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Climate Change & Food


Confronting the Food Crisis and

Climate Change in the Fisheries
Herman Kumara, Convener-National
Fisheries Solidarity Movement,
[NAFSO]-Sri Lanka
General Secretary-World Forum of
Fisher Peoples’ [WFFP]
During the past 11500 years, the
period of human civilization,
temperatures had varied within a

narrow 1 degree band.

In the course of the 21st
century, global average
temperature could
increase by more
than 4°C.
• Nepal is the home of
numerous peaks
• 2323 glacier lakes
• 3252 glacier rivers

• Since last 30 years temperature is

increasing by 0.6 Degree Celsius
Impacting Snow melting,
• 20 glacier lakes are endanger to
burst, debris deposition, siltation
due to deforestation, land slide, &
 Taken together with those on the neighboring Tibetan
Plateau, the Himalayan Hindu-Kush glaciers represent the
largest body of ice on the planet outside the polar regions.

 This ice sheet and its glaciers feed seven of the Asia’s
great river systems : the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra,
Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang He.

 The basins of these rivers are home to 1.3 billion people

from Pakistan to Indochina, including parts of India and

 The conditions already exist for the complete loss of the

Himalayan Hindu Kush ice sheet. Many scientist are now of
the view that the complete loss of the Himalayan glaciers is
inevitable, given the warming trend and the current political
• Approximately 66 million people suffered
flood damage from 1973 to 1997.
• Between 1987 and 1997, 44% of all flood
disasters affected Asia, claiming 228,000
lives (roughly 93% of all flood-related
deaths worldwide). Economic losses for
the region total US$136 billion.000.
• Floods account for 15% of all deaths
related to natural disasters, famines for
Endemic morbidity and mortality due to
diarrhoeal disease primarily associated
with floods and droughts are expected to
rise in East, South and Southeast Asia due
to projected changes in hydrological cycle
associated with global warming. Increases
in coastal water temperature would
exacerbate the abundance and/or toxicity
of cholera in South Asia.

Small Islands, whether located in the

Tropics or higher latitudes, have
characteristics which make them especially
vulnerable to the effects of climate change,
sea level rise and extreme events.

Deterioration in coastal conditions, for

Water scarcity
• Climate change is expected to account for about 20
percent of the global increase in water scarcity.
• 1.2 Billion people in the world today do not have safe
drinking water.
• A 2006 study by the UK Meteorological Office
concluded that, with no mitigation of climate change,
the severe droughts that now occur only once every
50 years will occur every other year by 2100.
Water Scarcity
• Asia already has
60% of the world's
population but only
36% of the globe's
• Over the next
decade the number
of people at risk of
water scarcity is
likely to rise from
tens of millions to
Dry Land & Water Bodies
Impacts on Small
Women Vendors at fish Women Processors at work
Market for daily wages
The mean minimum night-time temperature during the
dry season at the IRRI fields has risen since 1979 by
1.13 degrees Celsius, or triple the 0.35 percent rise in
maximum daytime temperature. Yields fell by 15
percent for every one-degree Celsius increase in mean
daily minimum temperature.
While large sea-level-rise figures may
seem abstract, a rise of 1 meter will
have a devastating impact on
densely populated river deltas in the
developing world, as homes and
agricultural land are lost and
damaged by storm surges.
Cities Under Threat due to sea
level rise
Cities Under Threat due to sea
level rise
In Industrial regions, small rises
will have severe impacts on
coastal infrastructure : Loss of
beaches, ports, and shipping
facilities; flooding of transport
links, inundation of underground
facilities, including sewers, water,
electricity transmission and
communications infrastructure; as
well as the loss of industrial and
domestic building
“Even if the world agrees at make-or-break
climate talks in December to slash CO2
emissions, many of those impacts -- rising
sea levels, increased disease, flooding and
drought -- are already inevitable.”
UN scientists say.
Of the 28 nations deemed at "extreme
risk", 22 are in Africa. Bangladesh and
Sri Lanka are similarly threatened, with
Pakistan right on the edge and India not
far behind.
• In the regional level, freshwater availability in Central, South,
East and Southeast Asia particularly in large river basins is
projected to decrease due to climate change which, along with
population growth and increasing demand arising from higher
standards of living, could adversely affect more than a billion
people by the 2050s.

• Coastal areas, especially heavily-populated mega-delta regions

in South, East and Southeast Asia, will be at greatest risk due to
increased flooding from the sea and in some mega-deltas
flooding from the rivers.

• It is projected that crop yields could increase up to 20% in East

and Southeast Asia while it could decrease up to 30% in Central
and South Asia by the mid-21st century. Taken together and
considering the influence of rapid population growth and
urbanization, the risk of hunger is projected to remain very high
in several developing countries.
Wildlife Effects
• Polar Bears
– Require pack ice to live
– Might eventually go extinct in the wild
• Sea turtles
– Breed on the same islands as
their birth
– Could go extinct on some islands
as beaches are flooded
• Other species may go extinct as rainfall
patterns change throughout the world
• Biodiversity in the
region may decrease as
plants and animals
struggle to adapt to the
new conditions of
changed rainfall patterns,
increased temperature
and increased frequency
and intensity of extreme
events. Increased ocean
temperatures would be
especially detrimental to
sensitive marine
organisms such as corals,
which may bleach
resulting in overall reef
“With a one-degree rise in sea temperature, the
Caribbean's fishing industry could virtually collapse”.

"The coral reefs at this time are at the upper limits at

which they can stay alive if no action is taken to
increase the ability to withstand higher
temperatures. That has negative feedback because
reefs provide the habitats for all of our marine life, so
if you destroy the reefs, the fish will migrate,"
Kenrick Leslie –Executive Director, Caribbean
Community Climate Change Centre, Belmopan,
Impacts on Planktons
• “Further evidence of this warming signal is
seen in the appearance of a Pacific
planktonic organisms in the Northwest
Atlantic for the first time in 800,000 years
by transfer across the top of Canada due
to the rapid melting of the Arctic in 1998,”

Dr. Christian Nellemann.

Impacts on Coral Reefs
• There the 80- 100% of the world’s coral
reefs may suffer annual bleaching events
by 2080 under global warming scenarios.
• Those at particular risk are in the Western
Pacific; the Indian Ocean; the Persian Gulf;
the Middle East and in the Caribbean
Impacts on Employment
• Worldwide, marine • Atmospheric carbon
and freshwater concentration will lead to
warm sea water which will
fisheries generate lead to decline of marine
over US$130 billion species and coral bleaching.
annually, employ at
least 200 million Hotter water means less

people, and feed food, less offspring and
billions of people even less oxygen for marine
reliant on fish as an and freshwater fish
important source of populations, since the
amount of oxygen dissolved
protein in water decreases as
temperatures rise. .
Impacts on Food systems
• Climate change threatens coastal
infrastructure, food and water supplies and the
health of people across the world.
• It will add significantly to pressures on fish
• This is as much a development and economic
issue as it is an environmental one.
• Millions of people in developing countries
derive their livelihoods from fishing while
around 2.6 billion people get their protein from
• “ Climate Change from dramatic
alternations in ocean circulation
affecting perhaps a three quarter of
key fishing grounds up to the
emerging concern of ocean
Achim Steiner,
UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP
Executive Director,
• CO2 emissions will increase the Acidity of
Seas and Oceans.
• Impact Calcium and shell-forming marine
life including Corals, tiny Planktonic
organisms at the base of the food chain.
• Increasing concentrations of C02 in the
atmosphere are likely to be mirrored by
increasing acidification of the marine
• Increasing acidification may reduce the
availability of CaCo3 in sea water, including a
key one known as aragonite which is used by a
variety of organisms for shell-building.
• Cold-water and deep water corals could be
affected by acidification by 2050 and shell-
building organisms throughout the Southern
Ocean and into the sub-Arctic Pacific Ocean by
“It was critical that existing stresses were
also addressed too in order to conserve
fish stocks and coral reefs in a climate
constrained world.
There was growing evidence that coral
reefs recover from bleaching better in
cleaner, less polluted waters”.
Stefan Hain
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
“Parrot Fish, Tuna and Dolphin Would
not survive a one-degree rise in sea
water temperature and would,
therefore, Migrate to water bodies
further North”

Kenrick Leslie, executive director of the Caribbean

Community Climate Change Centre in Belmopan,
Climatic Specialist
• The parrot fish plays a dual role, as it is one of the
most effective cleaners of coral reefs.

"By foraging on the coral reef, it keeps algae growth

in check, so that the algae do not overpower the
coral reef and cause it to die. The disappearance of
the parrot fish would, therefore, be a loss not only to
the palates of seafood lovers, but to the reefs, which
would be even more vulnerable to attacks from
various forms of algae, which are increasing due to
other bad environmental practices”
Andre Kong – Jamaica Leading Fish Expert
Water Wars
In the midst of a
development crisis?
• 2 billion people without access to clean cooking fuels

• 1 billion people go to bed on hunger every night, 750

million from Asia

• More than 1.5 billion people live without electricity

• More than 1 billion have poor access to fresh water

• About 800 million people chronically undernourished

• 2 million children die per year from diarrhea

• 30,000 deaths each day from preventable diseases

Healing the Mother Earth
“We need to plant trees all over as part of
our commitment in all the nations by all,
side by side with working on the causes
of war”
Wangari Maathai
Nobel Prize Winner from Kenya
5th June 2007 in Oslo 8th Sophie
Foundation Award
Need Visionary Leadership
Mohammed Nasheed, President of Maldives has
set goals to turn the Maldives into the first
nation to be carbon neutral by 2020.
The 200 inhabited islands in
the Maldives want to switch
over to solar and wind-driven
generators and authorities
hope to drastically reduce
the number of motorcycles
that choke Male's narrow
Act Now or Lose Forever
Industrial Nations must acknowledge their
Historic Responsibility for Global Warming and accept
ambitious and binding emission reduction targets
consistent with an average temperature increase of
below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial
Mohammed Nasheed
U.N. summit of world leaders-22 Sept 2009
Need more such
"What we need in international negotiations is
that politicians in the world assume
responsibility in order to firmly prevent climate
change and protect peace and stability at global
"Our nation will strongly call on major countries
around the world to set aggressive goals,"
Yukio Hatoyama –Japan Prime Minister
Inconvenient truth!
"My country is the largest source of
pollution and most responsible for
creating the problem. There is need for
a change in the US policy on climate
and whoever comes to the White
House after the November presidential
polls will have to take necessary steps”
Al Gore - Former US Vice-President and
Nobel Peace Laureate
What WFFP Says!
“The disasters come one after other like tsunami,
earth quakes, floods, cyclones, ice falling in the
gulf, coldest climate in china etc. are linked with
climate change. All these are connected with
Marine Life, one way or another. Unless we take
these seriously & they go out of our hands, we
become helpless, which will lead to the total
destruction of the whole planet. Can we be idle
any longer”?
Thomas Kocherry- Special Invitee to WFFP CC.
“Acknowledging the global nature
of climate change calls for the
widest possible cooperation by all
countries and their participation in
an effective and appropriate
international response, in
accordance with their common but
differentiated responsibilities and
respective capabilities”