Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

1 / 3
FILE- In this March 7, 2017 file photo, Indian women farmers work in their farm on the eve of International Women's Day on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)
2 / 3
An Indian farmer from Tamil Nadu state arranges human skulls, said to belong to farmers who had committed suicide, during a protest in New Delhi on August 1, 2017. Farmers from Tamil Nadu are protesting in New Delhi with the bones of farmers who have committed suicide in the wake of a prolonged drought and rising amounts of debt, seeking action from the government including the write-off of bank loans and relief packages for drought affected areas. / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
3 / 3
FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, an Indian farmer works in his paddy field in Roja Mayong village, east of Gauhati, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File)
Updated 01 August 2017
0

Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

MUMBAI: Climate change has led to more than 59,000 farmer suicides in India over the last three decades and rising temperatures could drive the suicide rate up further without government help for farmers, according to a US university study.
University of California Berkeley researcher Tamma Carleton said suicide rates in India have nearly doubled since 1980 and claim more than 130,000 lives every year, with about 7 percent of these attributable to warming linked to human activity.
“It was both shocking and heartbreaking to see that thousands of people face such bleak conditions that they are driven to harm themselves,” Carleton said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found every 1 degree Celsius increase above 20°C (68°F) during the growing season led to about 65 suicides across India.
A 5°C increase had five times that effect, showed the study which focused on the summer monsoon period June-September.
More than half India’s population depends on the land for a livelihood.
Tens of thousands of farmers have killed themselves over the last couple of decades in India — by drinking pesticide or hanging themselves — as unseasonal rains and drought led to crop failures, leaving farmers struggling with debt.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, according to official data.
Almost 60 percent of suicides were caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, the data showed.
The government has announced loan write-offs, introduced crop insurance schemes and subsidised inputs such as fertilizers.
But farmers’ unions say implementation of these measures has been slow. They have taken to the streets to demand bigger loan waivers and better output prices in protests that have sometimes turned deadly.
With temperatures in India forecast to rise by 3°C by 2050, policies to protect farmers with crop insurance and improvements in rural credit markets may help check suicides, said Carleton.
“Learning that the desperation is economic means that we can do something about this. The right policies could save thousands,” she said.
“The tragedy is unfolding today ... This is our problem, right now.”


Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

Updated 11 December 2018
0

Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

MADRID: Spain’s interior minister said he would send national police to Catalonia if local authorities did not do more to stop protests like the one that shut down major highways over the weekend.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska accused the local Catalan police of doing nothing to prevent pro-independence protesters blocking the AP-7 toll road, which runs up Spain’s Mediterranean coast, for more than 15 hours on Saturday.
The involvement of national police would be a contentious issue in the northeastern region which has its own administration and where polls suggest almost half the population wants to split away from Spain.
It would also stir memories of Madrid’s decision to send in a large contingent of national police in September last year after the Catalan government called an illegal independence referendum.
“Serious disruptions of public order and traffic security, such as those seen in the last few days, need to be dealt with by the regional police,” the minister wrote to his regional counterpart in an open letter late on Monday.
“If this does not happen ... the government will order an intervention by the state police,” he added.
Catalonia’s government would respond to the questions raised in the letter, spokeswoman Elsa Artadi said on Tuesday, without saying when or going into further detail. She repeated calls for dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain’s previous conservative government took control of the region when the regional administration unilaterally declared independence following the Oct. 1, 2017 referendum.
Many of the Catalan politicians that took part in the declaration are in prison awaiting trial for rebellion or in exile.
Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez — who came to power in June — has said he is open to a referendum on greater autonomy and has promised to lay out detailed plans in parliament on Wednesday.
But Grande-Marlaska said the local authorities had to show they could keep order and prevent a repeat of Saturday’s protests.
“It was observed that there was no intervention (by the regional police) ... a reality that is difficult to deny,” he said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning.