Guest opinion by Vijay Jayaraj
As a citizen of a third-world country, I bring a different perspective about climate change from that held by most people in wealthy countries. While they fret about possible tenth-of-a-degree changes in global average temperature, I think about how a billion of my fellow Indians and I will obtain the food, water, health care, and other things we need that our richer neighbors take for granted.
So we puzzle when we observe climate alarmists on a scaremongering crusade following the recent hurricanes in the Atlantic. They saw hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria as providing another opportunity to blame climate change. Indeed, they tend to hold human-driven climate change guilty for the occurrence of any natural disaster.
But this is common only in the mainstream media. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a leading authority on climate-change science and policy, admits in its assessment reports that there is no significant increase in the frequency of natural disasters.
Climatologists too were quick to point out that hurricane frequency in the past four decades has no increasing trend, contrary to claims by the climate alarmism propagandists.
In addition, anyone who respects data will agree that there were major hurricanes before the climate change narrative even began.
Nevertheless, weirder claims have been made about the negative impact of anthropogenic global warming on the food security of third-world countries.
But the state of the climate in some developing countries like India paints a very contrasting, indeed a promising, picture.
With its large and rapidly growing economy, India plays a key role in the global economy. Climatic effects can have a huge impact on the country’s large agricultural sector and eventually on the lives of a billion people.
Monsoon rains are the lifeline for crops in India. The monsoons have remained stable over the past 15 years and have shown no adverse changes in pattern.
Most recent research shows that monsoon rains in the past 15 years have ended a 50-year dry spell that was prevalent over North-Central India. Since 2002, rainfall has increased by 1.34 mm per decade since 2002.
Strongly sustained by these rains, and buoyed by the inventions in agricultural science and technology, the country’s agricultural production increased dramatically. For example, cereal yield increased 58 percent from 1990 to 2014, rising from 1687 to about 2662 pounds/acre.
The food production index (changes in the production of food crops in a given year relative to a base year) more than doubled, from 69.81 in 1990 to 145.1 in 2014. India’s total food grain production in the year 2015–16 recorded a massive 252.23 million tonnes, marginally higher than the previous year.
This should not surprise anyone who has a remote interest in the state of climate affairs. The global temperature levels showed no significant increase in the past 16 years.
Even the strongest climate alarmists acknowledged that the computer models used for prediction failed to reflect observational data, in what scientists call the ‘global warming hiatus’.
The models’ error can be attributed predominantly to the false assumption that carbon dioxide drives temperatures. Instead, in both long and short terms, temperature changes first, and carbon dioxide follows.
This not only exposes the influence of a bias in climate change sciences but also counterfeits the false imagery of a deteriorating environment.
Weather always holds risks—storms large and small, droughts, floods, heat waves, and cold snaps have been with us throughout human history. But the climate itself has been anything but dangerous over the last 150 years, and the evidence is there for everyone to see from the polar ice caps to the paddy fields of India.
It is impossible to save a planet that is not dying, and it is a disgrace to lead people into false fears concerning climate change.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in New Delhi, India.