Half of global cotton growing regions may face severe climate risks: Study

Half of global cotton growing regions may face severe climate risks: Study

MUMBAI: Climate change could put half of all global cotton-growing regions, including India, at higher risk from rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns and extreme weather events, according to a global study.
Under the worst-case climate scenario, all global cotton-growing regions will be at increased risk from at least one climate threat by 2040, according to the study “Adapting to Climate Change – Physical Risk Assessment for Global Cotton Production”. Launched by the Cotton 2040 Initiative and climate-risk experts, Willis Towers is part of Watson’s Climate and Resilience Hub.
The study further revealed that this temperature rise ranges from very low to very high risk, with half of the world’s cotton-growing regions at high or very high risk of at least one climate threat will face drastic change.
“As it stands, emissions reduction commitments and targets are being missed by most countries, including India, which means a warming potential of more than 3°C by the end of this century.
“While we are successful with decarbonisation, we will face decades of inevitable climate change and disruption. Preparation today is essential if we are to limit the effects of climate change on society,” said Alistair Bagley, Director, Corporates – Climate and Resilience Hub, said Willis Tower Watson.
The study noted that cotton accounts for about 31 percent of all raw materials used in the global textile market, with an annual economic impact of more than $600 billion.
India is the largest cotton producing country globally, adding about 60 million people directly or indirectly to its cotton value chain, with about 40 to 50 million people employed in the cotton trade and its processing.
It states that the majority of Indian cotton is grown on small farms of less than 1 hectare.
The study focused on cotton cultivation and processing in the three major cotton producing states of India, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Telangana.
“Climate change affects not only cotton, but also interconnected farming systems and related supply chains. To mitigate these risks, we need to catalyze a region-wide dialogue for proactive changes. Our partnership with Cotton 2040 accelerates this opportunity,” said Anita Chester, Head of Materials, Lords Foundation.

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