Shedding light on how warming temperatures and crop failure is pushing Indian farmers into poverty and distress, a new research claims that climate change has already caused more than 59,000 suicides in India over the last 30 years.
According to a Study:
- The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
- It could help explain India's evolving suicide epidemic, where suicide rates have nearly doubled since 1980 and claim more than 130,000 lives each year for a variety of causes.
- The results indicate that seven per cent of this upward trend can be attributed to warming that has been linked to human activity.
University of California:
- Tamma Carleton, a doctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley, US.
- Said, without interventions that help families adapt to a warmer climate, it's likely we will see a rising number of lives lost to suicide as climate change worsens in India.
- The tragedy is unfolding today.
- This is not a problem for future generations.
- This is our problem, right now, she said in a statement released by the university.
- Heat drives crop loss which can cause ripple effects throughout the Indian economy.
- As poor harvests drive up food prices, shrink agricultural jobs and draw on household savings, Carleton said.
- During these times, it appears that a staggering number of people, often male heads of household, turn to suicide.
- Carleton tested the links between climate change, crop yields and suicide.
- By pairing the numbers for India's reported suicides in each of its 32 states between 1967 and 2013.
- Using a dataset prepared by the Indian National Crime Records Bureau, along with statistics on India's crop yields, and high-resolution climate data.
- To isolate the types of climate shocks that damage crops.
- Carleton focused on temperature and rainfall during June through September.
- A critical period for crop productivity that is based on the average arrival and departure dates of India's summer monsoon.
- Carleton cautioned that her estimates of temperature-linked suicides are probably too low.
- Because deaths in general are underreported in India.
- In addition, because until 2014, national law held that attempted suicide was a criminal offence, further discouraging reporting.