intensity of floods has increased to adverse level in the years after 1995-97 and then returning during the years 2004-05 with similar level of intensity mainly in the districts of Vadodara, Surat, Kheda, Anand and Navsari.
An analysis of 30 years of drought occurrence was done of which the highest frequency was observed in the arid west districts of Saurashtra and Kutch. Gujarat on the whole experiences high incidents of drought. Analysis of occurrence of drought in consecutive years showed that Gujarat experienced drought for three consecutive years from 1985 to 1987. Also Saurashtra and Kutch region observed droughts for two consecutive years, which are 1889-1890, 1904-1905, 1968-1969, 1985-1986, 1986-1987 and 1999-2000.
Monthly average of maximum temperature (40 years) +5 degree C gives a glimpse of the trend in heat waves between 1969 and 2008. It is evident that there has been an increase in heat wave events in most stations observed (see the table).