Climate change is already a reality for a majority of Indian farmers even as plans are being evolved at the government level mostly to create adaptive capabilities; meanwhile, Indian farmers are being forced to adapt to several CC-related changes by themselves because they have no other choice. For no fault of theirs, Indian farmers, like the most marginalized everywhere, are paying a high price for anthropogenic climate change. The worst-hit, as usual, are small and marginal holders in marginalized locations with social disadvantages to begin with. Such farmers have meagre resources to buffer them from the new risks that climate change poses.
Though the agriculture-related Green House Gas emissions cannot be equated in any manner with lifestyle-related GHG emissions and appreciates the ‘common but differentiated action’ demand. Promotion and establishment of tsurg, even for adaptation reasons, will result in mitigation of GHGs too. tsurg practices in farming are therefore a win-win option where mitigation cannot be interpreted as coming in the way of equitable and just growth of the nation. These practices contribute to increased food and nutritional security, contribute to sustainability of productive resources and improvements in rural livelihoods. They also lead to mitigation of GHG emissions from farming.
Impacts of agriculture on Climate Change: While climate change affects Indian farming and farmers’ livelihoods adversely, the converse is also true – Indian agriculture, even if not in the same degree as the developed world’s agriculture, does contribute to Climate Change.
Amongst various GHGs that contribute to global warming, CO2 is released through agriculture by way of burning of fossil fuel, crop residues; methane is emitted through agricultural practices like inundated paddy fields, for example; nitrous oxide through fertilizers, combustion of fossil fuels etc. Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential 296 times greater than CO2. In India, it is estimated that 28% of the GHG emissions are from agriculture; about 78% of methane and nitrous oxide emissions are also estimated to be from agriculture.